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Creating Within Limits
When I first started playing the piano I wanted to learn how to compose. The idea that I could create something tangible really appealed to me.
So much so that I read everything I could get my hands on to learn the great art of musical composition. The problem was that these books assumed that you knew certain things like form, structure, harmony, and counterpoint. What a disappointment! It was hard trying to take the feelings I had on the inside and put them down on paper.
The real problem was that I had it backwards. Instead of trying to learn composition first, I needed to learn how to improvise - how to free the inner voice from criticism and judgement so I could be free to create the music that was inside of me.
And so I began to read about how to improvise, Again, I was disappointed. I couldn't find good books on the subject, or books that would show me how to play in the New Age style - the style I loved. Eventually, I stumbled on a simple book that showed how to play using chord changes with 8-bar phrases. Now, here was something I could do! All I had to do now was learn chords. Once I knew how to play a few chords I began to see that in order to really be creative there had to be a set of limitations. An irony, yet one that works!
By playing chord changes within a set framework, I was learning how to create within limits. Even so called "free improvisation" has certain rules. For example, you may decide that you'll improvise using the chords and scale of D Major. That's creating within limits. It's not necessary to use limits to create music, but it definitely helps one to focus in on expressing yourself. Instead of thinking about what to play, you've already made that decision and are now free to create.
Edward Weiss is a pianist/composer and webmaster of Quiescence Music's online piano lessons. He has been helping students learn how to play piano in the New Age style for over 14 years and works with students in private, in groups, and now over the internet. Stop by now at http://www.quiescencemusic.com/piano_lessons.html for a FREE piano lesson!
The Revolution has begun - and it will not be Televised The new Artist Development Paradigm
In reflecting on the world of the Music Business in 2004, there were some very profound and dramatic changes that changed the nature of the Music Business itself. 2004 will always be remembered as the year the 'Big Five' became the 'Big Four' and don't be surprised if you're reading at this time next year and we're telling you about the 'Big Three'! Beside the Sony/BMG merger, 2004 will also be remembered as the year labels utilized aggressively utilized video games as a marketing vehicle for the launching of many of their artists.
So You Wanna Learn How To Start a Record Label?
Well, you love music so much that you have decided you want to start a record label of your own. This can be a very exciting step and a fun one. The good news is, anyone can start their own record label if they know the right steps. It won't be an easy road by any means, but it is possible if you really desire to do it.
Celtic Music: The Japanese Connection
My friend, guitarist Brian Hughes, toured with the Chieftain's in Japan as an opening act with Loreena McKennitt. He then went on to perform with the Chieftains in North America and Europe when they were promoting their album Santiago. In Japan they played about ten shows between Tokyo and Osaka, mainly at soft seat classical concert halls. The seating ranged from 1500 to 4000 capacity. They were booked through the agent Plankton who specializes in Celtic music. Although the audiences were enthusiastic Brian felt that Celtic music was still a niche market in Japan.
Adults Can Learn to Play the Piano Too
Are you well past puberty and have always had a hankering for tickling the ivories? Maybe you didn't have the money as a child. Or your family was always moving. Or you probably didn't even know there was such a wonderful thing as the piano. Whatever the reason it is never too late to start. Really!
Musical Improvisation Basics - 8 Vital Things To Remember
This article discusses 8 vital things to remember as improvisers - whether advanced or just getting started:
Music & Citizenship: Can Playing a Musical Instrument Help Your Child Become a Better Citizen?
Disregard the popular image of rappers with their ghetto blasters, terrorizing neighborhoods with eardrum-splitting cacophony. Consider instead our delightful school bands and orchestras? and ponder on whether those students might be becoming our best future citizens.
The History Of Drums - A Journey Of Sound
Music and musical instruments are an extremely important part of human history. The use of rhythm and song has long been used to express meaning, and feeling and accompany rituals.
