Thursday, December 16, 2010

Data Tree of ensemble members.

Last week, I was to play for large Christmas concert and nativity musical at a local church. The event was supposed to start at 7PM.

At 5:30, just 90 minutes before the show, I started getting several calls, texts, and emails from other band members alerting me that the event was just cancelled due to an oncoming snow storm.

I was glad to get so many notices rather than not having any word requiring driving several miles through deep snow only to find myself alone in an empty church parking lot.

Make sure that, at your first rehearsal, you pass around a "Contact info" tablet so everyone has access to the other ensemble members data. Have them include their phone, email and address (in case someone has car trouble and needs a ride)

You never know when a rehearsal or performance will be changed, postponed, or cancelled at the last minute due to such situations as inclement weather conditions.

good gigging!

Larry Marra

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Silence is Golden

Silence is Golden

OK, this tip should be obvious to seasoned players, but sometime it bears repeating for the newbies.


Warm up somewhere the audience can't here you. When you are tuned and ready to perform, enter the stage silently and wait for the conductor to cue the first selection.

The stage should be where the audience hears the first note of the ensemble during the entrance of the first number. They did not come to hear you run through scales or difficult passages.

nuh said?

good gigging,

Larry Marra

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Two quick and easy performance tips

I just got an email message from a musicteachers911 podcast listener. It said,

"What advice do you have for guitarist that; after 10 years, has finally hit a playing plateau?"

(I replied,)

Join a band in which you are by far the worst player. This will force you to "up your game" faster than anything else I know.

Within minutes I had his response. "not interested in joining any bands. What else you got?"

OK, now I start pushing my chair back away from the laptop.

(this is going to require a little thought)........

After a few pensive moments, I write,

"Video record yourself as often as possible. Then review it with very critical eyes and ears.
You will be your harshest critic. When you are happy with what you see and hear, chances are that your audience will be too."

His reply?

I will certainly give it a try.

Good Gigging!

Larry Marra

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Announcing Joytunes, a new application for recorder instruction

JoyTunes: A Music Teacher’s Best Friend

JoyTunes merges proven methodology with cutting-edge technology to take children’s musical education to a whole new level.

Tel Aviv, Israel – October 20, 2010 – Ever had trouble getting your students to practice? Then how about making it fun! JoyTunes is an interactive educational game that’s changing the way educators are introducing their students to the world of music. By bringing hi-tech innovation to musical education, JoyTunes teaches the skills of playing an instrument through the medium of a fun computer game. Click here to play the JoyTunes demo!

How does it work? JoyTunes’ patent-pending technology enables its users to control the game by p p laying a live musical instrument. The recorder is just the first in a series that will feature various i nstruments. It was chosen as the perfect introduction to music because it’s simple, easy-to-use and an ideal instrument on which to acquire music fundamentals.

Each game level is a musical exercise designed to develop crucial musical skills like tone production, tone stability, finger technique, basic ear training and more. Combined with an exciting original soundtrack, the game’s unique methodology has been shown to motivate children to practice and immensely shorten the learning process of playing an instrument. And in the classroom, teachers can use the game’s free, downloadable sheet music for their own lessons. Click here to see JoyTunes in action!

Whether used in the classroom or at home, JoyTunes’ virtual environment transforms children’s education into a different kind of learning experience – the kind where practice becomes playtime and musical skills are naturally acquired. Research shows that children learn best when their minds are active and engaged, which is why JoyTunes works so effectively: level of improvement is directly correlated with motivation to beat the game. The more children want to play a cool computer game, the more they’ll practice and improve their skills between lessons – not because they have to, but because they want to. JoyTunes has indeed taken music education and amped up a crucial element: fun! Click here to watch the official JoyTunes video on YouTube.

Developed by Experts

This patent-pending game was created by a talented team of recorder teachers, signal analysis experts, software developers, graphic designers, psychologists and world-renowned musicians. These creative experts from each field were brought together in order to unlock the sponge-like quality of a child’s brain in a fun and engaging way, while keeping in mind the needs of music educators in the classroom..

Top musicians and recorder artists like Prof. Karel Van Steenhoven (University of Karlsruhe, Germany; member of Amsterdam Loeki Stardust Quartet), Prof. Michael Melzer (Vice President of Academic Affairs, Jerusalem Academy of Music and Dance; recorder artist) and Susanne Fröhlich (University of Arts, Berlin; recorder artist) are already enthusiastic supporters of this new innovation in music and recorder education.

