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Is Your Child Capable of Composing Music? Maybe the Next Mozart?
We've all heard of them. Child prodigies who begin composing music at some ridiculously young age. For instance, history reports that Mozart was writing minuets by the time he was five years old. Amazing. At five years of age, I'm not sure that I knew the difference between my finger and my thumb and I certainly wasn't composing music.
Now there is no doubt that the fact that Mozart was composing music by the age of five does not prove that any of the rest of us ever could compose music, but a number of studies conducted over the past fifty or so years indicates that most children can begin composing music as long as they are given both guidance and opportunity.
True, in the vast majority of the cases the end product is not going to rival anything that Mozart put out, but just because you (or your child) may not be the best there ever was at composing music doesn't mean the attempt is not worth the effort. If we follow that reasoning why would a child learn to walk or run when he or she knows he could never walk or run as well as, say, Michael Jordan? Why would they learn to talk if they knew they could never speak as well as Bill Clinton or Ronald Reagan?
Similarly, imagine if Mozart's parents had not given him the opportunity to be exposed to music and then the formal training that gave him the tools to begin composing music. The world would be a poorer place without the input of this musical genius.
In Mozart's situation, he began formal training on the keyboard at the age of four and within a year he was composing music ? though I'm sure that it wasn't of the caliber of his later works. In the case of the average child, however studies have shown that if given the opportunity and the education (i.e. instruction on an instrument, a little bit of music theory, etc) average children can begin composing music somewhere around the age of nine.
Give your child the opportunity and training he or she needs to begin composing music. In most cases it will develop their mind, round out their education, and give them a creative outlet. Eventually, however, of all the children composing music who might not have otherwise, the next Mozart will spring and if it's your child, the world will thank you. And if not, at least your child has been exposed to some good music and had his or her mind stretched a bit.
I am extremely thankful that my parents had the good sense to expose me to music by way of piano lessons starting when I was about 7. And even though it didn't "take" until I was an early teenager, when it did I had the background in music theory and technique to where I could progress rapidly from then on. And while I'm a country mile from Mozart's class, I do well enough to enjoy my self and make a living in music.
Duane Shinn is the author of over 500 music books and music educational materials such as DVD's, CD's, musical games for kids, chord charts, musical software, and piano lesson instructional courses for both children & adults. His book & DVD course entitled "Classical Piano For Adult Beginners!" is used by adults around the world. He holds advanced degrees from Southern Oregon University and was the founder of Piano University in Southern Oregon. He is the author of the popular free 101-week online e-mail newsletter titled "Amazing Secrets Of Exciting Piano Chords & Sizzling Chord Progressions" with over 58,800 current subscribers.
How to Create an Original Melody
Here's a method I use that works. First, sit down at your piano or keyboard and just improvise. I suggest improvising first because music that is created in this way is at its freshest. It's not adulterated or thought up. It is pure inspiration. Now, there will come times during improvisation where you may say to yourself, "this is nice and I'd like to develop it." You see, now you have an original melody to develop.
3 Quick & Easy Steps To Playing Music by Ear
Playing by ear is the ability to play a piece of music (or, eventually, learn an instrument) by simply listening to it repeatedly. The majority of self-taught musicians began their education this way; they picked up their instrument and began playing an easy melody from a well-known song, slowly picking out the notes as they went along. And even after these musicians master their instruments or a particular song, playing by ear still plays a large role. Many pop and rock bands don't play or write their songs based on sheet music, they figure the songs out by playing by ear. It's even common among non-musicians. Ever sit down a piano and mindlessly pick out the tune to "Mary Had a Little Lamb"? What about grabbing a guitar and suddenly finding yourself playing the opening licks to "Smoke on the Water"? That's playing by ear. You're able to play part of the song just because you've heard it so often.
