Category Archives: Education

3 key risks to cultural education in the UK

Anna Gower

Music Education Consultant | Trinity College London | Musical Futures International

The government believes that cultural education forms an important part of a broad and balanced curriculum, and that children and young people should be provided with an engaging variety of cultural experiences throughout their time at school. Policy Paper, cultural education DFE, July 2013

This week I was asked what I thought were the main challenges in the UK facing those of us who support a holistic cultural and arts education within our schools and local communities.

The obvious answers would of course include cuts to local authority budgets and national funding, which are now affecting some of the biggest arts venues in London as well as community venueslibraries and museumsacross the UK.

Or the EBACC, which as this article from Deborah Annetts, chief executive of Incorporated Society of Musicians and founder of the Bacc for the Future campaign suggests, negates the potential impact of the recently announced £96m of funding, promised to support the most gifted students with access to arts education. Music for a few not for many.

But in answer to the question I chose the following:

  1. The risk of forgetting those at the very end of the journey to opening access to arts education-the students.

In the UK there are a huge range of organisations all wanting the same things. To find ways to open up access to the arts for all. Many of these focus on work with teachers and schools. However, the danger is that funding can quickly be eroded by getting people round a table to talk about the issues and reach agreement whilst actually making things happen takes much longer.

How can we ensure that initiatives and projects are needs-driven and learner-driven and that data is used not just to measure effectiveness, but to identify key areas where diminishing funding and support for arts education can have the maximum impact for those who need it most?

2) Communication.

It’s difficult to reach the people who can most easily affect change. Where are young people? They are in schools. Where are parents who are part of their local community? Many of them engage with schools.

Schools are a central and vital part of the local community and provide a huge opportunity to open up access to organisations trying to engage and work with local communities.

Yet we constantly hear of organisations trying to reach teachers and teachers trying to reach organisations and still a gulf that lies in finding the right language, the shared aims, the pressures of time and knowing how to reach the right people to make those conversations actually translate into practice.

It would be great to find ways to create more relationships that truly work in partnership and establish a balance that responds to local need and the sharing of expertise where it’s most needed. Without doing so then the challenge of communicating the right information to the right people in the right way remains a key barrier to making things happen.

3) Sustainability.

Many arts opportunities are often high quality, large-scale events and those who participate (or watch) never forget them. However many can be ‘one hit wonders’, expensive to run and once over, there is little evidence of or support for sustainability and impact over time.

The question of how to reach more people and to engage them for longer has long been a key focus for organisations looking for solutions to the challenges we face in the UK around arts and cultural education and opportunities in the current climate.

It’s great that there are structures in place that support collaboration and shared aims and values for arts and cultural education such as the Arts Council funded Bridge OrganisationsThe Music Education Council, the recently announced Youth Music National Alliance and the grass roots campaign to save East Sussex Music Service from threatened cuts.

But perhaps the greatest risk of all might be a failure of more arts organisations to find success in working together. If ever there was a time that this was needed, it’s now.

Debdeep Misra performing at Golpark Ramakrishna Mission – Raga Yaman



By Debdeep Misra, FFM Ambassador for India

“Indian classical music is a genre of South Asian music.It has two major traditions: the North Indian classical music tradition is called Hindustani, while the South Indian expression is called Carnatic.”

Indian classical music has two foundational elements, raga and tala. The raga forms the fabric of a melodic structure, while the tala measures the time cycle.

Indian classical music is a genre of South Asian music.It has two major traditions: the North Indian classical music tradition is called Hindustani, while the South Indian expression is called Carnatic.

The raga gives an artist a palette to build the melody from sounds, while the tala provides them with a creative framework for rhythmic improvisation using time.

There is no concept of harmony in Indian classical music. 

Here Debdeep Misra performs raga YAMAN……WHICH IS INDIAN CLASSICAL RAGA. Yaman emerged from the parent musical style of Kalyan Vilambit bandish  ” kahe sakhi kayse ke ka kariye”
Debdeep Misra
Debdeep Misra, FFM Ambassador for India



Conservative Council Wants To Destroy Children’s Music Service

By Roger Moisan
Once the flagship provider of instrumental lessons, music centres, musical ensembles, classroom support and much more, East Sussex Music Service (ESMS) is facing the axe. In order to save money due to local government cuts imposed by their own party, Conservative led East Sussex County Council have decided that the way forward is to deny thousands of local children the opportunity of learning a musical instrument.
Despite decades of research proving the irrefutable benefits of music in education and the way young lives are transformed through such opportunities, heartless council leaders feel that this is the best way to make savings, due to their own mismanagement of the budget.
Last week, this letter was sent to parents of children currently involved with ESMS:

Dear Parents and members of adult groups 

A proposal for East Sussex Music to withdraw from providing non-statutory instrumental lessons 

I am writing to let you know that on 30 April the East Sussex County Council Lead Member for Education, Inclusion, Special Educational Needs and Disability is being asked to agree to consult on drawing up a proposal to close the instrumental teaching part of the service which would mean the Music Service ceases to provide small group and individual instrumental lessons.

