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Family time is a precious commodity, and it’s hard to find something the whole family can do together. For music lovers both young and old, traveling to music camp often means leaving loved ones behind. Wouldn’t it be great to, instead, bring them along for the adventure?
The Country Dance and Song Society (CDSS) offers Family Weeks at three different camps — Pinewoods near Plymouth, Massachusetts; Timber Ridge in West Virginia; and Ogontz in New Hampshire’s White Mountains — that provide a folk music vacation for the entire family. “Family Week tends to draw people with a high level of interest in dancing or music making or both,” says Mitzie Collins, 66, of Rochester, New York, who has attended Family Week for many years both as an instructor and as a participant.It was thanks to Collins and other like-minded musicians that Family Week began. A hammered and mountain dulcimer teacher, Collins frequented adult camps organized by CDSS, and she and other musical parents found themselves saying, “Gosh, we’re having such a good time. Wouldn’t it be great if our kids could do this?”They approached CDSS management, which was initially concerned about how kids could be integrated into a camp. But it was the 1970s and change was in the air. CDSS, and some interested campers, came up with a structure and Family Week was born.Back then, Collins only wanted to share her love for music with her family. She had no idea how quickly Family Week would blossom into something truly extraordinary.
Sweetness and Loveliness“At an adult camp you are a little bit self-focused, and at Family Week it’s not just about you,” says Nawal Motawi, 43, a tile artist from Ann Arbor, Michigan. “There’s a sweetness and a loveliness to the people.”Motawi has attended Family Week for about five years, starting when her son, Kitson Dong, was three. “At Family Week we spend a lot of time together and I find I enjoy his company in another way,” she says. Kappy Laning, 51, serves as camp director at Timber Ridge and attends Family Week with a large blended family that includes her husband, Sam Droege, 49; her son, Stuart Hean, 16; two step-daughters, Anna, 14, and Wren, 15; their mom, Romey Pitman, 42; Pitman’s husband, Brad Seay, 41; and Pitman and Seay’s four-year-old daughter, Bizzy.Laning, a pediatric nurse from Upper Marlboro, Maryland, first attended a CDSS camp at the suggestion of a friend. “My first camp I was pregnant with my son and I’ve been coming ever since,” she recalls. “My son has grown up in this environment. He’s an avid dancer and learning to play guitar.”Romey Pitman went to camp for the first time when Bizzy was two. “It was amazing how much fun I had,” she says.“I love dancing, the music that goes with it, and playing that music,” says Pitman. “CDSS camp is a way to share my love of those things with my kids.” Pitman’s teenage daughters are both involved in music year round. Wren plays tuba and flute and Anna plays clarinet and harmonica.
A Yearly RitualThose who have tried CDSS Family Week tend to come back year after year, as they watch their children grow and mature. Families are encouraged to bring whatever instruments they play and everything is organized around making each family member feel like they are part of the group.Families eat together in a dining hall, often accompanied by live music. Each person is assigned a daily chore and they are requested to attend at least two daily gatherings.Freelance radio producer Marika Partridge, 52, of Takoma Park, Maryland, says she has attended so many camps with her husband, portrait painter Larry Ravitz, 56; son Chaney, 17; and daughters Sally, 14; and Irene, 13; that she’s lost count. “My son is high functioning autistic with special needs, and when we went to our first camp I didn’t know how he would fit in,” Partridge recalls. “It’s been really great for him and anytime that something is great for him, it’s usually great for the rest of us.”Not only has Family Camp become a relaxing time for the whole family, it’s helped Chaney discover his sense of rhythm. “Now, everyone in my family is a dancer,” says Partridge. “My son plays piano and would like to learn drums. He has a pretty good sense of pitch and he’s learning harmony, and the dancing reinforces that.” Additionally, Partridge plays piano, tin whistle, and ukulele and her husband plays sax and flute. “My daughter Sally is really blossoming as a guitar player, and plays fiddle and accordion, and Irene is a piano player.” The family packs a number of instruments for family week.For children and adults alike, Family Week is a chance to perform in a friendly environment. “Kids have a chance to join the dance band,” says Mitzie Collins. “That’s often a real eureka moment because people dance along with their playing and they get to be functioning musicians in the community.”“It’s great watching the kids bring their fiddle that they may have started at school and they try it out at camp and become part of the camper band,” says Laning. “The next year they come back and they are even better on the instrument, or maybe another instrument.”
A Sacred RetreatJust as campers are encouraged to bring musical instruments they are discouraged from bringing electronic gadgets and video games. And there’s no TV and Internet access in the cabins. “CDSS Family Camp is a kind of sacred retreat,” explains Collins. “We’re modeling a much healthier way of living,” says Partridge. And, although live music from jam sessions and dances can be heard all day long, there are plenty of other activities to keep families busy, such as swimming, canoeing, organized hikes, crafts, and even some built-in time to just read or relax. “Some of the best times I’ve ever had were at camp,” says Nawal Motawi. “The whole package is fun: being outdoors more than we ever are in our urban life and sharing music with other people.”
