Monthly Archives: Dec 2016

Music Being Played in NYC Subway
New York City

How NYC’s Music Scene Has Changed In The Last 20 Years

New York City has long been known for its thriving music scene. Some of the biggest bands in the world came out of New York City, and many bands see playing at Madison Square Garden as a career highlight.

NYC’s music scene is still very strong. With that said, it has gone through a lot of changes in the last 20 years. Here are a few of the ways in which New York has changed:

NYC And Hip Hop

New York City was once one of the most significant cities in the world of hip-hop. A lot of hip-hop artists were able to rise to prominence after successfully releasing mixtapes to the NYC audience.

Now, however, hip-hop doesn’t have the strong presence that it once did. That doesn’t mean that hip-hop has faded away; it is just that other cities are currently a lot more important to hip hop than NYC is.

The Closure Of Important Clubs

A lot of bands became famous after playing some of the Big Apple’s biggest music clubs. CBGB’s might be the primary example of this; the club was strongly associated with bands like The Ramones.

Because of rising rent prices in New York City, a lot of these clubs have had to shut down. Many of the most influential music venues in NYC have had to shut their doors.

Many bands set out with the goal of playing these special venues and were never able to reach that goal.

The Internet

A decade or two ago, a lot of musicians felt like they had to head to a city like New York to make it big. For example, the famed artist Bob Dylan left small-town Minnesota behind to make a career for himself in NYC.

Thanks to the internet, it isn’t necessary for musicians to leave their home to start a career. Instead, a lot of musicians can kickstart their careers online.

There are still a lot of talented people creating music in NYC. However, fewer talented people are motivated to head out to NYC. A lot of people feel like they can accomplish the same kinds of things without having to leave their home.

Changes To The Radio

The radio market has changed dramatically since radio first took off. There has been a great deal of consolidation. A handful of companies now controls most of the radio stations in the country.

This has made it a lot more difficult for artists to break out on radio. If someone at Clear Channel doesn’t like an artist’s music, they are not going to play it. They are only going to play the things that they enjoy.

This has caused a lot of people to stop trying to infiltrate the radio scene. Instead, artists are trying to forge out their careers for themselves.

New York City isn’t necessarily the best place for a project like this. Even if you’re an established musician, being in NYC means that you are going to be a small fish in a very big pond.

Instead, artists are focused on the markets that they can crack. Some artists are trying to build careers for themselves in cities that are smaller, but still very music-focused, like Nashville. Others are primarily concentrating on winning over an internet audience.

The value of being in New York doesn’t want it used to be. A talented band in New York isn’t any more likely to succeed than a talented band in Iowa. In this day and age, both bands have about the same chance of success.

A Focus On Fundamentals

A lot of people have focused on how the music scene in NYC has deteriorated over the last few decades. It is important to remember that the music scene has also strengthened in some ways.

One of the most positive things in the NYC music scene today is the focus on fundamentals. A lot of young musicians aren’t playing by ear or figuring things out as they go like The Ramones did. Instead, these musicians are mastering the instruments that they play.

A lot of students have received music instruction from a very young age. These students have used that instruction to create impressive and incredible music of their own.

It is clear that the NYC music scene has changed dramatically. Some of those changes have been very positive, while others have been fairly negative.

While not everyone loves the ways in which New York has changed, people are always going to appreciate the city’s contributions to the music scene. If you can become a success in a city like New York, then you are going to be able to become a success no matter where you are.

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Musical Thoughts - News

Top Musicians The Industry Lost In 2016

2016 has been quite a tough year for music lovers worldwide since it has witnessed the loss of many top musicians. The year started with the exit of David Bowie, a music maestro in January and much the subsequent deaths of other legends including Sharon Jones, Leonard Cohen, Prince, and others.

Here is a look at the top musicians the music industry lost in 2016 and left us with just beautiful memories.

1. David Bowie

On January 10th, music maestro David Bowie died at age 69 following a long struggle with cancer. Bowie earned fame for such hit songs as Modern Love, China Girl, Under Pressure, Changes, Heroes, Space Oddity, and much more. Bowie was not only a successful musician but also an accomplished actor with roles in movies such as Labyrinth, The Last Temptation of Christ, and The Man Who Fell to Earth.