As you may know, over the last few years it has been increasingly difficult for the Music Service to remain financially viable because of cuts to Arts Council and County Council funding.  Over the last 4 years, the service has made savings of over £600,000 through restructuring and efficiency savings.    However further recent reductions in funding mean that more savings are required. 

Lucy Morgan-Jones
Head of East Sussex Music

A so called consultation on these proposals will take place, but in my experience, these consultations pay nothing more than lip service to public opinion, with the intended outcome being a fait accompli. We have seen evidence of this strategy time and time again with the academisation of schools and the outsourcing of public services such as libraries and health care.

Of course those who will suffer the most are the children from low income families who receive subsidised lessons and special needs music provision. This doesn’t bother the tory councilors one little bit as the more affluent elite of the county will always be able to afford private education.

Around 75 highly skilled and gifted peripatetic music teachers will be made redundant, with their livelihoods and vocations being destroyed.

Once the damage is done it is irreversible. This wonderful and historic organisation will be lost forever, denying future generations the opportunities to be involved  in the fundamental human activity of music making.

I urge you now to help stop this outrage by signing the petition and writing to your MP. Raise awareness on your own platform or network, and do anything else you can before it is too late and East Sussex Music Service is lost forever.

Save East Sussex Music Service
Save East Sussex Music Service

You do not need to be resident in East Sussex to sign the petition. Simply register on the ESCC website and sign.



Richard Demy and the Arabic Euphonium



My mother Grew up outside of Beirut, Lebanon, and I had listened to a lot of Arabic music growing up.  I started playing euphonium in school and loved it so much that I focused on that for a while.  I heard Ibrahim Maalouf on the radio and it resonated with me so much that I looked him up, and got in touch with his father on Facebook.

Nassim his father studied at the Paris Conservatory under Maurice Andre, and invented the Arabic trumpet.  after passing some recordings back and forth, he helped guide me how to play the style properly.

This fall I have presented a lecture on how to modify all low brass instruments to be able to play the quarter-tone system, lectured at conferences, and have given masterclasses all over the US on the subject.  I should have my first CD out this summer.

B i o g r a p h y

Dr. Richard Demy is an international award winning musician who has performed all over the world.  He graduated  from the University of North Texas with his DMA under Dr. Brian Bowman, including other notable teachers – Dr Joseph Skillen, Don Palmire, and others.

Richard won the 2012 Leonard Falcone Euphonium Artist Solo Competition.  He was a finalist in the National Symphony Orchestra Concerto Competition and  the International Tuba Euphonium Conference Euphonium Artist Division.

He performed a solo recital at the Kennedy Center as well as with with wind bands across the United States and Europe.  He has performed with symphonies and given over 100 recitals and master classes in many states in the USA

“My passion is to teach masterclasses and workshops on brass.  I focus on practice habits, with an emphasis on teaching technical elements from a musical paradigm.   Send me an email to discuss how I can assist your program ” 

Richard has worked hard to expand performance opportunities on the euphonium by publishing articles promoting lesser known genres featuring the euphonium, presenting recitals on historical instruments, and performing modern compositions with audience biofeedback.

opficleide
Richard Demy performing on the Ophicleide

He currently performs with the Lone Star Wind Orchestra based in Dallas, Texas and released his first album in June 2016.  You can read more about upcoming performances at DemyMusic.com.  Richard plays exclusively on a WILLSON 2900TA Euphonium.

Richard Demy
Contact Richard at Demymusic.com by clicking here



Why I Started Piano Lessons at 26


Go to the profile of Alex Korchinski

Humility and practice go a long way in keeping a promise to myself

had played piano for over a decade, but my fingers still plunked the keys with the precision of bratwursts.

The way I saw it, I had an excuse: I had never taken a formal lesson.

Piano became a hobby of mine in junior high. I wish I could say I was inspired by a Mozart concerto and had a grand vision of morphing into a musical maestro. But the truth is that I just really liked Linkin Park. We had a piano in our living room, and I thought it’d be awesome to learn their hit song, “In the End.” That was my grand vision.

Those first nine notes, which I insisted on learning by ear, took me a week and a hundred listens to unlock. I was not a musical prodigy — I was just persistent and obsessed with a rock band.

The more I played — and I would learn every song from their debut album Hybrid Theory — the better I got. Songs that used to take me weeks to learn started to take days. Then hours. My progress was addictive.

I dove into piano like a seagull seeking sardines. I jammed on the keys after school each day. I learned how to play the chord progressions and melodies from dozens of pop songs. I taught myself basic music theory. I even wrote my own music.

But I refused to take lessons. Didn’t need ’em. They would ruin the fun, I thought.

I brought a cheap keyboard with me to college. When mathematical modeling homework grew too tiresome, I took breaks by tinkering with songs on the piano.

When I finished university, my parents gave me a beautiful Yamaha keyboard as a graduation gift. I placed it in my new grown-up apartment, excited to play every day.

But I didn’t. Between long hours at work and a barrage of personal experiments, the piano’s beauty was ornamental; its keys covered in dust.

I was stuck. When I did sit down to play, the adolescent joy flowed, only to be stymied by mid-twenties cynicism. I’d hear my sausage fingers hit wrong note after wrong note, and think, Dude, for as long as you’ve been playing, you still suck.

