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Musical Resources
Gregory Walker Guest Conductor works with our Chamber Orchestra

Since his 2009 Philadelphia Orchestra debut, praised by the American Record Guide as a performance of “precision and rapturous immediacy,” Gregory Walker has gained international recognition for his "beautifully calibrated phrasing," “ravishingly beautiful” tone, and the “sheer virtuoso force”of his delivery. While developing unique collaborations with the Poland's SinfoniaVarsovia, Filharmonia Sudecka and the Encuentro Musical de los Americas in Havana, Cuba, as well as the Detroit Symphony, Colorado Symphony, Cleveland Chamber Symphony, Breckenridge Festival Orchestra, the Oberlin Conservatory Orchestra, Ft. Collins Symphony, Yaquina Chamber Orchestra, the Colorado Music Festival Orchestra, and the Bavarian Youth Orchestra in Germany, he has been engaged at Norway's Tromsø Cathedral Series, the Gateways Music Festival in Rochester, New York, the Centro Mexicano para la Musica y las Artes Sonoras, Cork Orchestral Society Concert Series in Ireland, and at the U.S. Library of Congress.


Profiled in the internationally-distributed 2012 Chuck Fryberger documentary, Song of the Untouchable, Walker's discography includes critically-acclaimed releases from the Newport Classic, CRI, Orion, Centaur, and Leonarda record labels. He has performed with pop star Lyle Lovett and, as past concertmaster of the Boulder Philharmonic Orchestra, appeared with Mstislav Rostropovich and Itzhak Perlman, as well as Doc Severinsen and the Marcus Roberts Trio. Walker has been featured on National Public Radio, in Strings magazine, and on the cover of the April 2007 International Musician. He can be heard on Albany Records' 2014 recording of Pulitzer Prize-winning composer George Walker’s Violin Sonata No. 2.

A Musical Fix for American Schools

Research shows that music training boosts IQ, focus and persistence
Instruction in music literally expanded students’ brains. ENLARGE
Instruction in music literally expanded students’ brains. DENVER POST/GETTY IMAGES
By JOANNE LIPMAN
Oct. 10, 2014 11:24 a.m. ET
75 COMMENTS
American education is in perpetual crisis. Our students are falling ever farther behind their peers in the rest of the world. Learning disabilities have reached epidemic proportions, affecting as many as one in five of our children. Illiteracy costs American businesses $80 billion a year.

Many solutions have been tried, but few have succeeded. So I propose a different approach: music training. A growing body of evidence suggests that music could trump many of the much more expensive “fixes” that we have thrown at the education system.

Plenty of outstanding achievers have attributed at least some of their success to music study. Stanford University’s Thomas Sudhof, who won the Nobel Prize in medicine last year, gave credit to his bassoon teacher. Albert Einstein, who began playing the violin at age 6, said his discovery of the theory of relativity was “the result of musical perception.”

Until recently, though, it has been a chicken-and-egg question: Are smart, ambitious people naturally attracted to music? Or does music make them smart and ambitious? And do musically trained students fare better academically because they tend to come from more affluent, better educated families?

New research provides some intriguing answers. Music is no cure-all, nor is it likely to turn your child into a Nobel Prize winner. But there is compelling evidence that it can boost children’s academic performance and help fix some of our schools’ most intractable problems.

Grammy Award-winning composer and violinist Mark O'Connor discusses the importance of teaching classical music to children on Lunch Break with Tanya Rivero. Photo: YouTube/Mark O'Connor
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Music raises your IQ.

E. Glenn Schellenberg, a University of Toronto psychology professor, was skeptical about claims that music makes you smarter when he devised a 2004 study to assess its impact on IQ scores. He randomly assigned 132 first-graders to keyboard, singing or drama lessons, or no lessons at all. He figured that at the end of the school year, both music and drama students would show bumps in IQ scores, just because of “that experience of getting them out of the house.” But something unexpected happened. The IQ scores of the music students increased more than those of the other groups.

Another Canadian study, this one of 48 preschoolers and published in 2011, found that verbal IQ increased after only 20 days of music training. In fact, the increase was five times that of a control group of preschoolers, who were given visual art lessons, says lead researcher Sylvain Moreno, an assistant professor of psychology at the University of Toronto. He found that music training enhanced the children’s “executive function”—that is, their brains’ ability to plan, organize, strategize and solve problems. And he found the effect in 90% of the children, an unusually high rate.

Music training can reduce the academic gap between rich and poor districts.

