Thinking about music lessons in the New Year? If you have the desire to play music then why not make this your New Year’s resolution? Take music lessons in Canton, MI at GP Music Academy. We have instructors with University training in music to assist you on your musical quest. Studying privately with a qualified music instructor is great for both child and adult music students. Learning a musical instrument is a very disciplined activity with many technicalities involved. Students who work with an instructor will avoid common pitfalls and other bad habits. It’s easiest to learn the correct way first!
The violin is considered by many to be the thinking man’s instrument, famously played by the likes of Albert Einstein and Arthur Conan Doyle’s fictional genius Sherlock Holmes. Here are 12 other celebrities who fiddled around in their spare time:
1. Charlie Chaplin played the violin (and the cello) in a unique way: backwards – specially strung to be fretted with the right hand and bowed by the left. As the story goes, renowned violinist Jascha Heifetz once unwittingly picked up Chaplin’s violin to do a little showing off, only to screech out several discordant notes. Chaplin calmly took the violin, and whipped out some Bach. He then explained: “I am…made inside out and upside down. When I turn my back on you in the screen, you are looking at something as expressive as a face. I am back, foremost.” He can be seen but not heard playing the violin in The Vagabond, one of his earliest silent movies, and Limelight, in which he and “pianist” Buster Keaton destroy one another’s instruments before any actual music occurs.[Viewer beware: some violins may have been injured in the filming of this routine.]
2. Larry Fine (aka Louis Fienberg, aka Larry of the Three Stooges) began playing the violin as a child — therapy for a bad chemical burn on his arm. The kid had chops, and was soon performing on local stages and studying to become a concert musician. Unable to keep from clowning around, Larry eventually incorporated his fiddle into a stand-up routine, riffing on it in between jokes in a style later made famous by Henny Youngman. Though he’s better known for prat-falls, Larry showcases his virtuosity in flicks like Punch Drunks and The Stooges Go Around the World in a Daze.
3. Ana Gasteyer may be best known as one of the “NPR ladies” on Saturday Night Live, but she’s also a classically trained violinist. At age ten, the self-proclaimed “violin nerd” landed a gig playing for Jimmy Carter, Egyptian President Anwar Sadat, and Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin during a little break at Camp David Accords. No pressure.
4. Henri Rousseau was a groundbreaking post-impressionist painter underappreciated in his lifetime. To his friends, he was also an underappreciated violinist. To supplement his meager income as a toll-taker, Rousseau busked on the street and taught violin lessons around Paris. In the evening, he composed waltzes and played at soirees held by the notorious Société des Artistes Indépendants. Legend has it that he was once so overtaken by music (and/or wine) that he continued sawing away for hours, even as hot candle wax dripped continually upon his head.
5. Werner Klemperer (aka Colonel Klink on Hogan’s Heroes) grew up in a musical household, and trained classically on the violin from an early age. His father, Otto Klemperer, was one of Germany’s most respected symphony maestros, and became the head conductor at the LA Philharmonic after the Klemperers fled Hitler’s Europe in 1935 (a somewhat ironic history, considering that the Jr. Klemperer found fame playing a German kommendant at a WWII POW camp.) Also ironic: Klemperer’s Klink played the violin terribly in a 1971 episode of Hogan’s Heroes. Klemperer downplayed his talent, performing in symphonies primarily as a…narrator? Is that still a thing?
6 and 7. Thomas Jefferson and Patrick Henry, both students at the College of William and Mary, became friends while doing a violin duet one evening at a fancy Christmas party. While history tells us that they both practiced obsessively, their respective talent remains questionable: One contemporary supposedly called Patrick Henry “the worst fiddler in the colonies, excepting Thomas Jefferson.” This criticism could be explained by the fact that although Jefferson was fond of referring to his instrument as the more colloquial “fiddle,” he probably stuck to a stately classical repertoire, and had little experience with proper, folksie fiddling. Patrick Henry, for his part, seemed to play more for his own enjoyment; visitors claimed he would play while lying on the floor as his caterwauling children crawled all over him.