Learning for Young and OldFamily Week is an educational experience for the entire family and daily classes, divided by age group, are held both in the morning and afternoon.“All children are required to go to the classes and the teachers are top-notch and experienced,” says Laning. “In all my years at the camp I’ve never had a child refuse to go. We always find a way for it to work out and everyone ends up having a great time.”For younger children classes begin at age two and focus on singing, movement, dancing, and crafts. From age eight and nine children begin to learn clogging, body rhythm, social dances, and longsword.“It’s brain gym; all the dances and movement patterns they are getting out of this are vital for the development of the brain,” says Partridge. “The teachers watch the children and they know who needs extra help.”Ten to 12-year-olds sing, dance, and clash sticks together, while learning about music around the world. Adult classes, for age 13 and older, include contra, clog, and swing dance, longsword, family band for ages 10 and up, mummers, and harmony.“It’s great for grown-ups, as well as children,” says Partridge, whose husband has early onset Parkinson’s. “He’s in good shape, but the dancing is great for him. It’s healthy for all of us and uses all our faculties.”“A lot of times we send our kids off to do wonderful things, all the while they are thinking, ‘If it’s so wonderful, why aren’t the grownups doing it?’ says Collins. “The kids see that this is important enough for grownups to do too. It also provides a wonderful model for doing things with their own families.”The camp is a particularly great experience for teenagers, who are treated as adults and learn social skills, alongside musical skills, which carry over into their home life. Collins stresses that this is especially useful as the teenage years are often the time when we “lose” our children.“Kids don’t get to talk to adults that much,” she explains. “At camp they get an appreciation for other capable adults who are not critical of them and see them as separate people. That’s particularly important for teens.”“My teenage daughter told me that it’s the only place where she feels she can just completely be herself,” says Romey Pitman. “They don’t have to act cool and tough the way they do at school; they are full participants in the adult community. They play music and dance with the grownups, but they also play with the little kids and look out for them. All the ages are engaged in such a healthy way.”
Total Immersion in MusicEach evening at 8:30 p.m. a guitarist leads all those children under age 10 to their cabins for bedtime. Once they are safely tucked in bed, parents are free to return to the dancing and live music, while roving babysitters monitor the children.“It’s a great vacation for a mom,” says Partridge. “Live music, dancing, wholesome activities, really nice people, and the community is fantastic.”CDSS’s staff of professional musicians and music teachers interact with camping families in every aspect of the camp, including bringing their own families along to camp.“Music is integral to everything we do at camp,” says Laning. “We are spoiled by the live music at camp. We appreciate the musicians who are performing and we are also inspired by them.”“You can join the band or just sit around and play,” says Partridge. “If you are a younger player who wants to learn something new, the musicians always, always take time to do that.”She has fond memories of jamming poolside with Family Camp teacher David Cantieni, a flutist from the group Wild Asparagus. “I play the ukulele and he tells me what I could be doing to accompany him,” says Partridge. “He’s teaching me tunes and strums and I’m really coming along because of this informal work.”“There could be a craft project going on and nearby people are jamming,” explains Collins. “So the kids are hearing music while they are doing other things. That’s so valuable. There are lots of ways to teach music. You can teach it in a classroom, but people all over the world learn music more from just being around it. This is a more organic way.” “My favorite part is the multisensory nature of it,” she adds. “You are in a pine woods, away from the world and yet you are immersed in music and dance. I go to a lot of different music festivals, but rarely am I so immersed.”
Musical LegacyMany of the adults who bring their children to Family Camp see it as a way of passing down the tradition of folk music and dancing. “This folk world is such a healthy world,” says Laning. “At camp the children learn that it’s a wonderful community and they have a tendency to either stick with it or stick close to it as they grow up.”“We were not thinking generationally back when Family Camp started, but we are definitely thinking generationally now,” says Collins. “There are a lot of gray hairs in any cultural activity today. You tend to get a lot of people in their 40s and 50s, which is wonderful for them but doesn’t address the next generation.”And Family Week’s generational thinking seems to be working. “Any number of kids who went to the early camps are now back on staff, running camps, and having their own children attend,” says Collins.Collins and her husband do their part to pass the tradition of folk music to the next generation, they are now bringing their grandchildren to camp each summer. “We come with a slightly changing cast each year,” says Collins. “We may have two or three generations.”“What’s really neat for us, where our grandchildren are concerned, is that we get to be around them and learn a lot about them outside of ceremonial occasions,” she says. “But yet they are not with us all the time.” “We have the best, silliest whole week,” says Partridge. “We get to enjoy music, dancing, singing, and we even have a parade. We come home with songs stuck in our heads … It’s pure joy!”
For more information visit the country dance and song society website at www.cdss.org or view Making music’s calendar of Music camps at makingmusicmag.com/calendar/camps.html.
