Blind pianist opens music school for the disabled

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Mubarak Farah was eight years old when he began teaching himself to play the piano. A refugee who came to Ottawa with his family when he was three, Farah listened to the Somali folk music played from his family’s cassettes, matching the notes on his keys and eventually figuring out the chords being played.

An impressive accomplishment for a child to do on his own, but Farah had something else setting him back: he was born with glaucoma and had lost all his vision by the time he was six. Unable to read music, “everything was done by sound and touch,” he said.

Lat week, Farah, now 30 and a professional blues pianist, opened Ability Through Music, a music school for children and adults with disabilities, and hopes to empower people by teaching them piano. The academy welcomes people of all skill levels. Though it’s currently offering piano lessons, it’s trying to expand its lessons to other instruments.

Farah understands the impact playing music can have on anyone, especially people with disabilities.

Full Story @ Ottawa Citizen

Apple Bows Apple Music For Artists to Provide Acts With Deep Analytics Dive

Today Apple launches Apple Music for Artists, a dashboard designed to provide acts with hundreds of data points giving deep analytical insight into their fans’ listening and buying habits.

The initial beta rollout involves a few thousand artists who will test the product and see what adjustments and expansions, if any, should be made before Apple Music for Artists opens in the Spring to the several million artists with content on the iTunes and Apple Music platforms. Later plans call for a mobile app.

Read at Billboard

Music therapy can help people suffering from dementia

Music therapy can help people suffering from dementia

A new study has reported that dementia symptoms such as anxiety, memory loss, agitation and aggression can be significantly improved if people suffering from the disease listen to and play music.

It was carried out by a commission set up by the International Longevity Centre think tank and charitable trust the Utley Foundation. The conclusions were found by consulting a number of experts and looking at previously compiled evidence.

The report argues that insufficient funding is being directed into music therapy, and hundreds of thousands of people could benefit from greater awareness of its value.

Continue at Mixmag

‘It’s a Tremendous Boost’: British Government Backs Plan to Protect Music Venues From Closure

The British government has said it will strengthen planning laws to better protect music venues in the U.K.

Following a concerted campaign led by umbrella organization UK Music, Housing Secretary Sajid Javid has pledged to change planning regulations to give venue owners greater protection from developers.

“Music venues play a vital role in our communities, bringing people together and contributing to the local economy and supporting the country’s grass roots music culture,” said Javid, announcing plans to establish the ‘Agent of Change’ principle in U.K. law.

Read @ Billboard

Can listening to classical music improve your life?

Woman in yellow listening

Can a daily dose of classical music change your life? It sounds like an impossibly grand claim, but in my case, the answer has been a resounding yes. And January — so often a miserable month of discarded resolutions, debts and diets — is arguably the perfect time to dive in to a new sonic soundscape in all its rich, diverse wonder.

We are a music-making species — always have been, always will be. We are also a music-exchanging species: long before lovesick teenagers started curating mixtapes for each other, or digital streaming services enabled us to swap favourite tracks, we were communicating and connecting through music. We evolved as humans by coming together around the fire after a long day’s hunter-gathering, singing songs and telling stories through song. That’s what our ancestors did; that’s how they made sense of the world; that’s how they learned how to be.

Full Story: BBC News

Is Art Created by AI Really Art?

I have a feeling we will be asking many more similar questions regarding AI soon.

I found these examples of robotically generated art and music to be polished and appealing. But something kept nagging at me: What happens in a world where effort and scarcity are no longer part of the definition of art?

A mass-produced print of the Mona Lisa is worth less than the actual Leonardo painting. Why? Scarcity—there’s only one of the original. But Amper churns out another professional-quality original piece of music every time you click “Render.” Elgammal’s AI painter can spew out another 1,000 original works of art with every tap of the enter key. It puts us in a weird hybrid world where works of art are unique—every painting is different—but require almost zero human effort to produce. Should anyone pay for these things? And if an artist puts AI masterpieces up for sale, what should the price be?

Full Story at Scientific American

Music in VR needs its iTunes moment… and this could be it

Anthony Matchett wants to create the iTunes for virtual reality music. The 29-year-old’s London-based startup, MelodyVR, was formed in 2015 and now, with the music industry on its side, it’s getting ready to launch. “We’re not going to say we want to be the killer app for VR because we’re not that arrogant,” Matchett, a former audio engineer, says. “But we want to be in the top five to ten apps for VR”.

For the last two years, MelodyVR has been recording gigs, festivals and concerts in 360-degree video. The team has built its own VR cameras, which it takes to events and records multiple angles, from next to the lead singer to behind the drummer and out in the crowd. Slip on a VR headset and you can switch between viewpoints at as you please. Concerts include gigs at the Camden Roundhouse and Download Festival.

The firm has recorded 5,000 hours of music and lets people watch single songs or entire 90-minute concerts. To do this it has worked with more than 535 artists – from Fatboy Slim to the London Symphony Orchestra – and signed contracts with major record labels and VR manufacturers. Warner Music Group, Universal Music Group and Sony Music Entertainment have all partnered with MelodyVR since December 2016 and have agreements to produce VR videos. The firm has more than 35 people working for it in London, Hastings and Los Angeles.

Continue at Wired 

Too Much Music: A Failed Experiment In Dedicated Listening

I begin to really understand why recovering addicts isolate themselves from old neighborhoods and old friends in order to stay clean.

A friend once floated a theory that I’ve grappled with ever since. She claimed that we only ever really love 10 albums, and we spend the rest of our listening lives seeking facsimiles of those 10, pursuing the initial rush, so to speak. At the time, I argued with her, mostly because I didn’t want this to be true. But even as I protested I began recalling how many times I compulsively “added to cart” an item whenever some savvy vinyl-hustling mountebank deployed the phrase “Velvets-y” or “Royal Trux-ish,” and how many times I’d bought reissues promising the “holy grail” of “private press proto-doom” only to discover tepid bar rock that sounded like a warmed-over Bad Company. Our individual dragons may vary — Sabbath or Coltrane or Beatles or Beefheart — but we’re all chasing ’em.

Full Story @ NPR

Funk Music Hall of Fame Now Open in Dayton

Music fans are celebrating the official opening of the Funk Music Hall of Fame in downtown Dayton. The highly anticipated museum celebrates funk music and its legacy in the city.

Plans for the Funk Music Hall of Fame have been in the making for about two years. The city officially gave curator David Webb the green light to open on Third Street late last year.

Continue at: WYSO