Tag Archives: instruments

The Popular Piano

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The Popular Piano

The piano is a popular instrument. It is estimated that in the United States alone, that at least 21 million people play the piano. When the piano was first invented, it is unlikely that its creators understood how popular the instrument would become. Throughout the centuries, the piano has gone through some changes. However, the basics of what the piano is has stayed the same.

When the piano first came on the scene, there was no piano store Boston residents could go to to simply pick up a piano. Pianos were handmade. It took a large amount of effort to create one. However, toward the end of the 19th century, it was possible to mass-produce pianos. As a result, pianos became less expensive, and more people were able to have access to this instrument in their home.

The importance of the piano is seen in the way that being able to play it affected one’s perceived social standing. For example, back in the 18th century, it was believed that a woman was marriage material if she could play the piano. Ooh la la!

The popularity of the piano continues to this day, because it is an easy instrument to play. A person can begin playing the instrument immediately. Regardless of the age of the student, they can press a key and make a sound. Other instruments like the guitar, flute, or saxophone require complicated fingering or controlled breathing patterns in order to make a noise. And, since the piano is relatively easy to play, students can learn the fundamentals of the instrument more quickly.

One of the neat things about a piano is that it allows the player to play the melody and the rhythm at the same time. Beginning students marvel at their ability to play multiple notes simultaneously. The fundamentals of music that are laid out on sheet music for a piano are easy to understand. Concepts that can seem abstract, like half notes or scales, become clearer when you see them laid out on the piano, and beautiful noise is sure to follow!

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How To Set Up A Band

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How To Set Up A Band

When you want to play some awesome tunes but don’t have anyone to jam with, there is but one solution: set up your own band. Though this might sound a bit nerve-wracking if you’ve never done it before, it is just the same as making new friends. The first thing you need to do is figure out the answers to the questions below and then you should go Online at Vampr to find the best people for your new group:

What kind of music do you like?

You probably already have a good idea of the kind of music you like, but you also need to think about what you want to play. Musical people often have wide tastes that can lead in all kinds of directions, so settling on one sound can be really difficult. Think back to what you like to play when you are on your own. Do you have a more folksy vibe? Is rock your thing? Do you like to write your own music or are you strictly covers only? Answering these questions will help to decide the kind of people that you want to attract.

Put together a track list of the things you like most and the styles you want to base your own music on to give potential band members an idea of what you are about. This can be any and all music so don’t be afraid to do the obvious stuff as well as the more off the wall things you enjoy.

Which Instruments Do You Need?

Next up: instruments. There are plenty of 2 guitars, 1 bass, drums types of bands but there is a lot to be said for branching out a little. How about adding a horn section? What about switching between instruments or experimenting with electronics? If you are looking to develop a unique sound, you might really be after musicians who can play multiple instruments so that you can all switch about to create something never heard before. This is the way that lots of famous bands work and create something new and different.

Where are You Based?

The final question might not be musical but is very important, nonetheless. If you are based in a garage somewhere, you need to think about how many people can realistically get in to practice. Plus, you need to make sure that you aren’t recruiting people who will have to drive for ages to get to each rehearsal. However enthusiastic they are now, they might not be after a long week of work in the depths of winter!

Similarly, if you want to gig at a cool underground nightclub with a tiny stage, a group of nine might sound great but just won’t fit. It’s not very rock and roll, but thinking about the logistics now will save you a lot of bother in the future when you start playing together.

Featured Image By: Unsplash

Why It’s Never Too Late To Learn How To Play An Instrument

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Why It’s Never Too Late To Learn How To Play An Instrument

“I should have learned to play the guitar, should’ve learned to play them drums”, so sang Dire Straits in 1985. While a total lack of musical knowledge or awareness hasn’t been an impediment to many people working in the music industry today, many of us regret either not having learned or abandoning the learning of a musical instrument. Today, we’ll look at why it’s never too late to pick up an instrument, the pedagogic and psychological benefits, as well as looking over some great instruments for neophyte musicians. Learning a musical instrument is more than just a fun hobby, it’s a valuable skill that has numerous cerebral benefits as well as being a cool trick to bust out a parties!

