Characteristics of Jazz, Blues, Soul and R&B Music

They all come out of the African-American Song-Dance tradition which have its Roots in Gospel music, in particular the Congregational hymn and Negro Spiritual traditions. typical characteristics include call-and-response, the sanctified shout or a “holler”, synchronized dance moves, and personal improvisations on the main theme.

Louis Armstrong: Struttin’ With Some Barbecue.
Dizzy Gillespie: Shaw Nuff, Groovin high, Salt Peanuts, Manteca.
Jelly Roll Morton: Black Bottom Stomp, Mr. Jelly Lord, Dead Man Blues.
Art Tatum: Yesterdays, Tiger Rag, This Can’t be Love, Tea for two.
Nat King Cole: Route 66, straighten up and fly right, Mona Lisa, Sweet Lorraine, Honeysuckle Rose.
So many More in Jazz, Miles Davis on Prestige, John Coltrane: A Love Supreme. Thelonious Monk, Wes Montgomery etc…

Blues: With Roots in Gospel and ragtime/jazz this music starts in a similar fashion so I’ll try to highlight what makes it different.
so the Griots (W. African music) and the Field “hollers” or “work songs” definitely have a more profound influence which is very integral to the sound (aesthetic) of the innovators along the Mississippi River Delta.
W.C. Handy: St. Louis Blues, Memphis Blues, Yellow Dog Blues.
Mamie Smith: Crazy Blues.
Charlie Patton: Pony Blues, high water blues, po’ me, shake it and break it. Lonnie Johnson: he’s a jelly roll baker, tomorrow night, pleasing you, so tired. Son House: my black mama, preachin blues, walkin blues, Son’s blues.
Robert Johnson: crossroads, sweet home chicago.
So many more, Bessie Smith, Ma Rainey, Skip James, Bukka White, Muddy Waters, John Lee Hooker, Howlin Wolf, Elmore James, Mississippi Fred McDowell, Blind Willie McTell, etc…

Soul and R&B I consider to be almost similar with minor differences from each other. Both rooted in the early jazz and gospel traditions of the black church, R&B being a bit more tribal than its smoother Soul music counterpart. Early on a lot of the artist were signed as Gospel artist and made the switch to Secular music later in thier careers e.g.: B.B. King, Ray Charles, Sam Cooke, etc…

Little Richard: Tutti Frutti, Long Tall Sally, Keep a knockin, Good golly Miss Molly.
Chuck Berry: Maybellene, roll over beethoven, Johnny B. Goode.
Bo Diddley: diddy wah diddy, who do you love?, you cant judge a book by its cover.

Sam Cooke: you send me, another saturday night, I love you (for sentimental reasons), what a wonderful world, a change is gonna come.
Ray Charles: I got a woman, drown in my own tears, hallelujah I love her so, the Right time, what’d I say, hit the road jack.
Jackie Wilson: Lonely Tear Drops, baby workout, higher and higher.
many more…  Louis Jordan, Big Joe Turner, The Coasters, The Drifters, Fats Domino, Ruth Brown, Solomon Burke, Otis Redding, The Supremes, Marvin Gaye, James Brown, etc…

How To Hit High Notes (Falsetto)

Singing should be as natural as talking.

Think about it… Your speaking voice is smooth and connected, never requiring strain, and always seeming natural. That’s how it should be even when belting out vocals. You need a balanced vocal mechanism. That means having:

  • Proper Vocal Cord Closure – no air leaking out when making a sound
  • A Level Larynx – making sure it doesn’t rise too high

How do you achieve this?


I know, I know…this isn’t the magic bullet you’re hoping for…

(but wait… because I do have a shortcut to success I share below)

Breathing and vocal exercises are key to being able to hit the notes you want without strain.

By doing these exercises you help to strengthen your vocal cords and work more efficiently when it sings.

Steady air flow is very important when singing higher. It may seem weird, but it’s true.

