Great Music Resources for the Classroom

18 09 2011


I have been making my own resources for a while now because I had a hard time finding published materials I was happy with. I finally found a great site called FUN Music Company. They have so many great resources and they fit the way I work because I can download them as digital files and print off whenever I want. Fun Music Company has a wide variety of materials to choose from. Everything from great printable theory books of all levels. Great for grades 6 through 12. They also have course materials for Rock & Roll, Instruments of the Orchestra, Jazz & Blues, Composers, World Music and more.

And, they are very reasonable priced for the quality and quantity of worksheets, assessments, lessons, workbooks, listening suggestions, log books, etc. etc.
Check out Fun Music Company and see what you think.





NPR “ALL SONGS CONSIDERED-TOP SONGS OF 2009”

9 12 2009

ALL SONGS CONSIDERED ARTICLE SORRY ABOUT ALL THE CAPS. MY CAPS LOCK IS STUCK THIS MORNING. IF YOU HAVE NEVER LISTENED TO NATIONAL PUBLIC RADIO BEFORE, YOU SHOULD REALLY CHECK IT OUT. EVERYTHING FROM JAZZ TO WORLD MUSIC. I LIKE THE ROCK AND ROLL “SUMMER SCHOOL” COLLECTION OF SHOWS. CHECK THEM OUT HERE.





Will Online Music Production Ever Take Off?

23 10 2009

thumb
Oct 22nd in General by Adrian Try

Online recording software workstations.

I spend more of my time working online every year. I communicate through Gmail, Twitter and Facebook online. I write documents and balance spreadsheets online. I take notes and highlight important information online. I keep my appointments, tasks and contacts lists online. And I can access them from any computer I happen to be using – as long as it’s online. Will I ever be able to do that when producing music? Read the rest of this article here on AudioTuts+





NPR – Rock and Roll Summer School – The Songwriters

4 10 2009

The original article and broadcast can be found on NPR

Rock ‘n’ Roll Summer School: The Songwriters

by Tom Moon

Every Wednesday this summer, we’re offering a quick course in early rock ‘n’ roll. Your professor will be Tom Moon, NPR contributor and author of the book 1,000 Recordings to Hear Before You Die. These overviews, mostly covering music from the 1950s, are not intended to be comprehensive, but to help curious listeners dive in and explore some of the genre’s often-overlooked building blocks. Whether you’re a novice or a rock snob, join the conversation below.

THIS WEEK: SONGWRITING

Haters had a field day during the first decade of rock ‘n’ roll. Almost as soon as it appeared, the sensation was derided as animalistic and uncouth, the reckless expression of uncontrolled hormonal urges.

That’s only part of what makes the music great. The performers had to have something to sing, and in the early days, the lucky ones snagged tunes that were as streamlined as a 12-bar blues and blessed with glowing, irresistible melodies. An astounding stack of those tunes (including “Jailhouse Rock,” “Hound Dog,” “On Broadway” and “Yakety Yak”) were written by Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller, the powerhouse tandem that brought cunning wit and sharp production values to “that crazy kids’ music.”

Here’s one key breakthrough, “Hound Dog,” which was recorded by Big Mama Thornton a few years before Elvis Presley covered it. Check out the young Buddy Guy on guitar:

LINK

continued…

The rapid ascent of rock ‘n’ roll in the ’50s created serious demand for songs, and gave rise to a new cadre of tunesmiths. These behind-the-scenes talents, including the great lyricist Doc Pomus (“This Magic Moment” and “A Teenager in Love”), understood rock as a visceral experience — and still managed to infuse songs about teen romance with a knowing adult perspective.

Pretty soon, though, performers began writing their own songs. Arguably the first great rock singer-songwriter was Buddy Holly, who borrowed elements of the frameworks used by Leiber and Stoller and then added his own infectious hook-phrases and guitar riffs. Holly’s works, including the great “Peggy Sue” that’s linked below, show that at its best, rock songwriting can be something more than nonsense syllables; it can be a thrillingly simple, even elegant, expression of desire.