Piano players and other musicians who desire to learn the foundations of purely American music should start with the blues. This music form began over a century ago. Today’s jazz, hip-hop, rock-and-roll and rhythm and blues owes a debt to it.
Certainly, the word “blues” evokes a sense of the mood of being blue. The music has those qualities, but in its own way it is also capable of being very uplifting. Many blues songs are cries of hope for better days to come.
The blues form developed out of the African-American experience. The music we call blues is a touchstone back to their struggles in America and their growth as a people to more freedom. Blues songs are rooted in work songs, field chants, singing and talk. They also have their basis in spiritual songs and country ballads.
The first blues emerged out of the Deep South, in Texas, Louisiana and the Mississippi Delta. The music sang of the struggles of the worker and the impoverished lives many of them lived. Their great toil and sacrifice had articulation in stories, with many of them presented in song form.
A big boost to the stature of the blues came in 1912, when William Christopher Handy transcribed and published the song “Memphis Blues.” He was an African-American dance orchestra conductor. He gave himself the name “Father of the Blues” because of his tireless efforts to write, transcribe and publish blues music to get it to the masses.
The blues progressed from the Deep South to the north and entrenched itself in cities such as Chicago and Detroit. The music changed as it moved northward. No longer all about the poor conditions in the south, the music began to speak of the urban environments African-Americans were now living in.
The blues changed even more in the ’40s and ’50s as radio continued to spread its songs all over America. New electronic innovations lent the blues a different sound, with electric guitar at the forefront. Musicians carried this fresh electric sound with blues elements into the rock and R & B genre, which developed.
Those who hear that blues sound in much of today’s music may not understand that the music is very basic in its construction. A piano player desiring to learn the blues can understand its elements quickly with a little bit of study.
The most common blues heard and played are the 12-bar blues. Blues musicians found they could express their thoughts fully in a mere 12 bars or measures of music. However, there is room in these 12 bars for much creativity, whether musical or lyrical.
Almost all of blues music is in 4/4 time. This means there are four beats in each bar. Within a bar, each quarter note receives one beat. Further, a 12-bar blues song is broken down into three sections of four bars each. Musicians usually build blues chords on the first, fourth and fifth notes of an eight-note music scale. These form the blues chord progression. The first chord is typically prominent in the first four bars. The second four bars normally highlight the fourth chord of a scale, and the last four bars highlight the fifth chord of a scale.
For the lyrics to a blues song, the AAB pattern is predominant. A singer will sing the first and second four-bar verses with the same lines sung in each. The third four-bar verse will have different lines. Therefore A and A refer to the verses with the same lines; the B refers to the verse with different lines.
There can be different 12-bar segments in a blues song. When one 12-bar section gets resolved with the last four bars answering the previous eight, a new motif can develop in the next 12-bar section. In addition, while the 12-bar blues are the most common form in the blues arena, there are exceptions to it for variety and experimentation.
In the 1950s and 1960s, there was a movement in Britain, which brought about the “British Blues.” They were followers of the American blues tradition and very strict in following this form to a tee. This ended in the middle 1960s as the musicians from this country began to develop their own blues concepts and styles, although still based on the pioneering American blues school of thought.
The blues lends itself to much of the piano music available for playing today. Its influence is apparent in Broadway show tunes, film music and much music of the love-ballad type. Blues music can be a welcome addition to any pianist’s repertoire.
“Beck” is an American indie/alternative artist from Los Angeles, California. Although born as Bek David Campbell, he is known as Beck or Beck Hansen on stage. Beck is mainly into making indie and alternative music which covers folk rock, hip-hop, electronic, rock and even blues. Beck is also known for being a multi-instrumentalist where he plays guitar, keyboards, bass, drums, harmonica, percussion, banjo, synthesizers and other instruments.
Modern Guilt dives in with folky opener âOrphansâ. It has a distant bass sound in the beginning. Once the guitar enters and Beck voices out, the track just hits the jackpot like that. It produces a country-like atmosphere to it, folk and country rock altogether. Indie artist Cat Power also known as Chan Marshall is also featured here to lend her vocals to Beck. In the bridge, the additional flute is a thing to watch out for. Very well-harmonized vocals on Orphans towards the end. Very tempting opener that will haunt especially the adults.
âGamma Rayâ is a faster tempo track and i wouldnât mind if iâve been hit by Gamma Ray. The music itself speaks for itself. The vocals of Beck just add extra pump and weight to the whole song. The bass and drums keep re-looping themselves until they hit a climax further down into the track. In the verse, the music seems to be taking a break and slowly build itself for a breakthrough in the coming chorus. Every phrase that Beck sings is followed by gospel-like backing vocals. I just love the music on Gamma Ray, infectiously groovy!
âChemtrailsâ is a track that suddenly slows down Modern Guiltâs momentum. Listening to Chemtrails revokes your imagination, you would like youâre dreaming. The piano and the synthesizers just create a soundscape that is so unreal, you be dreaming away listening to Chemtrails. Even Beckâs vocals on Chemtrails blends in very well with the music. Full of howls and moans to greatly enhance the atmosphere of Chemtrails. The remaining one minute instrumental, you would enjoy the beautiful violin that plays on just before the track ends and fades into silence. What an experience!
