Listening List

Can listening to Classical music make you smarter? Bach & Glenn Gould

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Alfred A. Tomatis claimed that listening to Classical Music(Pourquoi Mozart?) can increase your IQ and heal your brain.   Hence we all purchase ‘Baby Mozart’ for our infants.

While whether or not listening to Mozart actually increases your intelligence, it is undisputed that when you a hear a sound your brain reacts to it. Musical patterns stimulate and relax parts of your brain creating a massage effect.

Music also can affect mood’s, putting you in the mind and spirit of the composer & performer.

So I present to you music to massage your brain created by the most intelligent and prolific musician ever, J.S Bach. The Well Tempered Clavier, preludes & fugues in all Major & Minor keys, performed by the reclusive genius Glenn Gould.

He played these in one sitting beginning to end and it is one-hour and forty seven minutes long.

I encourage all of you to play this when you multitask, feel what it does to your mind and let your imagination run wild.

Thanks to the internet you have the ability to be in the company of genius at your leisure.

Ravi Shankar

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Ravi Shankar

I’m generally not one to name drop. But for several of us teacher’s up here, our most successful classmate is Norah Jones. It is such a thrill to see what great music she has made over the past 10 years and mind boggling that she has sold over 100 million records. They say that the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree, and in her case this is true.

Her father was Ravi Shankar, Indian musician and composer who played the sitar. The sitar is a plucked, acoustical string instrument much like a guitar only the frets are deeply scalloped which enables the musican to make vocal bends and vibratos with ease.

The music that Ravi Shankar played is Indian Classical music. Which has well over 300 different scales that are used, and play in meters that are genearlly unheard of in Western Culture. The most common meter that Ravi played in was Jhaptal which is a five count. Dave Brubeck who past a week ago made his impact on music playing in 5 as well.

Notable students of Ravi Shankar that you may be familiar with are George Harrison(beatles) and John Coltrane. This video is from “The Concert for Bangladesh” which was a benefit concert at Madison Square Garden in New York City. The show was to raise awareness and fund relief for the refugees.

Led Zepplin & Chopin

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Led Zeppelin were an English rock band active in the late 1960’s originally as the New Yardbirds in 1968, the band consisted of guitarist Jimmy Page, singer Robert Plant, bassist/keyboardist John Paul Jones, and drummer John Bonham.

They are widely considered to be one of the most successful, innovative and influential rock groups in history.

After changing their name, they signed with Atlantic Records who allowed artistic freedom. Led Zeppelin disliked releasing their songs as singles; they viewed their albums as indivisible and complete listening experiences. Due to the heavy, guitar-driven blues rock sound of their first two albums, Led Zeppelin are frequently recognised as the progenitors of heavy metal andvhard rock.

However, the band’s individualistic style drew from a wide variety of influences, including folk music, which they incorporated into their next two albums. Their untitled fourth album, which features the track “Stairway to Heaven”, is among the most popular and influential works in rock music, and it cemented the status of the group as “superstars”.

Led Zeppelin disbanded following Bonham’s unexpected death in 1980.

Immigrant Song


Madonna & Mozart

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Madonna Louise Ciccone(yes that is her real name) has sold more than 300 million records worldwide and is the world’s best-selling female recording artist in history. She is known for continuously reinventing both her music and her image. Madonna’s voice isn’t virtuoso, her contribution to music has relied on working with what she has and creating incredible hooks for her songs, and using music as a medium for an artistic statement.

Material Girl


Abba & The Entertainer

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Abba was a Swedish pop disco group formed in Stockholm in 1972. From 1972-1982 they topped the charts, and skyrocketeed to fame when they won the 1974 Eurovision Song Contest. They’ve sold over 370 million records, still sell a million a year and Madonna begged them to let her sample gimme gimme gimme for Madonnas song ‘Hung Up’.

They have an interesting harmonic approach, orchestral arrangements and 4 part harmony. They experienced another revival in 1999 with the Musical Mamma Mia! which is based around the songs of Abba and was made into a Movie starring Meryl Streep

Our classical selection is a rag by Scott Joplin, ‘The Entertainer’. Written in 1902 it returned to fame as the theme for the 1973 oscar winning film ‘The Sting’.

A rag was a form of dance that was popular around 1911 when instead of going to a dance club with a sound system, folks would gather around the piano and dance. A happy playful melody, one of the songs most people want to learn on the piano.

Take A Chance On Me


Michael Jackson & Bach

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Michael Jackson (1958-2009) was an American recording artist & entertainer referred to as the ‘King Of Pop’. Jackson is recognized as the most successful entertainer of all time by Guinness World records. His contributions to music, dance & fashion made him a global figure for over four decades. He is the youngest of 7.

Jackson’s 1982 album Thriller is the best-selling album of all time. His other records, Off the Wall, Bad, Dangerous, HIStory also rank among the world’s best-selling. He has won 13 Grammy’s & 26 American Music awards, more than any other artist. 13 number-one singles in the US. He also was one the world’s most prominent humanitarians donating more than $300 million to charity.

This week’s selections are off of ‘Off The Wall’ & ‘Thriller’. Produced by Quincy Jones. Songwriters for ‘Off The Wall’ include Rod Temperton, Stevie Wonder & Paul McCartney. Thriller has a duet with McCartney and on Beat It we have a guitar solo performed by Eddie Van Halen.

Don’t Stop til you get Enough


Elvis & The Sugarplum Fairy

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Elvis Aaron Presley (1935-1977) was one of the most popular American singers of the 20th century. A cultural icon, he is commonly known as ‘Elvis’ and ‘The King’. He began his career in Memphis, TN working with Sam Phillips at Sun Records. Presley was the most important popularizer of rockabilly, an uptempo, backbeat fusion of country & R&B.

Presley’s first single ‘Heartbreak Hotel’ released in January 1956, was a number-one hit. In November 1956, he made his film debut in Love Me Tender.

These selections are from Elvis’s ‘early’ years.

Our classical selection of the week comes from the Ballet ‘The Nutcracker’. The score is written by Pyotr Illyich Tchaikovsky and the story is adapted from E.T.A. Hoffmann’s story ‘The Nutcracker & The Mouse King’. Although the original production was not a success, the 20-minute suite that Tchaikovsky wrote was. The Nutcracker experienced a revival in the late 1960’s when the New York City Ballet began performing it annualy around Christmas time. The tradition has since spread all over the U.S. and to this day around the holidays in every major city ‘The Nutcracker’ is performed.

The Dance of The Sugarplum Fairy comes from the opening of the second act where Clara & the prince have travelled in a boat pulled by dolophins to the beautiful ‘Land Of Sweets’. It is a celebration of sweets from around the world, chocolate from Spain, coffee from Arabia, tea from China, Candy Canes from china & Kolaches from West.

Heartbreak Hotel