Music in My Body

continuing web of sound
reverbing through my chest
echoing off of ear drums
welcome the thunder
it dances in my head

the best use of human limbs is 
to shake a floor with sound

Music and Your Child

Music is a wonderful art that many people love and appreciate for years and years. If handled in the appropriate way children will develop a great love of music that will last them for their lifetime. If you press music on a child who is not interested, you can run the risk of alienating your child from music forever. Most schools have had serious budget cuts in the recent years leaving their music programs almost nonexistent, which leaves the job of introducing music up to the parents. Parents must now decide what type of music to introduce, when, what instructor and what style their child should learn, instead of the schools teaching a good sampling of styles.

Music has been thought to help children develop better academically, with studies showing that students who study music also perform better academically in school. Musical intelligence, as well as a sense of rhythm and tempo are also developed. Music often gives children a creative outlet for their feelings whether positive or negative that can be played to beautiful music. Performing concerts also have the benefit of boosting a child’s confidence and self-esteem. Hand-eye coordination, manual dexterity, fine muscle control, and memorization are also improved.

Other benefits of music include improved poise, posture, concentration skills, listening skills, as well as self-discipline skills. Wind instrument players also reap benefits of improved respiratory strength. While some parents take a more structured approach to music others take a very laid back approach and follow their child’s lead to see how far to push the music issue. Easy, hassle free ways to encourage a love of music are surrounding your child with musical experiences; go to talent shows, concerts, the symphony, even band concerts to give your child a wide variety of musical experience. Listen to music on the radio together, experiment with mixing various types of music using computer software to create interesting effects.

Take a trip to the library to do some research into the lives of their favorite musicians, whether it is Mozart or a hip new band, encourage any interest they have into music. If your child shows an interest in playing in the school band, encourage that and help them select an instrument they enjoy. Children who tend to excel at music and highly enjoy it are typically very open-minded, have long attention spans, a high level of patience, and are quite creative. While talent is not needed, it can help but anyone can learn music with work and dedication, those with natural talent just catch on quicker.

You can start music at any age, allow your baby to listen to different types of music and dance, play with various toy instruments, and start getting a good basic sense of music. As your child gets older, you can channel that into lessons of specific instruments, or styles of music. If you want your child to learn to read the music that is best accomplished after your child is approximately 8 years old, however they can learn to play based on hearing once they are approximately 5 years old.

Music is not something that will penalize your child if they start later than their peers, in fact they tend to be more mature and better able to quickly grasp the concepts if you wait until they are older which will reduce the amount of frustration as well as ensure it is your child who is interested in music and not you forcing your child into music. If your child is very young, consider very short lessons of only 20-30 minutes several times a week for several months so that they are not distracted or bored.

Some children do very well with a style of teaching called Suzuki Method; this style focuses around teaching children to play by ear, rather than reading or even attempting to read the notes. If you start your child in music very young consider heavily this style, as it is often easier for young children who are not old enough to understand how to read the notes. Many students who learn from Suzuki method will be taught to play various variations of familiar songs, such as “Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star” so that they can learn different musical skills.

Pirating Movies and Music

Pirated movies and music

Another area that is getting wide attention these days is pirated movies and music. We know that the artists own the work and they must be paid for it. You go to a brick and mortar store to purchase a DVD of your favourite artist and some of that money goes back to the artist.

Yet is it the same on the Internet?

Yes and no, you can purchase your DVD on the Internet and save the legwork of going to the music shop. However, you can download music as well.

Montrealers need to know if downloading movies and videos is free on the Internet

Is Downloading Legal?

Yes and no. If you download and pay for the downloading it is perfectly legal; however many places allow you to download for free and that is a hot issue right now. The artists are complaining they are not getting their dues and the governments are trying to regulate this pirating industry. Then there are children who are illegally downloading pornographic and other movies and music which is not age appropriate. A 12-year-old could not go into blockbusters and rent an adult movie yet nobody can really tell how old this child is over the internet. Their health and mental health is seriously damaged when viewing and absorbing materials that are not age appropriate.

Again the question surfaces, which government is responsible for this?

The answer is that copyright issues are subject to the country the abuser lives in.

Hendrix’s Smash Hits–Masterful Music, Limited Scope

Smash Hits–Jimi Hendrix was originally released in 1969. The album has since been remastered, but the version that I’m reviewing is the one originally released on cassette tape. While this album presents some great music by one of the greatest guitarists of our time, it has its shortcomings, so I have mixed feelings about this collection.

Most “greatest hits” albums are collections of the most popular and well-known hits of a particular performer or group, usually pieced together over a career or at least an extensive period of time, and with the intention of providing a good, definitive look at the musical catalogue of the performer or group. Smash Hits, while musically superb, disappoints me in a couple of ways.

First, Hendrix really had no “smash hits”–in 1969, FM radio was largely a wasteland, and most AM stations wouldn’t play the Hendrix brand of psychedelic blues. Although I don’t know for sure, I’d guess that Hendrix didn’t have any songs that cracked the Top Ten list at any time, so to define the songs on this collection as “smash hits” is really a misnomer. In fact, mainstream acceptance of Hendrix’s music didn’t really occur until after his death–that’s a sad statement, considering his enormous talents, but white America just wasn’t quite ready for him when he was in his prime.

Another quibble that I have with Smash Hits is that it only contains material from his first two albums, Axis: Bold As Love and Are You Experienced?. Inexplicably absent are his more mature, seasoned work from Electric Ladyland and his jazz-blues explorations with Band Of Gypsies. The resulting product is a haphazard collection of twelve songs, and considering that the album was originally released in 1969, it’s pretty easy to see it for what it is–another record company ploy designed to get one more Hendrix product on the shelves in the hope of squeezing a few more dollars out of the music previously released on his first two albums.

But What About The Music?

It’s pure Hendrix, and there’s really never been any bad Hendrix music. Songs like Stone Free, Crosstown Traffic, and Manic Depression typify the frenetic pace that Hendrix and his band would pursue, while Red House shows what a great bluesman Hendrix could be. Foxy Lady, Fire, and Purple Haze were some of his most well known songs, and The Wind Cries Mary and Hey Joe show his contemplative approach to rock music. His jumped up cover of Dylan’s All Along The Watchtower far outshines the original, and tunes like Remember and Can You See Me reflect more than superficial and modern musical roots.

As I said, I have no complaints about the music–just the music, mind you. Each song has those strong, trademark Hendrix riffs so deeply based in the blues, and his casual, almost conversational vocals seem to fit his musical style perfectly. In short, the music is divine, sublime and immaculate. I just really think that the way it’s packaged is sort of a rip-off–I wouldn’t recommend it to anyone for that reason, but I do have some other suggestions.

If you want these songs, buy Axis: Bold As Love and Are You Experienced?–you’ll get all these songs and about twenty more that aren’t on Smash Hits. If you’re intent on a “greatest hits”-type collection, pick up a copy of The Essential Jimi Hendrix–it’s a collection that has a lot more breadth, and much more music.

Thanks for reading.