music

30 Day Music Challenge: Day 2

It's day 2 of the music challenge! Today's song is a song you like with a number in the title. This one was a little easier than yesterday's. I was obsessed with both of these songs when they first came out and they're still in heavy rotation. 

24k by Bruno Mars

I was always a fan of Bruno Mars' live shows. Live band, dancing... he puts on a high energy show. But, I've never been much of a fan of his music until he did Uptown Funk with Mark Ronson. And then he dropped 24K. I love almost every song on the album. This is the one that fit the challenge.

1 Thing by Amerie

I fell in love with Amerie's music when she released her first single, "Why Don't We Fall in Love" during the summer of 2002. Then she followed up with the 2005 release of "1 Thing". The fusion of go-go and R&B will (almost) always win with me. Amerie and her then producer Rich Harrison make magic together. 

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Music in Our Schools Month Profile: Timothy Hargrove

The National Association for Music Education (NAfME) has designated March as Music in Our Schools Month. To celebrate, the jsquared music performance center will be sharing the stories of people who played instruments in grade school and the impact it made on their lives.

Today, we feature Timothy Hargrove. Tim is an elementary school counselor in Chesapeake, VA

Timothy Hargrove

What instrument do you play?

Alto/Tenor Saxophone, Flute/Piccolo

At what age did you begin to play your first instrument?

10

Why did you start playing?

Peer Pressure! In middle school, unlike how they do it now by paper schedules, we had the chance to choose electives by going to the class and learning more and asking questions. A few of my friends talked me into going with them to the band elective, I really didn't know what I wanted to do, so I was easily influenced. 

When I got home that afternoon, I told my mom I wanted to play saxophone. Like any great mom she made the sacrifice to rent a saxophone from Music & Arts. It came with a disclaimer, "You are going to play this saxophone, through middle school, high school, college, church, solos etc!".

What was your experience with music during your elementary, middle and high school years?

I always loved music class, piano (not the best at that), singing, listening anything related. Just helped to pass time, clear my head and release stress. 

In elementary school, we had music class and it wasn't until middle school that I really fell more in love with all aspects of music, the love grew deeper throughout the middle school years into my high school years.

Who was your favorite music teacher? What made them your favorite?

Although I can't name a favorite...

My high school band director, John Jenkins, definitely motivated me and encouraged me to be and do better. It was in high school where my leadership ability starting to grow more and more and I know it was because of his influence.

Moving into college the NSU Band Staff  (The Dream Team) continued to shape me into a musician and leader and I really don't know who I would be without the push they gave me.

What is your favorite band memory from grade school?

I can't choose just one memory! I enjoyed marching band - games, competitions. I also enjoyed the symphonic band & orchestra, performing for crowds. However, I did enjoy our New York trip in high school to perform in memorial of 9/11.

Did you play an instrument in college? Did music impact your college choice?

I continued to play Saxophone in college. Music definitely impacted my college choice. I attended Norfolk State University - came from a family of Spartans (BEHOLD)!!!  The first time I remember seeing the marching band, the Spartan "Legion", I was impressed, attended a spring band camp and fell deeper in love with the program. I was not a music major but participated in concert band, symphonic band, Saxophone Choir, Saxophone Quartet, & flute choir.

What is your current occupation?

I am an elementary school counselor in Chesapeake, VA. 

How has music helped you in your current occupation?

My love for music helps me relate to my students who also have a love for music, whether playing instruments, singing in the choir or just because they love whats on the radio -- I can relate!

Sometimes when I have a student who is upset I play music and that opens their ears which tends to have the ask questions which calms them down then I can assist them in turning a bad moment of their day into a good one.

How has music played a part in your adult life?

As an adult, I volunteer with the Booker T. Washington High School (Norfolk, VA) Marching Bookers on the band staff as woodwind coordinator. I also serve as an assistant band staff member for the NSU Spartan "Legion" working with the woodwinds and recruitment team.

I have made lifelong friends because of the experiences I have had with music and being part of musical ensembles.

What advice do you have for young musicians?

WORK HARD, PLAY HARD! Learn all you can while you are young, pick up multiple instruments, study them and grow. Music is more than an elective/activity in school. It truly is an art form that can lead you places you would never imagine. Love and enjoy every musical opportunity experience you have in life!

Continue to support Music & Arts in the schools. It is important and vital to the development of students. Student need an array of avenues to express themselves! Just like academics and athletics, Music & Arts is a way for them to do just that!

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Weekly Practice Planner

As a private lesson teacher, I knew that I needed something for my students to log their practice time and help them to remember what they needed to work on. Below, is my first attempt to design a practice planner that is both easy to use and appealing to the eye. 