LINK

REQUIRED LISTENING
Big Mama Thornton: “Hound Dog”
The Coasters: “Yakety Yak”
Dion and the Belmonts: “A Teenager in Love”
Buddy Holly and the Crickets: “Peggy Sue”

EXTRA CREDIT
Ben E. King and the Drifters: “Save the Last Dance for Me”
Chuck Berry: “Roll Over Beethoven”

DISCUSSION
Which was more important to the development of rock ‘n’ roll: the intense energy of the performers, or the melodies written by Leiber and Stoller and others?

Besides blues form (and its derivations), are there other musical traits that turn up in many of the great early rock songs?





YIS Music Technology and IB Music Online

3 10 2009

Head shot black and whiteYIS LOGO

Brad Johnston is a music teacher at Yokohama International School and has a every growing library of lesson plans and useful music resources. Everything from music history, tech tips, recording software, rubrics, you name it. If you find this blog interesting check out his school site at YISMusic.net It is used for the sole purpose of his YIS music classes in music technology and IB Music. However, check it out and if you find something useful let him know. Other sites of Brad’s and ways to connect with him are listed below.

Find it and check it out at:
http://www.yismusic.net
http://musictechforteachers.com
https://johnstonb.wordpress.com
http://twitter.com/johnstonb

“Ah..Music! A magic beyond all we do hear!”
quote by: Ablus Dumbledoor





NPR – Rock and Roll Summer School – Jump Blues

29 09 2009


Original article and broadcast available on NPR

Rock ‘n’ Roll Summer School: Jump Blues

by Bob Boilen

Every Wednesday this summer, we’re offering a quick course in early rock ‘n’ roll. Your professor will be Tom Moon, NPR contributor and author of the book 1000 Recordings to Hear Before You Die. These overviews, mostly from the 1950s, are not intended to be comprehensive, but to help curious listeners dive in and explore some of the genre’s often-overlooked building blocks. Whether you’re a novice or a rock snob, join the conversation below…

THIS WEEK: JUMP BLUES

by Tom Moon

Way before the “official” dawn of rock ‘n’ roll, the rock ‘n’ roll spirit was on the loose in America — as jump blues, the loose party music known for its risque lyrics and ferocious horn solos.

Jump erupted in the late 1940s, and was hugely popular through the ’50s — it’s the direct link between swing, with its brassy shouted choruses and spry rhythms, and rock ‘n’ roll. One of its prime movers, the saxophonist and bandleader Louis Jordan, got his start playing in big bands — it was no problem for him to transfer the jitterbugging energy of the big bands to smaller, more employable combos. Then, crucially, he added a dollop of showmanship: On hits like 1950’s rollicking “Saturday Night Fish Fry,” Jordan reels off preposterous comic narratives, his casual phrases propelled along by the urbane, hard-swinging rhythm section. Here’s one of his iconic shouts, “Caldonia.”

LINK

Others came at jump blues from different angles. The Kansas City belter Big Joe Turner was fluent in the blues and boogie. Turner’s undeniable, steamrolling sound contains all the essential ingredients of rock ‘n’ roll. Among his triumphs is the first-ever hit on “Shake, Rattle and Roll,” in 1954.

LINK

ESSENTIAL LISTENING
Louis Jordan and His Tympani Five: “Saturday Night Fish Fry,” “Choo Choo Ch’Boogie,” “Caldonia.”
Big Joe Turner: “Shake, Rattle and Roll,” “Flip, Flop and Fly.”

EXTRA CREDIT
Wynonie Harris: “Who Threw the Whiskey in the Well,” “Good Morning, Judge.”
Roy Brown: “Good Rockin’ Tonight.”
Roy Milton and His Solid Senders: “The Hucklebuck.”

