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    Watch French Pianist Helene Grimaud

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    Los Angeles was recently introduced to French concert pianist Hélène Grimaud, when she graced the Hollywood Bowl stage in early August with two nights of piano music.  As an amazing pianist, and an activist, “she could be called a Renaissance woman for our times. Hélène Grimaud is not just a deeply passionate and committed musical artist whose pianistic accomplishments play a central role in her life. She is a woman with multiple talents that extend far beyond the instrument she plays with such poetic expression and peerless technical control. The French artist has established herself as a committed wildlife conservationist, a compassionate human rights activist and as a writer.”

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    Watch 3-year-old Sing Nicky Minaj on Ellen – So Cute!

    After an adorable YouTube video went viral showing little 3-year-old Dustin was upset that he couldn’t sing a Nicky Minaj song because of the “bad” words, Ellen invites him to sing the “clean” version of his song on her show.  It is impressive that a 3yo has the language skills to keep up with a song with so many words.  He seems to have a sophisticated understanding of our culture and how to express himself – saying in his original video that he would like to sing the clean version of the song but he can’t “because I’m crying.”  It’s so cute that he realizes at his young age that he has been overcome by his emotions – something that we all experience universally no matter what age.

    The Music Junction starts piano students at age 4, and voice students around the same time.  Children should be exposed to music education as early as age 2, but group classes are best for the toddler age category.  Having a 1/2hr private lesson can be straining before age 4.  But you can see at Dustin’s age how close he is to hitting correct pitches and memorizing lyrics.  By age 4 these skills are developed enough to benefit from private lessons.  Sometimes – perhaps in Dustin’s case – at age 3 a student could be ready for private lessons.  If the parent feels that their child could easily stay focused long enough work one-on-one with a teacher for a 1/2hr, then that is the best judge.

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    Watch Amazing Grace sung in Overtones (the voice sings 2 notes at the same time!)

    This is a neat example of overtone singing – a special vocal placement that allows a singer to create a note that actually has a higher 2nd pitch, which is voiced simultaneously with the lower note.  When you listen to it – make sure to listen carefully for the higher note to hear the melody – the lower note never changes.  In this example, the singer, Yuichi Tuba, creates a lower note that stays constant, and then manipulates his inner mouth shape to change the higher note into a serious of pitches that creates the Amazing Grace melody. If you would like to see Yuichi Tuba‘s tutorial on how to do overtone singing yourself, click here.

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    Watch “I’ll Be There” Played on a Kitchen Appliance Drum Set by Percussionist Glen Kotche

    This is a neat performance by Glen Kotche demonstrating how anything can become an instrument – even the kitchen sink.  Delta Faucet says “To demonstrate the precise control of Touch2O Technology, Delta Faucet developed a custom “drum kit” along with the Chicago-based percussionist and composer Glenn Kotche, best known for his involvement in the band Wilco. In this 30-second TV commercial, Glenn “plays” the touch faucets to re-create one of the most popular songs of the 1960s, “Reach Out, I’ll be There”. Precisely in tune with every touch. Touch2O Technology. The First of its Kind.”

    In our blog post about Warren Olney’s interview on musicians in the digital age, we discuss the difficulties for musicians to earn income from their albums with dissipating CD sales and small returns on music streaming and the digital market.  But Glen Kotche’s partnership with Delta Faucet demonstrates a different income avenue for musicians – commercials and advertising.  The commercial industry employs many composers and instrumentalists – who write underscores to accompany the video and record original compositions.  But this commercial for Delta Faucet is particularly special because it showcases Kotche’s talents and creates exposure for him.  It’s a great opportunity for Kotche.

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    Watch “Waterfall” performed in front of an actual Waterfall! by The Piano Guys

    A piano goes where no piano has gone before!  This is a beautiful piece performed by pianist/songwriter John Schmidt.  How did they transport that grand piano to the middle of nowhere?  That’s part of their specialty.  The Piano Guys are a group of “guys” who put together beautiful videos like this one and live performances.  “What do you get when you mix up a marketing genius that does video, a studio engineer that writes music, a pianist that had a successful solo career, and a cellist that does pretty much everything? The Piano Guys: a miraculous meeting of “guys” with the same intrinsic purpose – to make a positive impact in the lives of people all over the world through music videos.” Their vision “is to create music and videos that inspire & uplift. Whatever we do, we put our heart and souls into every note and frame.”