I was sick of being mediocre at something I loved. I wanted to get better. I just needed a goal. So I made it my New Year’s resolution to put on a piano recital.

That motivated me to plow through the cynicism. I picked up right where I’d left off in high school — figuring out songs in mere minutes and learning them just well enough to jam along.

I picked a crowd-pleaser to master for my recital: “Blank Space” by Taylor Swift (Oh, how my musical taste has grown since junior high). I learned it the same way as I had the songs before — no sheet music, no tutorials, and no teachers. Besides, I was always my own best teacher. I learned by doing, dammit.

It only took me a few listens to figure out T Swift’s chord progression, melody, and chorus. It took me a few more to memorize everything. All I had to do was play it again and again until muscle memory took over.

After a few weeks, I thought I was pretty decent — closing in on my New Year’s resolution after just one month. I showed off the song to my friends. They all had the same reaction: “Not bad.”

I could hear the subtext: Not bad for someone with no formal training. Not bad for a cheap laugh at a party. Not bad for an amateur.

The bottom line was, it wasn’t good. No matter how much I practiced, my performance still stunk of mediocrity. My technique was abysmal; my hands moved at the speed of an arthritic octogenarian’s.

It was tough to admit: Maybe I’m not such a great teacher. If I actually wanted to do this — to not just play piano, but to perform — I would need to swallow my pride and learn from someone more skilled than myself.

Thirteen years after hitting my first note, I hopped on Yelp and searched for “piano lessons.” I found McAllister Music Studio, which seemed perfect: They had a 5-star Yelp rating, were located 10 blocks from my apartment, and held piano recitals in December.

I should note that my private piano lessons weren’t cheap: $60/hour. I’d have to cut back on extraneous spending, but I had enough to cover the cost. I count myself as lucky, since many can’t afford private tutelage to pursue a passion.

But just as many say “can’t” when they really mean “won’t.” And I didn’t want to be part of that second group. The check could’ve been for $30 or $300 — either way, the monetary investment signaled commitment. After all, if money was too big a hurdle, how could I expect to climb others? I booked a lesson for the following Wednesday.

I was nervous before my first lesson. The butterflies were bolstered by a run-in with the previous student, an 8-year-old girl. She looked down at her tiny shoes as we passed one another. I was twice her height and had been playing piano longer than she’d been alive, but we were probably at the same musical level. I felt like I was going back to third grade.

My mental image of piano teachers added to my anxiety. I’d heard so many horror stories of adults suffering from pre-pubescent piano PTSD after a verbal shellacking from a strict teacher. I had pictured this prototypical piano teacher looking like Ruth Bader Ginsberg — wrinkly, tough, and demanding.

Those fears were quelled when I met my teacher, Debbie. She couldn’t have been further from Justice Ginsberg — young, with dark brown bangs, and a bright smile. She was fun, upbeat, and sometimes spoke with a delightful sing-song cadence to her voice. (I later found out that she’s an amazing singer-songwriter.)

During my first lesson, Debbie assessed my skill level by watching me play “Blank Space.” She immediately zeroed in on my worst habit: I only played with four fingers. My pinkies hung off my hands like gnarled antennas.

She gave me two pieces of homework: Buy a piano lesson book and practice playing with just my pinkies.

For the next week, that’s what I did, plunking note after note with only my pinkies. It was humbling homework. It felt like I had been preparing and serving up 5-course meals all by myself only to suddenly be demoted to cutting carrots.

Despite the literal monotony, I was proud to display my pinkie prowess at my second lesson. My reward was another week of practice and tackling another bad habit: Leaving my foot on the pedal when I played. I had justified the muddiness by claiming that it added ambiance. Debbie was dismissive and gave me a pedal exercise to smooth the sustain.

Here’s the thing with being self-taught: You don’t know any better. You made the decision to eschew the well-trodden path. Sometimes that’s good. You’re learning for the buzz. You’re free to explore, dabble, and create. But sometimes that’s bad. Your solutions to problems are lazy and uninformed. You’re stubborn. You approach your craft without discipline. And worst of all, you’d never know how to correct your behavior until someone more skilled shows you how.

I can’t claim to have fully realized this on my second lesson. But when I played a chord progression with all five fingers and a sensible pedal sustain, I remember thinking, This feels weird, but it really does sound better.

Although I liked learning the fundamentals, I was most excited when Debbie asked, “Why don’t you pick a song to learn?”

I deliberated. The song had to be beautiful, challenging, and impressive — something that would garner a stronger reaction than “Not bad.”

I picked “Married Life” by Michael Giacchino from the movie “Up.” If nothing else, I had the emotional weight of Pixar on my side.

I purchased the sheet music on Debbie’s request. But this was just a formality — I still liked my way better. I learned the opening melody from “Up” by ear.

At the end of our third lesson, Debbie asked, “Want to give ‘Up’ a try?”

I beamed with pride, “Yep. I already know the first eight bars.”

Debbie replied, “That’s awesome! Did you bring the sheet music?”

“Yep,” I said, placing it on the piano.

I played with my head down, not referencing the sheet music once. “That’s great progress!” Debbie said.

