Today I’m going to teach you a few finger exercises to help you build up speed and dexterity on the piano. Let’s start our finger exercise in that old standby, C Major. With whatever hand you choose to start with, play the first five notes of the scale, using all five fingers. Work your way from C to G, then back down again. Don’t play as fast as you can just yet. Start off nice and slow and make sure that all of the notes are the same volume. You want steady movements. Don’t flick your fingers, move them steady and in a straight down motion.
Now let’s move on to a full scale, say the F major scale. Start slowly, playing just one octave at first. Play up and down the octave, nice and slowly. Once you are sure that you are playing the notes steady and evenly, you can begin to pick up speed. It’s best to use a metronome for these practice sections. Start at a slow tempo and slowly turn up the pace
I’m going to be really honest. I’ve actually only written one love song, for my wife when we got married. When writing loves songs, you want to remember the theme of tenderness, and the emotions that are going through you. So, how do you translate that to the piano? I kind of like the key of E flat, I think it is a pretty sounding key that is good for this type of music. When you play the E flat chord, try adding a 9th note to it (you remember your intervals don’t you?). The 9th note adds a little something to the chord. Maybe try going up an octave after a while. Whatever you do, just remember to focus on creating that tenderness.
Four chords that are really good for a love song are the I, IV, VI, and V chords. Trust me, with those four chords you can write a love song. In the video I play a little progression starting on the root, then moving on to the four then the six, then the five. From there I move on to the two chord and walk
1. Probably one of the most common outlets for musicians is teaching, but teaching in the manner of in-person private lessons is almost antiquated. With the burgeoning growth of online possibilities such as YouTube channels dedicated to tutorials, there are more ways to actually monetize the process of sharing knowledge or skills on your instrument with tools like ad revenue sharing. Companies actually pay small percentages of commissions for allowing them to post ads on your videos. Although it takes a large amount of views to add up, you’d be surprised at how nicely these little checks come in handy throughout the year.
2. Of course we’ve all played a wedding or two—or several hundred! When these opportunities come up, they’re actually a great way to earn some quick cash. But nowadays the talent pool is so deep and the actual demand for bands is becoming smaller as DJ’s comprise the larger market share. In the end, it can be tough to make ends meet by just playing private parties. Again, the Internet has busted open the former biz model with
In the dimly lit studio in a nondescript industrial building in North Hollywood, CA, the air is pungent and the mood is elevated. Songwriter/producer/artist and DJ FKi 1st, just in from Las Vegas, has a rare day off from Fetty Wap’s “Welcome to the Zoo” tour where his DJ set opens the show for Post Malone. FKi 1st is a songwriter and producer on “White Iverson,” Malone’s platinum single, and while traveling on tour is working with the artist on his full-length debut.
With “Make it Rain” for Travis Porter; “Watch Out” by 2 Chainz; “I Think She’s Ready” by Iggy Azalea; “Missionary” by Ty Dolla $ign and “Weekend” featuring Miguel with Mac Miller, FKi 1st is riding on a string of notable cuts as a writer and producer. He says that when he first met Post Malone the artist was exclusively a rapper. “He thought that would be the only thing that I liked. His dad came to my house in L.A. and showed me a video of him playing guitar and singing. I can see the best in artists and what their strengths are. It makes everything easier. I said, ‘Bring it out, and let
Steve Lehman: Sélébéyone (Pi Recordings) ●●●●
Composer and saxophonist Steve Lehman is one of the sharpest conceptualists in contemporary jazz. On Sélébéyone he aims to create an uncompromising jazz and hip hop fusion in which all the elements are fully integrated. Rather than have his band recreate hip hop loops in real time and then improvise over them, Lehman has developed complex tracks in which the MCs flow and horn players blow over asymmetric beats and shifting metres. The manic Wolof chatter of Senegalese rapper Gaston Bandimic is a good match for HPrizm’s gruff New York philosophising, and both MCs negotiate the metrical hurdles and rhythmic traps Lehman sets for them with remarkable skill. Drummer Damion Reid, renowned for his super-tight interpretations of J Dilla beats, sets off a series of controlled explosions around Lehman and co-composer Maciek Lasserre’s intricate drum programming, while keyboardist Carlos Homs creates sonic fictions from spectral harmony.
