Music as a gateway to shared humanity

MIT professor of electrical engineering and computer science Dina Katabi (far left) gives a tour of her lab to A.R. Rahman (center) and Anantha Chandrakasan (right), dean of the School of Engineering.

When A. R. Rahman, two-time Academy Award winner, singer-songwriter, and music producer from India, came to visit and take a course at MIT in July, he was in his element during a tour of interactive music systems on campus.

Anantha Chandrakasan, dean of the School of Engineering, led Rahman and his group to Building 24 where the small group of mostly non-musicians jammed together using their smartphones to sound off as brass, clarinet, percussion, or strings.

Continue @ MIT News

Dave Grohl Announces ‘Play’ Project Inspired By His Kids Discovering Music

Dave Grohl

Foo Fighters frontman Dave Grohl is continuing to explore the world of documentaries, announcing today a two-part mini doc titled “Play” which he directed. Ever the overachiever, Grohl also plays seven different instruments during the film and on a resulting 23-minute recording. In revealing the project, Grohl released a sketch of his set up (see it below).

“Play,” arriving on Aug. 10, is described as “celebrating the rewards and challenges of dedicating ones life to playing and mastering a musical instrument.” Grohl has long advocated for music education and the importance of learning to play an instrument. Part one is mostly narrated and offers a look at the music-making process.

Continue @ Variety

10 Fast-Food Jobs That Pay for College

Restaurant chains are increasingly using tuition benefits to attract hourly workers. Providing these perks helps employers with retention and increases company loyalty, experts say. Since Starbucks launched its tuition benefit to team members in 2014, other fast-food restaurants have quickly followed with their own programs. Here are 10 fast-food chains that offer some form of tuition assistance to their hourly employees.

Read @ U.S. News & World Report

Local youth music academy asks for community help after major donor drops out

Local youth music academy asks for the community’s support after a major donor cuts funding.

The Academy of Musical Performance kicked off their first day of band camp today and local student musicians could not be more excited. This is the fourth annual “AMP Camp” for the Coachella Valley. However, a few weeks ago, the group learned that their major donor, Goldenvoice, will no longer be supplying funds.

Read @ KESQ

Music education could help children improve their language skills

PHOTO: A child is seen pictured playing a piano seen this undated stock photo.

While many people often consider music a universal language, a recent Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) study done in Beijing shows that it may help with spoken language as well.

Kindergarten students who took piano lessons showed increased capabilities to distinguish pitch and understand spoken words — and it showed up on their brain scans, according to the study’s findings.

Read @ ABC News

Fantastic flights of fantasy – how to introduce books to children

It’s hard to remember the first time I became aware of books. I suppose it’s a bit like trying to decide when it was that I first noticed breathing. There was no first for me, books like oxygen, were things that were simply necessary.

The characters from my early book-loves exist in my mind with the same vivid corporeality as the memories I have of the real people and places that populated my early life. Some days I opened the door to play on the green and on others I opened a page and snuck down the lane to play in Mr McGregor’s garden with a bold little bunny, stealing radishes and lettuces.

Read @ Independent.ie

This Woman Went to Art School in Her 60s, Proving It’s Never Too Late to Pivot

It’s all about process: Painter shows off her progress on the canvas

Lots of famous people have turned to painting in their later years: Ringo Starr, Jim Carrey, George W. Bush. So it’s not unusual that Nell Painter, an accomplished historian and Princeton professor with six books and a string of honors to her name, took up art in her 60s. What’s surprising is that she went all the way back to art school.

The disadvantages of age are legion. The advantages are also considerable: respect, self-knowledge, mastery of a skill. Painter discards all of them, along with her “20th century eyes,” as she writes in her new memoir, Old in Art School. In fact, her training in historical rigor and clarity prove to be handicaps in art, a discipline that requires, she finds, “letting go of coherence.”

Read @ TIME

Former Amazon devices executive Ian Freed launches Bamboo Music skill for Alexa

Kids and their parents are getting a new way to use Amazon Echo devices for learning about music. And it’s coming as an Alexa skill from the person who once headed Amazon’s Echo business.

Ian Freed, who left Amazon last year, today officially launched startup Bamboo Learning and its first Alexa skill, Bamboo Music. The skill allows families to learn music theory interactively with Alexa-enabled devices. After saying “Alexa, enable Bamboo Music” or selecting the skill through the Amazon Alexa app, children listen to musical selections and are introduced to music concepts such as notes, scales, chords, tempo, dynamics, and intervals. In addition, they learn to identify the sounds of musical instruments.

Read @ GeekWire