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    Music Worth Noting

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    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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    You’ll Be Impressed With This Teenage Musician

    If you want to know the benefits of regular practice, just look at 17-year-old Senri Kawaguchi of Japan. Calling her a prodigy might just be an understatement once you see her videos (we’ve included one above).

     

    Several videos of her playing have gone viral and global — you’ll see clips about her in English, Spanish, Portuguese and, naturally, Japanese. She began playing drums at 5 years old and never stopped (she is in high school now). At 8 years old, Kawaguchi received one-on-one lessons with famed percussionist Kozo Suganuma. She has collaborated with many Japanese music artists and, at 12 years old, released her own DVD!

     

    Another thing worth noticing is that Kawaguchi plays a wide variety of music including jazz and pop tunes played on anime shows. It reminds us of advice given on a previous blog post about keeping teens engaged by having them play a variety of music.

     

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    Promoting Science Through Music

    When we imagine the people who work for NASA, we think of rocket scientists who help us understand life outside of Earth. But do you know they also put out great music videos?

    Well, their interns do.

    Interns at Johnson Space Center in Texas have a unique tradition of creating funny parody videos with versions of “Gangnam Style” and the “Harlem Shake” that had us laughing. Now, they have come up with a twist to Meghan Trainor’s “All About That Bass” with “All About That Space.”

    The video have interns dancing among some pretty cool shoots of the space center. It’s a nice inside glimpse of their “office,” which many of us will never see for ourselves.

    And what exactly do they sing about? Here’s a sample:

     

    Hey they’re working so hard, don’t you love these NASA guys?

    They will take us so far the first time that Orion flies.

    You know we’re travellin’ to deep destinations ‘fore to long,

    So if that’s what you’re into then join in and ride along.

    I’m all about that space

    ‘Bout that space, space travel

    I’m all about that space

    ‘Bout that space, space travel

    I’m all about that space

    ‘Bout that space

    Hey!

     

    The video was meant to promote the test launch of Orion on Dec. 5, which worked on us. We discovered that Orion will someday take people deep in space, hopefully as fars as Mars! The test flight successfully circled the earth twice in just over four hours.

    Also, if you need more proof on how much scientists like music, check out this blog post!

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    The Muppets Do Hip Hop

    When you think of the Muppets — from skinny-legged Kermit to the furry Fozzie — do you think hip hop?

    Well, at least one person (and, possibly, a feline) does. Using the moniker, Mylo The Cat, a young man has culled several old television clips from The Muppet Show and mashed them together to make hilarious music videos. The latest viral hit is Naughty By Nature’s “Hip Hop Hooray” and we were impressed with how well the video syncs the speed of the rap lyrics with shots of the Muppets talking. Mylo The Cat also has created music videos with the Muppets using the Beastie Boy’s “So What’cha Want,” House of Pain’s “Jump Around” and Dre and Snoop’s “Deep Cover,” which can all be seen on Mylo’s YouTube page.

    In an interview with the Bubble Blabber blog, Mylo The Cat admitted that making these videos is not easy.

    “This latest video took around 12 hours of editing time, but I spent months looking for the right song, and also for the right clips to use,” he says. “The process of making the Muppets videos is pretty awful actually. I do love doing it, but it’s the most tedious thing in the world, so patience is absolutely key.”

    Thanks for letting us know about the video MTV!

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    A New Musical Instrument That Sounds Like A Digital Synthesizer

    The Internet has been abuzz with a new musical instrument that has an interesting name and packs a serious sound.

    Turkish musician Görkem Şen created the Yaybahar and demonstrated its sound on a video that has since gone viral. The instrument is impossibly large and looks deceptively simple. It seems to be made of sticks and drum covers and just when you’re ready to disregard its ability to produce any sound, Şen brings out his bow and starts playing.

    The sound is deep, full and incredibly moody and futuristic yet also beautiful. It’s been dubbed the acoustic version of a digital synthesizer and we’re still stunned about the sounds that came out of that instrument.