Nate Wooley, Hugo Antunes, Jorge Queijo, Mário Costa, Chris Corsano: Purple Patio (No Business) ●●●
Chris Corsano can do the job of several drummers at once, so to team him up with two other percussion maestros might seem like overkill. It’s testament to the skill
Noura Mint Seymali: Arbina (Glitterbeat) ●●●●
When Noura Mint Seymali played Glasgow’s Counterflows festival in 2015, she instigated a full-blown Scottish-Mauritanian ceilidh, the audience dancing wildly in a circle to her band’s psychedelic desert-rock. Her second album Arbina wisely eschews guests and gimmicks to focus on the essentials: Seymali’s soaring, intricate vocals, and the warm storm of her husband Jeiche Ould Chighaly’s guitars, backed by a fluid rhythm section steeped in funk, reggae and rock. Chigaly burns through hypnotic riffs and serpentine coils of quarter-tone flash, while Seymali declaims majestically, a true 21st century griot.
Metá Metá: MM3 (Jazz Village/PIAS) ●●●●
2016 has been a strong year for Brazilian avant-rock, with septugenerian Elza Soares receiving deserved acclaim for her searing The Woman At The End of the World. Metá Metá might be from a younger generation, but their ‘samba sujo’ (dirty samba) pulls off a similar trick of fusing the melodic delicacy of Brazilian song with the energy of punk. Metá Metá guitarist Kiko Dinucci was a key player on that album, and he’s an equally vital force here, bringing jagged post-punk riffs, spacey textures and bouyant Afropop licks to the rhythm section’s chunky grooves. Saxophonist Thiago
The old joke about only cockroaches and Keith Richards surviving after the bomb has dropped is in need of updating; Slam will be there too, hidden away in the Sub Club bunker, powering through a set of eerie, dystopian techno beats. Machine Cut Noise (●●●●) is their latest, a double album release to celebrate the 25th anniversary of their homegrown label Soma Records, and it’s a weirdly lovely selection of clicking, repetitive machine rhythms which finds its groove three tracks in on ‘Viginti Quinque’ (‘Twenty Five’ in Latin). Apparently inspired by the interiors of the airports and hotels in which Stuart McMillan and Orde Meikle worked on the record, it bears a timeless retro-futurist quality, as indebted to Tangerine Dream and John Carpenter as it is Detroit techno and ambient electronica.
Her Edinburgh upbringing filtered through study at the Academy of Contemporary Music in Guildford and a songwriting trip to Los Angeles where she reportedly found her voice, Elle Exxe’s debut album Love Fuelled Hate (●●●) is unashamedly pop, but it’s got a lot going for it besides. Produced by Lady Gaga and Ariana Grande collaborator John Castelli, ‘Lost in LA’ is the signature track, all Joan
The xx have announced a 2017 tour of the UK. Including dates in Nottingham, Manchester, London and Cardiff in March preceded by European dates in Stockholm, Copenhagen, Amsterdam, Paris, Milan, Munich, Frankfurt and Brussels in February to promote forthcoming third album I See You.
The London trio won the Mercury Music Prize for their eponymous debut album in 2010. Mixing influences as diverse as The Cure, Joy Division, Siouxsie & The Banshees and Mariah Carey for an atmospheric mix of indie rock, soul and electronica. The stripped down minimalism of follow up Coexist (2012) was similarly critically acclaimed. Jamie xx’s solo album, 2015’s In Colour, showcased a deep love of house and club sounds alongside his remix work for Florence + The Machine, Adele, Radiohead and Four Tet.