Not Too Much Though

That doesn’t mean you should force too much air through your body – that has the opposite effect of what you want: added resistance and pressure.

Contrary to what you might think, you actually need less air to hit high notes, not more. 

Straining or breathing to heavily will cause your larynx to go higher and your voice to crack – we’ve all been there when trying to belt out those high notes.

But You Still Want Enough

On the opposite end of the spectrum, too little air won’t give you enough power.

You need to learn how to work your diaphragm when breathing. You should feel your stomach rise, then your chest. 

Stand up tall and straight then try saying “ha” a few times in short, powerful bursts.

That’s the feeling of breathing and speaking with a supported voice.

Another way to avoid using your throat (as opposed to your stomach) when singing is to push your stomach out (so it sticks out more). It’ll help you fill your lungs with air and use your diaphragm.Sing High Notes With Mix Voice

All About The Mix

So if you don’t want to use too much breath, and not use your throat as much, but kind of use it, and not your chest, but also kind of from there…..

What do you do??

You need to learn to use your mix voice (which is a voice that combines your head register/voice, with your chest register/voice – hence, mix voice).


When you’re practicing it’s a good idea to start your vocal runs or exercises in your middle range, and gradually move higher and higher.

Also, try singing the word “yawn” in a high register.

Take note of the position of your mouth when you begin to say the word in each vocal range you use.

That position is exactly how you need to position your mouth to hit that particular note.

Warm tea or liquid can help relax your throat and vocal cords, so try to keep some handy when practicing.

And remember – it’s not all about reaching higher and higher and straining your voice when you’re trying to hit high notes.

So avoid this tendency at all costs when you’re practicing.

Sing Higher Through BreathingSome Breathing Exercises to Try

In case you didn’t know, using staccato (short, accented notes) makes it easier to hit high notes.

Unfortunately most songs are sung in legato (melodic and long phrases that tie together).

So with this exercise you’ll start by doing staccato notes and gradually transition to legato, all while moving higher along the vocal register (i.e. using higher notes/pitches).

What to Do:

  1. You’ll be singing the words one-two-three-four-five-four-three-two-one up and down a musical scale
  2. Start with staccato (short bursts)
  3. Once you’re getting good with hitting high staccato notes, start making them more legato (flowing together)
  4. Once you’re comfortable there, move up higher in pitch.

Of course, this requires a lot of practice time and work. No one said it would be easy But once you do this over and over again, you’ll notice a big improvement in your ability to hit higher notes.

But who wants to wait forever? We wanna reach higher notes now, am I right?!

Some Subgenres in Rock Music

Some subgenres are widespread, some local. For example, southern rock is exclusive to the US, but hard rock is everywhere.

Rock emerged mostly from Blues and Rock and roll.

Blues rock retains a lot of the blues influence.

Hard rock is a loosely defined term that fuels the stereotypical loud rebel image of rockstars.

Psychedelic rock has to do with psychedelic drugs. They may have been written under the influence and/or may make you feel like you’re hallucinating.

Progressive rock is characterised by unconventional song structure, complex techniques and styles and time signatures, virtuoso instrumentalists. Consists of both, pretentious bands that force complex time signatures everywhere and really good bands that make beautiful music.

Punk rock was this anti-establishment,  DIY movement that was characterised by harsh sound, shorter songs and fast tempos.

Alternative rock emerged from punk rock and did not incorporate elements from  one particular genre, but was much influenced by punk rock nonetheless. Britpop is a genre that emerged in the UK and is similar to the Alternative rock, though a bit softer.

Heavy metal is a heavier subgenre of Rock that lets go of the Blues influence and packs more power. Some will argue it has over the years become vast enough to be called a genre of its own, but it derives primarily from rock and not from multiple genres and hence, remains a subgenre of Rock.

Surf rock is a subgenre that was popularised by The Beach Boys and is usually easygoing.

Southern rock consists of people singing about Southern US in the southern accent.

