Tag Archives: music

Tuvan Throat Singing

I have always been interested in music and instruments from around the world. Last week, while on vacation, my husband and I had an opportunity to see Alash at Jackie O’s in Athens. Alash are Tuvan throat singers. Tuva is part of the Russian Federation in the far south of Siberia.


The type of singing they do produces interesting overtones based on a fundamental pitch. The Tuvans  are very focused on nature and the objects of nature and feel that there is deep spirituality in these objects. Much of their music is based on mimicry of these nature sounds. Thursday night, one of my favorite numbers was a song about a waterfall. I could have listened to it all night as it had the same soothing, relaxing effects of sitting and hearing the water splash down over rocks and into a pool. They also use traditional instruments made from animal skins and objects found in nature, as well as Western European instruments such as the guitar and accordion.

One of the neatest instruments they played was a Schoor. In this video it is the flute like instrument that is played vertically. I was, and am, fascinated with how it is played and interesting sounds it creates.

One thing that always strikes me when I see groups such as this perform is the continued importance the family and community play in making music together and passing on the traditional songs and techniques of the region. I do not know for certain, but my guess is these fine musicians did not go to a Conservatory or an Academy and receive degrees to make this music. They listened to and sang with their elders and learned the traditions by making music together.


I had a family that enjoyed singing and making music together. We went to concerts and explored musical genres on the radio, and LPs (yep I’m that old). In Kindermusik, we are able to continue the traditions of making music together as a family, learning traditional songs from the United States, around the world and exploring many different genres as well. Children and parents are encouraged to play the instruments, dance the dances, and sing the songs together in a very process based way with no performance expectation. The only expectation we have is that you will have fun. We guarantee your child will learn and his development will be enhanced while you are enjoying your time together.

You can get more information by visiting our website www.misschristamusic.com

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Happy Birthday Luciano Pavarotti

Today would have been Luciano Pavarotti’s 73 birthday. Pavarotti is considered one of the world’s greatest tenors. He had a renowned career that spanned many operatic roles, recitals and recordings. He won many awards and accolades. In addition to being an incredible musician he was an accomplished equestrian. Pavarotti was dedicated to helping young singers and began a competition that has launched many singers careers. He continued to give voice lessons and auditions in his home until his death in September 2007. The official Luciano Pavarotti website has the details of these few accomplishments as well as recordings, photos, and videos of his work.

Enjoy this video of Pavarotti singing Puccini. Beautiful

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Filed under Fun Videos/Songs, interesting news

The Nerve: Music and the Brain

My friend and colleague, Sarah Peel Li, just shared this information with us via the group for Kindermusik educators on Yahoo. Let me just say that Dr. Levitin was very interesting, informative and entertaining at last year’s Kindermusik convention. I do own his book, THIS IS YOUR BRAIN ON MUSIC, and have really enjoyed reading it. Even if you are not a musician, I think it is very accessible reading. Here’s what Sarah shared.

CBC Radio 2 in Canada is currently offering an excellent series on
Music and the Human Experience. Podcasts are available for download
as well as on demand at their website

If you attended convention last year you will be familiar with the
work of Dr. Daniel Levitin who wrote “This is Your Brain on Music” and
spoke during the opening session. He, as well as a who’s who of
scholars of why music matters and how it impacts human development,
are featured in the first two episodes. It is a fascinating series
and well worth putting on. Episode one also features extra online
material with an extended interview with Dr. Levitin.

I’m currently trying to figure out how to download the podcasts right now. Enjoy!

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Video to get you smiling and moving

Greg just sent me the link to this video. Turn up the sound and enjoy!

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Filed under Fun Videos/Songs

Beautiful Video

 This took a lot of time to practice and prepare. What beautiful pictures they make with just their hands.

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Filed under Fun Videos/Songs, Personal Thoughts

Music Training Linked to Enhanced Verbal Skills

See article at http://tinyurl.com/3ao8mu
Music Training Linked To Enhanced Verbal Skills

Because the brainstem offers a common pathway that processes music and
speech, the study suggests that musical training conceivably could help
children develop literacy skills and combat literacy disorders.

by Staff Writers

Evanston IL (SPX) Sep 25, 2007

Music training, with its pervasive effects on the nervous system’s
ability to process sight and sound, may be more important for enhancing
verbal communication skills than learning phonics, according to a new
Northwestern University study. Musicians use all of their senses to
practice and perform a musical piece. They watch other musicians, read
lips, and feel, hear and perform music, thus, engaging multi-sensory
skills. As it turns out, the brain’s alteration from the multi-sensory
process of music training enhances the same communication skills needed
for speaking and reading, the study concludes.

“Audiovisual processing was much enhanced in musicians’ brains compared
to non-musician counterparts, and musicians also were more sensitive to
subtle changes in both speech and music sounds,” said Nina Kraus, Hugh
Knowles Professor of Communication Sciences and Neurobiology and
director of Northwestern’s Auditory

Neuroscience Laboratory, where the work was performed. “Our study
indicates that the high-level cognitive processing of music affects
automatic processing that occurs early in the processing stream and
fundamentally shapes sensory circuitry.”

The nervous system’s multi-sensory processing begins in the brainstem,
an evolutionarily ancient part of the brain previously thought to be
relatively unmalleable.

“Musicians have a specialized neural system for processing sight and
sound in the brainstem, the neural gateway to the brain,” said
Northwestern doctoral student Gabriella Musacchia, lead author of the study.

For many years, scientists believed that the brainstem simply relayed
sensory information from the ear to the cortex, a part of the brain
known for cognitive processing.

Because the brainstem offers a common pathway that processes music and
speech, the study suggests that musical training conceivably could help
children develop literacy skills and combat literacy disorders.

The study, “Musicians Have Enhanced Subcortical Auditory and Audiovisual
Processing of Speech and Music,” will be published online the week of
Sept. 24 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS).
The co-investigators are Gabriella Musacchia, Mikko Sams, Erika Skoe and
Nina Kraus.

Study participants, who had varying amounts of musical training or none
at all, wore scalp electrodes that measured their multi-sensory brain
responses to audio and video of a cellist playing and a person speaking.

The data showed that the number of years that a person practiced music
strongly correlated with enhanced basic sound encoding mechanisms that
also are relevant for speech. Beyond revealing super-accurate pitch
coding vital to recognizing a speaker’s identity and emotional intent,
the study showed enhanced transcription of timbre and timing cues common
to speech and music.

“The study underscores the extreme malleability of auditory function by
music training and the potential of music to tune our neural response to
the world around us, ” Kraus said.

Previous research has shown brainstem transcription errors in some
children with literacy disorders.

Since music is inherently more accessible to children than phonics, the
new research suggests, music training may have considerable benefits for
engendering literacy skills.

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Filed under Professional Observations