Thursday, June 24, 2010

Benefits of Recreational Music Making

Dr. Barry MD, the Yamaha Music and Wellness Institute’s president and CEO, oversees both clinical and laboratory studies for Yamaha. Among the researchers’ findings: “recreational music-making” modulates natural killer cell activity in the body, a marker of immune response, and reduces stress as evidenced by changes in cells at the molecular level. 

Anyone who plays music knows about its positive effects first-hand. So, why go to the trouble to prove its benefits scientifically? Because only 7.6% of the U.S. adult population plays a musical instrument.   

Dr. Bittman thinks that musical instruments could be more widely used in health care settings to reduce stress, improve mood, lower blood pressure, and possibly affect the course of many diseases including cancer and heart disease. At Yamaha, we define recreational music making as music-based activities that unite people of all ages and musical experience. These activities provide exercise, social support, bonding, spirituality, intellectual stimulation, an ability to cope with life’s challenges – it is creative expression that unites body, mind and spirit

We couldn't agree more.  Click here to read the full article by Leah Garnett then make some music today and feel better!

Monday, June 21, 2010

Open Q&A with MusickEd Staff

We settled into the bosses office for about an hour of Q&A from MusickEd users around the world. Little did we know what an interesting, diverse and curious group of people they are. Here are a few excerpts from our Webinar:

Kate from North Bergen New Jersey had several questions about saxophone fingerings.  Kate hasn't purchased the software yet but she was excited to have a chance to talk to Eugene, our resident sax expert. 
Kate -  I need the fingerings for G F and E on saxophone.

Eugene MusickEd - G is 3 fingers of the left hand only. 

Kate -  OK, what about F and E?  

Eugene MusickEd F is G plus the first finger of the right hand, and E adds the next finger of RH. 

Kate - That makes sense. How about the higher E F and G notes?

Eugene MusickEd - High G, F and E are the same as the low but add the left thumb by rolling onto the octave key.  Are you using our software?  We have great fingering charts!

Kate - No I haven't purchased it yet.  What books do you recommend?

Eugene MusickEd - OUR SOFTWARE!  I use it with every one of my students. It has replaced all of the outdated books I've used over the years and my students love it.  I'm not just saying that!  You can try it free for a day and see for yourself.  The fingering charts can be easily accessed from the song pages in step 3. 

Kate - OK I might give it a try.  Thanks I can't believe you guys are real and answering questions for free.

Eugene MusickEd - lol...You're welcome

Alex lives outside of Tacoma, Washington and found us from the Bing search engine. He had some great comments and a few esoteric questions.
Alex - I love the Kore Series.  I played clarinet years ago and wanted to pick it back up. There aren't any teachers in my area so this is perfect for me.   

Bob MusickEd - Thanks Alex, you're just the kind of guy we wanted to reach!

Alex - What was the hardest part of writing the software?

MusickEd -  It's like writing a novel with 10 other people. The process can get bogged down. Finally we had to make some tough decisions about what stayed and what went. After that, the process ran lots more smoothly.

Mike MusickEd -  It was hard to get the right combination of people in the right 'seats of the bus'.  Once we figured that out, the process of putting all the components through the meat grinder was streamlined down so that now we can create content, add it, edit it and publish very quickly. 

Alex - Those are interesting comments. I thought your answers might have been about more tech related difficulties.  How many people contributed? Are they all right there in Dallas?

Gary MusickEd - The staff here consists of 4 full time and about 8 or 9 part timers and everyone has a job (or 5!) to do.  We even have some people who were once on campus now working for us 'virtually' from Denver, Austin and Gettysburg PA.  

Alex - well the product is very good. Keep up the great work.

Hank joined the Webinar late but we can forgive him. He comes from Darwin Australia which we were told, is the most happening city in the 'northern territory'. We were afraid he was going to ask about didgeridoo software, but his interests are even more bizarre than that. Read on:
Hank - am I on?

Eugene MusickEd - yessir hello Hank - we see you are from OZ - should we say g'day?

Hank - hello yes!  I am interested in learning oboe.  I think it's a brilliant instrument. Is it difficult to get started?

Eugene MusickEd - well it's not as easy as some other instruments to be honest, but if you have a passion for it we say go for it!

Hank - Does the program start from the very beginning?

Eugene MusickEd - Yes.. we actually have videos that show how to take the instrument out of the case and put it together...that's an art in and of itself with oboe. 

Hank - I also collect vintage audio equipment, 2 track recorders, audio-technica turntables etc... Do you have any access to this kind of equipment?

Gary - No that's not our area of expertise Hank.  Though over the years we have had a few folks donate some old equipment to our school.  I guess we should check our storage..maybe there is some vintage stuff in there?

Hank - indeed you may have some treasures.  There is a large group of people who collect audio equipment. I am traveling to an audio trade show in September where I hope to swap for a Luxman receiver circa 1971.

Gary - well good luck Hank and when you are ready for oboe please remember our curriculum.  You can even try it free for a day.

Hank went on for a while about his self described 'audio addiction' and he really had us chuckling.  It's fun to hear what our users are passionate about and how wide a net is cast in the world of music.