Damn right, I thought. But she continued, “Can you look at this bar and tell me what these notes are?”

I faked it, relying on memory. “That’s an F, then an A, a C, and an E.”

“So the third note is actually a D,” she said.

“Are you sure?” I asked. “I’m not sure the sheet music is correct. I’m pretty sure it’s a C.”

Debbie replied, “Hmm… I don’t know. Maybe try playing it the way it’s written and see how it sounds?”

I played it again. The notes rang true.

“Yeah, I guess I can play it this way,” I said. It was all I could offer at the time.

I guess. Did I actually think I knew better than Michael Giacchino, an Oscar-winning composer? The pinkies were bad, the pedal was worse, but this was egregious. That was the last straw for my self-taught hubris. I finally submitted: I really didn’t know very much about piano.

It was good timing too, because the path ahead would only prove more difficult.

When I learned the melody on my right hand, I played it in a way that I thought made sense. But with little sense to draw upon, my fingers crossed and twisted, resulting in awkward movements prone to mistakes.

I had never learned the proper fingering. Debbie detangled my mess, mapping out which fingers would play which notes. I had to relearn the entire melody.

After a week of practicing the correct way, playing got easier. My fingers didn’t jump anymore. Now, they glided. But that was just my right hand. With my weaker left hand I had to learn to play a complicated waltz.

Learning took focus, but once I gathered momentum, I made a commitment. When I got home from work, instead of plopping down on the couch, I’d opt for the piano bench. I would make time to practice every day, even if just for five minutes. I had to stay diligent.

After several weeks of consistent practice, I could play each hand’s part with confidence, but still individually. Putting the pieces together was the hard part.

Playing with both hands is a delicate dance. It’s hard to describe what it feels like, so I’ll use a series of similes to explain. It’s like reciting numbers in Spanish while writing days of the week in French. It’s like being an air traffic controller for a fleet of first-time pilots. Actually, maybe it’s more like walking two Labrador puppies when one wants to wander through the bushes and the other is straining to chase pigeons. Point being: it’s an attempt to harmonize muscle memory and mental cognition. And on a new piece — especially the hardest oneI had ever attempted — it took months to learn.

After three months of minor frustration, major patience, and incremental breakthroughs, I could play the entire song without mistakes. I had memorized the notes and knew the mechanics well.

But I still didn’t sound like a real pianist. I played the piece like a 90s computer simulation. It wasn’t infused with any spirit — the happy parts lacked joy, and the sad parts lacked melancholy.

And so we added more layers. I learned about dynamics, how to vary the volume, and phrasing, how to form the musical shape of each measure. I learned the difference between legato (long and flowing) and staccato (short and punchy)I learned how to ascend a chromatic scale; how to play each hand at a different volume; how to crescendo and decrescendo.

And then the song had life. It breathed and sighed and fluttered. I was obsessed with nurturing it — playing it three, four, five times a day. I had never given this much attention to one thing. But there was always something that could be smoother, a section that could be more expressive. I sought mastery.

It all culminated in my piano studio’s winter recital. The atmosphere was friendly — just the adult students and their friends. But for me, the pressure was on: a New Year’s resolution awaiting resolve. I was a horrible jumble of nerves — sweaty palms, shallow breaths, and a stomach struck with sudden indigestion.

Eight students in, it was my turn.

I walked up to the backlit stage. Rippling red curtains and fresh poinsettias framed the nine-foot Steinway grand piano. I sat at the bench and took two deep breaths. I nodded my head right, 1–2–3, nodded left, 1–2–3, and hit that first F note.

I had played the song thousands of times, but this was the moment — a hundred eyes on me for the next four and a half minutes.

I hit a wrong note early. The sound reverberated through my ribcage. A few seconds later, I hit another wrong note. My chest tightened. I felt hot. Not now. Not nowNot now.

I kept playing, resorting to muscle memory. But my thoughts boomed through my skull. I tried to quiet my mind, concentrating on the upcoming trill. Focus on the trillFocus on the trill.

And then I lost track of the present. I stumbled my way through the whole section, eking out a meek trill to end it.

My dream was becoming a nightmare. I was blowing it. This was a disaster. A full-scale meltdown.

But I took a breath and kept moving forward. I nailed a blistering chromatic scale, then let a long pause and a dissonant chord fill the air before bringing the melody back in. I forgot where I was — it was just my breath, my fingers, and a piano.

Before I knew it, I had landed softly on the final G major chord. I let the notes linger, lifted my hands, and was greeted with clapping and cheers. With a big smile on my face, I took a bow.

I had fantasized about this moment. Even practiced bowing in the mirror. It’s why I started taking piano lessons in the first place. I felt proud of how far I’d come. I felt joy that others enjoyed my music. I felt relieved that all the hard work had paid off.

But I felt something else too. It was small, but it was there.

I felt guilt. I had played the song flawlessly alone in my room. When it came time to perform, I nearly blew it. I felt like the audience didn’t hear my best; that I hadn’t earned their applause.

It’s here that the roles reversed. Up until now, I saw piano as an instrument to be learned. But everything I learned about piano couldn’t compare to what it taught me.