Their long awaited third album, I See You, will be released in January 2017. Once again produced by Jamie xx himself, recent single ‘On Hold’ (which samples Hall & Oates ‘I Can’t Go For That (No Can Do)’) hints at a crisper, up-tempo pop sound embracing club culture.
‘The record sounds triumphant and celebratory,’ says Jamie xx. ‘It’s strange to like the record as much as I
Melody Federer, songwriter for Kelly Rowland, Hilary Duff, Jacob Whitesides, goes solo.
The shifting panorama of her journey unfolds in an intricate convergence of life and art. Singer/songwriter Melody Federer is poised to release her full-length, When the Dogwoods Bloom. As a songwriter under contract to Green & Bloom, a BMG-affiliated company founded by hit songwriter and exec Billy Mann, she travels between Los Angeles and Nashville, maintaining a rigorous writing schedule. And she’s a new mom, with a baby daughter named Cassidy.
On this day, Federer is visiting family in Virginia after performing in studio at SiriusXM Radio in New York for a live segment on the Coffeehouse channel. The outlet has been playing her new single, “Standing,” with four times per day regularity. “I’ve dreamed of having a song on the radio––any radio––for 10 years, and it’s finally happened,” she says.
Sparkling tracks with acoustic Americana echoes and whimsical flourishes support Federer’s warm, ingratiating vocals on When the Dogwoods Bloom. Possessed of abundant authenticity and undeniable experience, she weaves irresistible hooks through direct, open-hearted narratives.
She has quite the tales to reveal. Originally from Dallas, TX, she met
1. Defining Your Goals—what kind of songs are you pitching?
It all begins with a song, and a great song should be able to stand on its own. What creates that pure and unexplainable “magic” that resonates with audiences? And how can we get those songs working for us, heard on TV, in ads, in films, on famous artists’ records and over the radio?
There’s no secret ingredient on how to write the perfect song, it’s often timing and luck. But, we do have control over defining our goals when pitching songs. Whether you are writing songs in hopes of a publishing deal, or representing yourself with songs to pitch directly to music supervisors, sync houses and ad agencies, having clarity on the kind of writer you are and where your songs fit is key. You must pick and choose writing styles to match which avenue you decide to take when pitching your music; whether as an artist, a songwriter, writing for TV commercials or for film. Let your contacts know where you envision your songs, and whether you are a one-stop shop. The more prepared you are, the more seriously you’ll be taken.
Ken Sharp is a New York Times best-selling writer. Oh yeah, he’s also a singer/songwriter, power pop maestro, that’s now four albums into a solo career and he’s hoping you won’t hold the countless magazine articles, many liner notes and 18 authored or co-authored books (on subjects like Elvis, John Lennon, the Raspberries, Cheap Trick, David Bowie, KISS and three tomes on his power pop heroes) against him. Mojo magazine called his last record “a shining light in the world of power pop,” and Eric Carmen says Sharp’s latest, New Mourning (on his own Jetfighter Records), “his best work yet.” But will he get a fair shake? And what’s he gonna do about it?
Music Connection: It’s clear that this isn’t just a writer’s side-project à la Lester Bangs, but are you concerned about people unfamiliar with your work seeing it that way?
Ken Sharp: Playing and writing music has been the driving force in my life. So this album is definitely not a rock writer deciding out of vanity to record an album. It’s actually the opposite. I started out doing music and this is a continuation. In fact, New Mourning is my fourth album to
The world may forever remember him as the ’80s Wham! frontman who turned serious in the ’90s and in the next century retired from fame while generating tabloid infamy. But George Michael’s skill at singing, writing, producing and playing on most of his hits set him apart from most teenybop idols, as did the quality and durability of his tunes. More than 30 years after their release, young people know “Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go,” “Careless Whisper” and “Faith.”
