• Student Login

  • Posts found under: music

    Helping Veterans Through Music

    FacebookTwitterGoogle+Share

    They’ve seen the worst of atrocities fighting in a war and returned home after enduring life-changing injuries.

    Now, they’re moving on with their lives with the help of music.

    We were inspired to see this CNN story about MusiCorps, a music rehabilitation program that helps military veterans learn, or in some cases re-learn, music with the help of professional musicians. MusiCorps also launched its own music group, known as the Wounded Warrior Band, which plays throughout the country including at the Grand Ole Opry, with Yo Yo Ma and with the Kansas City Symphony.

    “I’ve seen guys come in here, and they’re going through such a tough time with their injuries that they are very withdrawn,” says Arthur Bloom, founder of MusiCorps and a graduate of Yale School of Music. “The music becomes their new way of communicating. It can be just as powerful as the spoken word. … By injecting music into this space, we can inject life.”

    All the veterans in MusiCorps suffered serious injuries including loss of limbs and eyes and are receiving treatment at Washington, D.C.’s Walter Reed National Military Medical Center. Their conditions are so serious that they need multiple surgeries and end up living at Walter Reed for a few years.

    The MusiCorps program helps veterans take their mind off surgeries and rehabilitation as well as alleviate stress and anxiety.

    We’ve mentioned before that music is a gift and we’re glad so many people are helping others through music.  We’re also impressed with Wounded Warrior Band’s talents. The group’s performance of “The Star-Spangled Banner” at the Grand Ole Opry was so moving and their sacrifice was brought into sharper focus when the singer repeated “home of the brave” several times.

    The Music Junction offers piano and voice lessons at our Burbank and Hollywood locations. Call us today to learn more.

    See Our Rates Contact Us 

    Are you ready to sign up for lessons? See Our Rates. | Questions? Contact us.

     

     

     

    Read more...

    Giving Your Brain A Full-Body Workout Through Music

    Playing music produces a whirlwind of activity in the brain that is unmatched by any other activity including playing sports and painting. It is the only activity that researchers can compare to a full-body workout.

    A recent Ted-Ed video has some fun with this topic, exploring the issue through animation that’s under the direction of educator Anita Collins. Researchers have been studying this topic for more than two decades and there is still more work to be done but what is clear is that there is a difference between listening to music and playing music. The act of playing music sparks activity — or what the video narrator likes to call “fireworks” — that lights up both sides of the brain.

    “Playing a musical instrument engages practically every area of the brain at once,” the video’s narrator says. “And as with any other workout, disciplines, structured practice in playing music strengthen those brain functions allowing us to apply that strength to other activities.”

    We’ve already read research on how music lessons enhance communication skills. This video explores the brain’s executive function, the ability to connect past experiences with the present. Essentially it is a set of skills people would love to have on their resume; an ability to organize and plan as well as pay attention to details and manage time effectively. Neuroscientists also noted that playing music increased the activity in the part of the brain that serves as a bridge to both hemispheres of the brain allowing messages to travel across the brain faster.

    To see more info on Collins’ exploration of music and the brain, watch this video.

    The Music Junction offers piano and voice lessons at our Burbank and Hollywood locations. Call us today to learn more.

    See Our Rates Contact Us 

    Are you ready to sign up for lessons? See Our Rates. | Questions? Contact us.

     

    Read more...

    4 Ways to Protect Your Singing Voice

    When instrumental musicians struggle with their sound they can buy new strings, order more reeds or grease their gears.

    When a singer struggles with her sound, fixing the problem is not as easy. Consistent strain on vocal cords can cause damage and create nodules, or polyps, to form. Although benign, the nodules can lead to bleeding when they are not properly rested, which then causes scarring. Vocal cords that are scarred sound more hoarse and are more prone to cracking.

    A cracked voice, however, is not the fate for all singers. Properly managed and maintained vocal cords can provide a singer with a lifetime of beautiful sounds.

    Here are our 4 tips to protecting your singing voice:

     

    1. Healthy Lifestyle: Like everything else in life, a healthy lifestyle reaps many rewards. If you want to give your vocal cords a long life then stay away from smoking and drugs and opt for a healthy diet that includes drinking lots of water and aerobic exercise.

