Saturday, July 3, 2010

Get It While It's Hot! is launching a 2010 summer special.  The limited time offer will give users access to 20 Lessons from our Kore Series for only $9.95 per month with no minimum.  

President of MusickEd Dr. Bob Lawrence said "We have seen increased traffic coming from all over the world since publishing the new format a few weeks ago.  We are looking forward to quickly building a robust and active user base and this campaign will help our numbers tremendously."  

For now the software remains "ad-free" but prime real estate has been built into the design and users may soon see targeted ads from brands both in and out music. "We will be fairly selective about our partnerships and very careful not to place any ads that might conflict with the learning process. "

Click here to take advantage of this summer special now!

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Student Spotlight - Henry Williams

Henry Williams has been a student at DSM for over 10 years. During that time he has played tenor sax in the DSM Jazz Ensemble and has performed on several recitals and showcases. He also performs for special occasions at his church where he is an active member. 

I was fortunate enough to be invited to attend Henry's retirement luncheon where he was honored for 45 years of service with the United States Government. It was easy to see the mutual respect and admiration of his coworkers, friends and family, many of whom traveled far and wide to attend the celebration.

Although I have seen Henry at his sax lessons each week over the past decade, met his wife Ernesta, and have even been invited to his home for dinner, I learned a few new things about him today.  He was a member of the Special Armed Services of the United States Army and also worked in the Department of Defense at the Naval Shipyards in Philadelphia, PA. He became a Supervisor of Accounting in the Comptroller's Office and a Branch Chief and Senior Negotiator with the Department of of Health and Human Services. He retires as Director of the Central States Field Offices, Department of Cost Allocation. 

Henry and I performed a few songs at the luncheon today and he sounded terrific as always.  Many of the folks in attendance knew he played the saxophone but had never heard him perform.  The program for the event included pictures of things he'll do now that he "has some time"... gardening, saxophone, golf, travel, worship, and simply enjoying family and friends.  After feeling the amount of love in the room there's no doubt Henry will have plenty to keep him busy!

It has been said that the greatest thing about music is the people you meet through it.  I think I can safely speak for all of the faculty and staff of DSM and Musicked when I say that we are blessed to know each and every one of our students. It has been a pleasure working with Henry. I look forward to making many more memories in the coming years! Congratulations Henry!

Monday, June 28, 2010

Euforia - Mixing Art and Music

Every month Rolando Diaz and Seth Simmons create an amazing artistic and musical experience at Euforia Live in Dallas. "Ro" as he is known to friends, is a well traveled Cuban-American artist with a simple artistic philosophy;  "Everything we see, feel, touch, smell and hear, in one way or another, becomes part of the images expressed on the canvas."
Seth Simmons is an award winning pianist/composer who "sees pictures in my head of the pieces I am writing" .  The tones and rhythms used in his blend of classical, pop, jazz and contemporary styles match perfectly with the physical  and emotional movement of Ro's execution at the canvas.  

The two artists have been performing together for 7 years and I was fortunate enough to see this amazing experience last Saturday evening.  The atmosphere in the space was perfect; twinkling lights, glass ornaments, candles and Seth's music sounding in the background set the mood as a full house chatted and took their seats.  The stage held only a grand piano, an easel with a large blank canvas and a small table filled with the well loved tools of a painter.

The artists were introduced and the lights were dimmed.  Seth seemed to meditate into an almost trance-like state and began to play, reaching into the piano to mute the strings creating interesting sounds and a pulsing rhythm that would recur throughout the event.  This seemed to move Ro to enter a realm of his own, slowly swaying, concentrating...imagining . He stood back, stared at the blank space, and waved an empty hand in front of the canvas.  It seemed as if the picture was already there and he was simply re-tracing the movements that were used to create it.  In just a few dizzying minutes Ro had prepared the canvas by covering large areas with a wide brush and using a stippling effect with a wet towel. 

I wondered if the two had pre-arranged the ideas, the timing, and the content?  I learned later that much of the evening was improvised. In fact, at one point Ro simply sat down on the edge of the stage and listened to Seth play for a few moments. ‘I had never done that before, but I was enjoying the music so much, I just wanted to listen.” 

I counted approximately 10 musical motifs that unfolded over the ensuing hour, each separated with brief moments of silence.  Some were ethereal, some a little edgy, others might be called jazzy.  There were even hints of Billy Joel and Chopin in Seth's playing.  These musical elements seem to propel Ro along as he worked areas of the canvas, periodically turning the easel so the entire audience could see him work.  Eventually, the painting (pictured above) was complete.  Ro knelt down to sign the work as the last few chiming tones were sounded by Seth and the house lights were slowly brought up.

It was a powerful and very cool experience and something completely different.  Even though the music fades, it can be seen in the brush strokes and composition of the painting which will last forever.  These are two artists who are completely sincere about their craft, coming together for the better of both.

Visit Euforia Live online for more information about this amazing mixture of music and art.