Innovative Technology

When you play JoyTunes, its software analyzes your recorder’s sounds to manipulate objects in the game. The analyzing engine also identifies common mistakes to provide you with real-time performance feedback. It does all that without any special hardware or connections, and better yet, background noise, low-quality instruments and inexpensive soundcards and microphones are no match for JoyTunes – it will work just fine with a five-dollar microphone or recorder. JoyTunes’ novel technology, which overcomes poor conditions and provides comprehensive feedback by recognizing several features coming out of the instrument, is patent-pending. And despite the technical complexity of the game, JoyTunes is web-based and simple to play, with no special download or installation needed.

Product Awards

JoyTunes was recently announced the winner of this fall's prestigious Parents' Choice Award for Software. According to one Parents’ Choice review, “We were impressed by how much and how well the game encouraged our testers to practice, and by how much they learned... steady practice with the program's fundamentals may bring much-welcomed harmony to your family room.”

JoyTunes was also selected by MassChallenge as a top-26 finalist for the Most Innovative Startup of 2010. Having drawn 446 applicants from 26 countries, this is the largest startup competition in the world. It recognizes high-impact startups with big ideas that can change the world. If JoyTunes is declared a winner by the prestigious panel of judges, the company will receive a $50,000 to $100,000 award to help develop its novel approach to musical education.

How to Order & Technical Requirements

Two purchase options are available: a single-user license, wherein the game will be delivered by e-mail; and a gift pack, which includes a game CD, recorder and microphone. Gift packs are shipped within 14 working days, free of charge.

In order to play JoyTunes, you will need: a regular soprano recorder (found in any music store), a computer with a microphone and speakers (external or built-in), a Windows or Mac operating system, Internet connectivity, minimum 512 MB of RAM and a 64 MB video card (128 MB is preferred).

About JoyTunes

JoyTunes was established in 2009 with the goal of revolutionizing musical interaction through instrument-activated computer games. The methods of this unique approach to education are sure to catch on in other subjects, paving the way for a new set of educational tools for the children of tomorrow.

For more information, please visit and follow JoyTunes on Facebook and Twitter!

Because teaching music is our goal and we see you, the music educators of the blogosphere, as our partners in this pursuit, we are offering you and your readers a 20% discount on the wonderful experience of JoyTunes! To obtain a discount code, please phone or e-mail the media contact below.

As a registered teacher, not only will you receive a free evaluation copy of the software, but you’ll also receive inside information and free access to resources like sheet-music downloads for you and your students! And don’t worry, registration is free.

Media Contact:

Avihu Sha'altiel

Blonde 2.0 | Community & AccountManager

Tel: +972-3-677-1133


Twitter: @avihush

Like us on Facebook

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Ping is the Thing!!

iTunes has just created a new social network for music lovers embedded into it's store called PING.

With PING, you can follow your favorite artists and friends and even find new music.

For more info, go to:

If you already are using iTunes, just open the itunes app, and click "PING" in the menu on the left.

Good Gigging!

Larry Marra

Friday, September 24, 2010

Wavepad free audio editor app.

Ever have an audio file that was in the wrong key for your band or choir to rehearse? Ever wish you could slow down the practice audio files without having it interfere with the sound quality?

Here is a totally free audio app called, Wavepad, that will do the task in just one click.

Wavepad is a feature rich sound editor for Windows and Macintosh platforms. You can record from audio inputs, like a microphone or a record player, import and edit sound files. It is good for making mixes, or digitizing vinyl.

The range of options in WavePad basic - there is a commercial "Masters" version - is impressive. You can add effects, fades, split tracks, merge tracks, and much more. Performing all of these tasks is easy, and easy to undo if you make a mistake. It's certainly user friendly, and the fact you can import more or less any sound file format makes it incredibly accessible for anyone (there's no need to mess around with file conversion).

As well as importing from your hard drive, you can also import directly from CD, and there's a tool to burn whatever you want. There is a tone generator, and even a text to speech generator, so you can express yourself with a robotic voice.

There are tabs at the bottom of the edit window for you to move easily between open files, a zoom tool so it's easy to highlight exactly the part you want when editing, and the highlighting itself is really intuitive, allowing you to apply effects with precision.