Interested in Improving the Sound of Your Stereo? Consider Records
Introduced in 1982, the compact disc was intended to provide better sound than the 40-year-old long-play record album, popularly known as the LP. Using a laser rather than a diamond needle for playback the compact disc was smaller, more convenient to use, and less susceptible to damage than the LP. A bonus was that the format was said to offer "perfect sound forever." "Forever" isn't that long these days; improvements in digital sound have come along in the last twenty years and the music industry introduced two new formats this decade that are designed to improve upon the "perfect" sound of the compact disc. Those formats are the Super Audio Compact Disc (SACD) and DVD Audio (DVD-A.) Over the years, various audio publications have criticized the sound of compact discs, describing the sound as "harsh", "brittle" or "sterile" compared to the sound of the LP. After years of research, SACD and DVD-A were introduced several years ago and introduced sound that was said to be cleaner and more natural than that of the compact disc. In addition, these formats offered multi-channel sound, and artists such as Pink Floyd offered special multi-channel versions of their albums to entice sales. It hasn't worked, and sales of both formats peaked in 2003. What is interesting, however, is that both formats still trail the LP in sales!According to the Recording Industry Association of America, the combined sales of SACD and DVD-A were less than those of the LP in 2004. The music industry is in a slump at the moment, and sales of all formats were down last year. But sales of LPs were down 13% from 2003, while combined SACD and DVD-A sales were down 33%. It would appear that the new formats are failing, even though they are said to be superior to the compact disc. The LP, on the other hand, continues to have steady sales. While the major labels are still somewhat hesitant to release new product in LP form, labels that specialize in reissuing older material, such as Classic Records, are releasing as much product as their manufacturing capacity will permit. It is worth noting that much of this reissued product comes in the form of high-quality, limited edition LP pressings that often carry premium prices of up to $50 per title. Why are records continuing to sell while the new formats fail? There are several reasons why records are outselling the new, "superior" digital disc formats: Format wars. Like VHS vs. Beta in the 1970's, the SACD and DVD-A formats are largely incompatible. While players have been introduced that will play either one, most players play either one format or the other. Worse, neither one will play on a traditional CD player. You must replace your player to play either one.Multichannel sound is difficult to use and requires purchasing new amplification equipment. SACD and DVD-A both have multichannel capabilities, but neither format's players have digital outputs. Both must be connected to amplifiers or receivers with special SACD or DVD-A analog inputs. Most of the music fans who preferred the sound of records to compact discs still prefer the sound of records to either SACD or DVD-A. Most will agree that while the new formats sound better than compact discs, the unique "digital" sound of compact discs is still there. Many listeners aren't interested in sound quality. Arguments can always be made about the sound of compact disc vs records vs SACD vs DVD-A, but millions of consumers are content to listen to music in MP3 format on portable players. MP3 format is inherently inferior in sound quality to all of the other formats, but MP3 players are selling as fast as companies can make them.The day will never come when records again become the dominant music format. The convenience of portable players for CD, SACD, and DVD-A discs and MP3 files outweighs the advantages in sound quality that records offer over those formats. Nevertheless, it appears that a small but steady market for records remains very real, and that that market exceeds that of the new "improved" SACD and DVD-A formats, which will probably soon go the way of the forgotten Elcassette, Minidisc, and 4 track tape formats of the past.
Self-Expression Without Criticism
When I was 9 years old I played the Saxophone and thought I was pretty good at it. Unfortunately, I had a teacher who didn't think so and he went out of his way to make sure I knew how he felt.
An Interview with Angus Young of ACDC - Why He Plays a Gibson SG
Steven:Maybe more than any other guitarist ever, you're inextricably linked to the Gibson SG? What was the evolution that brought you to this particular instrument?
Establishing Your Mix
Now that you've spent hours and days and weeks and months recording your musical masterpieces (and you've also read my article "Tips for a Great Recording Session"), you have arrived at my favorite time in the studio; The Mixdown.
Spectral Muses Revisited: The Channeled Melodies of Rosemary Brown
Rosemary Brown (1916-2001) was a middle-aged South London widow, making ends meet as a grade school kitchen assistant, who rocketed to international fame in 1968 through a BBC broadcast recounting her purported collaborations with long-dead composers. These included Liszt, J.S. Bach, Handel, Beethoven, Schubert (who of course no longer needs spectacles), Monteverdi, Rachmaninoff, Debussy, Brahms, Robert and Clara Schumann, Mozart, Grieg, and Poulenc. And after he died in 1971, Igor Stravinsky joined them.
How to Make $30,000 with Your Music Before Years End
As an independent musician and/or recording artist, if you did *NOT* earn $30,000 (or more) with your music alone last year, let's jump right in and get you started with doing so this year.
Flaming Guitars! Minarik Fuels The Excitement Of A New Generation Of Musicians
Celebrating an endorsement between G-Man Music and the fiery axe-makers known as Minarik Guitars, Scott G (The G-Man) reviews the Minarik Inferno X-treme.
Bagpipe Lessons In Your Own Home !
Bringing Bagpipe Tuition to Everyone, Everywhere.
