Video of the Week: "Play Me, I'm Yours: New York 2010"

This week's Video of the Week comes from New York City.  60 pianos have been scattered all over New York City this summer for the "Play Me, I'm Yours" art project.  Each day from 9am-10pm anyone can try there hand at making music, both professionals and amateurs alike.  Each of these pianos has also been turned into a free standing art piece as well.  Presented by Sing for Hope the pianos are located in public parks, streets and plazas and will be available until the 5th of July for members of the public to play and engage with.  For more information check out this article in the New York Times.  Enjoy! 


Quote of the Week "There is nothing that is..."

“There is nothing that is a more sure sign of insanity than to do the same thing over and over and expect the results to be different.”  


Musical Q & A

I was interviewed last year for the December/January issue of Enhance Magazine of Kansas City for a story on enhancing your mind and body through music.  They were looking to provide information and inspiration to make music a bigger part of their reader's lives.  I eagerly awaited my copy of the magazine so I could see how I had been quoted but I was sad to learn that nowhere was I mentioned and the feature changed a bit to focus more on music as a part of the healing process.  I thought how sad to let all my good work go to waste when I could be sharing my thoughts with the world.  So, here are some of my answers to the questions prepared by writer/editor, Emily Perkins.  Enjoy!

Why should an adult who doesn't have any experience or knowledge of music maybe give some lessons a chance?  Why would music lessons be a great new hobby to try?
So many people have always wanted to start learning a musical instrument or wished they had kept singing after high school and never did for one reason or another.  Life usually got in the way.  Music is timeless and can be appreciated by people of any age.  The basics of music reading can be learned in few months of consistent practice. 

What have you seen your adult students gain from taking music lessons?
Increased confidence, satisfaction in learning a new skill, and a sense of accomplishment.

What would you say to someone who is scared of taking lessons? Or thinks "they just can't do it..."
Give it a try anyway.  You don't know until you try it.  Give it a month before you decide not to do it again.  It takes that long sometimes to start seeing any results but it is so worth it if you stick with it. 

What would be a good way to get into music? Try one lesson, etc.? 
The most traditional and effective way to study a musical instrument is through private lessons. Private lessons give you the opportunity to enjoy one-on-one instruction with the flexibility of individualized scheduling. You can start from the beginning or build on what you have already learned. It is important for lessons plans to be constructed to fit your learning style and to help you meet your musical goals. No prior music experience is necessary to begin study. Its never to late to start learning!

Why is music so beneficial for the mind, body and spirit?
Learning how to play a musical instrument or honing your craft as a vocalist can help ward off dementia and even Alzheimer's.  It's been said that Learning to read music is like learning another language.  Any new skill you can learn at any time in your life will help to make your mind stronger.  Some people like suduku puzzles and crosswords.  I like to dissect a new piece of music.

Maturing musicians can greatly benefit from beginning regular music study. Studies have shown that regular music lessons can significantly decrease anxiety, depression and even loneliness in most people. These factors are critical in dealing with stress, improving the immune system and bettering our health. Results from these studies show a significant increase in human growth hormones following music lessons. Lack of Human growth hormone is implicated in the aches and pains that many people experience as we age.


Video of the Week: Sarah McLachlan Times Two

This week's video of the week is a two for one. I thought it would be neat to see two videos, one old and one new, from one of my favorite artists, Sarah McLachlan  for a comparison.

“Angel” is one of my all time favorite songs and I had the awesome opportunity to sing it this weekend during a worship service about angels for the first time.  I bought the sheet music in 2001 after I had finished my first full year of college.  That song was my best friend Katie and I's favorite to sing while in the car.  We even got creative and sang harmony parts along with Sarah McLachlan.  Katie died that year in a car accident so this song also has special memories for me.

It took me awhile to decide which version of this song to include today but when I stumbled across a performance with Carlos Santana in 2007 I knew this was the one.  Santana is a fantastic collaborator and lends his musical talent as an accent.

