Music History & Facts

Interesting facts about music, music history, etc.

You wouldn’t know it from seeing budget cuts in music programs, but as musicians and music teachers, we know how important music is to life and society, and we see weekly the effects it has on students.  The National Association for Music Education (MENC) keeps on top of scientific studies, as well as comments by leaders in society, about the important effects of music on children and adults alike.  Below are a few samples from the MENC page summarizing these studies and comments; in a few cases, I’ve gone into more detail than MENC does.

“When I hear people asking how do we fix the education system, I tell them we need to do the opposite of what is happening, cutting budgets by cutting music programs….Ask a CEO what they are looking for in an employee and they say they need people who understand teamwork, people who are disciplined, people who understand the big picture. You know what they need? They need musicians.”  Former Gov. Mike Huckabee, 6/07

A few years ago, a Canadian study of 6 year olds demonstrated that music lessons improves kids’ IQs.  Many people assumed that higher IQs among music students relates to better family situations,  [···]

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OK, get ready.  No instrument is sacred here!  (Warning:  Woodwind and brass players should not read this while playing.)

The prodigy:  A boy said to his dad, “I want to be a musician when I grow up.”  His dad said, “Hold on there son, you can’t do both.”

Harmonica: What do you call a harmonica player’s accompanist?  Fido.

Viola:  The violist said to the violinist, “You know, we violists can play 64th notes.”  The violinist said, “Oh, yeah?  Let’s hear them.”  So the violist played him one.

Altos:  How many altos does it take to change a light bulb?  None.  They can’t get up that high.

Oboe:  What is a minor second?  Two oboes playing in unison.

French Horn:  How can you make a trombone sound like a French horn?  Stick your hand in the bell and play a lot of wrong notes.

Bagpipes:  Why do pipers always walk while they play?  To get away from the noise.


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I have been recently using a software program called “Noteable” which aids my students’ ability to read music, as well as test their skills and send the parents a progress report. I was pleasantly surprised and impressed with the many features, including five play modes, music, animation, record keeping, and much more.

The animated flashcards make it fun for the students to learn and improve the reading of their music, as the software is adaptable to music for any instrument. The four modes are Piano, Guitar, Solfege, and Note Names.

MIDI is more of an option to answer the questions; ie you can use a MIDI keyboard to answer while in Piano mode or you can use a MIDI guitar for guitar mode.  Having a keyboard or MIDI device is not required.  All modes can be answered by using the mouse and people can use the computer keyboard to answer the note names by letter. [···]

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