Record Collecting Still Thriving in the Twenty-first Century
It may surprise many to find that the hobby of record collecting, long thought dead after the introduction of the compact disc, is still alive and well. Granted, many music fans have long replaced their records with CDs, but for many Baby Boomers and Generation X-ers, the hobby of buying and collecting record albums and singles continues to be a focal point in their lives.Records offer the tactile sense of a substantial product, unlike the CD. The seven-inch, 45 RPM single often came with a picture sleeve that has no equivalent among compact discs. The nostalgia of records draws many back to their younger days. And records still sound great. A recent check of the Bay auction site showed 959,857 records for sale. That's just under one million records!These records aren't selling at garage-sale prices, either. At any given time, there might be six thousand records by the Beatles for sale, some of which have sold for up to $40,000. Elvis isn't far behind; his first five singles, issued on the small Memphis-based, Sun label, routinely bring $2000 at auction in nice condition. Other artists, such as the Rolling Stones, Pink Floyd, Led Zeppelin, James Brown, or Madonna have issued records that not only command sky-high prices, but also draw a lot of bids. The greatest interest in record collecting is in artists of the 1960's and 1970's, but newer bands, such as Nirvana, draw a lot of attention from younger collectors. Nivrana's first single, Love Buzz issued in 1988, sells for up to $2000 and there are several other bands, such as the Misfits, that have released numerous records that sell for more than $1000. What do collectors do with these records? Some play them, some frame them, some simply put them on the shelf. There are collectors who only buy records that they intend to play and others that simply want anything that was ever commercially released by the artist that interests them. There is no pigeonholing a collector; they come in all shapes and sizes. For them, finding a long-unavailable single that has eluded them for years is like winning the lottery.For those who are interested, there are literally thousands of Websites devoted to artists, records, and record collecting. There are well-known magazines, like Goldmine , Discoveries, and in the UK, Record Collector. Anyone who thinks they might be interested in collecting records has more resources available to them than ever before. Twenty years ago, people thought that records would be long forgotten by now. They couldn't have been more wrong.
How To Dress Up Naked Music On The Piano
What in the world is "naked music?"
Vintage Guitar Collectors Can Still Find Deals
If you're a recent vintage guitar collector, the stories you've heard are true. You once could step into pawn shops or flea markets and find vintage Gibson Les Pauls and Fender Stratocasters for $50 to $100. True. These guitars now sell for thousands of dollars on Ebay and Gbase.
Bang on Your Drum All Day Long - Without Annoying Your Neighbors!
Bang! Bam! Bang! Have you always wanted to play the drums, but are afraid your neighbors would call the police on you?
Review: Audioslave - Out of Exile
Every once in a while a band comes along that really changes the way you perceive music, for me one of these bands was Rage Against the Machine. I'll be the first to admit that I, like most angsty teenagers was lured into Rage's music by their anti-authoritarian songs, and honestly dude, they said "fuck" a whole lot. Not only did the vulgar language lure me in but instead of writing about girls and cars, they took the time to write music about something that actually mattered, politics. Gimmick or not, the music was compelling. Soon after I first heard Bulls on Parade on the radio I started to really question why I was listening to a lot of the other music that interested me at the time. Slowly I began to drift away from happy songs about love and sunshine, and turned to songs that really had a purpose. That being said, I was very excited when I first heard that one of my favorite bands of all time was going to reform, and motherfucking Chris Cornell is going to be their singer. It was like some sort of early-90s rock wet dream. Soundgarden and Rage against the Machine coming together to form a band that would revolutionize rock! Or so they all said.
Piano on the Right-Side of the Brain
Some of you may remember a book titled "Drawing on the Right-Side of the Brain" by Betty Edwards.
To Record or Not To Record - At Home, That Is
I will be honest. I am addicted to music recording. I love moving faders, adjusting levels, panning, reverberating, sequencing, you name it. I especially love all that software, and the colorful ways that they show the music as a waveform. It is just cool.
What is Guitar Tablature and Can I Find It Online?
The guitar is one of the most popular musical instruments and the online guitar community probably the most popular of its kind. There are thousands of guitarists connected via online communities sharing guitar tabs, tips and stories and there are many of websites dedicated to sharing guitar music, tablature and even guitar lessons. Some you have to pay for, but there's a lot out there for free.
Guitar Practice (Part 2) - Does Practice Make Perfect?
You've probably heard the saying "practice makes perfect" and it sounds true enough, but is t really? We all know the importance of practicing a new skill in order to become proficient at it. This is especially true when it comes to playing the guitar, or any other musical instrument for that matter. But, practicing incorrectly can actually be a detriment to your progress.
Creating Your Own Compositions
The idea of actually creating a complete piece of music to play frightens many students. They just don't understand how someone could come up with something, put it down on paper, and call it their own.
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