     

    2. Rest When You’re Sick: Just as your body needs to rest when you’re sick, so does your voice. If you must sing while sick, schedule several days of rest soon after so your vocal cords can begin healing.

     

    3. Warm-Ups and Cool Downs: Just as a runner stretches before and after a race, singers must also get their vocal cords warmed up and ready to perform. A voice coach can work with you on tailoring a set of exercises that works best for you.

     

    4. Technique: A good voice coach — including someone from The Music Junction — will work with you to understand how your voice works and the proper techniques for singing including understanding how to breathe and how to use your diaphragm. We like this piece of advice from voice trainer Judith Farris on the benefits of a properly coached voice.

    “In singing, if one’s breath is balanced, it is nearly impossible to have any kind of strain on the vocal apparatus, and the easiest and most beautiful sound is achieved,” Farris told Theatre Communications Group. “ Thus obtaining a correct vocal technique is the key to the prevention of vocal problems. The vocal cords themselves are muscles. Athletes and dancers know that any muscle that is used correctly gets stronger with use, not weaker or injured.”

     

    The Music Junction offers piano and voice lessons at our Burbank and Hollywood locations. Call us today to learn more.

    See Our Rates Contact Us 

    Are you ready to sign up for lessons? See Our Rates. | Questions? Contact us.

     

    Read more...

    Music is a Gift

    So much discussion about music today is focused on how it benefits the individual. Music makes us smarter. Music makes us less stressed.

    Yet, music is also a gift.

    We were touched to read a story in the Boston Globe of two 13-year-old middle school students who teach homeless girls how to play the violin. The teens — Sophia Spungen and Emily Swearingen — visit the shelter once a week and give one-hour lessons to three young girls who range in age from 8 to 10. The older girls plan the lessons themselves and successfully raised money to buy their students starter violins.

    The collaboration began in June and Spungen and Swearengin show no signs of stopping their outreach. The girls, who have been playing the violin for several years, try to engage their students by picking popular songs including a tune from “Frozen”  as well as standards such as “Bile ’Em Cabbage Down.” Every lesson ends in a compliment from the teachers.

    Giving the gift of music is something the mothers of the young students appreciate.

    “Our kids need more than food; they need music, they need art, they need to be kids for a while,” one mother told the Boston Globe.

    We couldn’t agree more.

    The next time you’re thinking about giving back to your community, consider your music education as a gift. Helping others learn to play the piano or singing to them could brighten their day.

    The Music Junction offers piano and voice lessons at our Burbank and Hollywood locations. Call us today to learn more.

    See Our Rates Contact Us 

    Are you ready to sign up for lessons? See Our Rates. | Questions? Contact us.

    Read more...

    Memories and Music

    Chances are if you play a contemporary pop song in front of someone from a different generation, he would complain about the state of music today. Yet, don’t blame the music companies and don’t judge the artists.

    In fact, you can tell him his low opinion about today’s tunes is all in his head and you’d be right.

    Research continues to show the influence music has on neurological activity and the powerful connection between music and memories. It turns out we like music from another time because it brings back memories of our life.

    “Familiar music is also a much more reliable way for people to induce good moods in themselves — in fact, the emotional centers of the brain are more active when one listens to familiar music,” states a Music.Mic article.

    Researchers have noted that when they played songs familiar to the test subjects they saw more activity in the area of the brain related to autobiographical memories.

    “What seems to happen is that a piece of familiar music serves as a soundtrack for a mental movie that starts playing in our head,” Petr Janat was quoted in a Psychology Today story. “It calls back memories of a particular person or place, and you might all of a sudden see that person’s face in your mind’s eye.”

    While we might not be fan’s of Madonna’s “Crazy For You” someone who danced to the tune with their high school sweetheart might disagree. While a John Phillip Sousa march might seem rigid and old-fashioned to some it might bring a smile to the face of someone who was in her high school marching band.

    The next time you play in front of your loved ones or in a recital, remember the power of music. You may not know it but your music could help create someone’s special memory.

    The Music Junction offers piano and voice lessons at our Burbank and Hollywood locations. Call us today to learn more.