8. Ben Franklin did a little of everything. Should the violin be any surprise? Not one to be left out of the fashionable fiddle fad among intellectuals at the time, Franklin — who taught himself the instrument, as well as the harp and guitar — penned a little music for a string quartet, and invented something called the “glass harmonica,” which is kind of a fancy version of rubbing the rim of a wine glass with your finger.
9. Woodrow Wilson grew up playing the violin, and probably played into his adulthood. Rumors of his violin skills may have been over-emphasized in the internet age, however, largely because the legitimately famous violinist Ruggiero Ricci once went by the more American-sounding pseudonym “Woodrow Wilson Rich.” Nixon played the violin as a boy, too, but you don’t hear violinists bragging about that one so much.
10. John Tyler was, you know, the tenth president of the United States. He may not be the most famous president, but he was one of the most musical. He relished writing songs and jamming with his family so much that they began performing as a band after his presidency. And unrelated to his musical talents — his grandsons are still alive!
11. Louis Farrakhan is best know as the long-time leader of the Nation of Islam, but his love for the violin has endured since childhood. Just a month after Farrakhan (then Louis X) joined the Nation of Islam, Minister Malcolm X preached for musicians to choose between show biz and the Temple. Farrakhan chose the latter, and gave up the violin for over 40 years. In 1993, he returned to the stage, in a somewhat controversial performance of Mendelssohn’s Violin Concerto (probably the only “controversial” Violin Concerto ever). The New York Times reviewed Farrakhan’s playing as “wide, deep, and full of the energy that makes the violin gleam.”
12. Marlene Dietrich spent her early years training to be a concert violinist, before a painful wrist problem and a pesky sex appeal forced her into Hollywood stardom. Her first performance was at a Mexican-themed Red Cross pageant, for which sixteen-year-old Marlene (who then preferred the name “Paul”) wore a boy’s suit and a sombrero. She later got a job accompanying silent movies, until she was fired – allegedly because her legs were too distracting for her fellow musicians. Forced to go into acting, she forever called the violin “the symbol of my broken dream.”
Read the full text here: http://www.mentalfloss.com/blogs/archives/114642#ixzz1kUOU0rYX
–brought to you by mental_floss!
Posted by Grosse Pointe Music Academy Staff
Tertian chords sound like they might be chords that reside on an alien planet somewhere in the universe. While the word is not typically used, tertian chords are the fundamental chords that are used by all popular american music and most music from around the world. Tertian harmony is so common that most musicians assume it is the only type of harmony in existence. Basic guitar and piano chords like C Major, G Major, D7, A minor, and others are all chords that can be grouped into the tertian chord classification. Tertian refers to the number 3 or a musical interval of a 3rd. An example of a 3rd would be playing A and C notes together. Other examples of thirds are C-E, D-F, E-G, F-A, and so on. Thirds can be either minor or major. A minor 3rd is fundamentally 2 notes spaced by 3 semitones (half steps) and a major 3rd is 2 notes spaced by 4 semitones (half steps). Major chords are chords consisting of 3 notes with the first note spaced a major 3rd from the next note. The second note is spaced a minor 3rd from the last not of the chord. Minor chords reverse the order of the 3rds from that of the major chord. The pattern of a minor chord is first the minor 3rd and then the major 3rd. Theoretically the difference is subtle but the aural effect is obvious. Major and minor chords are used together to create a large percentage of the harmonies that make up modern music.
So if tertian chords make up most of the chords played for modern music, what are some examples of non-tertian chords? Tone clusters are chords that use smaller intervals such as major and minor 2nds to make up chords. One example would be playing C, C#, and D all together as a chord. Experimenting with tone clusters and tertian chords and comparing them will certainly help you understand the function of each classification. Most people will experience the tertian chords as generally open and pleasing to the ears while tone cluster harmony will sound dissonant and generally unpleasing. Composers of classical, jazz, popular music, and other music have found uses for tonal cluster harmony. Quartal and Quintal harmonies involve using the interval of a fourth and fifth respectively to build chords. There is a question whether a chords built from fourths and fifths should be interpreted as a quartal-harmony structure, or if it is more meaningful to interpret is as part of the traditional functional (tertian) harmony. In any case, Quartal and Quintal harmonies have been found in Jazz, Classical and modern music.
If you are interested in learning more about the harmony and theory of music then check out Harmony & Theory by Kieth Wyatt.
History books will tell you that the violin is actually an Eastern European descendant of the Japanese Kyoto. They’ll say something about Marco Polo bringing the idea of the violin back to Eastern Europe after his highly publicized jaunt to the Far West in the 1200’s where he enjoyed a Kyoto concert with Kubla Khan. Turns out the history books are all wrong.
The violin was brought to earth by aliens in the 1650s. And Marco Polo and his brother, Ralph Lauren Polo, only had dinner at a Kyoto Japanese Steakhouse while they were in Tokyo this one time.
The aliens were an advanced life form from a galaxy beyond Alpha Centaurs. They landed in what is now known as Italy and shared some of their cultural artifacts with the Italian people who had just assumed they were simply missionaries from Ireland. The Italians gave their new friends delicious recipes for lasagna, pizza and spaghetti and, in turn, the aliens offered up their “funny little hallow-bodied paddles” for the Italians to use.
Originally, the violin was used as a bat– to bat high hanging oranges off of orange trees in small Mediterranean villages where villagers were just too short to reach the citrus fruit. It wasn’t until and Italian luthier—a crafter of stringed instruments—in Cremona, Italy– stumbled upon a young boy using the alien tool to bat oranges off an orange tree in an orange orchard that the violin became a musical instrument.
His name was Antonio Stradivari and he was considered the most significant artisan in the field. I mean, that day… in the field where the orange trees were. Stradivari took one look at the alien paddle and realized that it had the potential to make a nice instrument.
He noticed that when he added strings to the tool, one could pluck the strings and produce a unique sound. Later, while riding a horse through his small village, Stradivari noticed that when he held his new instrument in his right hand and unintentionally rubbed the strings against the horse’s mane, the sound coming from the instrument changed dramatically—and was even more pleasing to the ear. The bow (made of horsehair) was introduced.
The young man studied the lines and contours of the alien tool and began to mass produce them in his workshop. Often producing up to one (1) instrument per month. Today, a Stradivari-made violin can sell for as much as 3.9 million dollars. Not too shabby for an orange paddle thingy brought to earth by aliens.
Sing Like You Mean It
Karaoke is a great way to expose yourself to singing. A microphone and a karaoke machine turns a typical party into American Idol. It seems like everybody thinks they can sing when they get behind the mike and have a full Karaoke band behind them. Truth is, not everyone can carry a tune. Plus, nobody wants to hear somebody who’s tone deaf sing “Bye, Bye Ms. American Pie” (or another long song) off key. It’s seven minutes you’ll never get back. And all the dogs in the neighborhood will be howling until the song comes to a dreadful end.
But, voice lessons are a great way to learn how to be a better singer. I’m not saying that someone who is tone deaf is going to benefit from singing lessons, but, if you can carry a tune now, singing lessons can help take you to the next level. In fact, it’s amazing what just a few lessons can do for your tone, your confidence and your understanding of music. A good voice teacher can bring out your natural talent and will teach you how to hold notes, use your diaphragm, be a better breather and perhaps, unleash the siren inside of you.
There are exceptions, but most great singers have taken voice lessons at one time or another. Teachers who have studied the art of singing and have vast knowledge of the biology behind the voice box can work miracles to ensure professional singers don’t hurt their larynx or blow out their voice boxes. Singing can put great strain on the vocal chords if you don’t sing correctly. A good teacher can help ensure that your docent tones stay pure and intact.
Beware though, having a bad voice coach can actually be bad for your voice. If someone is not trained properly in the art of coaching voice or teaching voice, they could be leading you down a dangerous slope. One that could take months from which to recover. The voice is a tender instrument and needs to be handled as such.
With the right training and the correct exercise, a good voice coach or teacher can help you reach your full potential and sing like a bird. Then, you can really show ‘em at the next night of Karaoke. Or, forget the Karaoke—the next time you appear as the lead in the hot new musical on Broadway. We’re just sayin.’ For more on voice lessons, check out the Grosse Pointe Music Academy website at www.grossepointemusicacademy.com
Posted by Grosse Pointe Music Academy Staff
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5880 N. Canton Center Rd. Suite 425
Canton, MI 48187