Power of Music in Parkinson’s

This is just astounding.

There must be so many other instances, which we have not yet discovered, where music has the unique power to unlock and overcome problems in our physical bodies, minds and emotions. Thank You for the music!

My top five – most viewed in 2016

thanksWordPress.com users published more than 595 million posts in 2016.  That’s slightly more than I managed to publish, but I do love the way much of my older content continues to be useful and encouraging to people all over the globe. Here are my top 5 most viewed posts this year. If you have only just followed me, you might like to check out why they are still popular. 

5. How to Encourage your music team even when you’re not the leader
How great would it be if every single player and singer and sound technician took up the opportunity to positively influence the way their team functions. Consider the following list, 10 ways team players can be more encouraging members of their music team. . .

4. All of Creation Sing with me now, the veil is torn
Without being zapped or burnt to a crisp we sinful humans can now see the “glory of God in the face of Christ” (2 Cor 4:6). Mercy Me’s song All of Creation gets quite a mention as well.

3. The Conundrum of Keys, Capos and Congregational Singing
This post contains four rules of thumb that I find work well when selecting singable and playable keys for church singing.

2. The Cross Has Made You Flawless
This post generated quite a lot of discussion – around the song Flawless. See what you think. In Christ we stand before our heavenly Father as perfect, flawless people. We are wrapped up in Christ’s righteousness.

1. Never Alone
This most viewed post shares a congregational song, Never Alone. It has a simple melody (great for church singing) and the lyrics bring such comfort. Christ is with us! We are not alone . . . no matter how alone we may feel.
“And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”
(NLT Matthew 28:20)

Thanks for reading in 2016! Merry Christmas!

Ros

 

Setlists for Christmas

christmas-tree-sheet-musicWorship Together recently posted a series of Advent and Christmas songs as set lists to mix and match. They include traditional carols as well as recent praise and worship songs. You can watch a New Song Cafe video and play along with the charts! I hope you find something useful for your service planning. Blessings!

Set List #1

Hark! The Herald Angels Sing (Glory In The Highest) // Rend Collective

Looking For A Savior // United Pursuit

O Come, O Come Emmanuel // Crowder

We Have A Savior // Hillsong Worship

 Set List #2

Emmanuel (God With Us Forever) // Bryan and Katie Torwalt

Angels (Singing Gloria) // Matt Redman

Adore // Chris Tomlin

When Hope Came Down // Kari Jobe

Set List #3

Even So Come // Passion

Give Me Jesus // Jeremy Camp

He Shall Reign Forevermore // Chris Tomlin

O Come Let Us Adore Him // Hillsong Worship

Set List #4

Hearts Waiting (Joy To The World) // Matt Redman

A King Like This // Chris Tomlin

O Holy Night (O Night Divine) // Rend Collective

We Have Come // United Pursuit

 

http://www.worshiptogether.com/blog/advent-2016/

Image from https://au.pinterest.com/explore/sheet-music-crafts/

Why you should keep practising your instrument 

I found this set of eight helpful suggestions for finding time to enjoy practising your instrument. I’m sure we could all use the encouragement to keep learning skills and enjoying the gifts we have developed.

healthy habits

1. Sight read often 

Believe it or not, sight reading can be fun. Not convinced? Dig out your old grade books from two or three grades back and try playing through a few of the pieces you didn’t learn at the time. Not only is this good sight reading practice, it’s a good way to reacquaint yourself with your instrument if you’ve taken some time off over summer. PLUS you’ll learn new repertoire that you might enjoy AND you’ll give yourself a confidence boost by sight reading music you once thought was impossible.

 

2. Don’t separate theory from repertoire

 Time’s up! Another lesson or practice session has come to an end and, alas, there was no time for theory. Don’t sweat it! Make musical theory a part of your everyday practice and lessons. Stop playing briefly and analyse one passage of your sonata. Grab your smartphone and check that you know all the definitions for the Italian terms in your piece. Play on and ask yourself ‘what key am I in? What relationship is this key to the original key?’

 

Spend a lot of time online? (Answer: ‘Yes!’) Sacrifice just 10 minutes of precious internet browsing time to do a lesson or a test from an online theory course once a week. You’ll be a theory guru in no time. 

 

3. Compose 

We all have memories of that time we were playing around on our instrument, came up with a brilliant riff, never wrote it down and learned the true meaning of regret. Are you the next Brahms? Maybe not. Do you have great ideas that other people might like to hear? Absolutely. Keep a pencil and a manuscript or manglescript pad with you while you practice.