Piano taught me that it’s OK to mess up. No one noticed what I considered to be an epic meltdown. I watched the video later. I could barely tell. And that’s what happens when you’re so far inside your own head that you scrutinize your every move. If you make any mistake, you have one of two choices: You can either succumb to paralysis or keep going.

Piano taught me to keep going. To stay in the moment. To let go and move on to the next bar.

To realize that people remember the right notes, not the wrong ones.



How Can I Promote My Music?


Join Freedom For Musicians at our Facebook Home

Freedom for musicians is an international cooperative for musicians to share and cross promote each other’s work. In our Facebook group you can promote your gigs, products and
services to an international audience. You can also feature on our website www.ffmrecords.com

What Freedom for Musicians can do for you:

By joining the Facebook group you are automatically a member of FFM.

You can have your music blog or articles published on the website.

You can have your music videos and youtube channel published and promoted at FFM.

You can list your products and services on our musicians directory and in the musicians market.

You can publish your events and concerts on our Upcoming Events feature.

You can be a featured artist.

You can become an FFM Ambassador for your country.

Music students can featured in our Spotlight.

You can release your digital music via our own independent record label FFM Records.

Come and join FFM’s Facebook community and be part of the fastest growing and most dynamic international musicians network.



How can I get more exposure as a musician?


At Freedom for Musicians, our philanthropic purpose is to serve and support musicians from any genre, style or culture by providing a free promotional service  and providing exposure via FFM Magazine.

Our services so far:

  • All our musicians have access to the website via the admin team.
  • A Musicians Directory
  • Live stream your performance at the FFM Live Lounge
  • Event promotion through our network of thousands of musicians worldwide.
  •  Members can advertise, for free, any musical product or service on the website. (Musicians Market Place)
  • Flex your journalistic muscles and publish your music blog on our website.
  • Become an International ambassador for your home country.
  •  Recording artists can access the marketplace through our own fully licensed independent (FFM Records Ltd) record label.
  •  An opportunity to be a Featured Artist.
  • The Freedom Orchestra. An orchestra established to bring together recent settlers in the UK either refugees or migrant musicians. (Coming soon)
  • Have your musical innovations promoted as ‘Featured Product’.
  • Promote your online lessons to a global audience.
  • Share and promote at our Facebook home.

If you would like us to promo your work, all you need to do is message me, Roger Moisan, with your links etc, and we will do the rest.

THERE IS ABSOLUTELY, AND WILL NEVER BE, ANY CHARGE FOR OUR SERVICES

You can join FFM by becoming a member of our Facebook Group

Message me personally through Linkedin

email – rogermoisan@yahoo.co.uk

Visit us at FFM Records



हिंदी एफएफएम (Hindi FFM) – गांधी और संगीत …(Gandhi and Music)


अंकुर बीप्लव
अंकुर बीप्लव

महात्मा गांधी – राष्ट्र के पिता, हम सभी को एक स्वतंत्रता सेनानी के रूप में जानते हैं, एक व्यक्ति जो हमेशा सच्चाई और अभाव में, एक दैवीय आत्मा और अपने देश के लिए महान प्रेम और सम्मान वाले व्यक्ति हैं। हम सभी ने अपने जीवन के विभिन्न पहलुओं के बारे में सुना है / पढ़ा है, लेकिन आज हम संगीत के लिए उनके प्यार के बारे में बात करेंगे। हाँ! अधिकांश लोगों को लगता है कि वह सभी कलाओं और संगीत के खिलाफ थे लेकिन संगीत के लिए उनका विचार- “संगीत अकेले गले से आगे नहीं बढ़ता मन, संवेदना और हृदय के संगीत हैं ”

कुंआ! हम सब प्रसिद्ध भजन- “वैष्णव जन” और “रघुपति राघव” के पास आए हैं, ये भजन नियमित रूप से उनके आश्रम में खेले जाते थे। उनके अनुसार सच्चे संगीत में कोई बाधा नहीं है। संगीत वह शक्तिशाली हथियार है जिसमें उसकी भावनाओं को बदलने / नियंत्रित करने की शक्ति है। गांधीजी का दिन भजन के साथ शुरू होगा और भजन के साथ समाप्त होगा। प्रसिद्ध संगीतकार जैसे- पं। एन.एम. खर, मामा फडके, श्री विनोबा और बल्कोबा भावे अपने आश्रम के भजन सत्र का एक हिस्सा थे। उनके आश्रम में भजन के दौरान धर्म, जाति, पंथ, क्षेत्र, भाषाओं आदि का कोई भेदभाव नहीं था। उनके अनुसार संगीत एक था राष्ट्रीय अखंडता का शानदार तरीका क्योंकि यहां विभिन्न रिघीजेन्स के संगीतकार एक साथ बैठते हैं और एक संगीत कार्यक्रम में प्रदर्शन करते हैं। उन्होंने अक्सर कहा, “हम एक संकीर्ण अर्थ में संगीत को ध्यान में रखकर साधन लिखना और अच्छी तरह से खेलने की क्षमता का मतलब करेंगे, लेकिन इसके व्यापक अर्थों में, सच्चे संगीत तब ही बनाया जाता है जब जीवन एक धुन और एक ही समय की धड़कन के साथ होता है संगीत का जन्म होता है जहां दिल की तार धुन से बाहर नहीं होती है। ” जब गांधीजी दक्षिण अफ्रीका में थे तो उन्होंने आश्रम में शाम नमाज शुरू किया था। भजन का यह संग्रह बाद में – ‘नीतीवम कव्यो’ के नाम से प्रकाशित हुआ।