âModern Guiltâ has a steady drum beats once it enters. Beck moans through each phrase with his vocals. Combined with the music, Beck is twisting his vocals here and there to accustom himself to Modern Guilt. Entering the chorus, the guitar just comes plucking itself in and itâs really good, Beck just goes on with, âModern guilt, iâm stranded with nothingâ¦ Modern guilt, Iâm under lock and keyâ¦â In the bridge, the piano and violin speak for themselves. Beck just adds in some vocal effects to complement the music. Until the end, the whole track seems to be saving the best for last. Itâs very beautiful and i find myself swaying away listening to it.
The bass in the beginning of âYouthlessâ really revs me up. Itâs very tight and fast the way the bass is being played on Youthless. Even Beck sings as if heâs rapping softly at between intervals. When it comes to the chorus, Beck just sings at a slightly higher pitch that seems to be echoing itself through the chorus, âAnd theyâre helpless and forgetting in the background holding nothing, and theyâre youthless and pretending with their bare hands holding nothingâ¦â The synthesizers also seems to be having fun from here onwards, coming in and out, creating some cute sounds at intervals that delight us. Towards the end, cello enters and give some extra support to the bass. Very smartly composed music, very tight!
âWallsâ already surprises me in the beginning. The violin-like sound created by synthesizers is really the core music on Walls. Beck just sings on as the music goes on like that. Approaching the chorus, thereâs a lady-like sound in the background, sometime i would think that itâs Alvin from The Chipmunks which is making those funny sounds. Cat Power is again featured on this track in the chorus, where she would join Beck, âHey what are you gonna do, when those walls are falling down, falling down on youâ¦â The music on Walls just ends almost the way it started. Weirdly good!
âReplicaâ is fast and delicate simultaneously. The beats on Replica are tight and light. Due to a distant sound in the music, it makes the whole track sort of delicate. Delicate enough you would also hear Beck singing in a distant voice. Piano can also be heard in this track as Beck sings. Nearing the end, the violin only comes in and the whole track turns into an instrumental adventure before fading itself to night.
âSoul Of A Manâ sounds like a rock track for the army. The bass line just follow every lyrics that Beck sings, like a chick following its mother. Handclaps and guitar riffing can also be heard as Beck sings through the track. When the chorus comes, the whole track seems to be floating in mid-air and Beck goes, âCold was the storm, that covered the nightâ¦â Soul Of A Man is at times like a folk rock track that would definitely be appeal to the old ages. Itâs not loud, but its groovy beat will get onto you quietly.
âProfanity Prayersâ is an upbeat track with infectious drum beats and smart vocals that just know how to enter and exit. Beck can be heard singing in a speedy voice in the verse. In the chorus, he just raises his pitch and let go of his vocals that echo back to him, âWhoâs gonna answer, profanity prayers, whoâs gonna answer, these profanity prayersâ¦â I also like the guitar that enters in the chorus, it has this special rhythm with it. When Beck is not singing, the music just plays itself out. And i have to say, itâs really good!
Beck ends Modern Guilt with slow-driving âVolcanoâ. Beckâs voice on this track gives a hint that he might be tired from all the singing that he has done on Modern Guilt. Therefore heâs taking it slow with Volcano. When it comes to the first chorus, you would hear some backing vocals helping Beck out when he goes, âI donât know what Iâve seen, was it all an illusion? Or a mirage gone bad? Iâm tired of evil, and all that it feeds, but I donât knowâ¦â With the backing vocals, it sounds really great as it adds the definitive weight to Volcano and Beckâs voice. Volcano is slow but itâs able to gulp you down slowly after listening to it a few times. Once you get the hook of it, you would find it hard to drop it. Sometimes itâs just beautiful!
Buying toys for your baby is about more than just what will entertain them. You have to make sure that you buy toys for your baby that are safe. There are a lot of toys out there that are unsafe for babies. This article will explore some of the things you need to look for when buying baby toys.
Balloons are a definite no. The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) warns parents and guardians of young children about the suffocation hazard presented by uninflated toy balloons and pieces of broken balloons.
Of all children’s products, balloons are the leading cause of suffocation death, according to CPSC injury data. Since 1973, more than 110 children have died as a result of suffocation involving uninflated balloons or pieces of balloons. Most of the victims were under six years of age, but the CPSC does know of several older children who have suffocated on balloons.
“Toy Basketball Nets” (11 million) can strangle children on loops or openings in nets that come unhooked from the rim or have knots that slide. CPSC is aware of more than 20 reports of children under 5 years old whose head or neck caught in the net of a toy basketball set, and an 18-month-old child died after becoming entangled in a partly unhooked net. People should remove and throw away nets that can unhook or have knots that slide. Call the manufacturer to get new nets that securely attach to the rim and do not have sliding knots.
