The Importance of Music in Our Society

Art and music are basic human activities. Humankind can not really function without art and music. As humans we always strive to create things be they small or big. Also as humans we strive to create sound or get involved with sound in some way. People have always found meaning in music by playing, creating, listening to its emotions and to the challenges that it poses… Music, classical music in particular, has immense value for our society, whether it is known explicitly or not.It is however known worldwide that there is still a certain stigma that is attached to music by some people, it is not seen as a priority. Many people still believe for instance that classical music is for the rich, the old, or the educated. Even worse, the pretentiousness and elitism that some artists exhibit is amplified by television shows, commercials, plays, books, this distances musicians from society. While some of this stereotype may be near the truth, as with nearly any stereotype, it is not entirely true. Despite the influence that music has on society, the majority decide that music is not for them, simply because they believe it has no relevance. People need to believe that everyone can find enjoyment in music.The most common way one could involve himself or herself with music is by listening to or attending a concert. This is an experience that people can and do enjoy. It is also important because a concert venue creates a unique experience one can hardly find in any other place. Where else can one sit with other people and enjoy music in silence when there are no other distractions? There are so many things in music to which one can listen and bring attention. It is not only enjoyable but it stimulates and tickles the mind. One can call one’s attention to the melodies or to the themes, the harmony, the relaxing rhythms, the colour of the sounds, how the sounds are produced and how they all relate to each other, while trying to figure out how the composer contrived the piece. Classical music is not only pleasing to the ear and to the mind but it is also nurturing to the soul. It has been said that music has emotional value. Music affects one’s mood as it has many characteristics. Music in most cases makes people feel good and calm as well as evoking other emotional responses. It is the emotional response that draws most people to experience music. With classical music the listener has an array of options as to how to experience the music.Society at large can also experience music and can gain from it, in this case, music is usually experienced as a hobby. People play in community ensembles (orchestra, band, choir), take lessons, play, compose, and nearly do anything else a musician may do, while maintaining their regular lives. In general, to an amateur musician, music is important to him/her through enjoyment and through the thrill of playing or creating music and not having to commit the entire life to it. It is an important part of one’s life and fills a need or an urge to create music. Music can be a way of escape or a stress reliever as it can be for anyone.Through all levels of education music is extremely important. Students learn many important and necessary values for life as music challenges the mind. Learning to read music is learning a different language with abstract sonic meaning. One not only has to comprehend and decipher unique symbols on paper, one has to know how to execute them and execute them well. Those learning music also have to learn what sounds good and to develop a critical ear.With a critical ear, one knows how to practice, rehearse, analyze and to criticize a musicperformance. Also, performing music encompasses playing with others as well as alone which both necessitate certain skills. Also one can learn tremendously from studying/analyzing music, composing, reading about music, understanding the history of music and its association with historical and current trends, and knowing what to listen for in music.With all this, students of music, whether it be at the elementary, middle school, high school, at college level or studying alone, learn self discipline through study and practice. They develop technical motor skills, express themselves through sound and problem solving, cooperate and collaborate with others, ignite a creative mind, develop a critical mind that understands quality and taste, and most importantly understand that music has a lot to offer. Anyone who studies music learns some or all of these skills whether they know it or not. People who do not make a career in music but have studied it will take these skills and apply it elsewhere. Music is the only discipline in which obtaining varied skills is possible.It is a tragedy that in our society music is looked upon as an extra discipline that it is not essential to the function of our society and culture. It is usually regarded as a “fun” thing to do when one is not working and most people do not realize that one can experience and learn tremendous amount. It is up to us as artists and advocates of music to have people realize the importance of our discipline. With our society continually becoming more materialistic, superficial, quick to judge and with people not aware of its importance, it is possible that no one will be listening, no one will be watching, no one will be experiencing our art. People need to be shown the importance of our art and its value to them, especially those who have power to influence society. If society is shown the value of music, the arts will be better funded, better appreciated and will thrive even more.

