November 27 National Electric Guitar Day

November 27th National Electric Guitar Day

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The guitar has been around for next to forever, but it was normally used in small setting and as a chording instrument to accompany singers. When Jazz started featuring the guitar something was required to make it louder and the electric guitar was invented.

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Work on the electric guitar started in the 1910’s but it was not successful until 1931 when George Beauchamp and Paul Barth, of the National Guitar Corporation actually made a working model.

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How to celebrate – Buy an electric guitar. (It is easier to play than an acoustic guitar) Learn how to play guitar. Listen to your favorite guitarist.

October 13th Universal Music Day

October 13th Universal Music Day

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Music is one of the most important things in our lives. It brings back memories, calms us, excites us and brings us joy. It serves as background in elevators, drives fund raisers and just generally makes our lives better.

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Today has been celebrated on the second Saturday of October since 2007. Whether you like Rock, Jazz, Rap, Blues, Classical or whatever form of music that pleases you today is the day to spend a little time listening, remembering and enjoying.

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How to celebrate – Listen to the music of your choice. Learn how to play a musical instrument. Go out dancing.

December 13th National Violin Day

For years, the violin was to popular music what the guitar is today, and recently it has been making quite a comeback. A classical instrument by nature, it is widely used in concerts performed by orchestras, country music, and in some forms of rock. Now it is becoming popular in every medium.

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Probably the most widely known violinist today is Lindsey Stirling. She is not only a beautiful woman but a world-class violinist, dancer and performer. Such talent is rare to find anymore although she didn’t really become aware of her talent until she failed at America’s Got Talent and nearly quit. She owes much of her fame to YouTube.

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Celtic Woman also incorporate violins into their performances. It is key to most Irish music. It can be joyful, melancholy or symphonic when placed into the right hands. In hands of  a student it can also be quite annoying!

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Like any instrument, the finest ever made was hand crafted, made in the 1600’s by Stradivarius. They are widely sought after but astronomically priced as any piece of precious art.  And don’t trust that it is a Stradivarius just because it says it is.

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How to celebrate – Find out if you have any hidden talent for playing the violin. Most Christmas music will have a violin in it somewhere. Learn about what makes one violin better than another.

May 27th International Jazz Day

Mainland Europe gave us Classical music, England gave us Rock & Roll but America gave the world jazz! Truly an American contribution, jazz is enjoyed world wide by nearly every age. it has influenced so many other styles of music, but also been influenced by many other forms of music.

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Born in New Orleans, La. in the 1800’s it is a mix of blues, Dixieland, soul and even classical music roots but also is an art form of it’s own. Whenever a style of music is not completely understood it seems to get placed in the jazz category. And while many individuals enjoy jazz it is a musicians choice of freedom from the boundaries placed on other forms of music.

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Artists such as Louis Armstrong, Miles Davis and Chick Correa are headliners of the jazz field but thousands upon thousands have placed their own variations on the theme. Only the best of the best get a career in jazz, some of the best players in the world survive in small clubs creating their art so a non-mainstream audience.

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International Jazz Day was created by D. Michael Denny, on the board of directors of the New Jersey Jazz Society in 1991. It was also placed in the government by a statement that same year in the U.S. Congressional Record.

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How to celebrate – Find a jazz club and go hear some good music tonight. Buy a Cd of jazz and educate yourself to some of the best artists in that category. Visit New Orleans, home of jazz.

April 11th Barbershop Quartet Day

What can be more fun than listening to a Barbershop Quartet?  Four part harmony that blends together a Lead, Tenor, Baritone and Bass.  (Normally male but there are also many female quartets as well.)  Now you might think that these quartets come from Gospel and Minstrels and of course, many do.  However, even back in Shakespeare’s day there were groups that performed exactly like the modern, or more modern, day groups.  They were often accompanied by a lute but nothing else.

The Barbershop quartet became popular in America during the late 1800’s, often accompanied by a banjo.  In more recent years most barbershop is done a-capella, without musical accompaniment. On April 11th, 1938 the Preservation and Encouragement of Barbershop Quartet Singing, in Tulsa, Oklahoma, named April 11th as Barbershop Quartet Day.  Songs like, “Shine On Harvest Moon”, “Hello, Ma Baby” and “Sweet Adeline” have become classics for the Barbershoppers.

If you stop and think about it, rock and roll, R&B and many other modern day forms of music owe a lot to the barbershop quartet.  4 part harmony, a mainstay of many hits started with barbershop techniques. The Beatles, Doobie Brothers, Mamma’s & Papa’s, all have roots deep in the barbershop history.  If you ever watched the film, “The Music Man” it was filled with barbershop quartet material.  The Buffalo Bills performed at Robert Preston’s will bringing a lighter and funnier side to the movie.  And who hasn’t taken that ride at Disney where the barbershop grave quartet perform on a “nightly” basis.

To celebrate, listen to a barbershop quartet.  Try singing in a barbershop quartet.  Come up with your own list of modern-day musical performers that use barbershop stylings.