“Swimming Pool Dive Sticks” (19 million) can cause rectal or vaginal impalement if children fall or land on the dive stick. CPSC knows of nine impalement injuries and three non-impalement injuries to children 5 to 11 years old. People should stop using the hard plastic dive sticks and throw them out. Depending on the dive sticks owned, consumers can receive a refund, replacement or repair.
“Flammable Spray String” (1 million) can cause burn injuries if sprayed around flame sources such as birthday candles. CPSC is aware of three reports of burns resulting from the use of flammable spray string. Flammable products intended for use by children are banned by federal law. Return the flammable spray string to the retailer for a refund.
“Star Wars Lightsabers” (618,000) without a battery protector could have a dislodged spring in the battery compartment, causing the batteries to overheat or rupture. CPSC and the company know of 38 reports of Lightsaber batteries overheating, including 6 reports of batteries rupturing, 3 reports of minor burns to consumers, and 1 report of eye irritation. Call Hasbro toll-free on (888) 690-6141 to get a free repair kit. Lightsabers currently being sold with the sticker “Now with battery protector” are not part of this recall.
“Pooh Poppin’ Piano” (202,000) has a carrot-shaped microphone with a green leafy top that could break off, posing a choking hazard to young children. CPSC knows of three broken parts from this toy piano. Call Tiger Electronics toll-free at (888) 748-2860 to get a replacement. Only pianos with serial numbers starting with “WT” or “CO15D” are part of this recall.
“Blue’s Clues Toy Notebooks” (3.8 million) that are recalled have red plastic coils with flexible plastic end caps covering sharply bent coil ends. The bent coil ends can break off, presenting a small parts choking hazard to children. CPSC is aware of four incidents where the end piece of the coil broke off. People should call Colorbok toll-free at (877) 677-4725 to obtain a free replacement coil. Blue’s Clues Toy Notebooks currently being sold with “Version 2″ on the back cover or lower edge of the packaging are not part of this recall.
“Precious Moments Tender Tails Stuffed Toys” (472,000) have pompoms that can detach, posing a choking hazard to young children. CPSC is aware of three reports of pompoms detaching. People should cut off the pompoms and return them to Enesco to receive a different, free Tender Tails toy.
According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Council, more than 120,000 children were treated in hospital emergency rooms for toy-related injuries during 1998. To prevent eye injuries, the Academy offers these tips for choosing safe toys:
Tips on buying baby toys that are safe;
Select only toys and gifts that are appropriate for the child’s age and maturity level.
Avoid toys with sharp, protruding or projectile parts.
Check labels for American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) approval, to be sure toys meet national safety standards.
Consider carefully before giving BB, paint or pellet guns or air-powered rifles as gifts. They are classified as firearms and should not be considered toys. Darts, as well as bows and arrows, can also be dangerous.
Don’t forget that participating in sports such as basketball, baseball, football and hockey can cause serious eye injuries. If giving sports equipment, make sure to include the appropriate protective headgear such as helmets, facemasks or goggles with polycarbonate lenses.
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No. the lone time I will rate anyone is if they were a total Jackassss torwards everybody. Somtimes poeple ask me to rate them..Do you review your daylight every nite earlier going to sleep? no…a complete gamble away of time; what’s done is done!! go to sleep already!!! sometimes, but usually i am too tired to do that and just say this was one fcked up day yes i do……it kinda make the day seem better than it really was if i..Do you review your light of day formerly you sleep? Sometimes if I’ve had a principally trying day, but most of the time I don’t. I only review my Mission log’s and plan on what to do next. And i review my kills i’ve made over the time since i joined the Agency. Yes and..Do you shift by a critics review until that time seeing a movie or buying a book? I never have. How does a critic know what kind of movie or book, I’m going to like? I hold gone to movies and read books that were bombed by the critics but found them to be good. i never listen..Do you similar to my poem please review and comment? man de gande la with pride i sit resting on my back Im a beast I Make up for what you denial When I Roar you must listen I Have what your heart is missing My hair is blond my eyes are gold My pride is strong..Do you still recommend RA Gapuz as an great nursing review center? hello guys! im a graduating nursing student and im just wondering if it is safe to review next to Gapuz or the others involved in the local nursing board exam june ‘06 leakage…ive heard positive feedbacks from my friends and other nurses roughly Gapuz; he is not..Do you trust the reviews on Barnes & Noble? Is Vampire Diaries a good read? Yes, this is two questions. Will you answer them both. Thanks. : D haven’t read vampire diaries but u should read the vampire chronicles by anne rice i do not trust some of the reviews at barnes and..Do you want reviews at fictionpress? anyone here who’s a memeber at fiction press? do you want some reviews to your stories? i’ll give you some.. but first.. please review my story.. i need to improve.. STUPID ME Samantha is contained by a school full of rich,spoiled brats. What will happen if 2 princes will fall for.. More Reviews questions please visit : ReviewsRun.com
If music is your middle name, then musical instruments are sure to adorn your room. Music is an excellent way to get rid of the blues. And if you are the creative type, then you can compose your own songs with musical instruments.