How To Write A Song
Did you ever wish that it was your song playing on the radio? It could be. It is not that hard once you know the formula. With a little creativity, a little knowledge, a little luck and a good formula to follow, your song could be one of the next biggest hits.Songwriting comes easy for some, and is very difficult for others. I have actually written songs in my sleep, and immediately upon awaking, written it as quickly as I could get the words on down on paper.What I want to discuss here is popular songwriting, like the songs you hear on the radio. A good pop song, whether rock, country, middle of the road, is composed of two things: a catchy tune and some good lyrics.There is a formula that most great songwriters use to write great songs. It regards the structure used to write a song. Granted, it is music and it is art, so the rules are not hard and fast. But if you want to increase your chances of getting your song on the radio, it is a good starting point.Here is the formula. Verse, chorus, verse, chorus, bridge, chorus.Write that down on paper leaving plenty of space between each word and this will be your script.VerseThe verse is the part of the song that tells the story, the part that leads to the chorus. Each verse is usually different, telling a different part of, or adding to, the story. It usually explains how you got to the things you are singing about in the chorus.Chorus.The chorus is the part of the song that is repeated after each verse. The lyrics are usually the same each time the chorus comes around. The verse usually leads to the chorus, and the chorus is usually the pay off for listening to the verse. Does that make sense?Here is a lame example (you did not think I would give you my best work, did you?):(verse)My dog is sick, he's got a tickHe's my best friend, don't let it end(chorus)Oh, woe is me, can't you seeWoe is me, will I ever be free(verse)My car broke down, just out of townIt got towed in, but it's broke again(chorus)Oh, woe is me, can't you seeWoe is me, will I ever be freeNow, if you would kindly stop laughing at my lame song for a minute, I want you to think about whether or not you understand my point. Songwriting is story telling. The verse tells the problems, the chorus expresses the results or the emotions.All right, now that you have that mastered, let's tackle the bridge. Ah, yeah, there is more to the song than the pain and the release. We need the diversion. That is what the bridge is; it is the diversion from the verse and the chorus.The bridge may have a slightly different melody to it, or it could even have a different rhythm or a different tempo (Elvis' "Suspicious Minds" did a great job on this technique).Let's go back to the lame song and add a bridge: (verse)My dog is sick, he's got a tickHe's my best friend, don't let it end(chorus)Oh, woe is me, can't you seeWoe is me, will I ever be free(verse)My car broke down, just out of townIt got towed in, but it's broke again(chorus)Oh, woe is me, can't you seeWoe is me, will I ever be free(bridge)Tomorrow is a better day, I've got a new truck on the wayMy dog just had a flea it seems, so once again I'll live my dreams(chorus)Oh, woe was me, can't you seeWoe was me, but now I'm freeThe bridge offers a solution to the problems I was having. You don't want to leave your listener on the edge of suicide, you want to give them hope.Notice, I also changed up the wording of the chorus. This was done to reflect my new found joy.One more thing on formula. It can be anyway you want, but most verses and chorus come in lines of 4. So, instead of this:(verse)Oh, woe is me, can't you seeWoe is me, will I ever be free(verse)My car broke down, just out of townIt got towed in, but it's broke againit would be:Oh, woe is me, can't you seeWoe is me, will I ever be freeMy car broke down, just out of townIt got towed in, but it's broke againThe same goes for the chorus. Again, if you are creative, do it however you want. But for a new songwriter, this gives you some guidelines to scratch out and start carving out your new creation.One more thing, do not make the notes to the melody so high that your fans cannot sing along. We are certainly all not Stevie Wonder.
Shopping For Your First Drum Set
Your first drum set purchase is very exciting! You have probably waited a long time to buy your first drumset and have thought a lot about it. Even though it is exciting, it is important to be patient and do your research before you buy a drum set.
How to Be in the Moment when Playing Piano
Your best music will always come when you are in the moment and just playing the piano. Why is this? Because you have forgotten about trying to make music. Instead, you are now "making" music. A subtle but crucial difference that can be detected by most careful listeners.
Choosing a Jazz Band for Your Party
In many years of arranging jazz bands for all sorts of events I am struck by the similarity of how the request is made by most of our clients.
The British Invasion
The Kasabian concert at the Kool Haus seemed like a concert somewhere in England (even though I haven't been there). This band out of Leicester pumped out amazing electronic, rock beats with an amazing light show. I've heard them on the radio with their hit "Club Foot" and have noticed them gaining more and more interest of us fellow Canadians.
How to Stop Thinking and Start Playing
Learning how to improvise is confusing for most. The sheer number of choices becomes a burden. Should I play this note? What chord next? Where do I go from here? All valid questions newbies (and oldbies) at improvisation sometimes ask themselves.
Soul Band for a Party
Was the request six months ago, a sixtieth birthday party, the client said. It got me thinking. There is a whole untapped market out there for people who lived as teenagers and twenty somethings through the sixties and seventies. They are all coming up to this big sixtieth birthday date and they all love the kind of music I love to play and earn my living out of! More than that, their kids are off their hands, their mortgage is paid up and they can afford to splash out on a big celebration.
Why Play Guitar?
As a full-time guitar instructor, I am constantly faced with people in all walks of life who, for all different kinds of reasons, believe that playing the guitar will add something to their lives. Most people that are just starting the guitar for the first time are young (pre-university) although certainly not all. One of my favorite students last year was a 65-year-old retiree who wanted to learn enough to be able to start a bar band with his friends.
12 Reasons You Should Learn to Play the Piano
All right, folks, here you go: My 12 reasons why you should start learning how to play the piano. Immediately. As in today. This very minute.
Creating Caverns - an Improvisation Exercise
In a recent post to my Yahoo group, I mentioned that I created the piece "Caverns" using one chord. I'd like to explain how I accomplished this.
Building A Good Relationship With Your Guitar
The guitar is considered the friendliest musical instrument there is. It is because the guitar is the handiest musical instrument that could stand on its own. A group can enjoy music with just a guitar even without the accompaniment of winds and percussions. The term "acoustic" is referred to, in the music context of today, the rendition of songs in all the glory of guitars. No percussion and piano and other instruments needed, just guitars. Sometimes, it can be the jamming of more than just one guitar. Acoustic is a favorite type of music today because of its relaxed and soulful rendition of songs.
Songs Await Singer
I Want To Grow Old With You (C)
Free, Legal Music Online
Almost everyone has heard about the massive crack down on Internet music piracy that has been occurring over the past few years. Napster was taken down (although it has now returned as a pay service), other file sharing programs now require users to pay for a license and the RIAA and other similar organizations are doing their best to hunt down copyright offenders and put an end to their crime sprees. The consumers on the other hand argue that their actions hurt nobody, that there is no damage done to anyone by their not buying an album. Furthermore, they claim, MP3s allow them to sample a CD before purchasing it, thus actually helping sales.
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