 

Ideas don’t often strike out of the blue like a bolt of lightning (especially in this drought-ridden country!) – so write them down if they do! Then you can spend some time working them into something more substantial through ongoing exploration and experimentation. Working on your own musical ideas can also be a great way of really engaging with the sound that you are making, sparking musical ideas for your other repertoire.

 

Insightful Clara Schumann says, ‘There is nothing greater than the joy of composing something oneself and then listening to it.’ 

 

4. Record yourself 

A recording device may be one of the most effective practice tools and most students just aren’t using one regularly. There is no need for fancy gear, microphones or studio set-up; recording is for personal use only! Your smartphone, tablet, laptop or handheld digital recorder will work just fine.

 

Recording yourself puts you in the teacher’s or examiner’s chair, helping you to listen critically to your own playing. How would you rate your pitch, articulation, phrasing, tone quality and overall performance? Make a conscious change to your performance, record and evaluate again. As musicians, there is often a significant disconnect between what we feel we are creating and what we actually produce on our instruments.  Recording is an important reality check and benchmark and the best tool for students who are eager to see practice results first-hand – even if it is a little scary at first!

 

5. Master the short-and-focused practice session

berstein

You don’t have to wait for a two-hour window to appear in your schedule in order to sit down with your instrument or work on your voice. Long practice sessions can be great for building stamina, but sometimes more can be achieved with multiple short sessions in which you set out to achieve one particular goal. Keep track of your goals and your targeted practice in your practice diary.

 

Clever Leonard Bernstein says, ‘To achieve great things, two things are needed; a plan, and not quite enough time.’ 

 

6. Listen to great recordings 

“Have students listen to fine performances of the pieces, even before you begin teaching it” advised Glenn Riddle to teachers at last week’s Piano Series 17workshop in Melbourne. Between concerts, recitals, studies and everything else life throws at us, most of us don’t spend enough time just listening for the sake of listening. 

 

Listening to music is not only an inherently pleasurable experience, it is also an incredibly beneficial exercise for the brain. A recent study from UC Berkeleyfound that listening to familiar and unfamiliar music ‘increased interaction between the nucleus accumbens and higher, cortical structures of the brain involved in pattern recognition, musical memory, and emotional processing.’ That certainly sounds convincing!

 

Listening to repertoire before or as you learn a piece can help to inspire you, give you ideas for your own phrasing and interpretation and allow you to see the piece from another performer’s perspective. Grab a recording of your exam repertoire from iTunes or Spotify, plug in your earphones and talk a walk outside. You never know what details you might hear!

 

7. Go to concerts 

Seeing a live classical music performance is insanely exciting… the nerves, the spectacle, the variety, the triumph! So why do we so often save concert-going for ‘special occasions’ or one-off experiences? It is easy to think of concerts as expensive ventures or special-occasion experiences, but this is not necessarily the case!

 

Google your local university music department and attend one of their (usually free) lunchtime concerts. Most professional concerts also offer discounted student tickets or last-minute ‘student rush’ tickets. Even better, have a soirée-of-sorts with your musical friends. Get an opportunity to practice performing in front of others, support your friends and be introduced to a lot of great music!

 

8. Have fun!

john cage

Remember that all of your hard work is really aimed at making it easier to get your instrument or voice to do what you want it to do. From time to time, play around with the sounds you can make – beautiful sounds, ugly sounds, funny sounds and sad sounds! Get up close and personal with your instrument (or voice) and experiment away. If you’re not enjoying playing or singing at the moment, maybe you just need to reacquaint yourself with the joy of making sound. Learning music is challenging but should also be fun and rewarding. 

 

 

Happy John Cage says, ‘Be happy whenever you can manage it. Enjoy yourself. It’s lighter than you think.’ 

 

Upgrade your practice with these simple tips.

 

 

 

http://www.ameb.edu.au/8-simple-music-hacks

The Music of the Written Word

This is a short demonstration of the power and music of words. If you are a blog writer you should enjoy this!

FIVE WORDS
This sentence has five words. Here are five more words. Five-word sentences are fine. But several together become monotonous. Listen to what is happening. The writing is getting boring. The sound of it drones. It’s like a stuck record. The ear demands some variety. Now listen. I vary the sentence length, and I create music. Music. The writing sings. It has a pleasant rhythm, a lilt, a harmony. I use short sentences. And I use sentences of medium length. And sometimes, when I am certain the reader is rested, I will engage him with a sentence of considerable length, a sentence that burns with energy and builds with all the impetus of a crescendo, the roll of the drums, the crash of the cymbals–sounds that say listen to this, it is important.

