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Houston's Reggae Bands

Reggae is now a worldwide phenomenon. Having originated in Jamaica, Reggae has now spread to countries all around the world. Thus, it's no surprise that the nation's sixth largest city, Houston, Texas, should have bands specializing in Reggae music. Houston Reggae bands have the distinct advantage of being closer to the Caribbean than most of the United States and, due to this proximity, finds a large Jamaican population existing in the suburbs of the city. This community of Jamaican Reggae lovers would naturally create a demand for Houston Reggae bands to provide entertainment for their various events and celebrations.

Probably the best of all scenarios would be to find a band that also performed Caribbean Calypso, or Soca, music. (Modern day Calypso music is now called "Soca". It is said that the term came from the combination of the letters "So" from Soul, with that of the "Ca" in Calypso to become Soca!) Houston Reggae bands that can combine these two distinctly Caribbean styles would indeed make for a fun, diverse mix of tempos for any event.

One such Houston-based group that does so is the band Irie Time. They also have the distinction of being the premier ensemble of Houston Reggae bands, performing together as a band for over 15 years. The group has released numerous original CDs, and has toured through the United States and Europe over the years. Their website, IrieTime.com, features excerpts from their albums, as well a video captured by a fan at a recent concert. The group is known for their extraordinary musicianship, and for their ability to tailor their sound to uniquely fit every event they play ... from huge international festival concerts, to the smallest, most intimate reception.

A product of many cultures, Irie Time's world class personnel span the globe. Their bassist, Jairus Mage, came to Houston from Kenya, East Africa because of his love for Reggae music and the strong base the music held in the city. Irie Time recruited Jairus within his first year of residency in the U.S., and he has been with the group from its beginnings. A.B. Olowele, Irie Time's keyboardist, toured the world with perhaps Nigeria's most famous son, Femi Kuti, whose father was the international Nigerian superstar, Fela Kuti. A.B.'s astounding talent and experience have raised Irie Time to new musical heights, and his keyboard playing can be heard and viewed at the exciting fan video that resides on the Irie Time website.

An American, who traveled extensively in Jamaica for many years, is Irie Time's lead vocalist and guitarist, Scottie McDonald. Scottie lead the band to the streets of the Reggae (and Jamaican) capital of Kingston, Jamaica, to record tracks with famed Jamaican guitarist, Earl 'Chinna' Smith. Chinna played guitar in Bob Marley's Wailers band during an expansive phase of Marley's career, and later became the driving force behind Bob Marley's son, Ziggy Marley, as the Ziggy Marley and the Melody Makers band became a worldwide phenomenon. Chinna was also a founding member of Jimmy Cliff's Oneness band, and accompanied Jimmy through his astounding career on Columbia Records and his resulting Grammy. (Jimmy Cliff was the only other candidate under serious consideration by Chris Blackwell's Island Records to receive the backing for Island's newly discovered phenomenon, Reggae. Blackwell chose to back Bob Marley, and the rest is history!)

Earl 'Chinna' Smith guided Scottie and Irie Time through some of the finest arrangements of the band's early career, and put Houston Reggae bands on the map. Irie Time continues to perform arrangements produced in those Jamaican sessions, and has expanded and enhanced the songs up to the current day. One need only hear their live album, entitled "Live Up", which was recorded on tour in Europe, to hear the maturity of those Jamaican arrangements.

The IRIE TIME band performs Caribbean Reggae and Soca music, and continues to release original music CDs with worldwide distribution. More information can be obtained at www.IRIETIME.com or by contacting them directly at 713-398-3798.

IRIE TIME is based out of Houston, Texas and commutes to locations throughout the United States by means of the city's two international airports, enabling the band to provide entertainment services to all 50 states, including the Texas cities of Abilene, Austin, Beaumont - Port Arthur, Bryan - College Station, Conroe, Corpus Christi, Dallas, Ft. Worth, Lubbock, Nacogdoches, San Marcos, and San Antonio, TX, as well as Louisiana locations of Alexandria, Baton Rouge, Lafayette, Lake Charles, New Orleans and Shreveport, LA, and cities across the nation.