DISCUSS
Compare three versions of “Shake, Rattle and Roll” — those recorded by Big Joe Turner, Bill Haley and the Comets and Elvis Presley. Is it possible to tell where jump blues ends and rock ‘n’ roll begins? Do any of the latter-day jump-blues “revivals” catch the spirit of the music? (Points off for anyone who begins his or her response with the solo work of Brian Setzer…)





NPR – Rock and Roll Summer School – DooWop

29 09 2009

Original article and broadcast available on NPR

Rock ‘n’ Roll Summer School: Doo-Wop

by Tom Moon

Every Wednesday through the summer, we’re posting quick introductory-level surveys of elements of rock ‘n’ roll from the 1950s. These overviews are not intended to be comprehensive; instead, they’re designed to help curious listeners dive in and explore some of the genre’s often-overlooked building blocks. Whether you’re a novice or a rock snob, join the conversation below.

THIS WEEK: Doo-Wop

As PBS viewers know, doo-wop is eternal. Perhaps because it’s so effusive, or perhaps because it so poignantly immortalizes the joys and torments of being a teenager in love. The voices, four or five of them together, swoop like stunt pilots in formation. They rattle off crazy-sounding nonsense syllables — “doo wop” being just one of many rhythmic vocal expressions. They specialize in effortlessly airborne messages of love, yet borrow some moves and exhortations from the classic gospel quartets.

LINK

That’s one of the first big doo-wop hits from 1956, with songwriter Frankie Lymon, then 13, singing lead. (As with many songs of the era, there’s an authorship dispute about who helped Lymon with the song.)

Read more after the jump…

The style, born on street corners in African-American neighborhoods of Northeastern cities, is notable for its utter simplicity — earnest melodies propelled by simple, straightforward beats, with the spotlight on elaborate ensemble singing. Those precise, often plaintive harmonies touched just about everyone making music in the 1950s. Here’s one of the most successful doo-wop groups, The Platters, performing “The Great Pretender” and “Only You” in 1955.

LINK

Shortly after its ascent in the mid-’50s, doo-wop became a world of its own, with distinct subcategories. One of the most active was Italian-American doo-wop, which boasts such acts as Dion and the Belmonts, of “Teenager in Love” fame. To hear how far doo-wop spread, track down the incredible Los Zafiros, a Cuban singing group that melded doo-wop harmonies to lively tropical rhythms.

ESSENTIAL LISTENING
Frankie Lymon and the Teenagers: “Why Do Fools Fall in Love?”
The Platters: “The Great Pretender,” “Only You”
Dion and the Belmonts: “Teenager in Love”
The Five Satins: “In the Still of the Night”

EXTRA CREDIT
The Flamingos: “Golden Teardrops”
The Coasters: “Yakety Yak”
Los Zafiros: “Caminadora”

DISCUSS
Doo wop has been called “the sound of innocence.” Yet many of its most powerful songs, like “Why Do Fools Fall in Love,” express a distinctly “adult” perspective on romance. Is this part of the charm?

Is there a generic “doo-wop” approach to harmony, used by many groups? Or is the harmony like a thumbprint, dependent on certain voices? Which groups have a distinctive style that cannot be replicated?





NPR – Rock and Roll Summer School – the Piano Pounders of New Orleans

29 09 2009

Original article and broadcast available on NPR

Rock ‘n’ Roll Summer School: The Piano Pounders Of New Orleans

by Tom Moon

Every Wednesday this summer, we’re offering a quick course in early rock ‘n’ roll. Your professor will be Tom Moon, NPR contributor and author of the book 1,000 Recordings to Hear Before You Die. These overviews of music, mostly from the 1950s, are not intended to be comprehensive, but to help curious listeners dive in and explore some of the genre’s often-overlooked building blocks. Whether you’re a novice or a rock snob, join the conversation below.

This Week: The Piano Pounders of New Orleans

A small but fervent group of devotees argues that rock ‘n’ roll truly begins in the late 1940s, with the emergence of the pioneering wildman of New Orleans piano, Henry Roeland Byrd, a.k.a. Professor Longhair.