The one function I think WavePad is missing is a BPM analyzer - although this is sometimes unreliable in other programs, it's a nice feature to have.

For anyone that wants to mess around with their sound files - WavePad is a great and lightweight program to use.



WavePad supports the following formats:


You can obtain a free download at:

Good gigging!

Larry Marra

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Pick a card

Here is a very inexpensive way to get new contacts for music gigs.

Have catchy business cards printed up with the band's name, a brief description of the music venues that your ensemble can perform, along with all contact info.

Pass them out to all the members of your group.

Your ability to spread the word about your group has just increased exponentially!

Office Depot, Staples, or Kinko's can print 1000 business cards for about $15. This is a small investment considering that you have enabled every member of your group to promote you ensemble to possible club owners, event locations, and even private affairs that you would have never known about.

You can even print them from your own home computer printer for the small cost of card stock paper!

I always put five business cards in every new contract I send out so the current employer will have access to your contact info and pass then to others looking for good music.

Another way is to make your ensemble a contact in your blackberry or other smart phone that you can text to people and add to their phone directory. This way they can search for a keyword such as band or choir in their phone to quickly find you.

Good Gigging!

Larry Marra

Friday, September 10, 2010

What are you sight reading?

I was directing the first rehearsal of a brand new swing band last night. I am the only professional musician, but all the players are quite accomplished on their instruments. The purpose of this ensemble isn't to make money, but to perform philanthropic concerts for hospitals and nursing homes. and to promote the love of swing band music.

Since we had never played any of the charts before, everyone in the band was sight reading. After a few minutes into the first number, I felt compelled to stop them and ask the band an important question.

What are you sight reading?

One brave soul raised his hand and said, "I am sight reading the notes, what else?"

I replied, "I'm glad you asked. I am sight reading the notes, dynamics, key and meter changes, repeats, and articulations."

The band got very quiet.

I continued, "What makes a difference between a good band and a great band is attention to detail. A band that plays the everything same tempo and dynamic level is a very boring band.
I understand that reading all the markings around the notes will take a little time and effort, but it will be well worth it.'

So the next time someone gives you a piece of music to read, read the entire page and not just the notes.

Your audience will thank you in the long run.

Good Gigging!

Larry Marra

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Top 40 podcasts for teachers


I recently compiled a list of the Top 40 podcasts for teachers, and I
just wanted to let you know that musicteachers911 made the list!

It is published online at

Thanks so much, and if you think your audience would find useful
information in the list or on the site, please feel free to share the
link. The blog is just starting up, so we always appreciate a linkback
as we're trying to increase readership.

Thanks again, and have a great day!


100 Free Resources for Teaching Yourself Guitar

Novice to Slash: 100 Free Resources for Teaching Yourself Guitar

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Blinded by the light

While performing at an outdoor venue on a cloudless day with a swing band last evening, the band leader placed our stands directly facing the setting Sun. As soon as I sat down to arrange the first few numbers on the music rack, I realized that I wasn't going to be able to read the scores. A quick trip to the car for a baseball cap (embroidered with "musicteachers911") fixed the problem.

As soon as I returned, the entire rhythm section asked if I had extra caps as they were facing (pun intended) the same problematic situation. Another minute later and they were all outfitted with caps as well.

Since I drive a convertible, I usually keep a few caps in the car for the Summer. After last night, I decided to keep some caps in the car for the entire year.

good gigging!

Larry Marra

Thursday, August 12, 2010

The "List"

I was playing piano in a swing band for our local library's 200th anniversary. The band leader passed out a set list with the order of songs and chart numbers. I quickly arranged my charts in the performance order. Since the piano parts are several pages longer than the horn parts, I felt very confident that the gig would go well since I wouldn't have to be rummaging around the piano library case to find the next song.

Just before the fifth song, the bass player asked what number was next. I told him," 703 "Route 66". Then, the drummer told us that the leader just signaled to skip it (as it was a vocal number and our vocalist wasn't here yet).

Since the piano sits in front of the band leader, I never noticed that the leader was holding up a different chart than the list had. The bass player and I scrambled for the new number and came in just in time.

lesson learned,

just because a band leader passes out a set list doesn't mean that he will follow it.

good gigging!

Larry Marra

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Get the point?

This Tuesdays Praise Team rehearsal hit a bit of a snag.