IRIE TIME also performs events internationally and has agency representatives in Europe, Japan, Canada, Mexico, Central America, and South America.

IRIE!

 


Guide to Buying Quality Musical Equipment

Welcome to the amazing world of playing a musical instrument! Playing a musical instrument;

Builds greater social and team skills

Improves reasoning capacity and problem solving skills

Improves maths and language performance

Improves memory, concentration, creativity, self esteem and self discipline

Some Truths about Music!

TRUTH 1: Everyone is musical and nearly all of us have the ability to sing and to play an instrument. Of course some of us have more aptitude than others. That's natural, in exactly the same way that some people are more gifted than others in sport, or maths, or any other area of learning.

TRUTH 2: Because everyone is musical everyone can develop their musical skills to the point that they are able to. Very few of us will become professional musicians but most of us can have a life of enjoyment and achievement through making music.

TRUTH 3: There is no one way to learn to play an instrument. Over the years various methods and approaches have been developed. Each approach will suit one person but not necessarily another. Individuals need to find a style and approach that best suits them.

TRUTH 4: Music is often best enjoyed when it is shared with others. That 'other' can be a teacher or a member of the family. They can be friends, or a class of other players, a band or a whole orchestra. The important thing about making music is that you make your music with other people as soon and as often as you can.

TRUTH 5: All music is made up of the same core elements such as melody, rhythm, harmony and tone. These precepts of music are evident in all styles from classical to rock. There is no best music through which to learn nor is there any right order as to which style should come first. Success and enjoyment are more dependent on the learning approach and the student's motivation and goals than whether you are playing Blur or Beethoven.

TRUTH 6: There are two major aspects to music, playing an instrument and understanding and being musical (some people call it music theory). These two elements are not separate subjects and should be integrated in the process of learning and developing as a musician.

SOME GENERAL THINGS TO CONSIDER BEFORE YOU BUY

There are many things to think about when choosing a suitable instrument including:

• The age of the student

• The character of the student

• The kind of music they want to play

• The cost

• The practicalities (such as size and portability of the instrument)

STUDENT OR BEGINNER INSTRUMENTS

On the surface it is easy to think that a student or beginner instrument is just a cheaper version of what the professionals play. While student instruments are cheaper they are not what 'cheaper' normally implies less well designed or manufactured. In fact a good student instrument offers special attributes that assist the learner to progress and enjoy their music making. This includes things like less resistance (resistance refers to how much pressure or effort is required to make the sound) being built into a student woodwind or brass instrument making the instrument easier to blow for the inexperienced player through the careful design of mouthpieces and bodies. A lower action on a guitar (action refers to the distance between the fret board and the strings) makes playing easier and more fluent for young or inexperienced hands.

ALREADY A PLAYER?

If you are already a player then the best advice anyone can give you is to go out and play all the instruments you can until you find the one that suits you and your budget best. There is simply no substitute for trying and selecting the instrument you will make your own.

BUY, RENT OR BORROW?

You may not wish to buy an instrument immediately in case it turns out not to suit you or your child, you may choose to buy a second hand instrument.

Some music services (organisations contracted by the Local Authority to provide music tuition in state schools and at music centre's) and schools offer instruments on loan to beginners; many others (including some retailers) operate rental systems that, for a modest fee, provide for an

experimental trial period. This is invaluable for the more expensive instruments as it allows your child to get a feel for what is involved in learning, playing and maintaining the instrument before actually buying one. The instrument must be appropriate for your child; however you intend to obtain it. Learning on a sub-standard instrument is extremely demoralising and will prevent your child progressing. You do not have to buy the most expensive instrument, but it must be fit for purpose and properly set up to suit your child - try to consult a teacher or music shop. If you are offered the loan of an instrument by a friend or family member, or are considering the purchase of a second-hand instrument, a teacher should check it for suitability before it is used. However good an instrument is, it may not necessarily be appropriate for your child. Most young string players, for example, begin learning on specially-made smaller instruments and will find it very uncomfortable (if not impossible) to play an instrument that is too large.