    See Our Rates Contact Us 

    Are you ready to sign up for lessons? See Our Rates. | Questions? Contact us.

    Read more...

    Stars Wars Without Music

    It is hard to imagine Star Wars movies without John Williams’ iconic music full of blazing trumpets and crashing cymbals.

    Well, it’s not so hard now.

    Thanks to some work by The Auralnauts, a group that refers to itself as audio sorcerers who love to edit Star Wars movies, we have a better understanding of Williams’ role in this much-loved film. The group removed the music from the final scene of “Star Wars Episode IV:  A New Hope” in which Princess Leia awards medals to Luke Skywalker and Han Solo.

    In the altered scene the movie is slow. Painfully slow.  No one talks. Instead we are left with Chewbacca’s roars and R2-D2’s shaking as well as half-smirks and knowing glances from the humans.

    After watching this clip, it’s clear that Williams’ music brings a sense of grandness and injects the feeling of importance that the movie needs. Without it the film feels, well, silly. Although sometimes we take it for granted, this is a great example on the power of music. It has the power to communicate and entertain without uttering words.

    To get another sense of the power of Williams’ music, see the movie’s original 1977 trailer that did not include his music.

    For now, all we can do is wonder what type of music will be heard for the newest installment of “Star Wars Episode VII.” Once again, John Williams has been asked to compose!

     The Music Junction offers piano and voice lessons at our Burbank and Hollywood locations. Call us today to learn more.

    See Our Rates Contact Us 

    Are you ready to sign up for lessons? See Our Rates. | Questions? Contact us.

    Read more...

    4 Ways to Get Your Child to Practice Music

    The study of music provides so many benefits it just makes sense to bring voice and piano lessons into your child’s life. So, you select the right teacher — ideally someone from The Music Junction — as well as buy or rent a piano.

    Your job, however, is not done. The day will come when your child has to practice and doesn’t want to. We’ve all been there. At some point every young musician will throw a tantrum or give attitude about practicing at home. The allure of toys and cartoons can sometimes overpower the wonderful ivory keys on a piano.

    Don’t give up. We have some advice:

     

    1.  Practice Regularly — Get your child in the habit early that practice should happen every day or every weekday, says Baltimore Symphony Orchestra violinist and mother Ellen Pendleton Troyer.  Eventually, this will feel like a normal routine, just like brushing their teeth and getting dressed. Troyer also recommends experimenting with morning, afternoon and evening practice sessions to see the time of day that works best for your child.

     

    2.  Don’t Put The Instrument Away — Keep the fall board up and leave the music sheets out, says NPR. You might be surprised to see your child play a few notes, even when it’s not time to practice. Your young musician may not be practicing music assigned by the instructor but he will be improvising and learning something truly important, that music can be fun.

     

    3. Make It Positive — Granted, it’s not always easy to figure out what is fun and positive for your child. Sometimes, it’s receiving praise from learning a song and other times it’s being rewarded for practicing a certain amount of hours. Some parents have found success in breaking up the monotony of rehearsing with some silliness ( i.e. have them practice while will standing on one leg) and others have realized that their children are more engaged when they have a say in music selection. Find the tactic that works best with your parenting philosophy and your child’s personality.

     

    4. Be Involved — Even if you don’t know how to play or sing music, there are many ways you can be involved. Keep your young musician company as he or she practices. Also, offer words of support when your child becomes overly frustrated with a difficult passage and be there to congratulate her when she successfully finishes a song.

     

    Have you found a successful tactic? We would love to hear your ideas in the comments section.

    The Music Junction offers piano and voice lessons at our Burbank and Hollywood locations. Call us today to learn more.

    See Our Rates Contact Us 

    Are you ready to sign up for lessons? See Our Rates. | Questions? Contact us.

    Read more...

    Cows Like Pop Music Too

    Oftentimes we’ve wondered if the enjoyment of music is unique to humans.

    We’ve heard rumors that termites like rock music and scientific research suggests that dogs living in shelters are calmer when listening to classical music but start to develop a nervous shake when heavy metal music is playing. There was also a study that showed dairy cows increased their milk production if they listened to country music.