Musical instruments are mainly categorized by the way they generate sound. All musical instruments fall under one of the following – string, wind, percussion and keyboard, though there may be further divisions and sub-divisions. Examples of string instruments include guitars, violins, ukuleles and cellos. Wind instruments include pipes, sax, clarinet, flute and such other types. Drums, bongos, cymbals and bells fall under the percussions category. And keyboard instruments include pianos, harpsichords, organs and accordions. Over 1000 musical instruments are available across the world, including folk instruments.
If you want to play on your own, then it is better to start with a musical instrument you like, and then gradually master the instrument by joining music classes. If you like music in general and are not interested in specializing in any particular type of instrument then a keyboard can be the perfect choice. Electronic keyboards nowadays can produce all sorts of sound ranging from guitar tunes to drum beats. A variety of DJ equipments are also available on the market nowadays, which provide creative sound mixing options for the wannabe DJs as well as for the experienced disc jockeys.
On the other hand, if you were thinking of organizing a band then you would need different types of musical instruments. A band normally includes a couple of string instruments, percussions and preferably a wind instrument.
You can purchase your musical instruments online. Choose your favorite instrument from the various websites that you will find on the internet. They often offer discounts if you buy their package deals, which include various types of musical instruments. This can be your best option if you are planning a band with your friends.
Musical instruments can be a costly affair, especially if you are planning to buy the best available on the market. These can set you back by anything from $100 to over $10000. A good Yamaha or Roland electronic keyboard may cost almost $2500. Used musical instruments are often a good choice, especially if you are learning to play a new instrument. For beginners it is advisable to invest in musical instruments in the lower price range.
Musical instruments can also be made at home with items of daily use. Homemade musical instruments mainly fall under the category of percussion instruments. You can make almost anything, from shakers and jingle bracelets to drums and tambourines. You can also make wind instruments such as comb harmonica or kazoo. These help your child to be creative and can keep them busy. And you can now have your own band at home.
Music gear are stage speakers, sound equipment, DJ equipment, amplifiers, microphones, speakers, etc. Actually music gear includes both musical instruments and equipment. There are various major companies and labels that serve different regions and markets like Yamaha, Gibson, Marshall, Roland, Crate, Fender, Crown, Pearl, etc. Let us have a look at some of these major players in music gear industry.
- Roland corporation:
Roland Corporation is a Japanese manufacturer of musical instruments. It was founded in the year 1972. It is now one of the leading manufacturers of electronic musical gear. The major products this company manufactures are synthesizers, electronic percussion, digital pianos, and home keyboards.
It is also famous for its microphone models. The various models that this company manufactures are DR 80 C, DR 50, and DR 30 types of dynamic microphones meant for the stage and the studio while CS 15 is a stereo microphone kit.
As regards monitors and speakers, MA 15D, and MA 7A are stereo micro monitors that have the capability to deliver high quality sound in confined recording environment. MA 1EX is incredibly small USB powered speakers. The chief characteristic of the headphones of Roland is that they are flat, and that they provide accurate sound quality and sophisticated visual manifestation with aluminum housing plate.
Yamaha Corporation was founded in the year 1887. It was then a piano and reed organ manufacturer under the name Nippon Gakki Company. Yamaha has grown to become the largest manufacturer of musical instruments around the world.
The various Yamaha speakers are an enormous success in the digital music world. The microphones include 3 way, 2 way, large, small, high power, medium power, and other variations. There are also switch able, single amp and bi amp drive models.
Shure Incorporated, based in the United States and founded in the year 1925, mainly manufactures microphones and other audio equipment. Initially the company was under The Shure Radio Company named Sidney Shure. Till 1933 the company manufactured only radio systems. Their field expanded when they started manufacturing microphones, phonograph cartridges, mixers, digital signal processing and most recently headphones. They are also known for winning the Grammy award.
The SM and Beta series of dynamic and condenser microphones manufactured by Shure are very well known in the music gear industry. The SM series microphones are used world wide for live vocals, and vocal reproduction for guitar, drums, bass instruments, etc.
The KSM series of microphones are mainly used in studio recording. The microphones of Shure are popular because they are comparatively inexpensive, sound good and extremely durable. The 55SH series II microphone that was manufactured in the early fifties is still popular among musicians and radio personalities.
It is a brand for professional music and recording equipment like mixing consoles, loudspeakers, studio monitors, digital recording equipment, etc. Mackie is probably best known for its mixers. It provides the full surround mixing and monitoring capabilities, professional digital production console with selectable operation, built in control for pro tools, etc.
The list of brands is very extensive in the music gear industry. But the ultimate goal or objective of every company is to provide good equipment at a very low rate.