If you would like your own copy of our practice planner, send an email and I will send you the pdf!

jsquaredmpc_practice_planner

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Finding the Right Instrument

Playing the flute came easy to me. I was (and still am) a very good flute player. In 6th and 7th grade, I made the All City band. In 8th grade, I made 2nd chair Junior Regional band right behind the girl that was first chair in my band. Plaza Jr High School had lots of orange blazers represented in the Junior Regional band. Flute was fun, but, I knew it wasn't the instrument that I wanted to play for the rest of my life. As a matter of fact, I wanted to learn all instruments! 

The city of Virginia Beach ran a summer band program every year. Kids from all across the city would all go to one school, learn an instrument and play in a concert band. I learned to play the flute in summer band. So, I took the opportunity to learn other instruments during summer band. One summer, I learned clarinet. The next, I learned the trumpet. While I liked both of those instruments, I knew that neither would be my main instrument. 

My junior high school band director would bring in outside instructors (who I now know were his friends) to help out the band. One of them happened to go to James Madison University. He brought in a tape (yes, a cassette tape) of JMU's marching band playing the theme song from the Jetsons. It was the best thing my young ears had ever heard! I decided that I was going to JMU. 

How to Pick the Right Instrument.jpg

From that moment, everything I did was in preparation for going to JMU. I started piano lessons because I had heard that you had to be able to play piano in order to be a music major. Now, I just needed to pick the right instrument. I knew that my chances of getting into JMU were slim on the flute. Every audition I would go to, there were always at least 100 flute players. While it did feel good to be #2 out of 100, I didn't like those odds. 

In 8th grade, a whole new world open up to me. I was finally able to be in the Advanced Band! In Advanced Band, we played grade 4 and 5 music (which in a junior high school band was almost unheard of). I was able to hear all of the other instruments and the parts that were written for them. Our band director, Mr. Pease, taught us to listen and learn ALL of the parts, not just our own, so that we knew how our part fit into the rest of the song. By doing this, I heard some amazing melodies and countermelodies in the baritones and french horns. I wanted to switch to baritone! So, before the end of the school year, I went to Mr. Pease, my band director, and told him what I wanted to do. He took one look at me and said, "Your lips are too small for the baritone. Why don't you try the French horn?" He also made sure to add, "If you want to switch instruments, you have to come back playing the French horn just as good as you play the flute!" That stuck with me as I was learning to play the horn that summer. 

When school started again that September, I was ready. There were two horns in advanced band that year. I listened and learned to blend in with the first horn. Together, we played like one horn. That year, after playing horn for 3 months, I made 2nd chair All District band... again. This time, right behind the first chair player from my school. Again, the Plaza Jr orange Blazers ruled the All district band. 

Plaza Jr ruled the Junior District Band! 

Plaza Jr ruled the Junior District Band! 

Picking an instrument is a process that is different for everyone. I didn't get to pick my first instrument, but it introduced me to a whole new world that I had no access to without an instrument. So, don't put too much emphasis on what instrument to start out on. Just pick one that interests you. If you don't like it, you can always pick another one! 

If you or musician you know is considering attending college and is interested in a music scholarship, consider our College Scholarship Audition Prep Lessons.

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It Was Just the Beginning...

Music has been in my life for as long as I can remember. My earliest memories are of being with my dad at his friend's house and hearing Hall and Oates' "I Can't Go For That" alongside Earth, Wind and Fire and Parliament Funkadelic (who scared the mess out of me with those costumes!). I remember riding in the car harmonizing along with cassettes of Take 6 and the Winans. Then, one day, I was given the opportunity to actually play and not just sing music.

When I was 9, a family friend gave us her daughter's old flute. I hadn't thought about playing an instrument before and if I had, I knew the flute wouldn't have been the one I picked. But, since I had no choice, I was stuck with it. I had to give it a try.

My mother enrolled me in a summer band program and my musician days began. For the first week of class, I sounded terrible. There were 14 flutes in my beginner class and I was 2nd to last. The only reason I wasn't last was because I could actual finger the notes I was supposed to be playing. Only problem was that there was barely any sound coming out of my flute.

One day, my teacher asked if he could take a look at my instrument. He looked amused as he inspected my flute. Apparently, it was old and all of the pads needed to be replaced. Plus, there was a loose screw that made two of the holes that were supposed to be closed stay open. After tightening the screw, he handed the flute back to me. I closed my eyes and blew the most beautiful note I had ever heard. I surprised myself. Immediately, I was moved to 1st chair. It was never me, it was the flute. I had been doing everything right. My love affair with music had begun.

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