This is a brand new video of the song "Loving You Is Easy"  from her new CD “Laws of Illusion” available right now.  I am loving this fresh, upbeat sound.  This is the first CD in a long time that I might just run out and buy.  Enjoy!


Long Time No See

I know I promised to get back into the groove of writing here on the Elliott Music Studio blog but my schedule has been a bit hectic recently both personally and musicallyI thought for today's update I would share with you some of the highlights.

On June 6th my youngest, Oliver, turned 1 years old.  Our theme was ducks and bubbles.  I had a great time designing his invitation and including some of the lyrics to the rubber ducky song.  We had a really nice time celebrating with family and friends.  I still have a hard time believing that my littlest baby is already one.  Time has really flown for me. 

I continued work this month on the Raytown Arts Council sponsored "Evening of German Lieder - Selections from "Romanzen" in a Recital of Songs on poems of Heinrich Heine".  The Music was composed by Don Forsythe and performed by: Don Forsythe as Bass Baritone, Emily Elliott (me) as Mezzo Soprano and Vania Todorova on Piano.  I had been working on this music off and one for over a year but these last couple weeks were crunch time as we worked to pull it all together.  We performed our evening of German Lieder on Friday, June 18th at the German American Club of Kansas City which is located at the Richards - Gebaur Air Force Base in Belton, MO.  I can't wait to hear the digital recording we were able to get of the performance.  I'm eagerly awaiting my CD. 

During all that time practicing I continued to work on my Music Studio and we started Summer lessons.  Our practice incentive program this summer is our "Have a Ball" practicing contest to see how many days we can practice from June 1st - August 1st.  We will celebrate in August with a fun music party and give out prizes to the winners.
I am active in the music at One Spirit United Methodist Church of Kansas City and have kept up my weekly rehearsal schedule and singing for two services on Sunday.  I have sightread more music in the last couple months than I have done a long time.  Sometimes I just have a couple hours with a song before I have to sing it.  It's been a bit crazy at times but I have learned a lot and have grown as a musician because of it.  I am getting to sing some of my favorite songs that I have always wanted to share with the world which has been fantastic.  Look for some of my recent favorites in upcoming video of the week posts.    

I just love tabbed browsing with color tabs in Firefox.  When I see an article that I want to look into with more detail or a video I want to save for a potential blog post I just open up another tab.  I am notorious for opening dozens of tabs at a time and leaving them up for days until I can go through them.  Yesterday I decided that enough was enough and that I wasn't going to be able to get to all the tabs that had been sitting there for days.  So, I decided to create a link list and share with you the highlights that I so wanted to share.  Enjoy! 

  • "Mane Nobiscum"New CD from the Taizé Community.  "Kyrie 21" is a new favorite. Many of these beautiful songs would make wonderful simple anthems for your church choir.
  • Beat Lab - Lay some tracks and create your own beat and battle with your friends. I had fun checking this out this weekend.
  • Action MethodOrganize your life with this neat online tool and only spend time on what you love and what will help you achieve your goals. Life's too short.
  • Singable Stories - Adding a cool base line to story time. Check out Listen & Learn Music for more great music ideas.


Quote of the Week "Tell me and I will..."

“Tell me and I will forget; show me and I may remember; involve me and I will understand.” 
– Chinese Proverb


Quote of the Week "A Student is almost always..."

“A student is almost always motivated to practice if he leaves his lessons feeling capable”. 
-Frances Clark


Video of the Week: Dive into a Book

Summer Reading Programs have begun and my kids and I have been mapping out our reading plans for the next few months.  Barnes and Nobles, Borders, and Half Price Books have some great incentives to read this year that you should all check out.  Here in Kansas City our Mid-Continent library has a cool program that you can track online.  For the younger kids the theme this year is "Make a Splash and Read."  While doing my online research I came across this week's video of the week brought to you by Mr. Billy, a children's singer / Song Rocker that fits perfectly with this summer's theme.  He is even available to come and help your library celebrate.  Enjoy!    

Dive into a Book Free Download here!


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