संगीत सुनने से हमें कई तरीकों से मदद मिल सकती है शायद, यही कारण है कि गांधी जी को संगीत की ओर आकर्षित किया गया था। संगीत एक शानदार मस्तिष्क व्यायाम है जो मस्तिष्क के हर ज्ञात भाग को सक्रिय करता है। यह जीवन के सभी चरणों में एक स्मार्ट, खुश और अधिक उत्पादक बना सकता है गांधी जी ने यह भी सोचा था कि संगीत लोगों के मन में शांति और सामंजस्य स्थापित करने का एक तरीका था। संगीत सुनना मानव मन को एक अनन्त शांति देता है, यह सुनिश्चित करता है कि उनका दिमाग हिंसा के प्रति आकर्षित नहीं है। किसी ने एक बार महात्मा से पूछा, “महात्माजी को संगीत के लिए कोई पसंद नहीं है?” गांधीजी ने उत्तर दिया- “अगर कोई संगीत नहीं था और मुझमें कोई हँसी नहीं थी, तो मैं अपने काम के इस कुचल बोझ से मर गया होता।” गांधीजी बहुत संगीत से जुड़े थे  22 दिसंबर, 1 9 45 को उन्होंने रबींद्रनाथ टैगोर को लिखे गए पत्र के जरिए संगीत के लिए उनका प्यार देखा जा सकता है जिसमें उन्होंने रबींद्रनाथ टैगोर का सुझाव दिया था कि भारतीय शास्त्रीय संगीत के साथ साथ पश्चिमी शास्त्रीय संगीत को बंगाली संगीत के साथ दिया जाना चाहिए। इससे यह भी पता चलता है कि गांधीजी को विभिन्न संगीताओं का बहुत ज्ञान था।     गांधी जी का जीवन लय और सद्भाव से भरा था उन्हें भजन के साथ अपना दिन शुरू करने की आदत थी और भजन के साथ अपना दिन समाप्त भी किया था। आजकल कई हिंसा देखी जा रही हैं शायद लोगों के बीच शांति, सामंजस्य और भाईचारे को सुनिश्चित करने का एकमात्र तरीका संगीत है।

English Translation

Mahatma Gandhi- The father of Nation, we all know him as a freedom fighter, a person who always believed in truth and nonviolence, a divine soul and a person having great love and respect for his country. We all have heard/ read about his various aspects of life but today we will talk about his love for music. Yes! most of the people think that he was against all arts and music. But his thought for music was-
“Music does not proceed from the throat alone. There is music of mind, of the senses and of the heart. ”

Well! we all have came across the famous bhajans- “Vaishanav Jan” and ” Raghupati Raghav”, these bhajans were played at his ashram regularly. According to him In true music there are no barrier. Music is that powerful weapon which has the power to change/control one’s emotions. Gandhijis’ day would start with bhajans and would end with bhajans. Famous musicians like- Pt. N. M. Khare, Mama Fadke, Sri Vinoba and Balkoba Bhave were a part of his ashram’s bhajan sessions.. During the bhajans in his ashram, there was no discrimination of religion, caste, creed, region, languages etc.

According to him music was a great way of national integrity because here only musicians of different religions sit together and perform at a concert. He often said, “We shall consider music in a narrow sense to mean the ability to sing and play an instrument well, but, in its wider sense, true music is created only when life is attuned to a single tune and a single time beat. Music is born only where the strings of the heart are not out of tune.” When Gandhi Ji was in South Africa he had started evening prayers in the Ashram. That collection of bhajans were later published under the name of – ‘Nitivam Kavyo’.

Listening to music can help us in lot of ways. Maybe, that’s why Gandhi Jee was so attracted towards music. Music is a fantastic brain exercise that activates every known part of the brain.  It can make one smarter, happier and more productive at all stages of life. Gandhi Jee even thought that music was a way of establishing peace and harmony in the minds of people. Listening to music gives an eternal peace to human mind thus, will ensure that their mind isn’t attracted towards violence.

Someone once asked the Mahatma“Mahatmaji don’t you have any liking for music?” Gandhi Jee replied- “If there was no music and no laughter in me, I would have died of this crushing burden of my work.” This shows how Gandhi jee was so attached to the music.
His love for music can be seen by the letter he wrote to Rabindranath Tagore on December 22, 1945 in which he suggested Rabindranath Tagore that due place should be given to Indian Classical Music as well as Western Classical Music along with bengali music. This also shows that Gandhi Jee had great knowledge of different genres of music.

Gandhi Jee’s life was full of rhythm and harmony. He had a habit of starting his day with bhajans and also ending his day with the bhajans. A lot of violence is witnessed nowadays around the world perhaps music is the only way to ensure peace, harmony and brotherhood among people.




