Monthly Archives: August 2016

7 Tips For Tabla Players

7 Tips For Tabla Players

Are you interested in playing tabla? If so, you may be looking for some useful tips to improve your skill. Given below are a few tips that can help you improve your practice and techniques with time.

1) Go for Clarity (Don’t Just Focus on Speed)

First of all, you should keep in mind that clarity has its importance as far as playing tabla is concerned. What you need to do is produce a high quality tone. Speed is important but it’s not the most important thing. At first, you should try to maintain your pace and work on the clarity level.

2) Keep it simple

Simplicity is the key to a great composition. Great tabla players perform with clarity and simplicity. Therefore, you don’t have to show off how well you play. Your tone will speak volumes about your art.

3) Respect The Art

Classical music has uplifted the lives of people. Here it’s important to note that there is a big difference between an artist and a performer. Music attracts more than the performer. The reason is that the artists behind the curtain respects his art and doesn’t want to show off. So, he tries his level best to improve his art. So, your first step is to respect your tabla.

5) Keep Practicing

It’s very important that you continue to practice your art. Regardless of the musical art, practice is of utmost importance. For instance, if you are practicing a composition, you have to play it over and over again to the point that you can play it for 60 minutes non-stop.

6) Focus Your Attention

As said earlier, music is a type of spiritual practice and devotion. If you want to play good, you need to clean your mind. Once you have cleaned your mind, you will be thoughtless. And then you will be able to focus on your art and your output will be amazing. When you are in the right frame of mind, you will be able to give your best.

7) Listen to a Variety of Music

You should listen to other artists as well. This doesn’t mean you should listen blindly. You should pay attention to know how their music is structured. Aside from this, you should focus on the type of instruments they use and the taal they are playing at that time. For the sake of inspiration, you should listen to different types of music on a regular basis.

9) Timing is Very Important

You should know different variations, such as compositions and taals. But “timing” is the basic tool that you may want to focus on. Without this thing, you will have to struggle a lot. And what can you do to adjust your timing? Well, it all boils down to practice.

So, these are 7 points that you should keep in mind if you want to be really good at playing tabla. You may also consider taking tabla classes for a few months, especially if you don’t know the basics. Hope this helps.

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Musical Instruments for Children – A General Guide

Musical Instruments for Children – A General Guide

As a result of these wide ranging benefits, it’s no surprise that many parents are keen to encourage their children to start learning a musical instrument at a young age. On the face of it, this is a great idea but it can sometimes result in some challenges finding suitable instruments, especially with younger children. Woodwind & brass instrument, by their very nature, usually require the player to hold the weight of the instrument. For younger players with smaller hands, this can prove difficult. It is important that children are not pushed to start learning too young, as this can not only put them off playing but can cause, in the worst cases, issues with posture as well as muscular and skeletal problems.

Some instrument manufacturers have addressed this challenge by designing specially designed models with children and younger players in mind. These may feature reduced keywork, curved headjoints or lightweight materials to make them easier to play and hold. For types of instrument where this is not possible, there are a number of other tips and tricks that you can employ.

How young is too young?
Unfortunately the answer to this question is like many others… it depends! As children grow and develop at different ages and speeds, it is difficult to provide an accurate answer. With many woodwind & brass instruments, learning to play is more reliant on physical strength, arm length and hand size. As a very rough guide some players on the lighter instruments (flute, cornet etc) can start around age 7 whereas it is recommended that for larger instruments such as the saxophone, that pupils wait until age 10.

Waiting for adult teeth
An important consideration when deciding when it is best for children to start learning a woodwind or brass musical instrument is whether they have their adult set of teeth. Your embouchure is vital in playing your instrument at its full range with a full, clear tone. This relies not only on your facial muscles but also the structure of your mouth which is significantly affected by your teeth. Developing your embouchure is a very personal journey which requires careful practice. A constantly changing mouth shape can hinder this process. It should be noted that there are still several schools of thought on this matter. It is usually best to query this matter directly with your selected tutor.

Plastic fantastic
In recent years, plastic instruments have improved dramatically. Now, no longer seen simply as toys, some models can deliver sound that is close to being comparable to brass models. Plastic models are now available for trumpet, cornet, clarinet, flute & saxophone making weight less of an issue for younger players. These instruments are lightweight, affordable and more durable.

