Saturday, November 30, 2013

Week 100 - "Whales Weep Not!"

This is a song I composed for a one-minute song contest, using an excerpt from the poem "Whales Weep Not!" by D.H. Lawrence.

They say the sea is cold, but the sea contains
the hottest blood of all, and the wildest, the most urgent.

All the whales in the wider deeps, hot are they, as they urge
on and on, and dive beneath the icebergs.
There they blow, there they blow, hot wild white breath out of the sea!

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Week 99 - Self-Basting Turkey

This song is based on a Facebook status by my friend Michael Paul Mitchell.  It is my first experiment in composing a six-second song for Vine.

A self-basting turkey is nothing more than a turkey you have to baste yourself!

Saturday, November 16, 2013

New Study Shows that Children Who Take Music Lessons Know More about Music

By Samuel Stokes, Ph.D.

In a landmark study, I have recently concluded that students who take music lessons are more likely to know a wide variety of things about music, particularly compared to other children who have not studied music.  Working from the theory that students will learn about music if they receive music lessons, I have tested this hypothesis with every music student that I have taught over the last fifteen years.  The results were astoundingly unanimous – every student to whom I have given music lessons has known more about music after they began than when they started.

The correlations were uncanny – if I taught a student about percussion rudiments, it resulted in the student knowing percussion rudiments; if I taught piano scale fingerings, the student would consequently know piano scale fingerings.  It seems that everything that I taught them about music would result in the student knowing and understanding something about music.

Although it may be difficult to imagine, MRI scans have shown that participating in music lessons activates key parts of the brain that are used to learn and understand music.  This may be part of the reason that children who take music lessons seem to perform better when playing music than their peers that have not taken music lessons.

In fact, evidence would further suggest that adults who took music lessons as a child also know more about music than other adults that never took music lessons, helping the former group to understand and appreciate music in a way that the latter group does not understand.

From this study, I can conclude that if you would like for your children to be good at music, then taking music lessons is the right choice.  Does it help them develop language, math, or critical thinking skills, as well?  Maybe, but we can be certain that by taking music lessons, your children will gain knowledge and skills that will help them be more proficient at music.

Friday, November 15, 2013

Week 98 - "Sulu: Master of Navigation"

This is a tribute to Sulu from the original Star Trek series portrayed by George Takei, using the original theme by Alexander Courage, and partly inspired by the William Shatner monologue included in the video.

Sulu, is anyone greater?
A prime-time starship navigator.
And when the course is plotted and laid in,
Scotty can engage the warp engine,
But no one can go anywhere,
'til someone who sits at the helm chair
points the ship in the right direction
Like you do, Sulu.

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Week 97 - "Parasite Hotel"

ALF sings this song on the episode "Keepin' the Faith."  However, he only sings three lines and I always wondered what the rest of it might sound like, so I finished the A section and then composed a new bridge.

I played the entire part on the piano so it would be consistent through the piece.  I played it at the exact tempo that ALF played it, so I could sync it with the video more easily.  Then I clipped the audio of the three lines that ALF sings and tried my best to filter out the piano on the original audio, so I could blend it with my audio.  Finally, I added the other vocal tracks and mixed it,

I just checked into the Parasite Hotel.
They ain't got a porter or a bell.
I checked into that Parasite Hotel.
And now I'm so lonely, so lonely,
But there ain't no other place I can dwell.

Millions of miles from my planet of birth.
And nowhere to hang my hat.
Now I'm a freeloading scum of the earth.
Don't even have a dime to buy a cat.

I just checked into the Parasite Hotel.
They ain't got a porter or a bell.
I checked into that Parasite Hotel.
And now I'm so lonely, so lonely,
But there ain't no other place I can dwell.