 

2. Prince

On April 21st, the Purple Rain hit-maker known as Prince died at his Minneapolis recording studios aged 57. Throughout his distinguished career, Prince won various accolades and awards including 7 Grammy Awards, a Golden Globe Award for Happy Feetís The Song of the Heart as well as an Academy Award for Purple Rain.

3. Frank Sinatra Jr.

On March 16th, Frank Sinatra passed away at age 72. Frank Sinatra Jr. was the son of Frank Sinatra who was yet another legend. Sinatra Jr. also had an accomplished music career of his own and had a decent career run appearing in close to 20 shows including Family Guy.

4. Leonard Cohen

On November 10th, Canadian musician Leonard Cohen departed aged 82. Leonard was a Grammy Award winner and an accomplished poet and songwriter too. He was best known for his song Hallelujah.

 

5. Sharon Jones

On November 18th, Sharon Jones died in New York aged 60 after struggling with pancreatic cancer. Sharon was an accomplished American soul and funk singer. She was also the lead singer of Sharon Jones and The Dap Kings.

6. Bobby Vee

On October 24th, Bobby Vee also known as Robert Tomas Velline died aged 73. Bobby gained fame in the early 60ís with hits such as Take Good Care of My Baby.

7. Greg Lake

On December 8th, Greg Lake, an accomplished British songwriter, musician, and singer passed away aged 69. Lake died after struggling with cancer. 21st Century Schizoid Man and In the Court of the Crimson King are some of the songs he will be best remembered for.

8. Leon Russell

On November 13th, Leon Russell, an American pop star died aged 74. Leon had earned quite a reputation as a studio pianist back in the 1980ís. As a studio musician, producer, and songwriter, Leon has collaborated with Ike & Tina Turner, The Ronettes, Sir Elton Jon, The Rolling Stones, Bob Dylan, and many more.

9. Glenn Frey

On January 17th, Glenn Frey who was a co-founder of Eagles died aged 67 years due to health complications since he was suffering from pneumonia and rheumatoid arthritis at the same time. Glenn was a guitarist and a co-writer of some of the greatest hits of all time including Hotel California and Desperado.

 

10. Mose Allison

On November 15th, Mose Allison, an accomplished American jazz pianist passed away aged 89. Allison became famous for playing an interesting mix of modern jazz and blues, playing the piano and singing too.

11. Maurice White

Maurice White, the founder of Earth, Wind, & Fire passed away on February 4th aged 74. Maurice has battled with Parkinsonís disease for a long time before his death.

12. Pete Burns

Pete Burns, the Dead or Alive singer died on October 23rd due to a heart attack aged 57. Pete was a controversial pop star that participated in the reality show titled Celebrity Big Brother.

13. Phife Dawg

On March 23rd, rapper Phife Dawg also known as Malik Taylor died at a very young age. Phife was just 45 at the time of his untimely death. He was a co-founder of the legendary hip-hop group known as A Tribe Called Quest.

14. Paul Kantner

On January 28th, Paul Kantner, a rhythm guitarist and vocalist died aged 74 due to multiple organ failures. His hits such as Somebody to Love and White Rabbit deserve a special mention.

15. Merle Haggard

On April 6th, Merle Haggard died aged 79. Haggard was best known for songs such as Workiní Man Blues and The Okie From Muskogee. Haggard has over 35 number 1 country hits in his illustrious music career.

It is quite clear based on the long list of musical artists who have passed away in 2016 that this year has been the most tragic yet, musically speaking. The 15 artists featured on this list were truly astounding and contributed greatly to the world of music, each in their special way. Each of each of these musicians have also inspired us to teach music lessons to an entire new generation of future artists. What is left is for us to cherish their music because if we do that, we can be sure that their spirits live on among us.