The slippery-fingered pianist and singer once described his approach as a mixture of “rumba, mambo and calypso,” and that’s just scratching the surface: There’s also plenty of New Orleans backbeat grease, some boogie-woogie and more than a touch of the blues in it. As is true of every early rock breakthrough, the styles Byrd appropriates are ultimately less important than the feeling. His irreverent spirit makes the music intense and infectious.

Professor Longhair’s first release, New Orleans Piano, contains tracks recorded in 1949 and 1953. Alas, there’s little archival video from that era. But here’s Fess a few decades later, performing “Tipitina,” an enduring original from that initial release, with The Meters.

Read more, after the jump…

Professor Longhair wasn’t the only revolutionary pianist electrifying New Orleans clubs in 1949. That year also marks the emergence of the great Antoine Dominique “Fats” Domino, whose early single “The Fat Man” is sometimes cited as the first million-seller of the rock era. Domino wasn’t quite as agile on the keys as Professor Longhair, but he had other gifts, including an ear for memorable refrains and an effortless, incessantly swinging rhythm that now looms as one of the foundations of rock ‘n’ roll.

Here’s Domino performing his 1955 hit “Ain’t That a Shame.”

The trail doesn’t end with these pioneers: See Extra Credit, below, to discover other legends who helped expand the stylistic perimeters of New Orleans piano — and, along the way, rock ‘n’ roll, too.

ESSENTIAL LISTENING
Professor Longhair: “Tipitina” and “Mardi Gras in New Orleans” from New Orleans Piano
Fats Domino: “Ain’t That a Shame” from Walking to New Orleans: Greatest Hits
James Booker: “Junco Partner” from Junco Partner

EXTRA CREDIT
Allen Toussaint: “Whirlaway” from The Complete Tousan Sessions
Dr. John: “Iko Iko” from Dr. John’s Gumbo
Champion Jack Dupree: “Stack-o-Lee” from Blues From the Gutter
Huey “Piano” Smith and His Clowns: “Little Liza Jane” from Having a Good Time

DISCUSSION
Some people have argued that the polyglot music that erupted in New Orleans in the late ’40s can’t be considered rock ‘n’ roll — that it’s either too diverse or closer in origin to R&B. If Professor Longhair and others weren’t making rock ‘n’ roll, what were they making?

What explains the phenomenon of so many talented piano players emerging from one city? Is this the legacy of Jelly Roll Morton?





NPR – Rock and Roll Summer School – Singers Influences

29 09 2009

Original article and broadcast available on NPR

Rock ‘n’ Roll Summer School: Singers And Their Influences

Every Wednesday this summer, we’re offering a quick course in early rock ‘n’ roll. Your professor will be Tom Moon, NPR contributor and author of the book 1,000 Recordings to Hear Before You Die. These overviews, mostly from the 1950s, are not intended to be comprehensive, but to help curious listeners dive in and explore some of the genre’s often-overlooked building blocks. Whether you’re a novice or a rock snob, join the conversation below.

by Tom Moon

The young rock singers of the 1950s picked up tricks of the trade from all corners, but primarily from the world of rhythm and blues: Elvis Presley was a huge Jackie Wilson fan, while Buddy Holly and others idolized the smooth delivery of Sam Cooke. And then there’s Ray Charles, who taught everybody.

Wilson, the singing and dancing dynamo, remains one of the chronically under-appreciated influences on early rock — check his 1957 hit “Reet Petite” to hear mannerisms that spread like wildfire through the rock ‘n’ roll ranks. He was a rhythmic demon, able to “juice” the music just by changing the inflection on seemingly ordinary phrases. (Alas, live video of that tune and Wilson’s other early hits is hard to find.)