    We’re interested to see what becomes of the Yaybahar, if it can be reproduced and mainstreamed into orchestras, experimental music, even pop music. We’re thinking the size will be a major factor in its long-term success but we hope to hear more of the Yaybahar’s sound!

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    Trombone and Oven Door Make a Great Viral Video

    The latest video to go viral has us smiling and wishing we could hang out with this musical family.

    The video features a father playing a trombone and a young son accompanying him by providing backup thanks to an oven door and the cutest head bob we’ve seen in years. They’re playing the dance song “Freaks” by Timmy Trumpet and Savage.  Never heard of the song or the musicians? Neither did we until we did some Internet research and discovered that Timmy Trumpet is an Australian musician specializing in dance music and Savage is an MC from New Zealand. The song is good too and we think the father does a very good rendition of this song. You can listen to a sample here via SoundCloud.

    The father and son titled their video “When Mama Isn’t Home” and we just love how the family bonds through music. No television. No video games. It is just about having fun and being with our loved ones. We also noticed that the daughter is a talented singer. We love it!

    And the whole oven banging thing, we’re sure mom will understand!

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    What A Spontaneous Jam Session Can Teach Us About Improv

    Sometimes the best music can happen inside a concert hall.

    And other times the best musical moments are unplanned.

    That’s what happened recently in Texas when an aspiring musician strumming his guitar outside a grocery store was joined by two strangers. A third stranger recorded their impromptu session and posted it on YouTube and Facebook. The rest is Internet history.

    The video is has since gone viral, boosting the popularity of the three men so much that they  were flown to Los Angeles to perform on “Jimmy Kimmel Live.” Not only were the three strangers reunited but they also were joined by rappers Trey Songz, Juicy J and Aloe Blacc.

    While the video is entertaining, it is also very educational. Improvisation appears deceptively simple but it is a very difficult skill because it requires music knowledge and creativity.

    Here are some basic improvisation tips we observed from the video:

     

    Wait: Notice how the singer in the blue jersey takes in the song before joining in. He may or may not consciously know it, but he’s listening to the song’s scale and the rhythms, figuring a way he can contribute.

     

    Simplify: You’ll notice that the guitarist’s song is more complicated in the beginning but when he is accompanied by other musicians, everyone works to simplify the song. Eventually, they all seem to agree on an ostinato – a brief, repeated pattern that is at the heart of improvisation. The ostinato the men create are the hooks: “I don’t know what you came to do” and “Tell them that I just don’t know.”

     

    Be Fearless: The creativity needed to improvise a song can be daunting. Musicians, however, need to be fearless and experiment with music-making. If your music education has been focused on scales and reading music, The Music Junction educators can work with you to enhance your improvisation skills.

     

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    50 Years of Batman Music

    The Batman franchise has entertained audiences over the years from the campy television show of the 1960s to the dark cinematic thrillers that garner Oscar nominations. Yet, the one element that remains constant is the iconic music.

    A new YouTube video condenses 50 years of Batman music into an entertaining 4-minute track, sampling “Batman Theme” by Neal Hefti, “The Batman Theme” by Danny Elfman, and “Like a Dog Chasing Cars” by Hans Zimmer. Each sample is performed on sets — or in one case, a rooftop — that mimics the look and feel of each movie. As an added bonus for movie fans, they include replica Batmobiles for each rendition.

    The video was created by The Piano Guys — a Utah-based group that oddly has only one piano player. It has become an Internet sensation and if you look at the video you’ll see why!

    The Piano guys have created several popular YouTube videos over the years including a classical version of Bruno Mars’ “Just the Way You Are” and a pop version of Beethoven’s 5th Symphony thanks to a little help from OneRepublic.

    We also love how this video captures how much fun the musicians are having. They love playing music, which is something that can be inspiring for the young musician in your life.

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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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