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Piano Decorated With Christmas Lights
Holiday Music

Top 15 Christmas Songs You Can Play On Piano

The festive season will soon be here and whether you are looking to entertain your guests or you have a piano recital coming up, it is time you started learning how to play different songs on the piano.

The 15 songs discussed below are excellent choices that you can include in your repertoire. You will discover that most of the Christmas songs here are rather easy to learn, but if you do get stuck, you can ask your piano tutor for help.

 

Here are 15 Christmas songs to play on the piano

1.     We Wish You A Merry Christmas

One of the easiest Christmas songs that you can learn to play on the piano is “We Wish You A Merry Christmas.” It is fairly easy to learn because it consists of a verse then chorus then verse then chorus. It is also a wonderful song to encourage family members or guests to sing along.

 

 

2.     It’s Beginning to Look A Lot Like Christmas

You should really take the time to learn how to play this song since it is quite open and rubato. You can try to play it in several different ways using different tempos. You can even try out a totally different swing/up-tempo version.

3.     Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas

Frank Sinatra did manage to capture this glorious melody back in the 1940’s. Once you start playing this simple Christmas piano song, you will become accustomed to playing 7ths, octaves, and other intervals that require you to jump and stretch your fingers.

4.     Silent Night

This amazing Christmas tune is a classic that only uses the white keys on the piano. It is great for practicing using a foot and pedal considering that it is an a legato song. For instance, you can practice picking up the foot on those long phrases.

5.     Jingle Bells

If you are looking for the most famous Christmas songs of all times, it would have to be “Jingle Bells.” When you are playing this very famous tune, you should try thinking about the actual jingle bells to ensure that your rhythm stays in time or you could simply practice the song with a metronome.

6.     12 Days of Christmas

While this song might seem like a complicated song because of its many verses, you can easily nail it if you put in the practice since it has just 3 main chords.

7.     Do You Hear What I Hear?

If you would like an amazing song to practice call and response with, you should definitely go for “Do You Hear What I Hear?” In the song, the left hand actually echoes what the right hand is doing during the rhythmic patterns and melody.

 

 

8.     Jolly Old St. Nicholas

If you want a choice of song that consists of just a few notes and is easy to learn, you should choose “Jolly Old St. Nicholas.” You can even try changing the dynamics to make the song even more interesting.

9.     Deck The Halls

“Deck The Halls” is an easy piano song you can easily memorize. It starts off with a very catchy hook and then repeats it thrice. “Deck The Halls” is yet another amazing song that you can sing along to with family members or a group of guests.

10.     Away in a Manger

If you want a song that’s easy enough to play on a piano, you should consider choosing “Away in a Manger” since it uses just 8 notes using only the right hand. You can try pushing yourself by playing it using only your left hand.

11.     Let it Snow

If you are in the mood for a popular jazz Christmas tune, you should go for “Let it Snow.” The song is great for practicing held half notes in the bass and 8th notes in the treble clef.

12.     Walking in a Winter Wonderland

You should not be intimidated by this Christmas tune. To memorize it, all you have to do is start by learning the melody and subsequently adding in the chords using your left hand. With enough syncopation practice, you will be playing the song flawlessly in no time at all.

13.     The First Noel

This is a truly amazing holiday song you can use to practice holding notes in the bass with the melody in your right hand. You should try to practice balancing the two out together.

14.     Frosty the Snowman

If you are looking for the perfect holiday song for children than “Frosty the Snowman” would have to be it. To really nail down the melody, you should practice one phrase at a time. Once you master the song, you can have some fun by singing along as you play.

 

15.     Hark the Herald, Angels Sing

“Hark the Herald, Angels Sing” is a lovely Mendelssohn Christmas Carol great for practicing technique and phrasing. Once you master the song, you should consider trying to sing along with it or even adding a simple instrument such as a trumpet, clarinet, flute, or recorder in the mix.


If you would like to learn how to play Christmas songs on the piano, you will find the 15 songs discussed here being excellent choices. If you would like to learn how to play these Christmas songs on the piano, be sure to Contact Us today!

Comment Below: What’s you favorite Christmas song to play on ANY instrument?

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