The Harmony Project in Los Angeles gives free instrument lessons to children in impoverished neighborhoods. Margaret Martin, who founded the program in 2001, noticed that the program’s students not only did better in school but also were more likely to graduate and to attend college.

To understand why, Northwestern University neurobiologist Nina Kraus spent two years tracking 44 6-to-9-year-olds in the program and then measured their brain activity. She found a significant increase in the music students’ ability to process sounds, which is key to language, reading and focus in the classroom. Academic results bore that out: While the music students’ reading scores held steady, scores for a control group that didn’t receive lessons declined.

Prof. Kraus found similar results in a 2013 study published in Frontiers in Educational Psychology of 43 high-school students from impoverished neighborhoods in Chicago. Students randomly assigned to band or choir lessons showed significant increases in their ability to process sounds, while those in a control group, who were enrolled in a junior ROTC program, didn’t. “A musician has to make sense of a complicated soundscape,” Prof. Kraus says, which translates into an ability to understand language and to focus, for example, on what a teacher is saying in a noisy classroom.

Music training does more than sports, theater or dance to improve key academic skills.

Last year, the German Institute for Economic Research compared music training with sports, theater and dance in a study of 17-year-olds. The research, based on a survey of more than 3,000 teens, found that those who had taken music lessons outside school scored significantly higher in terms of cognitive skills, had better grades and were more conscientious and ambitious than their peers. The impact of music was more than twice that of the other activities—and held true regardless of the students’ socioeconomic background.

To be sure, the other activities also had benefits. Kids in sports also showed increased ambition, while those in theater and dance expressed more optimism. But when it came to core academic skills, the study’s authors found, the impact of music training was much stronger.

Music can be an inexpensive early screening tool for reading disabilities.

Brazilian music teacher Paulo Estevao Andrade noticed that his second-grade students who struggled with rhythm and pitch often went on to have reading problems. So he invented a “game” in which he played a series of chords on a guitar and asked his students to write symbols representing high and low notes. Those who performed poorly on the exercise, he found, typically developed severe reading problems down the line.

Intrigued, he joined with Nadine Gaab, an assistant professor at Harvard Medical School, to follow 43 students over three years, and they found that the test predicted general learning disabilities as well. Why? Mr. Andrade notes that the brain processes used in the music test—such as auditory sequencing abilities, necessary to hear syllables, words and sentences in order—are the same as those needed to learn to read. Prof. Gaab says the test, which is simple and inexpensive to administer, has great potential as a tool for early intervention.

Music literally expands your brain.

In a 2009 study in the Journal of Neuroscience, researchers used an MRI to study the brains of 31 6-year-old children, before and after they took lessons on musical instrument for 15 months. They found that the music students’ brains grew larger in the areas that control fine motor skills and hearing—and that students’ abilities in both those areas also improved. The corpus callosum, which connects the left and right sides of the brain, grew as well.

Ellen Winner, a Boston College psychology professor and co-author of the study, notes that the study doesn’t show a rise in cognitive abilities. But she argues that music shouldn’t have to justify itself as an academic booster. “If we are going to look for effects outside of music, I would look at things like persistence and discipline, because this is what’s required to play an instrument,” she says.

Yet music programs continue to be viewed as expendable. A 2011 analysis in the Journal of Economic Finance calculated that a K-12 school music program in a large suburban district cost $187 per student a year, or just 1.6% of the total education budget. That seems a reasonable price to pay for fixing some of the thorniest and most expensive problems facing American education. Music programs shouldn’t have to sing for their supper.

The World’s First Circular Keyboard Puts The Old Straight 88 To Shame

Although the piano wasn’t born this way, Lady Gaga’s lead keyboardist, Brockett Parsons had to have something just as unconventional as the shows he was performing in. With a team of “mad scientists” his vision of a circular keyboard that surrounds him was made a reality. The team consisted of Chuck Johnson- point man who gathered the team, Dave Starkey- the electronic man of QRS Systems, and Richard Fell- the piano pro who made it real. His round keyboard, which he lovingly nicknamed the “Brockettship” made it’s debut in Seoul, South Korea for Lady Gaga’s Born This Way 2012-2013 tour. With a mission to “re-imagine the world of keyboard performance and deliver ground breaking, performance grade keyboard creations” the PianoArc was born.