Gary Provost, quoted in Roy Peter Clark’s (terrific) Writing Tools

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The blessing of songs from across the sea!

ocean

12 Apostles – Great Ocean Road Victoria Australia

Thanks to Tim Challies for a recent post on his blog entitled “Songs we sing that you probably don’t”. His aim was to share some lesser known songs that have greatly blessed his church. This got me thinking, since most followers of SevenNotes are not from Australia (and I am) there are probably many songs that have become popular here that you are missing out on! What follows is my attempt to cover the best offerings for congregational singing which we have enjoyed from Australian songwriters in the last decade or so. Most of the lead sheets will be available through Song Select (CCLI) and part or full recordings of the songs are on the net. In fact, I have compiled a playlist on Spotify called Church Songs Australia where you can find them all! I will start with most recent and work backwards (and if I have already shared something on one of them, I’ll send you to that post to explore). Clicking on song titles below will take you to an mp3 and sheet music (most of the time). (NOTE: I’ve just discovered EMU’s homepage is down at the moment so some of the links may not work! Sorry – should be fixed soon.)

OVERFLOWED, NO OTHER NAME, SEE THE MAN (all 3 by Trevor Hodgehttp://www.trevorhodgemusic.com/

MY SAVIOUR’S CROSS (Rob Smith 2013)

GRACE HAS NOW APPEARED (Rob Smith 2012)

THIS LIFE I LIVE (Michael Morrow)

UNDIVIDED (Rob Smith)

STRONGER (Reuben Morgan)

HOLDING ON TO ME (Garage Hymnal)

COME HEAR THE ANGELS SING & WE BELONG TO THE DAY (Michael Morrow)

NEVER ALONE (Phillip Percival and Simone Richardson)

HALLELUJAH TO THE KING OF KINGS (Marl Peterson)

SEE HIM COMING (Mark Peterson)

WE ARE HIS PEOPLE (Phillip Percival)

HIGHEST PLACE (Mark Peterson)

MAY THE MIND OF CHRIST MY SAVIOUR (Words: Katie Barclay Wilkinson 1859-1928. Music: © 1997 Mark Peterson)

Most Influential Blogger Award

I’d like to thank John Mark Miller at The Artistic Christian for nominating me for the Most Influential Blogger Award!

Most Influential Blogger BadgeIf you enjoy posts about Art, Culture and Life from a Christian Perspective, then you should visit his blog. I’m sure you would enjoy it!

http://theartisticchristian.wordpress.com/welcome-to-the-artistic-christian/

Award Guidelines

Here are the guidelines for acceptance – really very straightforward.
To accept this award, the awardees must do the following:
1. Display the Award on your Blog.
2. Announce your win with a blog post and thank the Blogger who awarded you.
3. Present 10 deserving Bloggers with the Award.
4. Link your awardees in the post and let them know of their being awarded with a comment (or a pingback).
5. Include an embedded video of your current favorite song (YouTube has almost everything, just copy and paste the link into your WordPress editor). If a video is not possible you can embed a SoundCloud track.

My Favorite Song

At the moment I’m really enjoy listening to the album WORTH IT ALL by Meredith Andrews. This song, PIECES, is a goodie!

My List of Most Influential Bloggers!

It’s my privilege to introduce you to some talented bloggers who I believe are Most Influential Bloggers. I hope you enjoy their writing as much as I do:

1. Nick at MOUTHFUL OF GOSPEL http://nickmorrowmusic.com/

2. Bryan at BRYAN PATTERSON’S FAITHWORKS http://bryanpattersonfaithworks.wordpress.com/

3. Mel at IN MY FATHER’S HOUSE http://melwild.wordpress.com/

4. Rob at MERE INKLING http://mereinkling.wordpress.com/

5. Nathan at NATHAN MILLICAN’S BLOG  http://nathanmillican.com/

6. Deidre at CRUSTY BREAD http://crustybreadblog.com/

7. Anna at A JOURNEY OF FAITH http://daughterbydesign.wordpress.com/

8. Lori at A DISPLAY OF HIS SPLENDOR http://adisplayofsplendor.com/

9. Justin at EMBRACING GOD’S GRACE http://jmeyerksu.wordpress.com/

10. Belinda at GRACE AND TRUTH http://graceandtruth.me/about/

Frozen instruments…..who knew?