Music graduates discover a new tempo; TERTIARY STUDY

TUNING in to what industry and professionals need in music graduates has been an evolutionary process. It used to be that a degree in music was more tailored for those who wanted to perform but today’s bachelor of music graduates are being tutored in all aspects of the industry including production, marketing, teaching, and of course performing…Previously musicians tended to gravitate towards the city, where they could continue to learn and grow as performers and teachers. But a new program at the University of New England in Armidale is hoping to keep their talented graduates in regional centres.The UNE’s bachelor of music is also geared towards producing a new breed of musicteachers after refining its curriculum to meet the demands of the education system.“The degree is focused on training teachers for regional schools,” says Andrew Alter, UNE’s convenor of musicstudies. “There has been a lack of music teachers in regional areas because generally, if you take a specialist music degree say at the Sydney Conservatorium, those graduates usually want to move into a musical career associated with urban type things.“A hot-shot performer for example doesn’t really go to a regional area because the opportunities are not there and music teachers have in the past generally gravitated towards the city as well.”Alter says the UNE bachelor of music includes subjects such as performance, composition and musicology, as well as allowing students to specialise in their instrument, as other standard music degrees do. And there’s the chance to do a graduate diploma in education.Just as importantly, students are encouraged to participate in the rich musical community in Armidale.Australian National University’s three-year bachelor of music offers study of all orchestral instruments, as well as keyboard and voice, and now also has opened up more subjects in the area of world music, including folk and jazz.About three years ago the university also decided to create a combined degree linking music students to other faculties including law, commerce and even Asian studies.“Students can now link their music with a more academic or industry related course,” says ANU head of music John Luxton.“Even with the straight music degree they can move into a variety of things like recording engineering, program writing, producing for the ABC, instrumental teaching or complete a diploma of education and do classroom teaching.The Australian Institute of Music in Sydney has seen a number of highly successful performers and musicians come through its doors. The private college has undergraduate and graduate degrees in music, with a strong emphasis on practical experience.The institute’s bachelor of music course is designed to prepare graduates for a career in the music industry or to continue studies.“Students study contemporary performance, classical performance, music theatre, arts management and composition and music production,” says AIM recruiting officer Louise Wilson.“There is also music producing, arranging, composing and work with digital music software programs.”The college is also offering a master of arts management in conjunction with the Sydney Opera House.Students apply directly to AIM and Wilson says performance based subjects require an audition.After working as a music teacher and studying for a degree in music, Sarah Christopher knew most graduates were just not hitting the right note when it came to teaching.As a member of the Music Teachers’ Association in Armidale and a student in bachelor of music at the University of New England, she had first-hand experience about what was needed to be able to teach more effectively.“Graduates were lacking skills for classroom teaching when they finished,” says Christopher, who graduated last year. With her own experience as a private tutor, Christopher offered to help restructure the degree, which is now geared to producemusic teachers for high schools around Australia.

Wireless Internet Radio

While the world of Internet radio is moving more and more toward the mainstream, it is still far more common to find AM or FM being broadcast inside a home or office.  While analog radio can’t come close to matching the variety and scope of the free radio stations available for streaming over the Internet, consumers are still accustomed to turning a dial to pick up music, news, sports, and talk.

Myine Electronics is looking to change that.  Their Ira Wireless Internet Radio is designed to pick up Internet radio as opposed to analog radio.  For consumers who are hesitant to adapt to new technology to listen to music, the Ira Wireless Internet Radio makes the transition as smooth and painless as possible.  Myine Electronics has worked hard to keep the radio as easy to use as possible; this means that you won’t find it to be overloaded with features that you’ll never use.

One of the most notable features of this wireless radio is that you are no longer required to use a computer to find the online radio stations that interest you.  The initial setup is very simple––the company says that it only takes three minutes to set it up once you take it out of the box.  It can be hooked up to your existing home sound system and has a small footprint: 6″ by 3″ by 2″.