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    Watch a Funny Classical Rendition of the Beatles’ “Ticket to Ride” by Igudesman and Joo

    The hilarious classical comedy duo Igudesman and Joo perform a barely distinguishable version of Ticket to Ride in the guise of a silly soprano aria.  Hyung-ki Joo gives a wonderful performance as both the soprano voice and piano accompanist.   Their new show, “A Little Nightmare Music,” is on tour across the world this year, ending in the US this fall and winter.  For more information & videos in our previous blog entry about Igudesman and Joo, click here.

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    Watch the Hilarious Monkey Fairness Experiment

    This is a funny and interesting video of a science experiment demonstrating how two female monkeys react when treated unfairly.  “Only female capuchins were tested because they most closely monitor equity, or fair treatment, among their peers,” said Sarah Brosnan, lead author of the study.  Looks like unfair treatment is disliked in any species!  This can be interesting information for parents in the human species, who have all observed the unpleasant reaction between siblings when one thinks the other is getting a better deal.

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    Listen to Warren Olney on Musicians & Online Streaming – Reporting on the Plight of Today’s Musician

    Today on Warren Olney’s “To the Point” on KCRW, he presents “The Brave New World of Online Music Streaming.” We know the benefits of music education to help us excel in all areas of our education, improve our brain development, and provide us with a creative outlet for a lifetime.  But for those musicians who actually want to go down the age-old journey of getting a band together, writing great songs, and becoming rich and famous — in today’s world that has become harder to do.  Olney interviews music industry professionals to find out what income opportunities are still available to a musician with a band in the digital age.

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    Watch the Karaoke App “Sing!” in Action

    Smule advertises their popular app Sing! as a “Global Karaoke Party,” which captures the way this app connects people across the world.  This is a wonderful concept that gives anyone the opportunity to sing with others, anytime, without leaving their house.  Singers can sing solos, duets, or group songs.  We like that this app encourages people to make music, and makes it a social experience as well.

    Often in our culture, we are encouraged not to sing by our family or peers unless we have an amazing voice.  We tend to make fun and tease each other if our voices don’t sound like what we hear on the radio.  This is sad because singing is the most organic way we can musically express ourselves.  We are all able to sing, it is built into our bodies.  The more we sing, and the more we are in a culture of singers, the better singers we are.  So an app like Sing! is a great way for everyone to get in touch with their voices.

    Here’s what Apptoyz.com lists about Sing! –

    JOIN THE KARAOKE PARTY
    Find and follow your friends in Sing!, and meet incredible singers from all over the world. Sing your heart out on Solo songs, or join up with others in Duets or Group songs. Keep up with your friends and favorite singers, and love and comment on performances to show your support.

    SOUND LIKE A STAR
    Sound amazing every time with Sing!’s voice enhancement technology. Use special voice filters to spice up your performance even more. Sing! is a supportive, joyful community where music-making at all levels is encouraged and appreciated.

    Features
    -Connect with your friends by giving & receiving comments and likes
    -Share your performances with the community through the globe
    -Join other songs for free and make it a duet or group song
    -Enhance your voice with special voice effects: Pop, Vintage, or SupaTune
    -Easy sharing to the outside community via Facebook

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    Watch 10-year-old Anna Christine – Semi-Finalist on The Voice this week

    This week, vocalist/pianist Anna Christine was the semi-finalist on The Voice.  At 10 years old, she possesses the vocal maturity of an adult that has been wowing audiences all summer.

    This video is of her performance in June, when the Daily Caller reported she “stunned viewers across the nation performing “The House of the Rising Sun,” on NBC’s “America’s Got Talent.” The talented 10-year-old from Henderson, Nevada, debuted a surprisingly rich, deep voice that left an expression of disbelief on the face of new judge Heidi Klum and veteran judge Howie Mandel”

    To sing with the strength and volume of Christine without creating vocal damage takes an advanced understanding of the voice that most wouldn’t be able to manage by age 10.  It’s evident in Christine’s tone that she is using the exact right vocal placement that can allow her vocal ease while producing such hearty sounds.  The placement can be taught to anyone over time and commitment to lessons, but then it needs to be exercised frequently to stay so strong and vibrant.  It’s a beautiful example, and also an amazing feat for her age.

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