Synthesizers are sound modifying and reproducing units. They can be either installed on a computer system or be physical like the classical synthesizers produced by Yamaha. Synthesizers help in modifying music to make it better, reproduce voice or analyze and come up with a completely different thing all together from the original.
There are 2 basic kinds of synthesizers: analog and digital. Many synthesis methods however exist which apply to both the above types of synthesizers. All these methods tend to be mathematically related for example, frequency modulation and phase modulation.
Some of these types are Subtractive synthesis, Additive synthesis, granular synthesis and wavetable synthesis.
The first true electronic musical synthesizer was invented by Relish Gray in 1876. While working at his telephone invention, Gray discovered that he could control sound from a self vibrating electromagnetic circuit and in doing so invented a basic single note oscillator. After this, synthesizers were controlled by early electronic analog computers and old electronic musical instruments. In 1950, RCA produced experimental devices to synthesize both voice and music. The giant Mark II Music Synthesizer could however synthesize only when it was programmed for a musical or voice performance.
Most modern synthesizers are however digital in nature. They are controlled by what is known as a digital signal processor or DSP. Some digital synthesizers are software that can modify sound using our daily computer machines.
The earliest digital synthesis was performed by software installed on huge main frame computers. Today, various complicated software exist that use the DSP technique to give you a taste of the real thing. They can even reproduce the classical analog synthesizers.
So how are synthesizers used? Well, in many ways. As modern technology evolved, uses have been found for synthesizers. Today synthesis is used to produce high quality music, movies and even voice packages. Groups as early as the Beatles used synthesis techniques in their work. They were followed by the hugely popular Pink Floyd.
Synthesizers are today used also to produce human simulated speech for call centers and multinational companies. People with visual impairments use this technology through a text to speech software that gives them access to modern computers making them independent. Dictation software like the Dragon naturally speaking also uses speech synthesis.
So how do synthesizers reproduce human voice? Voice synthesis is a fascinating topic. A recorded sample of a human voice can be modified so that it is completely different from the original. The sample can be used to generate codes that can be fed into a computer system to give it a voice. In movies, voice modification is done through digital synthesizers to give new and astounding speech to sci fi characters.
Synthesizers are a part of us today. They help us in every aspect of our lives. Starting from your washing machine to the latest robotics every one uses some form of synthesis with the help of digital synthesizing software. Musical instruments can be reproduced on your personal computer allowing you to become the next great artist without even learning to play. They can simulate and reproduce human voice allowing for great software like screen readers, speech recognition and other new and amazing packages.
All toy companies are eager to grow sales in a stagnant $22 billion market, they want to know which toys are “hot” for the year. Invariably, the toy trends for the year are strongly influenced by movies being released that year. This year, there are some awesome icons vying for our attention – Indiana Jones, the Incredible Hulk, Iron Man and Batman. Aside from these superheroes, the hot toy trends for 2008 also include dinosaurs, robots, musical toys and of course, web connected toys!
Aside from these, “Electronics and the Internet. That’s what kids are obsessed about today,” said Jim Silver, editor and co-publisher of Toy Wishes magazine. “They have an iPod, they are on Facebook and some are e-mailing by age five.”
1. Web Connected Toys
IToysWe all know and love Webkinz, the pioneer of the “virtual toy” revolution. Webkinz is still doing very well and now has been joined by several other toy manufacturers. Russ’s Shining Stars, TY Girlz, Barbie and now even TY’s Beanie Babies. Aside from dolls and plush toys, there’s a brand new preschool game which nicely incorporates play and technology. It’s called Me2 from IToys. Also worth noting is Clickables, a wonderful line of toys from Technosource. Clickables integrates the virtual world of Disney Fairies with toys for girls. There are a lot of other web connected toys and dolls. My collegue, the Doll Collecting guide, has a great article up on the virtual doll trend.
2. Dinosaur Toys Dinosaurs have been around for a while now, (remember the very recent Pleo?), but they certainly made their presence felt at the Toy Fair! Here is one dinosaur which was hard to miss – Kota the Triceratops from Playskool. This friendly creature is pretty tall at approximately 40 feet and is equipped with sensors, which when activated, make him move his head, tail and horns. Kids will enjoy sitting on this playful (and very pricey) creature. Another dino in the spotlight comes to use from Mattel. D-Rex, a remote controlled dinosaur with a lot of different sounds and realistic motions aims to fascinate kids this year.
3. Indiana Jones Toys
HasbroIndiana Jones is really something to look forward to this year. The movie Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull is slated to be one of the hot movies of 2008. It’s no wonder then, that Lego, Hasbro and the rest have jumped onto Indy’s bandwagon! The plot of the movie isn’t yet revealed fully. Still, Lego had some wonderful sets based on Indiana Jones. The Indiana Jones LEGO sets include Indiana Jones Temple Escape, Indiana Jones Race for the Stolen Treasure, Indiana Jones and the Lost Tomb and Indiana Jones Motorcycle Chase. Some of Hasbro’s Indiana Jones offerings include Mr Potato Head: Taters of the Lost Ark, Indiana Jones Sound FX Whip and of course Indiana Jones action figures.