Beyonce Named Billboards Woman Of The Year

Beyonce has been named Billboard’s woman of the year. Billboard holds a Women In Music event every year and this year Beyonce will be honored on October 2nd in New York City. Billboard chooses the women in the music industry based on their success, leadership and new ideas. Beyonce is being awarded for accomplishments made over the past 12 months. Beyonce has been around for a while now, but her journey started long ago as a kid.

Beyonce’s got started on her tour, “I am…”, in support of her third solo album, last year. Beyonce will be taking her tour to over 20 countries by the time the tour ends in November. Beyonce recognized the crisis in the auto industry and showed her generosity by giving away 2,500 tickets to families affected by the failing auto industry in Detroit. On top of that, she teamed up with Feeding America, and General Mills Hamburger helper to help deliver more than 3 million meals to local food banks. Her third album, “I am… Sasha Fierce”, debuted at No. 1 on Billboards top 200 chart in November. Beyonce worked on this last album for almost a year. Longer than any other album she previously worked on. Including those she worked diligently on with the former group Destiny’s Child.

Out of the 51 year history that Billboard has with the Hot 100, Beyonce is the only artist to top the chart as a solo artist and as a part of a group for 10 weeks or longer.

7 tips to enjoying a summer music festival

There is nothing quite like getting out with some friends and hitting up a summer music festival for to enjoy some of your favorite music and the camaraderie of fellow fans. However, these day or weekend long festivals often involve sitting out in an open field in the hot summer sun, and they require a little more preparation than your average concert. There’s no need to become camp counselor or the festival boss in order to keep things under control, but you are more likely to have a good time if you simply follow these seven tips to enjoying a summer music festival.

First off, stay hydrated. Many festivals do not let you bring in outside beverages, so plan on shelling out some cash for cold refreshments. Next, be sure to bring sun protection; you can get burned surprisingly easily during a day in the sun at a festival. This means hats, adequate clothing and sunscreen. On the other hand, it also helps to plan for rain. A big thunderstorm can be dangerous in the open field of a major summer music festival, so follow basic safety precautions . The fourth tip is to have a back up plan. The show might get canceled because of rain, sick band members or any number of reason, and you want a fun alternative if the show is a washout other than moping in some roadside diner. Also, be sure to pace yourself if you decide to drink alcohol at the festival. You are going to be their all day, so save the beers for the headlining acts once the sun goes down so that you can actually enjoy the show. Unless you are unhealthy or really want to be up front, consider just going with regular admittance tickets instead of the more expensive seats with actual chairs. Show up early enough to find a nice spot to make camp and bring your own folding chairs to enjoy the show on the lawn amongst your fellow fans.

Benefits of Piano Video Lessons

There are plenty of people who are interested in easy piano lessons for their children or even themselves. However, hiring a professional instructor to give music lessons can be fairly expensive. There is also the problem of finding the time to fit regular lessons in. Kids have school and extracurricular activities, while adults have work and other responsibilities. Sometimes people just can’t find a spot in their schedule for the music lessons they want. That’s why piano instruction DVD options have become so popular. Not only are they much more affordable in the long run than hiring a talented instructor, they allow the student to study at their own pace and at the times that best fit into their daily lives.

While basic piano lessons might seem like an odd thing to turn to a video instructor for, it actually makes a lot of sense. After all, the basic foundation for piano playing skills is pretty much the same for everyone. While teaching methods certainly differ from instructor to instructor, the basic goal of beginner piano lessons is the same: to give the player the understanding they need to be able to grow as a player. The starting skills are necessary before a player can grow into their own style and develop their own unique feel for the instrument. And that’s why a video or DVD that focuses on these early stages is such a good idea.

There are a lot of music instruction videos available on the market today, so how do you know which one is right for you? Probably the best thing to do is to find and read as many user reviews as possible. Learn how the videos helped (or didn’t help) aspiring players just like you. Many major retailers like Amazon allow users to post reviews of products.

