The title above is not an abstract statement or a philosophical question. Hence, what follows is not a speculative or metaphysical piece. It is an evaluation of the concrete, experimental data on the merits of music therapy in the treatment of brain injury, particularly one due to a stroke. A stroke or a cerebrovascular accident (CVA) is a sudden event, much like a heart attack, due to either an obstruction in the blood flow or hemorrhage in a specific region of the brain. Various rehabilitative modalities are often required to help victims regain function. Although not a mainstay of post-stroke ...read more
Historians and scholars of medical humanities mine the (mostly) Western literary classics for the first descriptions of illnesses we have now categorized and studied. But why not explore popular culture as a historical source as well? Can art forms like the blues--the progenitor of jazz and other modern musical forms--contain also clues to medical mysteries of yesterday? One such example takes us back to the years of prohibition and to the clever" entrepreneurs who tried to bend its laws. With recreational alcohol banned in the country most people turned to alternate sources to slake their ...read more
It is safe to assume, that today, Blind Tom Wiggins (AKA Bethune) is not a household name. In the mid to late 19th century, and into the first decade of the 20th, however, Blind Tom was a phenomenon who some named the Eighth Wonder. Although no contemporary physician made the actual diagnosis of autism, it is quite clear from reading about him that he, in all likelihood, fell within the autistic spectrum. Jazz per se did not exist then either, but Tom improvised all his pieces in the style of popular music of the time including waltzes, nocturnes and some ...read more
Music is a universal phenomenon across all human cultures both past and present. In that respect it is much like language, and as the understanding of language comes naturally to humans, so, too, does appreciation of music. Language has been mapped to distinct areas of the brain for well over a century, and relatively recently there have been successful efforts to the same thing for music. Before talking about these brain areas it is important to understand the basics of brain mapping. Much of our modern understanding of localization--where major functions are located in ...read more
Motivation is the moving force behind anyone's activity. There is a complex set of forces which move anyone to do anything. It is no less complex for the musician. I bring this up not to point out differences between musicians and laymen," but rather to point out the inherent similarities. Musicians, like anyone else, find themselves in situations where they must assume a variety of roles. These roles have been produced by the influence of various motivations. Not all roles are comfortable. Some, indeed, may be--or at least appear to be--contradictory. The aspiring musician is ...read more
Every musician is at once a student and a performer. In each role, the musician explores and hopefully expands. The efficiency of progress for the student often suffers because of his inability to clearly see the differences between his own roles as student and performer.The attitude of the student must essentially be one of humility and patience. The work usually centers on the difficulties of developing one's technical capabilities and one's unique musical personality. Focusing on weaknesses rather than strengths is often difficult for the ego to accept. Most musicians prefer to hear themselves at their best and ...read more
Guitar Lore by Dennis Sandole was not originally published by Theodore Presser. I published the book and distributed it through my school Modern Music Studios Inc. A second edition paperback was published later by Pressers.There has always been controversy about the origins of the book. Dennis had conceived and organized this material long before it was published. At my urging (and I'm sure the urgings of others), he finally agreed to proceed with the production of the book. I took dictation and the outlines of the book directly from Dennis and then hand wrote and developed the entire ...read more
There are frequent questions about booking agents and agencies world wide.There are two kinds of agents--those who never return a call or email and those whose plates are full." There is never room on their rosters. Under what circumstances would an agency expand its roster? There must be a point where an agency loses a client or discovers someone that is worth the effort to expand.How did they get their initial rosters in the first place? I know of no agency that is expanding its roster. There must be an agency somewhere that's expanding. These thoughts ...read more
Since it is so difficult to define or even recognize, talent, or the lack of it, has created more than its share of anxiety in aspiring musicians. Perhaps the greatest problem centers around the fact that talent is a fact in retrospect. Only after it has been developed does it become obvious that it exists. So how does one know that talent is within him? Is intuition or hope the only recourse? Though there is no way to prove the existence of talent or at least the degree of talent before the fact, there are some general indicators.A) ...read more
Music as a career has always been met with considerable skepticism. This stems from a basic misunderstanding of the types of music involvements that are possible. The concept of the starving musician" is but one of the many stereotypes. This installment of The Art and Science of Jazz" is devoted to illustrating other alternatives.Music can be an avocation, a dedication, a business or a profession. They are not necessarily distinctly unique. Mixtures of these various roles are always possible and perhaps even common.The part time musician (avocation) interests us least for now since his priorities have ...read more
The new jazz has nothing to do with the music. It has to do with the attitudes, the perception about jazz. History has created an image about jazz and jazz musicians. It's not a flattering image nor is it a beneficial one. Drugs, heavy drinking, seedy clubs and late hours have all contributed to this unseemly reputation. Traditionally, the smoke filled jazz club seemed part of the charm" of a venue. I seriously doubt whether that holds the same allure as it once did. I find the club/restaurant jazz scene to be extremely disruptive to the music. ...read more
Art or commercialism? It's almost always a problem to musicians and singers who pursue the jazz industry. We recognize it as an art but it has to make money to be a profession. Are these two concepts in conflict with each other or are they merely paradoxical? We know that anything can be marketed by the skillful use of advertising and promotional techniques. If the material of the commercial world can be successful through promotion and advertising, why can't the material of the artistic world be successful utilizing the same means? It probably can be successful if the approach is ...read more
The internet holds enormous potential for jazz musicians. Many of us have little to no idea of how to take advantage of it. We tend to have websites, Facebook and maybe Twitter. How many of us are happy with the results we get from our efforts? After much searching, I have found evolvor.com. The following interview was conducted with Eric Hebert CEO of Evolvor Media on the subject of maximizing exposure through the internet.All About Jazz: How has the internet changed how music is marketed? Eric Hebert: I think in the past, musicians mostly ...read more
No matter what your involvement is in music, marketing needs to be a way of life. This is true more for the musician seeking to make a living in music but it generally applies to anyone with goals other than pure aesthetics. What is marketing? Marketing is the entire range of activities that involve increasing your exposure in the market that you have chosen. This exposure then needs to lead to sales. These sales might be for CDs, DVDs, digital products, books, concerts, merchandise etc. It includes but is not limited to advertising, promotion, public relations, sales, endorsements, ...read more
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