CONCLUSION

The best advice is to talk to other musicians, music teachers and music stores to advise on the brands and models to look out for. These are the people with the experience to direct you to the kinds of products that they trust to do the job for them. There is no shortage of great products and brands so you will usually be spoilt for choice.

 


Play music and Have Fun Doing It

All right, so you are a new piano player and you are tired of playing the same old stuff. You want to be able to sit down at the piano and have some fun. With the skills you have learned in learning to play the piano, you will now be able to play music and have fun doing it.

What type of music genre do you like? Country western, the oldies, today's pop. Go out and purchase the sheet music for your favorite music and practice it. One reason people become discouraged in playing the piano is that they play the same music time after time. There is no variation, no fun in playing the piano. So pick up a few different types of music, not just one.

By taking that first step in going outside your comfort zone and investing in a different genre of music, you will soon be able to play if you keep at it. Practice the music that you have purchased. Yes, sorry, I said practice. As with trying to do anything well there is always practice involved. After all, can you truly become accomplished at anything without any practice at all?

Once you have given the consistent effort that it takes to practice, you will find that there are many opportunities available to you. Maybe you have dreamed of playing the piano in a piano bar, or maybe it was just playing in front of your friends. Either way, think of the fun you would have, playing the music that makes people happy and being able to actually watch people love the music you play.

If this is something that you would be interested in doing, be prepared. You will first have to know a multitude of music and songs, but definitely don't let this discourage you. You can play music and have fun too. Just make sure that you are prepared for any type of song requests that come your way.

How much fun could you have playing for family functions? And having your family to be proud of your hard earned accomplishments, to finally be able to do something that you love to do and have fun doing it. Music is able to bring so much happiness to people and being able to be one of the providers of music and having fun doing it can be no more rewarding.

There are so many people out there that would love to be able to play music that they love, especially in the world today, with all the stress and the way the economy is at present. By being able to play music and have fun doing it, you are not only being rewarded, you are helping to relieve built-up tension and stress.

For all of us that had to take piano lessons and complained but kept at it, we really should thank our parents. Little did they know that they would be opening a completely new world to us, a world of music and fun. A world where we can not only play music for ourselves, but also share our ability to play and have fun doing it.

 


How To Choose A Piano Teacher

Choosing a teacher to compliment your new piano in NJ is not as hard as it sounds. With just a little research and a bit of time, you can locate a spinet teacher who can introduce you into a whole new world of musical instruments. If you have never learned to play piano before, you are going to love this musical instrument.

There are several places you can look for a concert grand instructor. You can start with the phone book. You can also check the newspaper ads. Sometimes concert grand teachers will advertise their services. Newsletters from local music store will sometimes have an instructor that advertises their services. You can get a recommendation from people you know that have taken piano lessons.

You should choose a teacher who has experience. Many high school students who play a concert grand will advertise their services but they do not have much experience themselves. A college student is okay for learning the basics. But all in all, you want a professional to teach you. You should know about the success rates of their previous students.

You should have an idea of where you wish to go musically. If your goal is to perform at a recital at a public music venue, you want to choose a teacher who can give you the information to do that. Maybe you want to be part of the spotlight. Or maybe you just want to play in your living room. If you want to be in the public eye, your instructor may have access to where you can perform for an audience. Recitals are not a bad idea. At some point, your friends and family will want to hear you play.

You need to know where you will be getting your lessons. If you do not have a piano yet, then this may prove a challenge since most instructors teach their students in their homes. Some instructors will teach lessons at their own homes of a music studio. As you have a few lessons under your belt, it may be better to learn on another piano do you get a feel for how different instruments play and sound. Many music stores will offer in-store lessons so you may want to inquire if their teacher has any openings.

The average time spent per lesson is usually 30 minutes to an hour. This is a good time because learning too much at one sitting can prove to be overwhelming at first. As you learn more, you can get into more in-depth sessions. You do want to locate a teacher who has a flexible schedule so if you want more lessons, they are able to accommodate you.

Find out the fee schedule. Prices for lessons can vary from teacher to teacher. You should know what their fees include. For example, you want to know if the charges include music books. You may need to pay a fee to be in a recital. Also, are there extra fees charged to you if you lesson goes over the allotted time.