THE BILLBOARD Q&A: ANSSI VANJOKI

HIGHLIGHT: The mind behind the mobile phone manufacturer’s Internet moves spells out Nokia’s latestmusic initiative, and how the U.S. and record labels fit into its plans. Anssi Vanjoki, executive VP/GM of multimedia at Nokia, is the visionary force behind the company’s efforts to converge mobile phones with the Internet, including Nokia’s N series of multimedia smart phones… This week, Nokia unveiled a new initiative called Comes With Music. The program offers anyone buying select Nokia phones a full year’s worth of free music as a sort of subsidized subscription plan. The service, which won’t be publicly available until sometime in the first half of next year, works like this: Those buying certain Nokia phones will be able to download as many songs as they like, at no additional charge, for a year. The cost of the music is built into the device, and Nokia will pay record labels the appropriate licensing fees. Users will then be able to keep all the music they’ve downloaded even after the year is up. There are restrictions. Like other subscription tracks, any music downloaded via the service can’t be burned onto a CD unless the user buys the track à la carte (which the user will have the opportunity to do). The tracks will also contain digital rights management technology that will limit their compatibility with other devices.  Universal Music Group is the first label to sign on to the program, and Nokia says it is in discussions with others as well. Nokia’s effort closely resembles the Total Music strategy UMG has quietly been promoting in recent months, which seeks to provide various devices with similar unlimitedmusic; the cost of around a year’s worth of music licensing is included in the price of the device. The Comes With Music news comes on the heels of a much broader Nokia effort to expand its influence beyond simply making phones to operating a suite of Internet services focused on entertainment. Its new Ovi service includes, among other things, a music service that will let users subscribing to participating operators buy and download full songs. It also includes games, video and social networking services. Other music efforts include a recommendation and discovery service overseen by David Bowie and a line of multimedia and music phones spearheaded by the N95. The company bought digital music service provider Loudeye last year for $60 million. The acquisition remains at the core of every music-related service Nokia has, including Comes With Music. But Nokia’s stab at mobile social networking — MOSH — has angered some labels. Warner Music Group (WMG), for instance, has refused to license its catalog to the Ovi music store because the MOSH service allows users to share copyrighted content.Vanjoki took a few moments at the Nokia World conference — where the Comes With Music service was announced — to tell Billboard how music in general fits into Nokia’s broader digital entertainment future.What are you trying to accomplish with the Comes With Music initiative?Comes With Music is part of a bigger plan that Nokia has. For a number of years, Nokia has developed the software know-how to become an Internet company. Digital and the Internet has shaped many industries that have been based on a more analog world. Music is just one. So new business models are necessary for the industry to take a different turn and prosper in the digital age.When we look at how people are turning their mobile phones into small computers, these phones are becoming the access point for how people are going to live their digital lives. This kind of functionality follows people everywhere. Music is everywhere and is very important to almost everybody. So we wanted to offer an alternative to getting it that is legal, that is making music consumption normal and easy to use, and at the same time obey the business rules that exist.Is the price of the year’s subscription included in the cost of the device, and do you pay the labels from that?We’re not giving any of the details of the setup behind Comes With Music between us and the music labels. The only thing we’re saying is that both ourselves and Universal, and the other music companies who join in, will find this a profitable venture for all parties.What about users?Users will not have to pay anything extra. It’s embedded in the total price in the product. Can they transfer Comes With Music files to a computer?Yes, all themusic that you get you can download directly to your mobile [phone] or your PC — and the music is residing on either or both. We also keep a vault for you where all the music that you have purchased is kept for the record should you lose any of it. We’ll hold this vault for you even after your [subscription] comes to an end. Can I play Comes With Music tracks on other portable devices?Yes. You have rights to transport those songs to five additional devices.And I can keep the music even after the year is up even if I don’t buy a new phone?It doesn’t matter. The music you get is yours to keep for as long as you want, regardless of what device you own.How does it work with the Ovi à la carte music service?From a functional standpoint, the Comes With Music service is built on the platform of our Ovi music service. When you get the device that comes with music, the way you download themusic you want to the device is done through the Ovi music store. Should the music you want not be available from the labels that are part of Comes With Music, you can still buy any music under the normal business conditions, as in single downloads.Your Ovi music service and the Comes With Musicplan seems limited to the European market. Why not a stronger music presence in the United States?Our Ovi music store we started in the U.K. We’re rolling it out to major European and Asian markets next. We have not announced our plans for North and South America yet, but it will be there as well. The same will go for Comes With Music. We have not given any territorial information at this time. It’ll be a surprise.But is there anything that keeps you from having a stronger U.S. presence?No, there is nothing that keeps us from it. The very simple reason is the very low population of devices that Nokia has in the U.S. market at the moment. We are in the process of improving our distribution methods in the U.S.WMG is one label voicing concern about MOSH and the ability for users to share content, which led to it not licensing music for the Ovi service. How do you intend to alleviate those concerns?We are in very constructive and very warm-spirited discussions with all the labels, including Warner.