We decided, in the interest of time, not to set up the entire PA for our Tuesday rehearsals. The drummer uses a Roland V-drum electronic drum set and pulled out a small amp to broadcast his instrument's sound to the singers and the rest of the band.

We were learning, "Mighty to Save" by Laura Story. It is about an 80 BPM song and has a catchy little snare drum street beat rhythm instead of a full drum set beat pattern.

Well, after asking the drummer four times to turn down and blend with the band so I could hear the singers, I noticed that his amp was in front of him and facing us!

I rose form the piano bench, turned the amp around so the back was facing the band and the speakers were facing the drummer.

Problem solved. The drummer was now balancing with the band in a way that the band could hear each other and he could hear himself.

Sometimes, a balance problem is as simple as relocating where the instrument's sound is pointing.

good gigging!

Larry Marra

Monday, July 12, 2010

I can see clearly now

Having just finished an outdoor festival performance with a locally popular swing band for July 4th, I'd like to provide you with a tip about keeping the printed charts securely on the music rack.

I went to my local hardware store and purchased a sheet of clear plexiglass the same dimensions as the music stand. I place this directly over the charts so the wind doesn't blow the music away. While the other musicians were wrestling with clothespins and having the wind fold the music over so they couldn't read it, I was playing undisturbed, safe in the knowledge that my music was staying right where I wanted it.

Good Gigging!

Larry Marra

Saturday, June 26, 2010

What's in a name?

After the annual contemporary Christian music festival I was helping to present, I noticed some very expensive musical instruments were left behind in the worship center. I checked the cases, but couldn't locate any names or contact information to assist me in returning these items.

Directors, make it a priority to check all of your musicians equipment to make sure that they are properly marked with return information. This is especially important if the students are using school or church equipment.

When I am performing, my business cards are taped on every piece of equipment that leaves my house, When I play piano, this includes, power cords, hand carts, music stand, connecting cables, cases, sustain pedal, and keyboard stand.

I sent a mass emailing to all the director describing the lost instruments, but, as yet, haven't had a single reply.

So what's in a name? It simply means the piece of mind that your music equipment will be returned in a timely manner.

good gigging!

Larry Marra

Be sure to subscribe to the iTunes podcast, musicteachers911 for more helpful tips.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Annual Instrument Check-up

This tip I learned from my HS Band Director. Before the first day of school I would take an afternoon to completely inspect, maintenance, and repair all the instruments in my ensembles. I would check every valve, side key, slide, finger pad, and tuning peg. I used to give the brass a bath, blow dry, and oil change. The strings got a fresh coat of lemon and linseed oil and wax. Every woodwind side key and pad was tested and repaired. Later that night, I would do the same with every instrument that I used for my personal performances with various ensembles. Being on stage, away from home, is no time to find out that an instrument isn't functioning properly.

The Marines have a saying, "Take care of your weapon, and it will take care of you". I feel that this could also apply to your instrument of choice as well.

Good Gigging!

Larry Marra

Sunday, May 9, 2010

bounced check!

Yesterday, I had a performance accompanying a rather popular local vocal band. The lead singer, Trent, has a very edgy rocker voice and was coming to the event from another performance earlier in the day.

One of the other singers was being helpful and grabbed Trent's microphone to assist the sound tech with the mic check.

Minutes before the concert, the sound tech's mother tripped and fell entering the concert hall. He rushed her to the hospital (she is OK) and we were left with no sound man.

Trent arrived as we were being announced onstage. He grabbed the mic and started singing with the group.

He was about twice as loud as everyone else!


The other vocalist checked the mic by holding it about ten inches away from her mouth and specking normally.

Trent puts the mic less than an inch away from his and give his voice all the punch of a seasoned prizefighter in his prime!

So, he was sticking waaaaaaay out in front of the other performers.

He didn't seem to notice as his monitor usually has him out in front anyway. With no one to adjust the sound from the board, we were all frantically trying to get his attention.

Now Trent is a rather intense fellow, so he was in his own world. I had to jump off the keyboard during the guitar solo, run down the aisle, adjust his levels and return to the piano in about 16 measures. (I didn't make it)


Have only the person who is actually performing on a specific mic do the sound check for it.

Otherwise, you'll have a bounced check when you try to cash your gig money!


good gigging!


Monday, May 3, 2010

Heads up!


Here's a simple fix to increase the effectiveness of your rehearsals.

Send a "heads up" email to all the members in advance stating the agenda for the next rehearsal.

