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Showing posts from August, 2009

Compelling Quotes

“Should we not be putting all our emphasis on reading, writing and math? The ‘back-to-basics curricula,’ while it has merit, ignores the most urgent void in our present system – absence of self-discipline. The arts, inspiring – indeed requiring – self-discipline, may be more ‘basic’ to our nation survival than traditional credit courses. Presently, we are spending 29 times more on science than on the arts, and the result so far is worldwide intellectual embarrassment.” - Paul Harvey – syndicated radio show host “It's [music education] terribly important, extremely important -- because when you are a child, you are in a receptive age ... In high schools, public schools -- that's where they must have the best influence, the first influence, which will go through their whole life.” - Eugene Ormandy – conductor of The Philadelphia Orchestra “It is our job, as parents, educators, and friends, to see that our young people have the opportunity to attain the thorough education th

A Cumulative View

In support of music education: Ninety-two (92) percent of people who play an instrument say they were glad they learned to do so, according to a 2000 Gallup Poll. - Gallup Poll Shows Strong Support for Putting Music in Every School’s Curriculum , Giles Communications, 2000. The scores of elementary instrumental music students on standardized math tests increased with each year they participated in the instrumental program. - “Music Training Helps Underachievers,” Nature , May 26, 1996. Nine out of ten adults and teenagers who play instruments agree that music making brings the family closer together. - Music Making and Our Schools , American Music Conference, 2000. Students who can perform complex rhythms can also make faster and more precise corrections in many academic and physical situations, according to the Center for Timing, Coordination, and Motor Skills. - Rhythm seen as key to music’s evolutionary role in human intellectual development , Center for Timing, Coordinati

Music Training Boosts the Brain

From BBC News, 9/20/06: "Music lessons can improve memory and learning ability in young children by encouraging different patterns of brain development, research shows. Canadian scientists compared children aged four to six who took music lessons for a year with those who did not. They found the musical group performed better on a memory test also designed to assess general intelligence skills such as literacy and maths ability." Read the rest of the article here .

Your Child's Brain

From Newsweek, 2/19/96: Music: Last October researchers at the University of Konstanz in Germany reported that exposure to music rewires neural circuits. In the brains of nine string players examined with magnetic resonance imaging, the amount of somatosensory cortex dedicated to the thumb and fifth finger of the left hand -- the fingering digits -- was significantly larger than in nonplayers. How long the players practiced each day did not affect the cortical map. But the age at which they had been introduced to their muse did: the younger the child when she took up an instrument, the more cortex she devoted to playing it. Like other circuits formed early in life, the ones for music endure. Wayne State's Chugani played the guitar as a child, then gave it up. A few years ago he started taking piano lessons with his young daughter. She learned easily, but he couldn't get his fingers to follow his wishes. Yet when Chugani recently picked up a guitar, he found to his delight that

RiP! A Remixer's Manifesto

This documentary film is fascinating. It presents the flaws in U.S. copyright law and profiles the musicians and artists who dare to defy it. The main artist featured -- Greg Gillis, AKA Girl Talk -- is at the front lines of the debate about artists' rights. His music is constituted of "mash-ups", or combinations of popular songs/music from the past. His samples from older music (i.e. Elton John, Queen, Jackson 5, and countless hip-hop artists) produce a fresh vision -- enlivening the old by making it new. In the past couple of years, Girl Talk has become a increasingly popular artist and galvanized supporters worldwide. I think this quote by the documentarian is particularly compelling: "Copyright [law] is out of control. It has been manipulated for profit, at everyone's expense." "RiP!", as you might have guessed by now, argues in favor of every individual's right to "remix" pieces of popular culture, free from fear of legal act

August 2009 -- Teaching schedule & upcoming events

-- My teaching schedule will be uninterrupted during the month of August. (I will be ending teaching early on the evenings of Tuesday, August 4 and Thursday, August 6 -- I have already communicated this to affected students) -- I am performing as piano accompanist with the Douglas Morrison Theatre Chorus in Hayward on August 7, 8, and 9. If you are interested in learning more, click here . -- Parents & students: please continue to keep me informed if you have any travel plans for August, the last month of summer. Thanks, Jesse