    Well, maybe not all cows like country music.

    Farmer Derek Klingenberg has discovered his herd likes pop music and released a video to prove it.  In the video, which has gone viral, Klingenberg plays a trombone to Lorde’s “Royals” as a way to herd his cows. In the beginning, Klingenberg serenades an empty hillside.  As he countinues playing his trombone more and more cows descend the hill. This video is definitely worth a watch!

    We did some digging and discovered that Klingenberg’s cows do not have an innate love of teenage superstars. In fact, Klingenberg regularly plays Lorde’s tune before he feeds them and their eagerness to tread down the hill is likely due to the anticipation of their next meal. Still, we like to think that, in some way, the cows are enjoing the music. We wonder what song he’ll play next for the cattle.

    The Music Junction offers piano and voice lessons at our Burbank and Hollywood locations. Call us today to learn more.

    See Our Rates Contact Us 

    Are you ready to sign up for lessons? See Our Rates. | Questions? Contact us.

     

    Read more...

    Playing in a Virtual Band

    What if you played in a band but never once shook the hand of your drummer or only saw the pixelated version of your lead singer’s face? What if the only thing that kept your band together was the power of technology?

    We were intrigued by the notion of a virtual band after we read a proposal by musicians Harley Cross and Lauren Turk of The New History. They’re vying for a $100,000 prize from the Goldhirsh Foundation’s LA2050 campaign and proposed a tech-centered way of educating kids about music. With their Play With Music Platform, school children would receive music education as well as basic training in audio engineering and sound design and apply their new skills by playing in a virtual band.

    “Imagine kids in South LA creating ‘virtual bands’ with kids from Beverly Hills, interacting together to build something they love, with musicians they mutually admire,” the proposal states.

    We’re passionate about exposing children to the power and beauty of music and glad there are people like Cross and Turk to lead the way.

    We were also intrigued about the viability of a virtual band. We know this isn’t a new idea. Rappers Snoop Dogg and Dr. Dre performed songs with deceased rapper Tupac at Coachella a few years ago and that is certainly a type of virtual musical performance. Also, several bands rehearse in different locations thanks to providers like JamLink. However, has any band existed solely in cyberspace? Would you want to be in a virtual band? Recently, we wrote a blog post about how human-generated music is preferred over machine-powered beats because of mistakes in reading the music.  Indeed, it’s the minor mistakes that make music captivating. We think this will continue to be an issue as technology advances and we’re excited to see how it evolves!

    Learn more about the LA2050 campaign and, while you’re there, vote for your favorite proposal.

    The Music Junction offers piano and voice lessons at our Burbank and Hollywood locations. Call us  to learn more.

    See Our Rates Contact Us 

    Are you ready to sign up for lessons? See Our Rates. | Questions? Contact us.

     

    Read more...

    Study Music … Become a Doctor

    Next time you want to break the ice with your doctor, mention Mozart instead of the weather.

    An often-cited study indicates that 66 percent of music majors who applied to medical school were accepted, compared to only 44 percent of biochemistry majors.

    We’re not totally surprised by this news. A few years ago, a member of The Music Junction attended a cyber security conference —  yes, we have varied interests at The Music Junction — and learned something interesting during a panel discussion.  A graduate student in attendance wondered aloud if her undergraduate music degree would set her back as she attempted to switch careers. A representative from the National Security Agency assured she had nothing to worry about. Many people in the NSA also have music degrees.

    Indeed, musicians are everywhere!

    It’s hard to pinpoint why music majors are so appealing to medical schools. We know that practicing music stimulates neural activity and enhances spatial-temporal skills that makes problem solving easier. Or could the reason be that musicians are generally better test-takers and simply scored higher on the MCAT, the required test to gain admittance into medical school? Or is being a musician an indication of a good work ethic, which is appealing to medical schools? What do you think?

    The Music Junction offers piano and voice lesson at our Burbank and Hollywood studios. Call us today to learn more.

    See Our Rates Contact Us 

    Are you ready to sign up for lessons? See Our Rates. | Questions? Contact us.

     

    Read more...
  • Recent Posts

  • Newsletter Sign Up

  • ©2014 The Music Junction. Web by Armeno