It’s literally never too late:

Virtually everyone benefits from some sort of creative outlet and while we’re all just sort of expected to find the right one in our teens or early twenties, many of us don’t find the right mode of self-expression until they get into middle or even old age. There are few subsets of people for whom the dexterity and mental faculties to play an instrument are prohibitive. If, for example, your arthritic hands make playing the guitar or piano problematic you may benefit just as much from learning the harmonica or the panpipes.

Getting over the learning curve:

The landfills are littered with guitars that were discarded because their owners deemed it “too hard”. Most of them were impatient children or teenagers (We all knew someone at school who quit their guitar lessons because they didn’t become a virtuoso within a month.). As an adult, you may surprise yourself with how well you navigate the learning curve. While your older mind may be set in its ways, you will have learned the value in persistence elsewhere in life.

For most instruments, unlocking the fundamentals is a huge step in smoothing out the steep learning curve. In guitar playing, for example, much of your musical vocabulary is formed by mastering the ‘barre chords’ – moveable chords. When one has the measure of these, they can play any minor or major chord from a good root position. It takes time to master, but it unlocks so much of the instrument’s potential when you do. When this obstacle is hurdled, a player has the inside scoop in learning to cover their favorite music and even learning to write their own.

Cerebral and psychological benefits:

When playing (or even listening) to music, multiple areas of the brain become active. Musicians may look calm and composed but there are firework displays in their neurons. Processing music is actually an incredibly complex mental process, giving our brains a great workout that most of the time we’re not even aware of. It keeps our brains young and aids cognitive dexterity.

Finding the right instrument:

Hopefully, you’ve been moved to consider taking up a musical instrument, but you may wonder which are the best or most accessible ‘starter instruments’. String instruments such as guitar, violin, piano, cello, and bass are fairly accessible for new learners, as are the flute and clarinet. The saxophone presents a slightly steeper learning curve but it’s so ubiquitous in so many forms of music, that learning to master it opens up a lot of doors.

There’s no such thing as the wrong instrument. Even learning an instrument that you don’t stick with tends to be a gateway to learning more. And isn’t it always fun to try new things?!

Featured Image By: Pixabay

Monday Update: Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame Edition

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Monday Update: Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame Edition

Hey there everyone and happy Monday! I hope that all of you had a fabulous weekend, I know I did! My Uncle Martin and Aunt Eileen who live in Pittsburgh came to visit my family so on Saturday we spent the afternoon in Cleveland at the Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame & Museum. I haven’t been to the Rock Hall in years so needless to say, I was pretty excited! I have a deep love and appreciation for all things music so it was so amazing to be able to spend an afternoon honoring all of the greats. I hate to brag, but I have a pretty incredible collection of music and my tastes are vast but I never realized how educated I was about different musicians and genres until I perused through the Rock Hall. My parents and older brother really did teach me well about all of the legends and classics and I was so proud to know that I was aware of musicians in genres that I don’t particularly care for, like Gospel and Country. There was so much to see and do in the six floors that the Rock Hall boasts, so let me post some pictures and then we can discuss!

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^^^ I took so many pictures that the only way to condense all of them was through PicStitch. The pictures in the collages include costumes from David Bowie, Elvis, The Who, The Rolling Stones, and Michael Jackson. We got to see Johnny Cash’s tour bus, Janis Joplin’s car, the set from Pink Floyd’s “The Wall”, and so much more!!! If you have any questions on what specific pictures are, then please let me know in the comment section!

Once we met up with my aunt and uncle at the Rock Hall we decided to start from the top at floor five and six to view the two floor exhibit of the amazing late Herb Ritts’ Rock Portraits. The photography exhibition will only be up for a month or so and it was absolutely incredible – it was like walking through an art gallery. The portraits were mostly in black and white or sepia and they were taken of too many stars to name. There were photographs of David Bowie, Madonna, Britney Spears, Cher, Michael Jackson, Prince, and Mick Jagger just to name a few. Throughout the exhibit there were music videos that Herb Ritts directed playing and interesting information about the artist scattered along the walls. The Rock Portraits gallery was one of my favorite parts of my rock n’ roll filled afternoon.

