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    Music Worth Noting Pt. 6


    This week’s Music Worth Noting runs the gamut in genres but that’s they way we like it. The Christina Aguilera video should not be missed but take time to watch the other videos, as they are very inspiring.


    Micaëla’s Aria – Ailyn Perez

    For those of you who are unfamiliar, Ailyn Perez is an emerging star in the opera world. She is also the daughter of Mexican immigrants and the first Latina to win the Richard Tucker Award, according to Women’s Wear Daily. It warms our heart to learn about diversity in the arts so we are especially interested to learn of Perez’s debut at New York’s Metropolitan Opera. She performed a song from “Carmen” for the New York Times.


    SOJA – Shadow

    SOJA is a Washington, D.C., band that embraces all types of genres including reggae, Latin, hip-hop and more. They believe, according to a band member, that “Our goal as a band is to stick up for the human race. We see the world and we try to make it better in the limited time we have here.” That’s why their partnership with UNICEF makes so much sense. They created a music video about an Ethiopian girl’s struggle with poverty and her quest to get an education. It’s a beautiful video and a wake-up call to those of us that do not know that 15 million girls around the world are never expected to attend school.


    This Little Piggy – Christina Aguilera

    We always knew Christina Aguilera is talented but after watching her on the Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon, we have a new respect for her. Aguilera and Fallon played a game in which they were randomly assigned a song and had to sing it in a different singer’s style. The first time, Aguilera sang in the style of Cher. The second she sang “This Little Piggy” in the style of Britney Spears and it was hilarious! You must watch this video!


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    New YouTube Apps For Kids

    Today, YouTube launches a special app just kids and we couldn’t be happier!

    Parents with tech-savvy kids know that YouTube can be a landmine even with parental controls. The comments, commercials and the videos that are supposed to be “related” to the content we’re watching are often inappropriate. Unless the parents are sitting close by to monitor, YouTube is probably not an option for many families.

    The new YouTube Kids app promises to offer only age-appropriate content and include a parental time. The app features four channels: shows, music, learning and explore and it’s safe to say that we’re excited about the music section. We are also curious what type of music will be accessible to children and hope they’re not limiting tunes to those that are like Barney. YouTube and Google, if you’re listening, here are our requests.


    Keep The Viral Videos

    We believe there children are inspired when they see other people their age make music. It gives them confidence that they can also tackle this skill as well. Plus, who doesn’t want to see cute and talented kids like the Castillo children? Although it must be difficult to weed out viral videos that are only for adults, we hope children-approved viral videos will be available.


    Include Different Genres

    As we previously mentioned, children’s music shouldn’t be confined to the likings of “Barney” or “The Wiggles.” Not that those songs are necessarily bad, we just believe children should be exposed to a wider selection of music. We’ve included a favorite musician of ours, Elizabeth Mitchell, who performs folk-inspired children’s music. Give it a listen!


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    Music Worth Noting Pt. 3

    We’re dedicating this week’s Music Worth Noting to unsung artists. The may not be regularly recognized for their great work–they may even be insulted by another artist–but they brought a sense of awe to our day. You remember how important feeling awesome is, don’t you?


    Father Raps to Son

    This video had us in tears and based on the numbers of views, we’re guessing that others had an emotional connection to this song. Jayce Correia raps to his son Jared who lives with cerebral palsy that has left him unable to stand, walk, talk and see. The video opens with a lethargic Jared but as soon as Jayce begins rapping you can see the young boy responding to the music with his head bopping. Heartfelt lyrics include: “Next to you I feel like a coward” and “I couldn’t be prouder / what you must go through every hour.”


    Dancers Interpret “Stay With Me”

    This is a beautiful interpretation of Sam Smith’s Grammy-winning song “Stay With Me.” The dancers stay true to the theme of love and love lost and makes us wish we had taken dance lessons!


    Beck – Devil’s Haircut

    One thing we learned watching the Grammy’s last week is that people have no idea who Beck is. While that thought makes us feel old, young people are missing out on a great, audacious and weird musician. Music.Mic has several examples of why Beck is a radical genius but we’ll just give you one example.


    Music Worth Noting

    So much great music and live performances fill the Internet, it is almost hard to keep track of it all. From the sounds of hip-hop to to the strings of a violin, this is what we have been listening to this week. Enjoy these wonderful sound and share with us what you’re listening to!




