music

See yourself as the next Bob Dylan? Maybe you’ve got a songwriting partner and you want to become the next Lennon and McCartney? Or maybe you’re more of a Burt Bacharach/Hal David type? Or Holland-Dozier-Holland. Maybe even a Mark Knopfler?

Well it doesn’t really matter, because whether you’re into writing soulful ballads, funky hip-hop, heavy rock or  enigmatic songs that defy categorization, this is the course for you!

Tamara Tamara Barschak is a pianist, composer, piano teacher, film-maker and all round creative person whom I have known for many years and she is making her years of experience and training in the creative music arts available to those who want to learn the art (and science) of songwriting. If you have ever dreamed of writing that great song that lingers – barely half-formed – in your mind, now is your chance to learn from an accomplished expert who has a vast range of experience in all kinds of music: classical, jazz, bosanova, blues, pop and rock.

Tamara is qualified and experienced in teaching all aspects of musicianship and music theory. The course – carefully devised by Tamara herself and based on her years of experience as a songwriter and music teacher – includes lyric writing, lyrical genres, musical genres, melody, metre, tempo, traditional song structure and variations of structure… i.e. those rare, exceptional songs that break the rules and get away with it!

Tamara has taught music students of all levels, ages and abilities and as some one who has learned from her myself – and written songs with her – I can attest to the fact that her diversity of range and background in music and teaching makes her the ideal teacher  for the creative skill of songwriting.

“Creativity itself cannot be taught,” Tamara explained to me, when I first studied at her feet (figuratively speaking), “but if even the merest hint or spark of creativity is already there, it can be nurtured, fed, fueled and channeled by the teaching (and learning) of rules, principles and their inevitable exceptions.” And it is precisely in the teaching of these  rules and principles – and the art of identifying the exceptions to those rules and principles – that Tamara most impressively excels!

This short but unparalleled course, which costs just £80 and requires no previous songwriting experience, consists of five sessions (1:00 – 3:30 p.m.) over the course of five weeks, starting on the 1st of October.

handsonapianoThe sessions – which will include practical exercises – are as follows:-

1 October: The Art of Lyric Writing

8 October: Writing a melody part 1 (notes, patterns, intervals, chord progressions and key signatures)

15 October: Writing a melody part 2 (rhythm, rhythmic patterns, time signatures, tempo and metre)

22 October: Preparation for the Students’ Final Songs (with coaching and advice)

29 October: Recording Students’ Songs

The course, which includes practical exercises and hands-on practice, encourages artistic collaboration between the students, as many of the most famous songs were written by duos or larger groups.

In the final session, students will record their songs and get a recording to keep and take with them.

This is a unique opportunity to fully explore one’s own creativity, compose a song from scratch and record it forever!

 

The attempts by a bunch of trendy-left yobs (AKA Palestinian supporters) to disrupt the performance of the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra last week was such a pathetic and dismal failure that at first I wasn’t even going to bother blogging about it.  (That my video footage of their pathetic antics was almost as bad as their dire performance of hooliganism, might also have had something to do with it.)  However, after this decent interval, I have decided to say something about it.

First of all, these uncultured Philistines seem to have forgotten that we Jews thrive on enmity.  If it is a pseudo-Golwynism to say “there’s nothing like a civil war to unite the country” then it is a genuine observation about the Jewish character that there’s nothing like an enemy to rouse us from our lethargy.  Indeed there are some who seize upon this fact to suggest that hostile action against us is really the sub-rosa work of our own leaders in order to manipulate us.  Whilst such conspiracy theorists are dwelling in the murky world of their own paranoia, it is certainly the case that enemy action is the best medicine for our internal bickering.  This is as true of the Jewish character as the Anglophonic character.

But what in fact did we learn from the feckless performance of the “let’s boycott Israel” mafia?  Firstly, that a choir of sopranos – some of them women – cannot sing louder than an orchestra.  Secondly, that the louder the heckling of the haters, the more thunderous the final applause of the decent.  But most importantly we learn that the word Philharmonic is not just part of the name of many orchestras, but also has a meaning: love of harmony.  It is a tragedy that those who purport to represent the Palestinians are phobeharmonics (that is, those who fear harmony) or even pathharmonics – those who hate harmony.  Such is the nature of the only portion of  the Palestinian people whom the trendy-lefties represent.