^^^ Compliments of Mr. Ritts!

On the fourth floor there was a huge section of the set from Pink Floyd’s “The Wall” which I remember from my last visit there but was so cool to see again! That display is neat because you can see it if you look down or up from any other floor. It definitely made me feel small standing next to the display! There was also a theater on level four which we stayed in for awhile. They were playing a video from what I’m assuming was an induction to the Rock n’ Roll Hall Of Fame. We watched lots of different artists perform and it was especially fun seeing Jeff Beck on stage with his daughter who couldn’t have been more than sixteen at the time playing the guitar like nobodies business!

We headed down to the third floor afterwards which has a cafe and another beautiful theater. In that theater they were playing highlights of different induction ceremonies from years ago until present day which included interviews, photographs, and animation to tell the stories of the artists. As we exited the theater there was a long hallway that we followed and on the walls were panels of signatures from the inductees. As you can see in my PicStitches, I snapped a pic of U2’s signatures which is probably the closest I’ll ever get to having their autographs!

Level two of the Rock Hall was all about the masterminds of rock n’ roll like Les Paul and Alan Freed. There were displays upon displays of original record players, guitars, and recording studios. Old school televisions in the display cases played footage of black and white variety shows which was a fun touch. Level two was jam packed with amazing information and artifacts. As we exited the Architects of Rock and Roll section we walked into a multimedia production called Video Killed the Radio Star which had a television tower made up of at least thirty or more TV’s and all of them were playing a different music video fresh off of the early days of MTV. Another very cool exhibit on level two was all about Rolling Stone magazine. There were three walls completely filled with famous covers of Rolling Stone with artists such as Marilyn Manson, Kurt Cobain, The Red Hot Chili Peppers, and Britney Spears. (I love her fabulous cover where she’s lounging on the phone while cuddling a Teletubbie so much! SO CUTE!)

We ended our trip to the Rock Hall at the lower level which is where you’re supposed to start, but that’s okay! The lower level is the bread and butter of the Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame – it’s a wonderland full of costumes, instruments, jewelry, and set pieces all belonging to the legends. There were specific sections dedicated to artists like Elvis, Jimi Hendrix, The Rolling Stones, and The Beatles. What I loved about this level was that it took you through each genre of music from a historical point. It started with the early days of the Blues and ended with music from the present day. My favorite genre to explore was the Punk section that had memorabilia from The New York Dolls, The Clash, The Sex Pistols, and The Ramones to name a few. In the Punk display case they had a Joan Jett fashion doll which was so adorable! There was a case dedicated to U2 in the lower level as well which I was pretty thrilled about!

After we explored through the outer rings of the bottom level we ended up at the epicenter which is a dark room filled with well lit costumes and instruments from all of the greats – there was James Brown, David Bowie, Michael Jackson, ZZ Top, The Who, The Beach Boys, and Metallica. That list is not even a quarter of the artists that the gigantic room had memorabilia from. It was seriously unbelievable. There were countless exhibits to end up in on the bottom floor and all of them were equally awesome. A few that I particularly enjoyed was a section on the origins of hip hop and a multimedia display called Don’t Knock the Rock. In this display there were different interviews playing of early day televangelists and political figures bashing rock n’ roll music and then it would cut to a reaction of rock musicians. Before we left the lower level we watched one more video compilation in a theater of very sweet reactions of inductees being entered into the Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame. I could have stayed on this floor for forever!

Our trip to the Rock Hall was so much fun and this post doesn’t even cover half of all of the amazing displays that we got to see. If you ever are in Cleveland, Ohio then you definitely don’t want to let the opportunity to spend some time at the Rock Hall pass by! I hope that all of you enjoyed reading this post just as much as I did writing it! What musician would you like to see memorabilia from? Do you have any questions about any specific displays or pictures? I wanna hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah