Greg Fishman: Proper saxophone hand position; new way to remember scales/ key signatures

If you haven’t heard of Greg Fishman, you definitely need to watch some of his online videos and check out his jazz books.  He’s from Chicago, and has a wealth of material on his website.  As well as a being an accomplished saxophonist and flutist, he knows how to break down jazz concepts in a clear, fun manner.

https://gregfishmanjazzstudios.com/store/

The Jazz Saxophone Duets series comes in three Volumes.  Playing level is for Intermediate to Advanced jazz saxophone students.

“The ten duets are included in two formats within this book. One format is written for two like saxophones (playable on two altos, two tenors or two baritones), and the other is reworked as needed to employ alto and tenor so that the parts lay easily and musically on the horn at all times.”

Read a more in-depth review of the Duets books here at Jamey Aebersold’s website:

http://jazzbooks.com/jazz/product/JSD

In the following video, Greg Fishman gives some tips for how to keep your fingers close to the keys while playing.

 

In this video, Greg Fishman explains his new method for memorizing the number of sharps and flats in each major scale.  He calls it the “Magic 7 Scale System”.  This is something that I will try teaching to my own students.

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Hillary House Christmas performance 2015

On December 6, 2015 Tim Snyder and his great aunt Louise Clarke performed Christmas carols at a singalong at Hillary House in Aurora.

Tim performed on saxophone and piano, and Louise Clarke performed on piano.  It was a fun afternoon shared with visitors at Hillary House!  Now Tim is definitely in the Christmas spirit after performing all these wonderful carols!Tim saxophone Hillary house 2015 Melanie Bell Snapd Aurora

Photo: courtesy of Melanie Bell, Snap’d Aurora

A Family Christmas
When: December 6, 2015 1pm to 4pm
Where: Hillary House National Historic Site, Aurora, Ontario
What: Enjoy live music, children’s activities, light refreshments, the gift shop for Christmas shopping, Art at the Manor 2015, AND a visit with Santa!

Photo below:  courtesy of Aurora Historical Society

http://aurorahs.com/

Tim Louise Hillary House 3 -AHS Erika Mazanik

Choir Project in San Francisco to study Elder Well-being

http://www.ucsf.edu/news/2013/07/107471/healing-harmonies-testing-power-music-improve-senior-health

By Elizabeth Fernandez on July 15, 2013
Music – as poets have noted – has the power to wash away the dust of everyday life, and medical experts believe it may also imbue physical and social benefits.

Now a UC San Francisco research project is exploring whether singing in a community choir can provide tangible health advantages to older adults.

Over the next four years, a dozen choirs will be created at senior centers around San Francisco. The first group already has launched at the Mission Neighborhood Centers, and recruitment of choir members is underway in the Bayview and Western Addition neighborhoods.

To join Community of Voices, choir members must be 60 years of age or older – no prior choral experience is needed. Altogether, approximately 400 seniors will take part in weekly, 90-minute singing sessions over the course of a year.

The project will assess the impact on participants’ cognition, mobility and overall wellbeing during their choral year. The researchers also will examine whether singing in a community choir is a cost-effective way to promote health among culturally diverse older adults.

Community of Voices is a collaboration among UCSF, the nonprofit San Francisco Community Music Center, and the San Francisco Department of Aging and Adult Services. The Community Music Center is providing choir directors and other professional music leadership.

“We evaluate a variety of health outcomes and try to measure the mechanism of health changes – we’ll look at mood, loneliness and memory,” said principal investigator Julene Johnson, PhD, a cognitive neuroscientist and professor at the UCSF School of Nursing’s Institute for Health & Aging. Johnson, who studies mild cognitive impairment in older adults, also is an amateur musician who plays flute and has sung in community choirs.

“We’ll study whether the choir singing helps participants get stronger, fall less, and whether it improves their balance,” Johnson said.

“The goal is to provide scientific-based evidence that community arts programs can be used to promote health,” she added. “Everyone says ‘Yes, of course they must be good for us,’ but we don’t have enough evidence yet.”

Music Can Strengthen Neural Connections

Scientific study on the therapeutic impact of music is still somewhat in its infancy, but scientists have learned that music activates certain regions in the brain and can strengthen neural connections. Research has shown that people who participate in choral singing may have better health and stronger social ties than non-singers.

Johnson’s new study in San Francisco builds upon pioneering research that she conducted in Finland as a Fulbright Mid-Career scholar in 2010. Exploring the effect of musical arts upon aging in a country with a wide abundance of choral groups, she learned that singing in a choir is an important factor in keeping older Finns healthy.

Johnson is the lead author of a paper based on her Nordic research being published in the July 2013 issue ofInternational Psychogeriatrics.

In the San Francisco study, the first choir at the Mission Neighborhood Centers – led by conductor Martha Rodriguez-Salazar, a Community Music Center faculty member – has approximately 20 members who are singing in both English and Spanish. All participants underwent baseline health assessments prior to the start of the choir, and they will complete two other health evaluations midway and at the end of their singing year.

“You can see through the smiles of the singers how they feel about being in the choir,” said Maria Bermudez, operational director of the Mission Neighborhood Centers. “The choir helps people in so many ways. It helps them avoid isolation at home, it helps with mental retention, and it makes people feel like they are part of a team. This is a great project, and a great way for people to learn a new skill.”

Accomplished musician Maestro Curtis, a Grammy-nominated music producer, will lead the choirs at the Western Addition Senior Center and the Bayview Opera House with the Dr. George W. Davis Senior Center.

“Music is a universal language, it brings joy,” said Curtis, whose wife Nola will provide piano accompaniment to the singers. “It allows people to feel productive, to become a part of something. For older people, this is very valuable. Our senior citizens are a treasure, and I want to do what I can to help them enjoy the rest of their lives on this planet.”

The project is funded by the National Institute of Aging (R01AG042526).

UCSF is a leading university dedicated to promoting health worldwide through advanced biomedical research, graduate-level education in the life sciences and health professions, and excellence in patient care.

Practicing piano increases brain size

from an article titled “Piano Boosts Brain Power”

Published April 12, 2013 | By Kristin

– See more at: http://www.eartrainingandimprov.com/piano-boosts-brain-power/

Brain scans show that the brains of adult musicians are larger than those of non-musicians.

Research now shows that learning to play the piano actually causes parts of the brain to increase in size.

Kudos to all you parents who are helping your children learn to play! You’re making a real difference in your child’s development.

Read a Summary of the Research

Brain scans reveal clear differences: certain parts of the brain are larger in adult musicians as compared with nonmusicians. So are special brainy people genetically predisposed to music or is the process of learning an instrument responsible for the larger size? Researcher Gottfried Schlog and his colleagues developed experiments to investigate.

Schlog’s study demonstrates that learning to play an instrument does in fact cause structural changes in the brains of children, and that the amount of time spent practicing is important. Test children received lessons on piano or a string instrument for two years.

Brain scans performed at the beginning of the study revealed no significant differences between children in the test and control groups. Brain scans performed at the end of two years showed significantly increased size among children who were high practicers.

Parents Can Make a Difference

These results provide great news for parents! While nature helps determine your child’s potential, there are measures you can take to enrich your child’s developing mind, such as providing your child with piano instruction.

The other good news is that obtaining these positive effects is within your reach. High practicers were children who practiced 2-5 hours a week–this is doable!

Read the actual research publication:

http://www.musicianbrain.com/papers/Schlaug_CorpusCallosum_Children_Music_nyas_04842.pdf

Saxophone Choir from UK performs Bach’s Toccata, Queen’s Bohemian Rhapsody and more…

A 20 piece sax ensemble -also check out their version of Queen’s Bohemian Rhapsody -Freddie Mercury would be amused I think!
Visit www.saxchoir.com to learn about the 9 different saxophones used in this ensemble: soprillo, sopranino, soprano, alto, tenor, baritone, bass, tubax, contrabass

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Children make beautiful music out of recycled landfill items

Children discover Mozart in Paraguay landfill, playing instruments made from recycled garbage

I think the following article, by Pedro Servin, dated Dec. 15, 2012 from the Ottawa Citizen, beautifully illustrates the creativity of the human spirit, in spite of tremendous adversity!  Of course these children still live in extreme poverty beside a landfill in Paraguay, but hopefully enough international attention will cause people to make a lasting  difference in these children’s lives.  Tim

ATEURA, Paraguay – The sounds of a classical guitar come from two big jelly cans. Used X-rays serve as the skins of a thumping drum set. A battered aluminum salad bowl and strings tuned with forks from what must have been an elegant table make a violin. Bottle caps work perfectly well as keys for a saxophone.

A chamber orchestra of 20 children uses these and other instruments fashioned out of recycled materials from a landfill where their parents eke out livings as trash-pickers, regularly performing the music of Beethoven and Mozart, Henry Mancini and the Beatles. A concert they put on for The Associated Press also featured Frank Sinatra’s “My Way” and some Paraguayan polkas.

Rocio Riveros, 15, said it took her a year to learn how to play her flute, which was made from tin cans. “Now I can’t live without this orchestra,” she said.

Word is spreading about these kids from Cateura, a vast landfill outside Paraguay’s capital where some 25,000 families live alongside reeking garbage in abject poverty.

The youngsters of “The Orchestra of Instruments Recycled From Cateura” performed in Brazil, Panama and Colombia this year, and hope to play at an exhibit opening next year in their honour at the Musical Instrument Museum in Phoenix, Arizona.