 

SEE ALSO THE EARTH HARP IS THE LARGEST STRINGED INSTRUMENT ON THE PLANET

 

Rather than the traditional 88 keys, the PianoArc consists of 3 full keyboards, totaling 294 keys. If you look closely you can see the separate boards that come apart to make the instrument transportable. The height and tilt can be adjusted as well. See this masterpiece in action in the videos below. For more information on the PianoArc, including a quote for your own, check out their website.

7 Year Old Sanford Girls Plays Violin to Stop Violence

SANFORD, Fla. (WOFL FOX 35 ORLANDO) - At the young age of 7 years old, Leah Flynn is a disciplined violinist.

"I like practice because it makes me get better and better and better each day," said Flynn.

 

The Sanford 2nd grader has performed as a soloist at numerous concerts and venues. She started playing at just 5 years old, and ever since she's been taking lessons and practicing daily with her father.

 

"I'm extremely proud and I tell her it's a God given talent that God gave her and she should use her talent wisely," said Paula Flynn, Leah's mother

 

And that exactly what Leah wants to do, her mom says when she saw the unrest and rioting in Ferguson, MO in the aftermath of the Michael Brown shooting, she wanted to do something.

 

"She said to me 'mom what's going on?' and I explained to her because I have to, I told her what's going on and she said 'but it's not right these people look so sad maybe I could do something for them,'" Flynn said.

 

So, her father taught her the song "Let there be peace."

 

"There's a lot of scariness there and violence and fighting so I really just want them to have peaceful and happiness," said Leah.

 

Now Leah hopes to be able to travel to Ferguson to play her song of peace to the community.

 

"In her eyes she believes that she can create some sort of change in the atmosphere down there," Flynn said.

 

 

You can view some of Leah Flynn's videos on her YouTube channel

Announcing our new Guitar Teacher - AMAZING!!! Open House 11/17 6-6:30

Pete Pigeon - Guitar Songwriting Didgeridoo

Pete recently moved here from the East coast where he taught private lessons for 19 years.  He has developed a customized approach to help each student achieve their potential.  Pete excels at developing an accessible personable report and adapts his curriculum to suit each student’s independent needs and desires.  He has extreme patience and a good-humored nature.  This has yielded powerful results with students from age 5 to adult.  His personal endeavors include spiritual growth and travel.  He holds a degree in Jazz Guitar from the State University of New York.  He is versatile in Jazz, Funk, Rock, Hip Hop, Alternative Country, Groove, Fusion, Experimental, Acoustic, World Music and more.

We will have an open house at the Lakewood location on Monday 11/17 from 6-6:30.  You can meet Pete, hear him play, and learn about his teaching style.  Refreshments will be served.

Pete has shared the stage with some of the best musicians across the country from Oregon to New York City.  He has been a working musicians since before he was old enough to drive to his own gigs.  He worked in the bands as guitars and singer.  He has had press describe him as:  plays guitar like a roadhouse Pat Metheny and has the easy touch of George Benson...has a knack for digging into the soul of a song...and more...  He was nominated for a Grammy for his music in 2012...  

 

Here's a Vimeo video of a Grammy interview:  http://vimeo.com/68186101

What Rockers Can Teach Us About Success...

What Rockers Can Teach Entrepreneurs

Embarking on a career in popular music is in many ways like starting a business. You develop a brand, a distinct identity in the marketplace, and try to get people excited about it. What can entrepreneurs learn from musicians about getting a new business off the ground?

The 10-Year Journey to Overnight Success

Any musician you’ve ever heard of has worked countless hours to master his or her instrument and has endured humiliation after humiliation in the form of small and apathetic audiences, discouraging label executives, and dismissive incumbents. It takes hard work, commitment and determination to succeed as a musician.

The same goes for people who want to start a business. Entrepreneurs can get impatient when all they hear about are overnight successes and young self-made billionaires. Overnight success stories make for good headlines. But they are misleading.

In both music and entrepreneurship you need to commit fully and decisively, and then stick it out through the long haul. You have to be willing to make personal sacrifices, and you have to be persistent in your pursuit of excellence.

When I interviewed super-producer Rick Rubin for an article about meditation, I asked him why so many musicians meditate. He told me meditation is good for musicians because it reinforces the lifestyle of consistent practice and discipline. People tend to focus on the inspiration aspects of the arts (and the inspiration aspect of entrepreneurship). What we don’t see is the tedious disciplined practice involved in translating that inspiration into a success in the marketplace.

Persistence means overcoming the deeply personal pain of failures. We all know that you need to fail to learn. But what rockers can teach entrepreneurs is that failing is like mourning the death of a loved one. Your business, like your art, is your baby. You are personally attached to it. You love it. It is part of who you are and its success is tied into your feelings of self-worth. How must Robin Thicke feel around now that his deeply personal album about his failed relationship with his wife sold only 530 copies in the UK in its first week? That’s how entrepreneurs feel every time they fail.

Musicians have been told their entire career that their babies are ugly, stupid, and boring. Jimi Hendrix was kicked out of every band he played in until he started his own. Which doesn’t mean it doesn’t hurt. It just means that it’s part of the deal.

The same goes in business. Starbucks founder Howard Schultz was passionate about his vision of bringing Italian coffee bar culture to the US. He approached 242 investors. 217 said, “No.” That’s 217 times that his baby was insulted. Then he couldn’t show a profit for three years. That’s rock star persistence.

Creative Adaptability

Charles Darwin said that it is not the strongest or the most intelligent who survive, but those who can best manage change.

Rockers are masters of change, flexibility, and adaptability. Madonna, one of the only women in popular music to have a consistently successful career into her fifties, has done it by constantly changing and adapting. She didn’t lose her brand of empowered sexuality, but she changed with the times. In fact, she sometimes changed ahead of the times. Now making her thirteenth album, she’s getting today’s hottest producers to give her their most exciting tracks.

When U2 transitioned from their signature sound, epitomized on The Joshua Tree, to the dark electronic sound of Achtung Baby, they proved that they were agile. Likewise, Radiohead transitioned away from guitar-based songs after their hit album OK Computer to a more electronic sound for its follow-up, Kid A. It wasn’t easy to make the changes, but it paid off. Achtung Baby was a commercial smash for U2, selling 18 million copies, while Radiohead’s Kid A topped the Billboard chart, won the Grammy award for best alternative album, and went platinum.

Any team should be wary of abandoning its core strength to superficially adopt a trend. But that wasn’t the case with U2 and Radiohead. What they were doing was growing together. They were able to interrupt their habits of thought and their habits of action. They were innovating.

It’s not the strongest or most intelligent that survives but the one that is most adaptable to change. Startups need to keep changing if they are going to hold their customers’ interest, adapt to changing market, and outperform competitors.

Everyone is a Rapper

In both music and entrepreneurship you need powers of persuasion. You need to get people excited about what you’re doing so that they can give you money to keep doing it. You need to rap.

The original meaning of the word rap was talking. But it was more than that. It was your ability to talk smoothly, to talk yourself out of trouble, to use talking to get your way. It was a smart way of talking, a way of talking that impressed other people. Rapping was selling. That’s why rappers are such good entrepreneurs.

When rap started, there was no institutional support for the genre. So rappers learned salesmanship. Rap culture was about proving you were better than the rest. It was about distinguishing yourself and your originality above the crowd.

Startups need to do that. Just like rappers, they need to convince people that they are better and bolder than the rest. That they can rise to any challenge and circumstances. Entrepreneurs can learn from rappers that stepping up to the mic with confidence can go a long way.

Entrepreneurs can also learn from rockers to make an emotional connection to their audience through body language and stories. As I’ve written before, you can learn techniques that will strengthen the effectiveness of your communication.

But most importantly, rockers teach entrepreneurs the importance of finding your unique voice and expressing it. As an artist, you have to differentiate yourself from others. Doing well in business requires the same thing. To stand out, you need to put yourself on the line and express yourself with confidence and passion.

Nurture the Team

A startup company I once interviewed faced a situation where one partner wanted the company to always be small enough to all fit in an elevator. But the other partner wanted world domination. One wanted to be Zuckerburg, the other wanted to be Zingerman’s. It collapsed. Another company had a partner who didn’t feel like he got a fare share of the equity split. So he split, right as they were about to be approved for a grant on which he was the primary investigator. The grant fell through.

Partners are a major source of uncertainty. They are also the most important factor for your startup’s success. What can we learn from rockers about minimizing partner risk? Invest in the connection with your partners.

In 1995 Anthony Kiedis, singer of the Red Hot Chili Peppers, was in rehab for heroin addiction. He was the singer of one of the biggest bands in the world, with a new album coming out and a tour to embark on. His band mates needed Kiedis to do his job.