4. Science and Nature Related Toys
Jakks PacificI noticed a large variety of Science Kits and nature themed toys at this year’s Toy Fair. Elmers (the glue company) had some really cool science kits represented by Bill Nye, the science guy. Scientific Explorer had a lot of fun kits to offer where kids can experiment with fascinating stuff like bubbles, perfumes, volcanoes and more. The biggie in the science category is none other than EyeClops from Jakks Pacific, which has updated versions(read night vision and higher magnification) available. Also, Uncle Milton of the Ant Farm fame had some cool Indiana Jones based products to show.
5. Batman – The Dark Knight Toys
MattelThe new Batman movie, The Dark Knight is slated to be released later this year. Mattel has a host of Batman related toys and action figures up their sleeve. The Stealth Batmobile and the Wayne Tech Tri Fire Blaster are must haves. Apart from those two, there are a lot of pretend play options and Batman action figures from Mattel. Lego also has some great Batman themed construction sets for release this year.
6. Speed Racer Toys
MattelSpeed Racer is another big movie franchise on which Mattel has a great lineup of toys. I know that Hot Wheels has a Morph Mach 6 vehicle and an interactive helmet to offer as well as the Speed Racer Sky Jump Track Set among other toy vehicles. The movie should spark off a craze for racing and toy cars which is going to be huge. Lego also had some great Speed Racer kits on display at Toy Fair. Personally, I think this is THE franchise to watch out for.
7. Animated Toys/Robots
Fisher-PriceOk, so by now everyone must have heard of Elmo Live, right? Well, the animated toy trend seems to be very prevalent this year with Elmo Live, Hasbro’s Biscuit, Playskool’s Kota the Triceratops, Tomy’s ISobot and more. While I’m on the topic, let me mention that I just previewed an adorable duckling from Hasbro’s Furreal Friends line – it’s too cute for words. Just like me, it seems like everyone enjoys seeing animated animals nowadays!
8. Iron Man Toys
HasbroHasbro has a fantastic line of action figures based on the Iron Man. This is another movie franchise for this year which is going to be popular with Marvel fans.
9. Green Toys
It’s no wonder that everyone is focusing on healthy and safe play this year. The “green” theme is predominant with many toy firms promoting their eco-friendly products. One toy manufacturer which I really liked was Plan toys from Indonesia which had a wonderful lineup of natural wooden toys. There were some toys made out of recycled milk bottles from a company called Green Toys. They had tea sets, gardening sets and beach sand sets on display which looked very appealing. I also noticed the Kapla line of wooden construction planks which falls into the “green” category as well. 12. Classic Toys – Lots of Anniversaries!
10. The Incredible Hulk Toys
HasbroThe Hulk was at a lot of places at Toy Fair 2008. I specially loved the Kid Designs line of Hulk laptops and learning toys. Hasbro has a fantastic lineup of Hulk toys including the much awaited Hulk Smash Hands, a plush animated Hulk toy, conventional Hulk action figures, a Hulk power glow electronic mask, a Hulk dart blaster and much more. Looks like “green” is popular in more ways than one!
11. Musical Toys
KID Designs For the last couple of years, toys based on musical instruments have really grown in popularity. Remember Piano Wizard, Piano Made Easy, I Can Play Guitar, Guitar Hero and the other toys on similar lines? This, along with musical toys based on celebrities like Hannah Montana and hit TV shows like American Idol practically dominated the musical toy scene. This year, the trend continues with some more Hannah Montana toys, new DVD games based on American Idol (KIDDesigns has an awesome American Idol DVD game) and much more. Stay tuned. (pun not intended)
12. Keyboard for toddlers, Wallcrawler Spiderman
The portable DVD player is made to withstand a kid’s abuse. It features a 3.2-inch color TFT screen, rechargeable batteries with a two-hour lifespan, an anti-skip buffer, grip handles and a stand for hands-free viewing. The player, which plays DVDs and CDs, comes with a battery charger and wall power unit, a video output jack, and a headphone jack.
13. Wall Crawler Spider-Man
“Wall Crawler Spider-Man” is a standout innovation from Hasbro. The remote-controlled Spider-Man toy, which incorporates vacuum-pump technology, actually crawls ups and down walls.
Last, but not the least, classic toys are very much in the forefront. This year, many classics were celebrating their anniversaries. Hasbro’s My Little Pony celebrated their 25th anniversary with a lovely birthday party at the Hasbro showroom, complete with a cake cutting! Cabbage Patch Kids celebrates it’s 25th anniversary as well. The LEGO brick celebrates its 50th anniversary with a commemorative gold brick. Other brands celebrating this year include Scholastic’s Clifford, the big red dog, the Toy Company’s Wham-O and Mary Meyer (who is turning 75 this year). We’ll wind up with congratulating Hasbro’s Mr Potato Head who is turning 80 this year. Way to go!