“We want to provide a way out of the landfill for these kids and their families. So we’re doing the impossible so that they can travel outside Paraguay, to become renowned and admired,” said Favio Chavez, a social worker and music teacher who started the orchestra.

The museum connection was made by a Paraguayan documentary filmmaker, Alejandra Amarilla Nash. She and film producer Juliana Penaranda-Loftus have followed the orchestra for years, joining Chavez in his social work while making their film “Landfill Harmonic” on a shoestring budget.

The documentary is far from complete. The kids still have much to prove. But last month, the filmmakers created a Facebook page and posted a short trailer on YouTube and Vimeo that has gone viral, quickly getting more than a million views altogether.

“It’s a beautiful story and also fits in very well with this theme of ingenuity of humans around the world using what they have at their disposal to create music,” said Daniel Piper, curator of the 5,000-instrument Arizona museum.

The community of Cateura could not be more marginalized. But the music coming from garbage has some families believing in a different future for their children.

“Thanks to the orchestra, we were in Rio de Janeiro! We bathed in the sea, on the beaches of Ipanema and Copacabana. I never thought my dreams would become reality,” said Tania Vera, a 15-year-old violinist who lives in a wooden shack by a contaminated stream. Her mother has health problems, her father abandoned them, and her older sister left the orchestra after becoming pregnant. Tania, though, now wants to be a veterinarian, as well as a musician.

The orchestra was the brainchild of Chavez, 37. He had learned clarinet and guitar as a child, and had started a small music school in another town in Paraguay before he got a job with an environmental organization teaching trash-pickers in Cateura how to protect themselves.

Chavez opened a tiny music school at the landfill five years ago, hoping to keep youngsters out of trouble. But he had just five instruments to share, and the kids often grew restless, irritating Chavez’s boss.

So Chavez asked one of the trash-pickers, Nicolas Gomez, to make some instruments from recycled materials to keep the younger kids occupied.

“He found a drum and repaired it, and one thing led to another. Since he had been a carpenter, I asked him to make me a guitar. And so we just kept at it,” Chavez said.

Come April, the classical stringed instruments that Gomez has made in his workshop alongside his pigs and chickens will be on display in Phoenix alongside one of John Lennon’s pianos and Eric Clapton’s guitars.

“I only studied until the fifth grade because I had to go work breaking rocks in the quarries,” said Gomez, 48. But “if you give me the precise instructions, tomorrow I’ll make you a helicopter!”

The museum also will display wind instruments made by Tito Romero, who was repairing damaged trumpets in a shop outside Asuncion until Chavez came calling and asked him to turn galvanized pipe and other pieces of scavenged metal into flutes, clarinets and saxophones.

“It’s slow work, demanding precision, but it’s very gratifying,” Romero said. “Chavez is turning these kids of Cateura into people with a lot of self-esteem, giving them a shield against the vices.”

Ada Rios, a 14-year-old first violinist, greeted the AP with sleepy eyes and a wide smile at her family’s home on the banks of a sewage-filled creek that runs into the Paraguay River.

“The orchestra has given a new meaning to my life, because in Cateura, unfortunately, many young people don’t have opportunities to study, because they have to work or they’re addicted to alcohol and drugs,” she said.

Her little sister Noelia announced with the innocence of a 12-year-old that “I’m famous in my school thanks to being in the orchestra.”

Their 16-year-old aunt next door, Maria Rios, 16, also is a violinist.

“My mother signed me up in teacher Chavez’s school three years ago. I was really bothered that she hadn’t asked me first, but today I’m thankful because she put my name in as someone who wanted to learn violin,” Maria said.

Her mother, Miriam Rios, who has 14 children in all, said Maria was born when she was 45.

“My neighbours said she would be born with mental problems because I was so old, but an artist was born!” Rios said, her voice breaking with pride as she brushed away tears.

The children gathered in a schoolyard to perform for the AP, sharing their pride as they tuned their instruments.

Victor Caceres, playing a cello made from a red-and-white drum, said “this recycled instrument has no reason to envy those that are, apparently, more proper. It comes out with an impeccable sound.”

Standing beside him, 15-year-old Brandon Cobone supported a double bass violin made from a tall yellow barrel. He said the instrument always draws curious attention, “but it sounds marvelous.”

The kids played without complaint for 40 minutes in 100-degree (38-degree Celsius) heat and humidity. Frank Sinatra’s “My Way” and “New York, New York” led to Mozart’s “A Little Night Music” and some Paraguayan polkas.

Chavez’s kids will be performing at Asuncion’s shopping centres during the holidays.

“We’ll get some money, not very much, but it will help these families from Cateura,” he said. “They’ll be able to enjoy a good Christmas dinner.” ___

Associated Press writers Brian Skoloff in Phoenix, Arizona, and Michael Warren in Buenos Aires, Argentina, contributed to this report.