बाबा (राजकुमार श्यामानन्द सिंह) की याद में …


अंकुर बीप्लव द्वारा

आज सुबह जब रियाज़ कर रहा था, उसी वक़्त  मुझे अपने बचपन की याद आ गई जब मैं अपने दादा जी से मिलने देवघर  (झारखण्ड ) गया था और वहां दादी माँ के कैसेटों के संकलन से सुबह -सुबह जौनपुरी की बंदिश ऐ रि फिरत एक दमदार आवाज़ में सुना.

उस वक़्त तक मैं राग से अनजान था, सुर का भी ज्ञान नहीं था लेकिन गीत सुनकर मैं डूब गया। गजब का आकर्षण था उस आवाज़ मे . बाद में दादी माँ ने बतलाया वो कोई और नहीं उनके पिता जी स्वर्गीय राजकुमार श्यामनन्द सिंह की आवाज़ है। मैं बहुत ख़ुश हुआ था।

बाद के  वर्षों में जब मेरी थोड़ी और रूचि बढ़ी तो मैंने राजकुमार श्यामानन्द सिंह की आवाज़ में “दुःख हरो द्वारिकानाथ ” को सुना और ऐसा लगा कि वो सच मे कितने दिल से द्वारिकानाथ को याद किया करते थे . जितनी बार इस भजन को सुनता उतना और सुनने का मन करता. यहीं से शास्त्रीय गायन से मेरा लगाव बढ़ा।

बाद में राजकुमार श्यामानन्द के बारे में ख़ूब सारी जानकारी इकट्ठा करने लगा। उनका जन्म 27 जुलाई 1916 को हुआ था.उन्होंने अपनी शुरुआती संगीत शिक्षा उस्ताद भीष्मदेव चटर्जी से ली थी.बाद के दिनों मे उस्ताद बच्चू खान साहब  और पंडित भोलानाथ भट्ट से भी उन्होंने संगीत की शिक्षा ली थी.

जैसा की मेरे घर में पापा बताते हैं की उनकी दुःख हरो द्वारिकानाथ भजन को सुनकर केसरबाई जैसी गायिका  ने उन्हें अपना गुरु बनाने की इच्छा जताई की थी.जब भी कोई इनके गाने को सुनता तो वो बस सुनता ही रह जाता था। सबसे खास बात इनके गाने की वो थी बंदिश की अदायगी .

वैसे मेरी दादी माँ यह भी बताती है की बाबा (राजकुमार श्यामनन्द सिंह) शिकार के भी बहुत शौक़ीन थे.वे स्पोर्ट्स मे भी उतनी ही रूचि रखते थे. मैं सोचता हूं कि बाबा एक जीवन में कितना कुछ कर गए। उनके बारे में सोचकर ही रोमांचित हो जाता हूं।

आज 9 अप्रैल 1994  के दिन ही उन्होंने गाते गाते ही अपने प्राण त्याग दिए थे. ये मेरा सौभाग्य  है कि वो मेरे पापा के नाना जी थे. लेकिन मुझे इस बात का दुःख है की मै उनसे कभी मिल न सका ना उन्हें गाते सुन पाया . तो भी यह सोचकर गर्व होता है कि मैं उनके परिवार का हिस्सा हूं। वो सच मे एक गायक नहीं साधक थे.


Behind the Original Cover of “Bohemian Rhapsody”


Go to the profile of Daniel Nester

Queen’s mega-hit has been interpreted countless times. But who did it first?

Three years ago, we celebrated the 40th anniversary of the Queen classic “Bohemian Rhapsody,” complete with a reissue of the single’s original artwork for Record Store Day’s Black Friday and a Queen-endorsed brew, aptly named “Bohemian Lager,” made in — where else? — the Bohemia region of the Czech Republic.

Over the years, the Freddie Mercury-penned song has evolved from a radio staple to competition showcase for melismatic singers everywhere to something akin to public domain. There’s countless parodies: “Bohemian Carsody,” a car-themed parody by the all-female comedian troupe SketchShe, has racked up almost 30 million hits. There’s also ascience-themed “Bohemian Gravity,” College Humor’s “Bro-hemian Rhapsody,” “Bohemian Momsody,” the Minecraft-themed “Bohemian Craftsody,” and “Nintendohian Rhapsody.” And that’s just scratching the surface.

Interpretations of “Bohemian Rhapsody” also abound. Ukulele master Jake Shimabukuro’s TED Talk cover from 2010 has nine million views and counting. American Idol’s Adam Lambert’s rendition of “Bo Rhap” led to a job playing Mercury himself in a biopic set to release this year. Kanye West, the supremely self-confident rap artist and provocateur, opened his headlining set at Glastonbury Music Festival with a “Mama” heard ‘round the world in a performance that could charitably be described as pitch-imperfect. Remember Robert Wilkison? Arrested for driving while intoxicated in Alberta, Canada, he proclaimed his innocence with a full-throated “Bohemian Rhapsody” from the back of a squad car. He racked up 11 million hits. They did not let him go.

But who made the very first “Bohemian Rhapsody” cover?

Perhaps 1982’s recording by the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra?

Or maybe the 1987 cover by Bad News, the comedy metal band?

Good guesses, but both are wrong.