Yet beyond the distorting lenses of nostalgia and gossipy notoriety, the singer born Georgios Kyriacos Panayiotou was a political artist who jettisoned most of fame’s trappings soon after they shackled him. Like many teen idols, he rebelled against his bubblegum role. Unlike many, he had the talent to transcend, and his victory no doubt inspired successors from Robbie Williams to Justin Timberlake.
It didn’t hurt that he could write and sing soul music with effortless power and grace. Like perhaps only Annie Lennox, he sang with Aretha Franklin without making a fool of himself on their 1987 chart-topper “I Knew You Were Waiting for Me.” He also acquitted himself well with Mary J. Blige in a 1999 remake of Wonder’s “As,” a
The usual change of seasonal gears arrives this month, when artists stop releasing albums for a moment and get on with putting on Christmas parties instead. In Edinburgh, there are loads of them; we recommend the customary Kid Canaveral’s Xmas Baubles VII, with a thus-far secret line-up which is probably heavy with Lost Map labelmates, if you have any way of getting into the sold-out bash. Beg, borrow, blag… don’t steal, though. Come on.
If that doesn’t work, we’d highly recommend Home for the Holidays, a compilation of original Christmas songs released as a download and a book of music, all performed at Summerhall over two nights. It’s being coordinated by eagleowl, The Book Group and the venue’s Nothing Ever Happens Here strand, with Withered Hand, ballboy and the newly reconstituted Meursault among those playing. Or on the same weekend, Idlewild frontman Roddy Woomble does his best Jools Holland impression (but not musically, we hope) with his Christmas Hootenanny.
Woomble will be taking the show to Stirling, Edinburgh and Glasgow’s Hug and Pint, while the same venue features a very intimate show from an international local success, as Paws take over the basement, and a strong
esearch is showing it has a variety of health benefits.
Fresh research from Austria has found that listening to music can help patients with chronic back pain.
And a recent survey by Mind – the mental health charity – found that after counselling, patients found group therapy such as art and music therapy, the most useful.
Here, we present six proven ways that music can help you and your family’s health
1. CHRONIC BACK PAIN
How it helps: Music works on the autonomic nervous system – the part of the nervous system responsible for controlling our blood pressure, heartbeat and brain function – and also the limbic system – the part of the brain that controls feelings and emotions. According to one piece of research, both these systems react sensitively to music.
When slow rhythms are played, our blood pressure and heartbeat slow down which helps us breathe more slowly, thus reducing muscle tension in our neck, shoulders, stomach and back. And experts say that apart from physical tension, music also reduces psychological tension in our mind.
2. IMPROVES YOUR WORKOUT
How it helps: Experts say listening to music during
Music is something that every person has his or her own specific opinion about. Different people have different taste, and various types of music have many ways of leaving an impact on someone. It can be relaxing, angering, soothing, energizing, and many more.
There are so many types of music out there today. Rap, pop, rock, country, indie, alternative, hardcore are some of the abundant types in the world. Music sends out either good or bad messages that have big impacts on how people act. People usually become friends with others who have a same taste in music as the rest of the people they hangout with, or it can be vice versa. People may not want to associate with people who have different tastes in music because they’ll argue about what they think is better but its just their own opinions.
Rap and Rock music are two very important types of music in the world. They both send out different messages and help kids. The lyrics sung or rapped by the artists can be things going on in their own personal lives, and people with the same types of problems can listen to them so they know theirs hope
An introduction for the uninitiated: Harriet Brown (née Aaron Valenzuela) is a Bay Area-born artist, songwriter, vocalist, instrumentalist and producer. A disciple of late ‘80s/early ‘90s soul, Brown’s idiosyncratic songs are revealed in supple vocals and lacerating lead guitar over spectral electronic orchestration and fabulously funky grooves.
Growing up in a devoutly Christian Filipino-American family in Fairfield, CA, Brown sang in church, studied piano, switched to guitar, played in bands and developed an affinity for jazz. As a teen, he would board the BART train to hang out in nearby Berkeley where he eventually enrolled to study architecture at the University of California.