‘IDOLS’ BATTLE GROWS SHRILL

HIGHLIGHT: Lawyers for the TV hit and a Tampa software firm take their show to court. One contest features crooners ages 16 to 28 in a glitzy battle for fame and record contracts. Its season finale last month drew 31-million TV viewers… The other contest features Hillsborough County school kids singing songs like On Top of Old Smoky for college scholarship money. Its March finale at Busch Gardens drew dozens of parents and friends.American Idol. Reading Idols. Nobody is likely to confuse the two. But that hasn’t stopped lawyers for the Fox TV megahit and Tampa-based Electronic Learning Products Inc. from trading legal salvos over Reading Idols and whether it infringes on the American Idol brand.Electronic Learning upped the tempo last week when it filed a preemptive lawsuit in Tampa federal court.Though neither party would comment on the dispute, the seeds of war apparently were planted in February. That’s when Electronic Learning – the fledgling software company behind Tune in toReading, an innovative, karaoke-style program that helps low-achieving students improve their reading skills – filed an application to trademark the “Reading Idols” name. The firm recently had begun sponsoring contests under that name as a reward for area students whose schools used the software.FremantleMedia North America Inc., the Burbank, Calif., entertainment giant that trademarked the phrase “American Idol” in 2003, saw the filing as a threat. In a June 6 letter, it gave Electronic Learning until June 14 to drop the Reading Idols name and trademark bid, or face litigation. Its argument: that the public naturally, and incorrectly, would assume that American Idol sponsored or was otherwise connected to Reading Idols.Indeed, legitimate licensees pay a hefty bounty to tapAmerican Idol’s brand magic. Last year, for example, Kraft Foods introduced an Idol-like singing contest centered on its classic Oscar Mayer hot dog jingles. American Idol stars participated in a kick-off ceremony, the grand prize was a trip to the American Idol finale show, and American Idol’s logo appeared on millions of hot dog packages.But instead of waving a white flag last week, Electronic Learning filed suit, asking a federal judge to make FremantleMedia retreat.It’s not the first time FremantleMedia tried to enforce the American Idol trademark. Last year, for example, it sued Highend Holdings LLC, a company out of St. Petersburg and Odessa, for sponsoring exotic-dancer contests under the name America‘s Naked Idol and attempting to trademark it.Was American Idol the inspiration for Reading Idols? Electronic Learning’s lawsuit doesn’t say. But a company spokeswoman may have given the secret away in a recent interview with TampaBaysMediaTalk.com. After the students performed at Busch Gardens in March, she said, audience members were invited to vote for their favorite performer at ReadingIdols.com. “Similar,” she said, “to some television shows that you might watch.”Scott Barancik can be reached at barancik@sptimes.com or (727) 893-8751.FAST FACTSReading Idols’ roots– In 1994, Electronic Learning Products started selling SingingCoach, which teaches singers to sing on pitch and in rhythm.– A mother of a student said her child’s reading comprehension improved because of the product.– Since the beginning of this school year, Tune in toReading software has been installed in more than 60 classrooms throughout Florida. The software assesses students’ reading levels, then assigns them songs.– As a reward for students whose schools use the software, Electronic Learning sponsors contests under the Reading Idols name. Hillsborough students recently competed in the contest, with college scholarships as prizes.