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.