Appropriating his artist name from the title of a song by the ‘80s band Opal, the concept of Harriet Brown came into focus and he became part of a vibrant scene in nearby Oakland. “My friend convinced me to do a show when I didn’t think I had anything to play,” Brown relates. “I kept performing at house shows and warehouses, often with punk bands, all part of the local lo-fi community. My friend Willie connected me with these guys who had started Feel so Real, a small label in Los Angeles, where
1. “I Forgot the Lyrics”
If you can’t memorize your lyrics, then bring a lyrics sheet on stage as reference. Or get good at making them up on the spot.
The only thing worse than bad lyrics is forgotten lyrics.
Don’t ever step on stage unprepared. Not at an open mic, not at a talent show, not at a songwriters showcase and especially not at a show where your name is on the bill. The stage is not a time for you to “see how it goes” or to practice. Rehearse on your own time.
2. “I Want to Thank My Significant Other”
It’s like having a one-on-one conversation with someone in the audience off the mic. Uncomfortable for everyone else in the house.
Leave your lover out of it. If he or she did something truly awesome, then you can say something like “We’d like to thank our friend Sarah for getting this song into the hands of the music supervisor at The Fosters.”
If your significant other needs to be publicly thanked as your significant other, then you have bigger issues you have to work out.
3. “I’m Sorry”
Tempering The Storm: Picking The Right Songs
This first key to start learning songs on guitar is brought to you by the minds behind your favorite band, iTunes and the Recording Industry Association of America.
Why? Because they’re the ones delivering music to you. Lots of it. Thousands of songs spinning around your head. And you wanna play them all, don’t you?
Well here’s the thing, you gotta take it slow. No one ever picked up a guitar and played the back side of Zeppelin IV. Even the best of shredders start with a slow, simple song.
This is the reason why the same songs are the “first songs played” by guitarists. The reason why almost anyone that knows more than ten songs can count ‘Smoke On The Water’ or ‘Wonderwall’ as one of them.
Start easy. Start slow. Play the simplest diddy you know. It’s the way to learn guitar as fast quickly as possible.
…Like Playing Baseball Without A Glove
Second tip is chords. And it’s a big one. Chords are, well, uber-important. Trying to conquer a song without knowing chords is like playing baseball without a
ow do you write a song? What are the components of a song? What do you need to know? These are all good questions and I hope to answer them in this lesson. The very first thing you need to do is pick a key for your song. The key of the song is the scale that your chord progression and melodies will be based on. I am going to use C major for an example, because it is an easy scale to work with. As you learn more scales, you will begin to get a feel for what emotions relate best to certain scales.
Now that we know our song is in the C major key, what chords do we use? A lot of popular songs use three basic chords. These chords are the I, IV, and V chords. In the key of C those chords are C, F, and G. The V chord has a tendency to push the ear back toward the I chord. Because of this it is common to end a phrase or a musical section on the V chord. The root chord itself gives a sense of closure, so it is
On March 13 – 15, pianists from multiple corners of the piano world will descend upon New York City for the first-ever Piano Summit. This three-day event will cater to pianists from all different backgrounds, genres and career levels and will serve as a forum for a broad spectrum of piano related topics, networking events and nightly live entertainment.
Behind the launch of every new brainchild is someone dissatisfied enough with the status quo to embark on something that will catapult them (and others) to a new growth tier. Rock pianist Mark Weiser played in the trenches of piano bars for years before he realized that organizing and uniting the troops was the best way to bring about change. That in spite of players sharing war stories in the back of bars, their goals and grievances were not being addressed on a larger stage.
Weiser’s first endeavor was the launch of his dueling piano business, “Shake, Rattle & Roll Dueling Pianos,”an all-request evening with two rock pianists taking audience requests throughout the night, coupled of course with a lively party atmosphere. Though the concept was originally launched in New Orleans, spreading west, Weiser’s New York City