    “Glory” by Common and John Legend

    This Academy Award-nominated song is a great fusion of sounds coupled with moving lyrics. It feels like a gospel but has added layers of hip-hop with the rich sound of violins. Listen closely to the lyrics such as, No one can win the war individually / It take the wisdom of the elders and young people’s energy, you might just be moved to tears.


    Music Lessons by James Taylor

    As if we needed another reason to love James Taylor! The legendary singer-songwriter can sell out concerts and drive top dollar for one-on-one instruction. Yet, Taylor chose to reach to the masses via YouTube. He created a series that provides guitar instruction and tips to his most loved songs.


    Recital by Itzhak Perlman

    Perhaps no other violinist alive is as revered as much as Itzhak Perlman. He’ll make a special appearance next week at the Wall Disney Concert Hall, playing sonatas from Beethoven, Ravel and Greig.



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    2014: A Year In Entertaining Music

    We already know that 2014 was a great year in discovering the scientifically-proven benefits of playing music but it was also a enjoyable year to be entertained by music. Although the highlights are far too long for one blog post, here are a few of our favorite music videos and stories by entertainers and every day people that will bring a smile to your face.



    “Happy” by Pharrell


    With so much global conflict and disease happening in the world, it is refreshing that a song, simply titled “Happy” struck a chord with people around the world. In the beginning, it started off as the first 24-hour music video featuring everyday people singing and dancing to his music. Then, the simple lyrics and the timeless beat gained momentum with people creating their own version of Pharrell’s song. We think Social Times put it best: “The song is catchy and it’s sentimental in just the right way. Who doesn’t like the idea of happiness? Like those inspirational quotes your mom probably posts on Instagram and Pinterest, you could spend a lifetime trying to figure out what makes people tick. A good beat and a positive message isn’t a bad place to start.”


    “Shake It Off”  by a Chris and Sean O’Malley



    By now you know, we love family music videos. There is just something about using music to bond and have fun with your loved ones that just makes us smile. And this video, will definitely make you grin and laugh. Father Chris O’Malley and his son Sean can be seen lip-synching a Guns n’ Roses song while in the car when Taylor Swift’s “Shake It Off Appear.” Instead of stopping their act, they continue to lip sync this pop tune.

    The elder O’Malley told the Today show. “I hope this video encourages more parents to do fun stuff with their kids, and I hope teenagers can get over being cool for a minute and goof off with Mom and Dad.”



    “Scoring the Screen” by NPR


    Although it goes largely unnoticed, music plays a huge role in a film, arousing emotions and furthering the plot. As this Star Wars blog post shows, movies without music are lacking and sometimes hilarious. National Public Radio gave us quite a treat by talking with some of the heavyweight in film scoring including those who created the sound for “The Shawshank Redemption,” “Life of Pi” and “Halloween.” We are especially fond of the interview with Rachel Portman who compose “Chocolat” who discussing creating emotions and being honest with viewers. She says, “It’s important not to add another layer of the same thing that’s already on the screen.”


    Of course, there is also Idina Menzel’s performance of “Let it Go” with Jimmy Fallon that we wrote about earlier this year. It is a must see!


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    Video of Father and Dying Son Touches Hearts

    Like many of you, we were in tears watching the video of a father singing to his dying newborn son. It has been watched more than 8 million times on YouTube and and it fills us with grief and sympathy as well as love.

    For those unfamiliar with the story, husband Chris Picco and wife Ashley Picco were happily expecting their first child, Lennon who was due February of next year. Instead, he was born premature on Nov. 8. Ashley also died due to complications of the childbirth.

    In depths of unthinkable loss, Chris Picco picked up his guitar and sang the Beatle’s “Blackbird” as Lennon fought for his life in the hospital’s neo-natal intensive care unit.

    It was a beautiful moment filled with love and music. For those unfamiliar with the song, the lyrics to “Blackbird” are gently motivating and encouraging.

    Blackbird singing in the dead of night

    Take these broken wings and learn to fly

    All your life

    You were only waiting for this moment to arise.

    In the memorial page celebrating the PIccos’ love for each other and their son, it is written: “New anthems to write, new songs to sing, and no more loss, parting, pain or sorrow.”

    We hope that every day brings Chris Picco closer to a life without pain.




    5 Must-See Websites for Music Performances

    We know that live music is a great complement to music lessons but sometimes finding the right event can be challenging as not all events are kid-friendly. Why not host a concert in your house? We found some websites that offer live music and it doesn’t matter if your children aren’t sitting still or how you’re dressed. Just watch and enjoy!



