Author Archives: jazzpanflute

About jazzpanflute

jazz panpipe pioneer and designer

Why Montessori bells get it wrong

There is no single Montessori system for introducing 3-year olds to music. Children are placed in a rich environment full of learning toys, of which the musical instruments, generally bells, are only one among several competing attractions. Montessori bell sets … Continue reading

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Musical theorems: a bluffer’s guide

The idea of musical theorems is all about drawing simple conclusions from your basic knowledge about notes, and putting them to use in your playing. An example. You know every major scale contains three notes from one wholetone scale and … Continue reading

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An Enharmonic Experiment

I trust you are all familiar with Irving Berlin’s masterpiece Cheek to Cheek, made popular by Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers, and recently given a new lease of life by Tony Bennett and Lady Gaga. This week I am working … Continue reading

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A Christmas carol game for two

Here’s a game for two players that you can use to improve your intervallic awareness, develop your melodic reflexes on clarinet or piano or just as a fun way to get into the Christmas mood. You can play it in … Continue reading

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Rubinstein loved it. Liszt loved it. Now you can buy it!

Black Future For Piano Teachers? What will we do with all our used piano teachers when logical keyboards finally take over? Well, they could be recycled. After all, some of them have a lot to offer on a purely musical … Continue reading

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Wagner’s Ring, Short Scales and Musical LEGO

Musical composition is commonly taught through analysis of standard works. A piece is broken down into a hierarchy of elements, chunking down from whole movements to subjects and developments, and breaking down themes into sub-units variously called motifs, or cells. … Continue reading

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Why can’t music learning be as simple as LEGO?

The other day my 6-year-old son decided he wanted to get rid of all his toys, except his LEGO. Not quite. When the moment came to pack them up, he decided he couldn’t part with his Bakugan brawlers either. You … Continue reading

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The least practiced interval and why you should practice it

If I were to ask you the commonest melodic interval in today’s commercial music what would you guess? Well, with just listening to the radio for 10 minutes, I declare the clear winner to be: nothing. Or in MOVES notation: =0. The word “unison” is the … Continue reading

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How to work a lick

So you can’t get that lick or turnaround out of your head. You wonder how anyone can just come up with something that cool –  just like that! – in the middle of a solo. You realize it’s time to … Continue reading

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How to be talented

What musical talent isn’t Musical talent used to be a mystery, and to many still is. Some people even want to believe that it is God-given. Not a very empowering  view, unless you think prayer will change your lot. And … Continue reading

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