Lesson #7 – THE Sax Anthem

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It’s the NFC Championship game on the 22nd Jan 2017 between the Atlanta Falcons and the Green Bay Packers. As traditional before a sporting event in the US, the national anthem was performed. This was a special one with saxophonist Mike Phillips stealing the show before the opening kickoff.

Click here for the full lesson

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Lesson #6 – Pirates Of The Caribbean

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Jarrod Radnich has carved out a niche online as a virtuosic pianist who covers popular songs and themes from movies.
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Lesson #5 – The Beatboxer, the Flute and the Orchestra

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Many children grow up thinking that there are two ways to play an instrument: the right way and the wrong way. Greg Patillo is one of a number of musicians who prove that an instrument can be played in many different ways and combining many different skills.
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Lesson #4 – Take Us Away Hiromi Uehera!

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It is important especially for young girls, to see amazing female musicians performing, writing and producing their own music.
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Lesson #3 – I Got Rhythm

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I Got Rhythm was written by the great American songwriter George Gershwin in 1930 and is being performed here by the Benny Goodman Quartet in 1959.
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Lesson #2 – Adele, The Roots and Classroom Instruments

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Many of us think that instruments like glockenspiels, kazoos and banana shakers aren’t able to make serious music. Professional musicians would never play on such basic instruments would they?
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Lesson #1 – Smooth Criminal on 2Cellos

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We often assume that violinists only play classical music, saxophonists only play jazz or electric guitarists only play rock music. Wrong! You can play any genre on any instrument…
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3 Tips To Find The Perfect Music Teacher

Teacher assisting a girl to play a guitar in classroom at school

Your child wants to play an instrument.

Great.

So you’ve been on a websites and asked friends, trawled through endless names, elaborate biographies and dodgy videos. Once you’ve located a few hopefuls, what should you do?

Ask questions
First of all, its important to know what youwant. Just because Pete Howard* has performed on TV many times, it doesn’t mean he’ll be able to teach your tired child a C major scale after school. Take the time to call any teachers that have potential and tell them about your child, what you want from a teacher and ask what they want from you. The more questions you ask, the better informed you’ll be. It’s like buying a car. Most people will buy car that will not only take them from A – B, but will make the journey as smooth, comfortable and be as reliable as possible. A child’s music teacher can potentially shape the rest of their musical lives. Take your time, get informed and ask questions.

Trial lessons
Again with the car analogies. Test drive! Thankfully many teachers will offer a free trial lesson so take advantage! Visit a few and again, don’t make a decision in a rush. Use this time to see how the teacher interacts with your child, if they are only interested in going from point A to point B, or more invested in the journey. Also, try and sit in during that first lesson. Clearly the teacher in question will be trying to impress you, but it’s best not to just rely on your child’s decision.

Communication
Talk to your child and the teacher. Many children after having one introductory lesson with a smiling and friendly teacher might be inclined to approve without much thought. Try to find out why your child likes the teacher (just saying they’re nice is not reason enough) and even what they didn’t like.

The same goes for the teacher. Be open about your schedules, expectations and the role music plays in your family. Allow the teacher to see if they can fit into your child’s life, after all, they also need to make a decision whether they can really help your child or not.

A good teacher can help your child learn an instrument. A great teacher can help to shape their whole musical lives.

 

*random made up name. If he really exists, I’m sure he’s a great teacher…

#Saxthem

It’s the NFC Championship game on the 22nd Jan 2017 between the Atlanta Falcons and the Green Bay Packers. As traditional before a sporting event in the US, the national anthem was performed. This was a special one with saxophonist Mike Phillips stealing the show before the opening kickoff. 0
Hear how he uses the blues scale at 0:44 add a different ‘flavour’ to the anthem. He doesn’t play the anthem in strict time but instead emphasises different parts of the melody (0:37 for example) by adding extra notes and using particular saxophone techniques. He builds the anthem at 1:06 and uses a technique called circular breathing to extended the note on the word ‘free’. One of the reasons Mike Phillips’ version is so special is because you can hear that this is his clear interpretation of it. He isn’t trying to copy anyone else. He’s played with the late great Prince,  Stevie Wonder and countless other superstars but always retains his unique sound and energy.
National anthems, hymns or other songs with deep meaning do not have to be played in a solemn or sombre way. By watching this video and others like it, children can begin to understand that any song can be interpreted by a performer in any way, and like Mike Phillips demonstrated, if you can do this well, people will remember it forever.