Some key points to include would be:

1. the order of the songs to be rehearsed. This will let the members know what to practice ahead of time, and put the music in rehearsal order.

2. Upcoming gig info including the date, time, location (including the address for those with GPS capability), concert dress, song order, parking info, and any set up instructions.

3. Contact info for the other members in case they wish to set up a sectional on their own beforehand.

4. End with your complete contact info in case they have additional question you can answer beforehand.

Remember, the more information you can impart prior to the rehearsal, the less time you will need to take away from rehearsing.

Less talk, more music makes for a great rehearsal.

good gigging!

Larry Marra

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

rough gig!

Last night I was playing piano with the an 18 piece Swing Band for a local dance. The stage was very small, so the band leader decided to put the trumpets, trombones, bass and drums on the stage. The saxes and I were placed on the floor in front of the stage. I was placed to the left of the stage. THIS WAS THE WORST SET-UP EVER! I didn't hear (or see) anyone on the stage. I couldn't hear the chart numbers being called. And the brass told me at the break that they couldn't hear anyone down front.

RULE #1. Always set up so that the entire group can hear and see each other. If there is not enough room on the stage for your entire ensemble, the set the entire group on the floor. .

'nough said

Larry Marra

Monday, March 29, 2010

Let Go of the Ball!

Let Go of the Ball!

Sometimes, directors and band leaders can get so comfortable with leading a group, that they never allow another band member to experience the thrill of leading an ensemble. I would often select one of the members to direct, while I grabbed in instrument or stood in the vocal ensemble. There are many benefits to adopting this in your rehearsal routine.
This gives your members a 'first hand" taste of what it's like to be the director. This might inspire a musician to explore the possibility of becoming a director someday. It also gives them a chance to see that directing a group isn't as easy is it may seem.
What it will do for you is to get a member's perspective on what they are actually seeing when they are watching you.
Another benefit to allowing someone else to lead your ensemble is that it will afford you to walk around the room or concert hall and actually hear what the audience will be hearing to adjust the musical balance.

good gigging!

Larry Marra

Thursday, February 25, 2010

quick fix for a tight sound.

Today I was asked to conduct the University of Dayton swing band.

Due to this deep Ohio snow, several members were absent. Many of the horn chairs were empty. The members sat in their usual seat and we began to rehearse.
Not a minute went my when I just HAD to stop them.

You aren't playing together!

(Then I got an idea)

"Everybody, pick up your music and slide towards the middle chairs" Then, I had the drummer get up from the extreme left of the stage and bring a maraca right in the middle of the horns.

At once, the band played together as one sound.

Then I remembered last December at the Officer's Club, when I had to play piano with am 18 piece big band on the tiniest stage you have ever seen. To make matters worse, (or better) I was playing a nine foot grand piano that took almost half the available space!

The result?

The band never sounded tighter! The horns literally had there arms overlapping each other, but boy, was it worth it!

so, next time your group isn't playing musically together, put them closer together.

good gigging!

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Music education and child development

There are many positive health benefits for children to be actively involved in learning and playing music. In a recent major study from the U.S. Department of Education involving more than 25,000 secondary school students, researchers found that students who report consistent high levels of involvement in instrumental music over the middle and high school years show "significantly higher levels of mathematics proficiency by grade 12, regardless of students' socioeconomic status.

Music education also makes for better academic achievement in the area of science, as well as enhancing spatial intelligence. Numerous studies consistently state that involvement in an organized music program can be a compelling solution to teen violence. Medical research has discovered that music and language are processed in the same area of the brain. Children who develop playing an instrument often times have a greater language capacity to work out peaceful differences with their peers.

Music Education Online recently reports that: “students with coursework/experience in music performance and music appreciation scored higher on the SAT: students in music performance scored 57 points higher on the verbal and 41 points higher on the math, and students in music appreciation scored 63 points higher on verbal and 44 points higher on the math, than did students with no arts participation.”

So if you are looking for a fun way to improve you child’s academic and social skills, their school’s local music program is a great place to start.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

How loud is loud?

Every ask yourself, "How loud is loud"?

The volume level for a passage marked, "Forte" depends on many factors. If the passage is the melody, I tend to play louder than if my passage is a supporting harmonic note or descant. Moving parts tend to be emphasized over the other parts to maintain the interest of the listener no matter what the arranger marked on the page. My "loud is louder if the ensemble is larger, the room is larger, the hall is crowded, the background level of the ambient noise is noticeable.