    National Public Radio: Tiny Desk Concerts

    NPR’s revamped music website features live performances that are literally performed near the desk of “All Songs Considered” host Bob Boilen. The performances tend to lean toward independent artists but several genres are represented including world music.


    New York Times: In Performance

    This is our personal favorite for online viewing of the arts. The performances are brief enough to capture the attention of our youngest musicians and features some of the most prominent artists in classical music and on Broadway. We especially love the close-up shots of the pianists so we can admire their quick finger work.


    PBS: Great Performances http://video.pbs.org/program/great-performances/

    This famous and long-running television show has an online component. This website offers a diverse offering of the arts from opera to ballet to classical music to Lady Gaga.



    Kissin, Demidenko, Wit: Chopin, Piano Concertos on medici.tv.

    This site is perfect for the devout classical music fans who wish they could attend every concert. Full-length performances from Carnegie Hall, Walt Disney Concert Hall,

    Berliner Philharmonie, Théâtre des Champs-Élysées, and more are available for viewing.

    Registration is required and free but a monthly subscription fee is needed to access the site’s library and to have an ad-free experience,



    Music Together: Concert Videos 

    Music Together is a national organization that offers music enrichment classes for infants to 5-year-olds.  Your youngest musicians or soon-to-be-musicians might enjoy the up-tempo beats in this video playlist. Music Together has a knack for selecting songs that young children love and do not drive parents, well, crazy with repetitive beats and lyrics offered in the genre of children’s music.

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    Using sound waves to levitate objects

    Think levitation is only a magician’s trick?

    Although you may not have learned this in your high school science class, the ability to make tiny particles float in the air is possible.

    The ability to rise in the air through the power of sound, also known as acoustic levitation, is not new. Scientists have been performing this act since the 1940s. However, a group of Japanese researchers have recently mastered three-dimensional levitation, making it possible to float an object up and down and side to side. You can see the levitation in action in the video above, which also provides a great tutorial on the science behind it.

    Scientists discovered that if they perfectly align ultrasonic sound speakers they can create sound waves that exert pressure. This pressure cancels out the effects of gravity. They can make the particles move in different directions by changing the strength of the sound waves. Fortunately for scientists, the sounds waves are slightly above the normal human hearing range, which is beneficial in applying this discovery to the real world. Unfortunately for musicians, we are unlikely to replicate levitation through our own music making.

    The advancement of 3D acoustic levitation provides many benefits beyond creating an intriguing YouTube video. Acoustic levitation could help scientists keep chemical mixtures pure in stem cell research and advance antigravity experiments in space.


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    Singing Her Heart Out In Kansas And Everybody Is Listening

    This week we were captivated by a viral video of a young woman doing a beautiful rendition of Michael Jackson’s “The Way You Make Me Feel.” She wowed us with her vocals and we were also in awe that she was able to provide the song’s instrumentation with her own voice through a looper station. It’s an impressive performance and certainly worth a listen.

    Her talent has been recognized by the Huffington Post, Slate and Esquire, among many other outlets. At this point, the only living creatures unimpressed with her talent are her small dogs who adorably sleep on her bed as she belts out Jackson’s classic hit.

    We did some more research and discovered that she goes by one name — Kawehi — and that she has become internationally known all while living in Kansas. She sings covers from Nirvana, Nine Inch Nails and Radiohead as well as her own original music. She has successfully launched several Kickstarter campaigns to support her music and her latest EP, Robot Heart. Her latest endeavor features song lyrics that are from the perspective of a robot.

    What’s not to love about Kawehi!

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    Watch Artist Neil Harbisson – What Does Color Sound Like?

    Artist Neil Harbisson was born completely color blind.  “To me, the sky is always gray, flowers are always gray, and television is still in black and white.”  But these days a device attached to his head turns color into audible frequencies.  Instead of seeing a world in grayscale, Harbisson can hear a symphony of color — and yes, even listen to faces and paintings.  Now even the way Neil dresses is affected by this device.  “Today I’m dressed in C major, so it’s quite a happy chord.  If I had to go to a funeral, though, I would dress in B minor, which would be turquoise, purple and orange.” Hear his story in this TED talk, “I Listen to Color.”

    Harbisson speaks for his ability to now paint music, but you can also imagine what this new device could mean for a musician.  Many interesting songs could be written with this new device.  What would a purple and green song sound like?  Or a tie-dyed song?  There are a lot of fun artistic implications.

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