Go Falcons!!

Reblogged from www.nateholdermusic.com

 

Not infront of me please

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So the lesson is over, and I’m getting my stuff to go home after one of my weekly teaching appointments. The lesson could have gone better but hey, progress is being made even if it is sometimes painfully slow. Because it’s now evening, both parents are home and the dad takes this opportunity to ask how his son is doing. Gheeze what do I say?

“Really well!” I reply. “He really is doing well although if he just put a little more time into it, things would be even better” I say, smiling a tight-lipped-this-is-kinda-long-smile.
“Well the lazy part he gets from his mother.” replies the Dad. Cringe number 1. I force a laugh and glance at my bag hoping that he sees my intent to leave as soon as possible.
“Remember what I told you today Richard?” I ask, deflecting my attention to my begrudging student. “Practise with a metronome from now on. Can he use the internet or a phone when he practises until you get a metronome?” I ask his Dad.
“I can use your phone can’t I Mum?” Richard calls out to his Mum.
“Sure honey,” She replies.
“Tell me how to do it; she’s rubbish with technology,” the Dad says under his breath. Cringe number 2. I reply that there are many free metronomes online or available from the App Store or Google Play, hoping that someone in the house knows what I’m talking about. I’m going to miss the start of Eastenders. I don’t even watch Eastenders but right now the prospect of it is more exciting than this.
“Ok, so next week, same time?” I say.
“Yes,” calls the Mum from the kitchen, “I have a meeting I have to be at but Brian will be here.”
“You didn’t tell me that,” replies Brian, “I don’t know if i’ll be in the country next week.”
“Why didn’t you tell me that? When were you going to tell me?” asks the Mum. Cringe number 3. I want to go home. Now.
“You can call me when you know, the plan for next week” I say sheepishly. Did I just say that out loud? I hope so. Brian lets out a disgruntled sigh and seemingly braces himself for the inevitable verbal onslaught.
“You always do this,” the Mum scowls. “Why can’t you just tell me your plans? You can’t just make plans whenever you want to. We have children and responsibilities…”. Cringe number 4. She continues talking but I manage to block out her rant. Richard has left the ‘conversation’ and is now watching cartoons on TV. Why are they doing this in front of me? What did I do to deserve this? Are Ricky and Bianca still together?
“I’m sorry,” apologises Brian. “Give us a sec.” Cringe number 5.
“No it’s fine,” I reply “take your time.” Why did I say that? It’s not fine but what can I say? I’m still waiting to get paid too.
Brian retreats into the kitchen and shuts the door. I can hear raised voices but am not interested in whats being said. Should I just leave? Sit and watch cartoons? Call someone and ask whats happening in Eastenders?

Is it too much to ask not to argue in front of me? True I’m not a guest; I’m effectively hired help but it doesn’t mean I need to witness arguments like this. Maybe some of you out there have experienced being caught in the middle of a domestic before and I often wonder how other people deal with it. Sadly I’m getting used to it now, sometimes even feeling tension as soon as I step foot in the door. I guess part of teaching means that you do get more and more involved in the family life but at what point do those lines become blurred? When you become more of a family friend rather than a teacher, things that wouldn’t be acceptable for you to see and hear suddenly become routine. I’m sure there is a way to keep things separate but clearly I haven’t mastered that technique yet.

Finally after what seems to be an eternity consisting of me staring at the pictures in the hall, the Mum emerges, seemingly victorious and tells me that the same time next week will be fine, pays me and apologises for the delay.
“No It’s fine,” I reply, “see you next week”.
I exhale as I close the door behind me and walk to my bus stop. What have I learnt today?
1. I need to reconnect with my inner child and watch cartoons.
2. Mums always win