Choosing a teacher for piano new in NJ is a step in the right direction for your musical talents. For more information, consult the internet.

 


Music Can Be a Hobby and Interest that You Can Use In Your Future

Many of us think of our futures as going to college and getting a bachelor's degree or even a master's degree in business, nursing, education, law and many other degrees. Most of us have hobbies and other interests, but they might not fit in with something that fits into our future that can provide an income for our family.

The exciting part is that there are certain hobbies that we have in our lives that can become our future and that there are specialized programs that can take us places with our hobbies.

Let's take a look at music. This is a pretty general category, but all of us have some kind of interest in music. Most of us listen to music, such as rock and roll, rap, oldies, smooth jazz, country, classical and the list goes on. There might not be programs for those of us that love to listen to music on the radio, but there are amazing programs for those that play instruments or have specific interest in music.

All of us can appreciate the talent of playing musical instruments. Most of us can't and recognize that it takes a special talent to further your musical talents. For those that have a special love of music and the talent to share their talent can choose to further their education in music programs. Not only are there beginning programs, but graduate music programs available for those that want to take their future far in music.

You might be thinking that it is only those that play musical instruments that have a future in getting a degree in music. If you are have a love for music there are many different programs in the music industry to go into in furthering your education. There are areas and courses that are offered in the music field that will allow you to get your Bachelor of Music degree and can also be furthered in Graduate music programs.

Here is a list of some of the music programs that begin with a Bachelors degree and many of them can progress into Graduate music programs.

1. Music Performance
2. Composition
3. Recording Technology
4. Jazz Studies
5. Music History
6. Music Theory

Isn't it exciting to think that you can further your education and continue with the hobbies and interests you have in music? Whether it is performing, teaching in junior high or high school or in college, sharing the talents you have in music with children and the list goes on. Take a look and see what your future can hold.

 


Music-Related Jobs And What They Mean

The United Kingdom has always had a very active music industry and although, or maybe because, we are in recession now, it is still thriving. Many young people are attracted to the music industry and so daydream about acquiring a job in it.

However, we are not all musically talented and only the very best get anywhere by following that path anyway, but there are other avenues to go down if you want a career in the music industry.

There is a huge raft of support required to put musicians on the stage, television and radio, because musicians are notoriously too badly organized to get this work done on their own - particularly top level musicians who demand that the stage, the lighting, the facilities and the contracts have to be just right.

So, once a musician has proved his or her worth, somebody has to get him bookings and promote his name, get him a record deal and make certain that he is sufficiently paid. This will be the music publicist

The label manager works for the recording company and liaises between the different departments to make sure that the production and release of the artist's CD's are co-ordinated to the nth degree.

Management always has to have assistants and the music industry is no exception. An assistant to a manager in the music industry will have standard administrative duties not dissimilar to office duties in other industries, but the papers, contracts, invoices and cheques will be regarding famous, glamorous people that everyone knows from the Television.

The music industry employs research analysts to track and attempt to predict future trends in music tastes. These researchers are occasionally called digital research analysts. This is quite a skilled job and requires expertise in the industry, in markets, trends and management.

The Internet plays an ever growing role in the marketing of music and the musicians who make it and so there are now openings for online editorial managers, whereas the job did not exist ten years ago.

The publicists and PR people also require co-ordinating on the Internet and web sites need to be built. Every band needs a Facebook and Twitter account and any other account in an online phenomenon that is up-and-coming.

There are events producers and junior events producers and senior events producers because live music creates more money than record sales since so much of that is pirated these days. Most bands could not continue without live events and most would not want to either, because performers like the limelight quite literally.

The music industry employs of cheap labour as does even government and there are internships to be had. The pay for an intern is very low and occasionally they do not get paid at all, but they gain a wealth of experience and make very helpful contacts. The most enthusiastic and hard-working interns are normally hired after their internship is over.

There are routes into the music industry that might seem quirky, but if you attempt some of these avenues you will stand a better chance of procuring a career in the music industry.

 




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