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Archive for September, 2010

From “Lou Reed on Tai Chi” by Gene Ching for KUNG FU MAGAZINE

Lou Reed is a true rock veteran. No one deserves more respect than veterans, especially today. A progenitor of the alternative music genre, Reed is a living rock and roll legend whose unparalleled career has already spanned over four decades. Few can survive a single decade in the cutthroat music industry with as much integrity and authenticity. Fewer still risk pop chart suicide by consistently redefining their art. Instead of replaying his hits, Reed boldly ventures into new territory.

Music and the martial arts share a common bond. Unlike painting or sculpture, music and the martial arts aren’t static. They are dynamic expressions of the moment, best experienced live. There’s nothing like being in the presence of a master, musician or martial artist, when they unleash their honed licks and hardcore chops.

Lately, more musicians are discovering the martial arts as a tool to improve their musical skills as well as a means to some easy exposure. RZA of the Wu-Tang Clan, Taboo of the Black Eyed Peas, Johnny Colt (formerly of the Black Crowes) have all been showcased in martial magazines. But before they were born, before they were even twinkles in their agents’ eyes, Reed had already survived glam rock, heroin, censorship and Andy Warhol. Today, Reed credits his longevity to his Tai Chi practice. While most touring musicians demand a steady supply of top-shelf liquor, high-grade illicits and hand-picked groupies, Reed requests a private place where he can practice for an hour or two every day. “You have to know the form,” observes Reed. “Then you just get this energy out. It’s really great.”

For several years now, Reed has been studying directly under Master Ren Guang-Yi, a champion of Chen Tai Chi (or taiji as Chen students prefer to spell it). Ren and Reed form the most intriguing coupling of master and musician since Ed Parker and Elvis. Like Elvis, Reed took his master on tour, but not just as a personal trainer and bodyguard. Reed invited Ren to perform alongside him from Carnegie Hall to the Letterman show to the Winter Olympic stage in Toronto. It’s been a groundbreaking showcase for taiji, albeit distressing for fans who just want to hear Reed play “Heroin” again. “We took him on a world tour,” beams Reed with audacious pride.

Following Reed’s lead, Ren’s students rallied to create a very special DVD, CHEN TAIJIQUAN: LAO JIA YI LU & STRAIGHT SWORD. Top recording producer Tony Visconti, noted photographer Martin von Haselberg, high-tech guru Mark McGauley and director David Silver joined forces to produce a DVD of unprecedented quality.
You can see a clip of the DVD below. It is available from the YMAA Website.

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I saw a short video of Paul McCartney lately in which he told the story of being inspired to compose a song using only 2-Finger chords after viewing Picasso’s painting “The Old Guitarist”. A fun challenge for a player of any skill set!

Listen to Paul McCartney’s tune and try one of your own!

Here is Picasso’s “Old Guitarist” with a Luna Oracle Eclipse. More masterpieces with Luna Guitars to follow! See if any of these inspire a little tune. : )

Picasso's "Old Guitarist" with Oracle Eclipse

Grant Wood's "American Gothic" with Luna Banjo headstock

Frieda Kahlo "Self Portrait" with Athena 501

Bunce's "Melody" with Luna's Trinity Mandolin

Leighton's "Music Lesson" with Luna's Trinity Bouzouki

Chagall's "The Kiss" with Fauna Phoenix

Matisse's "Musique" with Luna Muse

Da Vinci's Mona Lisa with High Tide Ukulele

Chagall's "Over the Town" with Andromeda Phoenix Bass

Picasso's "The Dream" with Tattoo Uke

Rosetti's "Daydream" with Fauna Butterfly

Rosetti's "Il Ramoscello" with Luna headstock

Van Gogh's "Bedroom" with Luna's Starry Safari travel guitar

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Musician’s are notorious for not leading the healthiest lifestyles due to the logistics of gigging late and/or being on the road. Since life is about balance, I would like to explore a few possibilities in this blog that may just help to restore balance in your busy life. Mia Olson teaches Yoga for Musicians at the Berklee School of Music. According to Mia, By integrating yoga into your practice routines, you will develop a more focused and concentrated mind for performance. You will be able to increase awareness of how you use your body to allow for proper posture and ease of movement while performing, helping you to avoid overuse injuries and play with greater expression.
These concepts, exercises, and practice routines present yoga from the musicians’ perspective, focusing on the direct relationships between using yoga and creating music.
You will learn to:
• Practice meditation approaches, breathing techniques, and yoga postures that will help improve musicianship
• Play using healthy posture and technique
• Get more out of your practice through improved focus
• Use your breath to improve your phrasing and also to ease performance anxiety
• Play with deeper expression through inspiration

Listen to what she has to say in the introduction video below and click on the link below it to experience a full session from one of her Berklee classes.
You can also check out her new book, “Musician’s Yoga: A Guide to Practice, Performance, and Inspiration”, published by Hal Leonard and Berklee Press .

Watch a full lesson from one of Mia’s classes at Berklee School of Music

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Love’s in need of Love today…

Some of you may recognize these lyrics – they were written by one of the great artists of our time, Stevie Wonder. Though written back in 1976, given all that’s going on I’d say they are as (or even more relevant) today in 2010.

Whether you rock, rap, fiddle, or hopefully, play gutiar :), I’m suggesting that now more than ever, the world’s in need of love.

Of course the world’s always going to have conflict and disagreements, but if you’re like me it almost seems as though there’s a heightened level of anger. And its going beyond mean words; increasingly there seems to be a growing agreement that the climate of vitriol in today’s society is fueling some to go beyond words to commit acts of violence, Yet in spite of the conflict I see around me, I hold out hope…because of you.

Love is in need of love today, and I think its artists like you who will provide it. We already know how much people are affected by music, so what I’m suggesting is that now more than ever, the world needs the balance that music can provide. Be an instrument of change to inspire a different energy in the world; one that might inspire a conversation, dialogue or dare I say, love.

Take a listen to what Mr. Wonder said, and be inspired.

Good morn or evening friends
Here’s your friendly announcer
I have serious news to pass on to every-body
What I’m about to say
Could mean the world’s disaster
Could change your joy and laughter to tears and pain

It’s that
Love’s in need of love today
Don’t delay
Send yours in right away
Hate’s goin’ round
Breaking many hearts
Stop it please
Before it’s gone too far

The force of evil plans
To make you its possession
And it will if we let it
Destroy ev-er-y-body
We all must take
Precautionary measures
If love and please you treasure
Then you’ll hear me when I say

Oh that
Love’s in need of love today
love’s in need of love today
Don’t delay
don’t delay
Send yours in right away
right a-way
Hate’s goin’ round
hate’s goin’ round
Breaking many hearts
break-ing hearts
Stop it please
stop it please
Before it’s gone too far
gone too far

People you know that
Love’s in need of love today
love’s in need of love today
Don’t delay
don’t de-lay

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Jens Lindemann, renowned trumpet soloist and Professor of Trumpet at UCLA, emphasizes the importance of presenting yourself well in two ways – when interacting with other musicians about musical issues, and when marketing yourself to people who might offer you work.

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