Review: The Business of being a Community Musician

Now that I’ve been sold on the idea of ukestras and ukestration, I turn to the companion book by the same authors: “The Business of Being a Community  Musician.”

In this 58-page e-book, Mark Jackson and Jane Jelbart explain how to set up a business and more importantly, how to stay in business as a community musician. The latter is the reason for writing a business plan, to avoid burn out and financial distress.

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Have ʻuke, will travel

Tiny Tenor of Romero Creations (mahogany)

This past January, I introduced myself in Joel Katz‘s intermediate ʻukulele class by announcing that I was downsizing from the nine foot grand piano to the less than two foot ʻukulele. People laughed.

Don’t get me wrong. I wasn’t giving up the piano by any means. Rather, I was embracing the ʻukulele. It has my namesake after all: KU in ʻukulele.

In truth, I didn’t know what I was getting into. A few of my music students had shared their love of the instrument. One even gave me a hand-built ʻukulele stand as a parting gift. Eventually I succumbed to my usual thirst for novelty and variety.

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College students react to “Following the Ninth”

Part two of Kerry Candaele’s Beethoven trilogy is under way. I pledged $35 for the Kickstarter Project which ends on May 19th, 2016. The way this crowd funding works is that if the goal is not reached, the fundraiser gets nothing. It’s my sincere hope that my friends and readers click on the above link and preview the next film in the making. It’s about Beethoven’s only opera – Fidelio.
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Star Spangled Banner for not so easy piano

Anne Ku’s arrangement of Star Spangled Banner for not so easy piano was inspired by the book “No Greater Sacrifice, No Greater Love” and subsequent visit to the USS York Town in Charleston, South Carolina and a meeting with the author.

The National Anthem of the United States is neither easy to sing nor play. It’s not easy to sing because of the wide octave range. It’s not easy to play because the melody and bass move all over the place. What motivated me to arrange the American anthem for piano? Fourth of July?

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Unfamiliar music as background music

What kind of music is best as background? the familiar or unfamiliar?

What kind of music is most effective in the background?

It should suit the occasion and not interfere, certainly not defeat its purpose.

Think about the reasons why venue owners and managers put on background music. Usually it’s to fill the dead and uncomfortable silence. Another is to set the mood. Imagine a cocktail party where people are not chatting but listening intently to the background music. No, the purpose of background music is to set the tone and encourage people not to listen but to do what they’re there to do. In a restaurant, you want your customers to enjoy the food. In a shopping mall, you want people to move around and shop. If you’re trying to write but can’t because you are listening to the background music, then it’s not effective.

Earlier I posted a blog about choosing music as foreground or background.  Is unfamiliar music more effective than familiar music as background? 

I put on music that I’ve not heard before thinking that I’d just have it as background while I write. I started this blog post, thinking that I found the answer. Unfamiliar, atonal music as background —! I was wrong. I am listening to it because it’s the music of a composer I know. Perhaps it should be music of a composer that I don’t know or care about, music that I can’t hum to, performed by musicians I don’t know or care about. Only then can I write with background music.  As for background music for other activities such as cooking, cleaning, or washing dishes, I’d prefer the music to accompany me.

Online course about social media for educators

Taking an online course for educators on teaching via social media helps legitimize and make sense of the amount of time spent in it.

I’ve attended webinars. I’ve even organized online conferences and moderated presentations. But I’ve never participated as a student in an online class until yesterday evening. I’ve heard my colleagues talk about the challenges of giving an online class, but as a student, it was dead easy to participate.

…. please visit the new blog about this course at WED628  — as we meet Wednesdays from 6 to 8 pm HST !!