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3 Tips for Picking Music for Your Wedding

3 Tips for Picking Music for Your Wedding

To help alleviate the headaches, here are 3 tips to consider as the big day approaches:

Tip #1: Pick music that you LOVE!

It is important to have discussions with your partner to decide upon pieces of music that you both LOVE to listen to. Regardless if you are into classic jazz, if you are into country, if you are into simple melodies, or if you are into heavy metal, pick pieces that show your personalities. Of course, for a wedding ceremony, consider picking pieces of music that fit the setting (church vs hall). At the end of the day, go with your gut instinct. If you are having trouble picking pieces, ask others for ideas.

Tip #2: Don’t worry about “being cliche”

As a professional musician, I cannot tell you the number of times I have been asked to perform the following pieces: Canon in D Major, Ave Maria, The Wedding March (Mendelssohn OR Wagner). I am not complaining in the least, believe me!

In many instances, the true classics are set-in-stone for a reason: they work! If you love the sounds of the scale passages of Canon in D or love the familiarity of The Wedding March, do not let this natural interest in these musical selections: at the end of the day, the musical selections that give you the most meaning and enjoyment will be the pieces of music you will remember for the rest of your married life! (especially if you have a videographer on-hand to capture the magic of the moment!)

Tip #3: If you are stuck, ASK FOR HELP!

Let’s face it, there are many decisions to be made during the planning stages of any wedding! Musical selections for the ceremony or reception might be at the bottom of the list.

During my performance career (of 15+ years), many newly-engaged couples have asked questions about the music that would suit their needs, especially for the wedding ceremony. In each case, I always provide a good “go-to” list with many of the most-popular pieces and YouTube clips. This always helps to narrow down the search for the perfect piece.

If you have a piece in mind for your wedding ceremony or reception, but you are unsure if the piece will work for a particular musical instrument combination, don’t be afraid to ask. Good wedding musicians will always answer with their honest opinion; in some cases, a compromise can be met to help create the perfect ambiance for the big day!

Ian Green, pianist, composer, teacher, musician, and owner of Music By Ian Green Inc. provides professional musical accompaniment to all events that call upon his services.

If it is a wedding reception, wedding ceremony, wedding rehearsal, or champagne reception, Ian has the skill and versatility to provide an enjoyable atmosphere to please all musical tastes.

Based in Hamilton, Ontario, Ian has provided live musical accompaniment for wedding dates across Southern Ontario including: the Niagara Region, London, Hamilton, Burlington, Oakville, Mississauga, and Toronto.

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How an Acoustic Guitar Works

How an Acoustic Guitar Works

Acoustic guitars get their name quite simply; they produce sound acoustically, that is, without help from an amplifier. The vibration of the strings to the air is what makes the notes and ultimately the music.

Because the main sound from an acoustic guitar comes from the strings, they are thought to be the most important part of the instrument, but the sound waves from these strings actually go through the guitar’s body to create the sound and this also involves a sound box that strengthens the vibrations of the strings in order to create those beautiful notes. Ultimately, the whole thing works together to create sound, so although the strings are what the musician plucks or strums in order to make music, the body of the guitar, the neck and also the sound hole are all important elements to the piece.

So how does it all work? The sound box, or sound board on a guitar is found at the top and it works to make the sounds louder and stronger. If someone just plucked the string without this sound box, the sound wouldn’t move the air much and thus the note wouldn’t be loud. The soundboard increases the area of the vibrations and can move the sound that much better than the string alone since it is larger and flat. This impacts the whole guitar’s energy transfer and the notes can be heard that much louder.

The guitar’s body is of course hollow, and this also works to increase the energy transmission of each note. The air that is in the body of the guitar resonates with the vibrations as each string is strummed. At low frequencies the body increases or decreases the volume of the sound depending on how the air in the body moves in or out of phase with the strings. In phase with the strings and you get an increase of 3 decibels, out of phase with the strings and it will decrease by 3 decibels.

This air inside the body of the guitar works with the outside air through that all important sound hole. This results in air pushing air which in turn makes those notes all the more resilient. Since the guitar has several sound coupling modes– string to soundboard, soundboard to air, inside air to outside air– you get different tones from different guitars.

When we think of strumming a guitar, we may not give much thought to the process being undertaken but there is much going on to make those sounds!

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