The very first “Bohemian Rhapsody” cover was recorded for a Top of The Popscompilation volume and released in December 1975, three months after the original song was released on the airwaves. Not to be confused with the television show by the same name, the Top of The Pops series were budget-priced compilations that featured studio musicians and singers recreating chart-toppers, and usually featured a scantily clad model as the album art. We’re talking everyone from the Supremes to the Sex Pistols. Found on Top of The Pops #49, the “Bohemian Rhapsody” cover was recorded at De Lane Lea Studios, next to Wembley Stadium, where — it might be noted — Queen recorded early demos for tracks like “Keep Yourself Alive.”

Recently I tracked down Tony Rivers, one of the four Top of The Pops singers who recorded that first “Bohemian Rhapsody” cover. He was also the vocal arranger on the sessions, a thankless task for which he was well-prepared: Rivers’ long and varied career includes working on tracks from early 60s vocal groups Harmony Grass and the Castaways, recordings with Pink Floyd and INXS, and singing backup for Cliff Richard and Elton John — all of which he’s written about in his book, I’m Nearly Famous: The Tales of a Likely Lad.

Rivers was kind enough to let me pick his brain over email about the original “Bohemian Rhapsody” cover.

This interview has been lightly edited and condensed for clarity.


Everyone covers or parodies “Bohemian Rhapsody” these days — from the Muppets, Phish, Flaming Lips, William Shatner, Zac Brown Band, Kanye West — everyone climbs Bo Rhap Mountain, it seems.

Well, not many could manage to put this together, least of all Kanye West!

But you were the first.

I have always assumed that [it was], mainly because harmony wasn’t many singers’ strong point at that time, and it was the most complicated arrangement to learn in a few days and record.

Tony Rivers in the 1970s.

A few days? The original famously took three, four weeks.

There were very few around who could have done it that quickly. It was a bit easier for us four, all coming up with vocal group backgrounds. All four of us sang on “Bohemian Rhapsody.” We usually took a day to lay down lead and backing vocal tracks, and would be on our way home by 11pm. Not this time!

So it wasn’t easy to do, then.

No. With due modesty it was difficult for us because of the time restriction — maybe two or three days to live with it (once the committee had chosen it).

By “committee” you mean the people at Top of The Pops?

A small group of Hallmark employees, along with producer Bruce Baxter, would sit down prior to the planned sessions and choose the potential hits. That, of course, was the secret to the label’s success. I have no idea what their thoughts were in choosing “Bohemian Rhapsody” other than “what an amazing record!”

The cover is pretty much perfect, note-for-note. How did you pull that off?

As usual, I had the job of sorting out the vocal arrangement. I had to listen and memorize the parts. John Perry and Ken Gold were also listening and were both assigned lead lines that suited their voices, which they did brilliantly I think. Oh, and let’s not forget the late Stu Calver, who was the very high voice on the Roger Taylor parts — the “Gallileo”’s and so on.

Normally this wouldn’t be too big a deal, but with this song, I had to sit for hours at home listening, making notes, and memorizing vocal lines — apart from the other tracks we had to do that day!

The time-consuming job of layering track after track of vocals ’til we got the sound and the voicing right seemed to take forever. But in the end, it had been a great opportunity to find out how that song was put together.

I’m still trying to wrap my head around you doing all of this in a few days, to be honest.

The harmony parts were obviously part of the problem, but they are not difficult harmonies. The problem was lack of familiarity with the whole thing. We could copy sections, piece by piece. The other problem was the time needed to achieve a similar “sound.” That kind of mass tracking takes time, and wasn’t usually available in big lumps. This was something with many lumps!

We were helped greatly by the fact that all three of us had good range in our voices with JP and Stu blessed with fantastic falsetto range.

I believe we spent the early part and the rest of the day, singing whatever vocals or harmonies needed on the other songs that had been selected.

You worked on other songs at the same time?

Memory tells me at around 7pm we started on Bo Rhap, bit by bit, until each section sounded good, and added voices until it did. We finished and hit the A406 [a main London road] around 7 the next morning in a daze, in rush hour traffic, with “Gallileo”s running round our heads.

I have nothing but admiration for the man who created it: Freddie Mercury. What a record.

A bit different from something like [The Sweet’s] “Little Willie!”

The original version made a splash, of course, but the TOTP version made headlines as well. Kenny Everett, who famously played the test pressing of the original track, also played your cover.

Kenny Everett was a big name at that time , and decided to see if the listeners could tell which version had taken months and a fortune to record, and which was done in a few hours on a budget album! He played our version and Queen’s, cutting between the two, asking “Can you tell which one’s the ten-bob version, and which one cost six million quid to make?”

Did you ever hear from the Queen camp regarding your cover? I know you worked with Cliff Richard for quite some time, and Freddie Mercury and he were friends.

Ken Gold was introduced to Freddie whilst on an Elton John tour of the USA. Ken decided to ask Freddie what he thought about “that cover.” He looked pensive, then added, “Hmm, an interesting version!”

I did meet Brian May once. He said, “Hi, Tony! Roger and I used to go to see you live at Loughborough Uni/College, and you were a very big influence on our harmonies!” Not bad, eh?