Part of the rehab center’s recovery process was to invite friends and family for a group session. Flea, The Chili Peppers’ bassist, showed up. When the group session began, the therapist asked Flea, “How does it make you feel when Anthony’s out there using drugs and you have no idea where he is or if he’s ever going to come back?” Kiedis cringed in his seat. He figured Flea was going to rant about how mad he is that Kiedis is ruining all of their hard work. And he would be right.

But Flea burst into tears. “I’m afraid he’s going to die on me,” he sobbed. “I don’t want him to die.” Flea cared about Kiedis as more than a means to an end.

Truly great bands such as The Red Hot Chili Peppers treat each other like family. That’s where their resilience comes from. Flea wasn’t happy about what Kiedis’s behavior was doing for the band. But first and foremost he was worried about him as his friend.

The same goes for startups. Other people are not just there to get the work done. They are not disposable parts. If they are, the team will have zero resilience for when times get tough. Without a strong relational fabric, the team will collapse at the first bump in the road.

Why does caring matter so much? Because it brings out the best in others. It facilitates others by giving them the support they need so that they can contribute at their highest level. It also creates a safe environment for making mistakes and experimenting.

Caring comes with playfulness, which helps with burnout and also opens up the team’s resources and creativity. And caring increases loyalty. When band members look out for each other, they build a reservoir of goodwill that they tap into when times get tough.

Flute Recital at St. Paul’s Lutheran Church, June 6, 2014

Opening in the beautiful church, with Mark Alan Filbert, Organist led the way in a nuance filled evening with Dielterich Buxtehude’s Praeludium in C.

The other performers were Catherine Rands on harp and Fran Piazza on flute. While the music selection was smart and interesting and Catherine and Mark were excellent players and delivered their parts well, Fran Piazza pulled sounds out of the flute that were beyond comprehension. I watched as the other audience members were in awe at the sheer beauty of her sounds, her imagination was intriguing to us as she floated a note, turned it upside down, inside out and backwards and forwards, loud soft, piercing, warm rich… all these sounds were heard last night.  What control she showed and on top of that, it all looked completely effortless like she was a child playing a tune for  the fun of it!

Fran teaches flute at Golden Music and at The Music Lesson Place in Aurora. She performs regularly around Denver and is producing and performing on a Children’s CD. She performed the Five Hymn Settings for Flute and Organ by Robert Powell, Elegy for Flute, Harp and Organ, Harold Friedell, Image for solo flute, Eugene Bozza, Six Short Italian Classics for Flute and Harp, Light Eternal: Meditations for Flute and Organ.

Two comments from audience members; “She is one with the flute” and “She is a Master of her instrument.”

How to Clean Your Brass Instrument - Give It A Bath

We can clean it for you which is included in the maintenance plan if it's on our rent-to-own program.  A bath might be what it needs.  Here's the directions for that.

  1. Find a bath big enough to comfortably take your horn and line it with an old sheet or towels. (This prevents damage to horn and bath.
  2. Fill the bath with lukewarm water.
  3. Remove all slides, mouthpiece and any other moving parts from the horn.
  4. Submerge the horn completely in water and press down all valves to open them (just a couple of times, you don't need to keep them down.)
  5. Leave the horn for an hour to around three hours (only if it is an instrument that hasn't been bathed in a very long time, or if the valves are stuck down.)
  6. Get a snake to clean the horn. While the horn is soaking, use a pull-through (snake) to clean out all your slides in a separate sink. If the pull-through is too wide to get round the bends in the slide, don't force it. It will get stuck and just cause damage. Use a mouthpiece brush to clean out your mouthpiece just now as well - no point in blowing all your mouthpiece gunk down into your nice clean horn!
  7. Finish cleaning. When bath-time is almost up, put your pull-through through your lead-pipe (from mouthpiece end to tuning slide) and then use either the end of your pull-through or a similar smaller brush to clean out all the valve-slides.
  8. Remove your horn carefully from the bath and tip all the water sitting inside of it out. You should be able to hear any water sloshing around inside but if you are having trouble getting it out try depressing all the valves and tipping the horn round 360 degrees towards the bell - any water should come out of the bell!
  9. Dry the horn. After making sure you have gotten rid of any water sitting in the valves, lay your horn on some towels or another clean sheet to dry. Remove any surface water with a clean cloth or towel and then leave the horn, preferably in a room with some circulating air for a few hours to dry out.
  10. Wait a few hours then tip your horn out again to remove any water that has settled.
  11. Pour some low-viscosity valve oil down the slides into the valves, and oil all the bearings and rotors.
  12. Re-grease all slides and replace them.