TimLinhartIceMusic1iceviolinHere is an amazing post I found – testimony to the endless and surprising creativity of musical people:

“Many artists these days are finding brilliant ways to create with ice. In the past, we’ve seen incredibly complex maze-like castles, ice hotels, and colorful ice forts. Yet in that long list of creations, we have yet to see musical instruments—until now. Located in Luleå, Sweden, Ice Music is a chilly new art form where musicians dress warmly in winter coats and hats and play instruments carved out of ice.

Paying great attention to the delicate details of each piece, Ice Music founder and ice artist Tim Linhart builds, by hand, instruments including violin, viola, cello, contrabass, banjo, mandolin, guitar, drum kit and xylophone. Due to the fragile nature of the sculpted objects, some of the instruments are secured to the ceiling with rope while the musicians play. This prevents any accidental damage if the instrument slips out of a musician’s hand during a performance.

The concerts take place in a wintery igloo with glowing lights cast all around. Within the enclosed, rounded space, the elegant music consumes the audience in an explosion of sound. The igloo maintains a constant temperature of 23ºF so it is recommended that any attendees wear at least three layers of clothing plus gloves and a hat. The beautiful sounds and the enchanting light show make up for the chilly temperatures, creating a wonderful atmosphere that celebrates what the website describes as the “winter spirit of Swedish Lapland.” Click on the link below to LISTEN to the music!

http://www.mymodernmet.com/profiles/blogs/tim-linhart-ice-music

You are the Music – Book Preview

You are the Music demy.inddYou Are the Music: How Music Reveals What it Means to be Human
by Victoria Williamson

A deft, unique exploration of how music makes us who we are, throughout our lives.

This looks like an interesting book for anyone interested in music and the power it wields in the human experience.  I don’t yet have a copy, but I will certainly be seeking it out. Here is a little taste of the subject matter (taken from Good Reads):

‘You are the music / While the music lasts’
T.S. Eliot, The Four Quartets

“Do babies remember music from the womb? Can classical music increase your child’s IQ? Is music good for productivity? Can it aid recovery from illness and injury? And what is going on in your brain when Ultravox’s ‘Vienna’, Schoenberg’s Verklärte Nacht or Dizzee Rascal’s ‘Bonkers’ transports you back to teenage years?

In a brilliant new work that will delight music lovers of every persuasion, music psychologist Victoria Williamson examines our relationship with music across the whole of a lifetime.
Along the way she reveals the amazing ways in which music can physically reshape our brains, explores how ‘smart music listening’ can improve cognitive performance, and considers the perennial puzzle of what causes ‘earworms’.

Requiring no specialist musical or scientific knowledge, this upbeat, eye-opening book reveals as never before the extent of the universal language of music that lives deep inside us all.”

Paperback, 272 pages
Expected publication: March 6th 2014 by Icon Books
original title:You Are the Music: How Music Reveals What it Means to be Human
ISBN13 9781848316539

Snowflakes – who knew?

macro-photography-snowflakes-alexey-kljatov-2While the Southern Hemisphere swelters in humidity and great overdoses of sunshine, our friends in the North get to enjoy a spectacular reminder of our Creator’s intricate designs. These snowflakes are magnificent – though at times I suppose they can cause chaos and lots of work. Whether you are neck deep in snow, or not, I’m sure you’ll enjoy these macro snowflake images!

“As fascinating as macro photography is, most of us think we can’t do it because it requires specialized equipment. Russian photographer Alexey Kljatov, however, is an inspiration to aspiring amateur photographers everywhere – he created a home-made rig capable of capturing stunning close-up pictures of snowflakes out of old camera parts, boards, screws and tape. His pictures give us an enchanting close-up view of snowflakes that we could never hope for without specialized equipment.

The wonderful thing about snowflakes is that no two are alike. Their extraordinary diversity diversity stems from the many small changes in temperature and humidity that they experience while freezing on their way down to the ground. Their six-sided symmetry occurs because the crystalline structure of ice is also hexagonal. All of these many factors come together to create beautiful shapes that are almost always unique.

Kljatov’s rig creates the sort of photos that might otherwise require lenses or other equipment worth hundreds or thousands of dollars. And the pictures he creates with this rig look absolutely amazing. For more information about how he did it, check out his blog post.

Stunning Close-Ups of Snowflakes by Alexey Kljatov