The following day, when the airwaves were alive with discussion not on the Palestinian cause, but on the legitimacy or otherwise of the methods of those trendies, I suggested that it would help the Palestinian cause more if they formed a Palestine Philharmonic Orchestra and performed internationally.  They are a proud people and I have no doubt that within their ranks there is a vast reserve of hitherto untapped musical and artistic talent.  But I fear that they have been diverted up the blind alley of confrontation that has ill-served their cause.  It is not for want of love for music that their progress has been held back: it is the absence of philharmonia – love of harmony – that is the missing ingredient from their leadership.

 

I wanted to do a list of the ten most iconic songs of the last fifty years. The test was not whether they were my personal favourites, but whether they were truly iconic. Iconic implies recognizable, but I have tried to avoid the modern bias one often sees in these lists.

I was a little bit concerned that I didn’t have anything by the Jacksons or Michael Jackson, but I couldn’t think what to take out. I also wasn’t sure whether to go for Sound of Silence or Bridge over Troubled Water. So I made my choice and now now all I can say is here is the list – in alphabetical order.

All Along The Watchtower – Jimi Hendrix

American Pie – Don McLean

Bohemian Rhapsody – Queen

Dancing Queen – Abba

Everybody’s Talkin’ At Me – Nilsson

Goodbye Yellow Brick Road – Elton John

House of the Rising Sun – The Animals

I Can’t Get No Satisfaction – The Rolling Stones

Imagine – John Lennon

In the Ghetto – Elvis Presley

My Way – Frank Sinatra

No Woman No Cry – Bob Marley

Pinball Wizard – The Who

Sound of Silence – Simon and Garfunkel

Stairway to Heaven – Led Zeppelin

Sultan’s of Swing – Dire Straits

Tambourine Man – Bob Dylan

Twist and Shout – The Beatles

Whiter Shade of Pale – Procal Harum

You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feeling – The Righteous Brothers

Comments and disagreement welcome.

 

I have noticed, every time I log on to YouTube to listen to my favourite music from the sixties through the eighties, that there is invariably some disparaging comment, contrasting the music of Justin Bieber with the great music of the sixties to eighties. I have seen this on YouTube videos of everyone from The Seekers to Jethro Tull to Melanie Safka, from Abba to Jim Croce to Dire Straits, from the Alan Parsons Project to Ace of Base. Whilst I certainly prefer all those acts – and many more – to anything that Justin Bieber has done thus far, I think those critics are being unfair to him – on a number of counts.

First of all, let us not forget that Justin Bieber is very young, barely seventeen, and has not really had the time to develop genuine musical sophistication. In spite of this, he managed to teach himself to play the guitar (left-handed), piano, trumpet and drums – and all by the time he was fourteen. To learn to play even one musical instrument is hard. To teach oneself to play four takes a degree of dedication that your average X-factor contestant, or even winner, simply does not have. It is for that reason that I suspect Justin Bieber has the kind of staying power in the music industry to avoid being a here-today-gone tomorrow supernova, as well as the self-discipline to avoid the all-too-familiar burnout that plagues the likes of Britney Spears and Lindsay Lohan.

But what implication does this have for his music? To answer that question we must look at older musical talent that has stayed the course. They may differ from each in many respects but the one thing they have in common is a tendency to change their styles as they mature, to experiment with different forms and develop new and changing interests in all aspects of music. I am not talking about Madonna reinventing herself every few years, although that is an aspect of the same phenomenon – and she is certain a role model when it comes to an almost Spartan regime of self-discipline. I am talking about people like Tom Jones trying his hand – and vocal chords – at religious music, Bob Dylan risking the wrath of the hippie crowd by picking up an electric guitar or Ricky Nelson moving away from fifties rock-and -oll to become Rick Nelson.

Not every transformation is equally good in the eyes of everyone. I still prefer the old BeeGees in melodious sixties “Run to Me” style than their pseudo-macho “Staying Alive” era. And I don’t like it when sixties artists re-record their hits at half the tempo, whether it be “Both Sides Now” or “Hello World.” But my personal preferences are not the point. It is the capacity to change ones style whilst living by the doctrine “above all to thine own self be true,” – as much as Alice Cooper’s dictum about separating ones public from by ones private persona – that enables some to stay the course while others fall by the wayside.

And this is the lesson that the old fogies of pop and rock can teach Justin Bieber. As he matures and grows musically, it is inevitable that he will vary his style and experiment with different forms. If he can also avoid the pitfalls that come with being surrounded by yes-men then we can be sure that he will stay the course and enrich the world with his music for many years to come.

NB The picture that goes with this posting is intended as humorous and should not be taken as implying that Justin Bieber has really read – much less endorses – The Moses Legacy or its content.