Cooke, meanwhile, brought a patient gospel singer’s temperament to his vocals, infusing his lines with an earnest, almost devotional sweetness. Here’s Cooke performing the hit “I Love You for Sentimental Reasons” on The Ed Sullivan Show.

Not all the inspiration came from men. In the mid-’50s, female R&B singers like Ruth Brown changed the game, combining blues-belter lung power with spry rhythmic agility and a sense of attitude later seized by everyone from The Ronettes to Bonnie Raitt. Here’s Brown performing her 1955 hit “Teardrops From My Eyes.”

It was probably inevitable that young upstarts of the 1950s would turn to R&B for inspiration — after all, R&B was flat-out thriving at the time. If you find yourself curious about other stylists who helped teach rock ‘n’ rollers to sing, check out Johnny Otis, Esther Phillips, Wynonie Harris, Etta James, Lloyd Price, Big Joe Turner and Dinah Washington, to name just a few.

ESSENTIAL LISTENING

Ray Charles: “What’d I Say”
Jackie Wilson: “Reet Petite”
Sam Cooke: “You Send Me”
Ruth Brown: “Teardrops From My Eyes”

EXTRA CREDIT
Wynonie Harris: “Good Rockin’ Tonight”
Johnny Otis: “Willie and the Hand Jive”
Etta James: “Tough Lover”

DISCUSSION

Even if they didn’t have experience singing swing, all the great R&B singers understood the feeling of swing rhythm. Which of the rockers picked that up?

Is there a figure from rock’s first decade whose sound doesn’t reflect the influence of R&B?





NPR – Rock and Roll Summer School – Piano Man

29 09 2009

Original article and broadcast available on NPR.

Rock ‘n’ Roll Summer School: Give The Piano Man Some
by Tom Moon

Every Wednesday this summer, we’re offering a quick course in early rock ‘n’ roll. Your professor will be Tom Moon, NPR contributor and author of the book 1,000 Recordings to Hear Before You Die. These overviews, mostly from the 1950s, are not intended to be comprehensive, but to help curious listeners dive in and explore some of the genre’s often-overlooked building blocks. Whether you’re a novice or a rock snob, join the conversation below.

THIS WEEK: Give the Piano Man Some!

The guitar wasn’t always the supreme rock ‘n’ roll instrument. During the 1950s, guitarists had competition from a bunch of unruly, irreverent piano players. Some of these musicians exhibited great refinement — think about the calm, lilting pulse Fats Domino put behind “Blueberry Hill” — and others were distinguished by their harsh pounding “technique.” Arguably the most exciting of them: the Georgia-born whirlwind known as Little Richard, who sent devastatingly precise electric shockwaves of rhythm shooting through the piano.

In terms of sheer piano-punishing force, the only one to rival Little Richard was “The Killer,” Jerry Lee Lewis. As part of the roster at Sun Records, Lewis helped create the boisterous sound of rock ‘n’ roll abandon. His playing, on singles like “Whole Lotta Shakin’ Goin’ On” and others, combines tight chordal jabs with extravagant slides and runs — the pianistic equivalent of an ecstatic yelp. A few such flourishes turn up on this 1957 clip:

ESSENTIAL LISTENING
Little Richard: “Lucille,” “Tutti Fruitti”
Jerry Lee Lewis: “Whole Lotta Shakin’ Goin’ On”
Fats Domino: “Ain’t That a Shame,” “Blueberry Hill”

EXTRA CREDIT
Huey “Piano” Smith: “Rockin’ Pneumonia and the Boogie Woogie Flu” from Having a Good Time
Elton John: “Honky Cat” from Honky Chateau

DISCUSSION

In terms of intensity, do these musicians “rock” as hard as their guitar-playing contemporaries?

Why did the piano recede from the rock spotlight after the 1950s? Was it, as Jerry Lee Lewis complained, simply too unwieldy in a dance context?

Is there a solid line — or a dotted one? — between the flamboyant players of the ’50s and Elton John, the reigning flamboyant piano player of the 1970s?