Case in point:

I was directing a local college jazz band last week. I was rehearsing the chart, "My Funny Valentine". One passage was a solo flugelhorn playing the melody over six saxophones playing a half-note harmonic background. The melody was in the lower range of the flugelhorn and was meant to be played breathy and smokey. The saxes really covered it up.
When I advised the saxes to lighten up, they informed me that their passage was marked forte. I informed them that the arranger had no idea what the size or skill level of the players would be and that the dynamic marking was his best estimate at a god overall balance. The chart is a "rough draft" of the finished performance with the director being the real-time editor for the best interpretation.

bottom line?

Constantly adjust your volume level to match what is happening musically around you. The composer or arranger isn't in the room with you to mark the proper volume of a passage to be played in that room with that ensemble.

So, How loud is loud?

It depends!

Good Gigging

Larry Marra
Be sure to subscribe to the musicteachers podcast free from the iTunes store.

Get out of the Way!!

Today, I would like to challenge you to consider a fresh new perspective on how your music is created.

When a band or choir is improvising a song, they create an ever-evolving "real-time" energy that takes on a musical life of it's own. The way in which voices and instruments "discuss" and "dialogue" using various tone colors can become extremely intricate and , all too often, very busy.

Today, I would like to invite you to become more aware of your role in these "musical conversations".

Are you hogging the stage by overplaying? Are you allowing the other instruments to "have their say"? Remember that a conversation involves listening as much as speaking. Even if you are playing a solo, are you taking time to breathe and create effective pauses between your phrasings?

One glaring mistake I see with new musicians is that they tend to overplay as much as possible.
They either run over someone else's musical contribution, or emote such a flurry of notes during their own solos, that each individual note loses it's effectiveness.

Consider this the next time you are "sitting in" with a band or vocal ensemble". Will the entire stage go suddenly silent if you just stop playing to get out of their way? I seriously doubt it. Take time to listen so that your voice will enhance and not distract the overall message of the song.

Lately I have been making puzzles with my five year old daughter. Occasionally, I see her trying to force a puzzle piece into a space in which it was not designed. No amount of pressure will make the complete picture" unless each piece is placed where it was created. Make sure your music piece is competed with every voice being the right size and shape to make the finished product pleasing to the ear.

In kindergarten we are taught to to: listen when others are speaking.

This is good advice onstage as well as the classroom.

Tonight I am performing the piano in with a 10 piece jazz band which also includes a very accomplished guitarist. My goal is to enhance and uplift the other musicians so that the overall sound is the right texture and complexity. Since the guitar and piano have very similar roles the in band, I will encourage the guitarist to work with me to ebb and flow the rhythm duties in a conversation way.

Let's hope the guitarist learned this in Kindergarten as well.

Good Gigging!

Larry Marra

Saturday, January 2, 2010

A musical New Year's resolution

Good news about Singing

What if you could find a medical treatment that could enhance your feeling of well-being, reduce your pain, prolong your life, have no adverse side effects, yet is absolutely free? You’ll be happy to know that this miracle treatment does exist. It’s called singing.

The very act of singing lowers heart rate, decreases blood pressure, and reduces stress. One medical reason is that singing seems to block many neural pathways in which pain travels.

If you are self conscience about the quality of your voice, there is always the shower (or car) you can use as you very own private concert hall. Another viable solution is to join a choral group. This would not only involve all the the health benefits of singing, but also provide many emotional benefits such as belonging to a social network of caring and supportive people. There are many wonderful church and community choral groups around this area always looking for new members. Many studies have shown that belonging to a vocal choral group will result in fewer medical visits, better overall vision, and a need for less medication. Repetitive church songs often provide the same spiritual benefits as intense meditational prayer.

Learning how to sing under a skilled director will also increase brain function and stimulate many new neural pathways thus improving mental acuity. Some doctors even feel that this would be an excellent tool to lesson the gradual effects of dementia and Alzheimer's Disease.

Lastly, singing in a group will increase lung capacity, help relieve asthma symptoms, improve posture, and enhance confidence. So, the next time your favorite song comes on the radio, or you hear of a group that is looking for new recruits, how about doing something for your body mind and Spirit. SING! With this being the start of another year, it is a great time to make singing a part of your New Year's resolution.