Electronic rock is a subgenre that depends a lot on synthesizers and turntables as the name suggests.

Soft rock consists mostly of songs (possibly love songs) that might sound like lullabies to someone who doesn’t have patience for such slow and soft music.

Traditional Music in Indonesian

Gamelan orchestra

Gamelan music is the most popular and important kind in Indonesia. Gamelan orchestras accompany all dances and dramas. Gamel means ‘to hammer’, and most of the instruments of a gamelan orchestra are struck with wooden mallets, padded sticks or hammers.The conductor of a gamelan orchestra is a drummer who is part of the orchestra.

Instruments of a gamelan orchestra

A complete orchestra could have about 40 or more different instruments. There would be instruments that are struck to produce sound, such as kettledrums, xylophones, and gongs of various sizes. There would be a wind instrument, a bamboo flute called a suling, and string instruments such as a zither or lute. There would be instruments whose sounds are produced by vibration, such as drums, bells, cymbals and gongs.

There are also two sets of instruments that are tonal: the slendro tuned to five tones and the pelog, tuned to seven tones. The slendro is used to suggest festivity or cheerfulness, and is believed to have developed in Java in the eighth century. The pelog is used to express sadness, and is also very ancient in its origins. These two cannot be played together, but are used according to the mood of the piece being played.

Gamelan music

Gamelan music is complicated. It is an ancient form of music and has been handed down for many generations, never written down, but learned by being played. Gamelan is an essential part of Indonesian life. It is slightly different from island to island.

Angklung music

Another popular form of orchestral music is the angklung, which is played on instruments made entirely of bamboo of different lengths. Each instrument is made up of two bamboo tubes, each of a different note. The instruments are shaken to produce sound.

How to Get Started Playing Hard Rock and Metal Guitar

  1. Choose a guitar. The better the guitar, the better the sound. And that means it will be easier and more fun to learn on. That said, it isn’t at all necessary to go out and spend tons of money on a nice axe. Don’t spend less than $200. There are a lot of poorly made beginner models out there that could just end up leaving you frustrated.

    • For Rock, an entry level Epiphone (by Gibson) or Squier (by Fender) model guitar is a good idea to start with. If your budget can handle it, Fender and Gibson have famous names on the headstock. They make instruments the way they made them in the 50s, 60s and 70s.
    • For metal, some good brands are B.C. Rich, DBZ, Dean, ESP, Jackson, and Ibanez. If you’re old school, Gibson and Fender clones can also be used for metal.
    • Now, you may be asking: what’s the difference between a rock guitar and a metal guitar? The most important difference is in the pickups. Heavy metal guitars tend to have “active pickups”, while rock guitars usually have “passive pickups”. Go ahead and look up the difference.
    • Remember, just because a guitar has passive pickups doesn’t mean you cannot play metal with it. Vice versa, just because a guitar has active pickups doesn’t mean you can’t play rock with it.
  2. Buy an amp. Get something small (no more than about 30 watts, no less than 10) to practice with, and spend no more than 100 dollars on it. It should be a “combo amp”. You don’t need to pay much heed to this term, but if you’re curious, look it up elsewhere. Anyway, you can move to higher-end models later once you are more experienced. Line 6, Crate, Epiphone, Fender, all make decent entry level amps. Fender, Vox, and Marshall make higher-end tube amps, among other companies as well. Read on to find out what the difference between tube and solid-state amps is.

    • There are two types of amps: Solid-state and Tube. Solid-state amplifiers are much, MUCH cheaper, and are recommended for a beginner. However, some metalcore and metalcore guitarists prefer solid-state amps because they can sound very harsh (doesn’t always apply to cheap entry-level amps).
    • Tube amps (also known as “valve” amps, especially in the UK) are frequently used by professional rock musicians, and a large percentage of heavy metal players use tube as well. Unfortunately for the beginner, they much more expensive than solid-state amps. Tube-driven amps are widely considered to sound highly superior to solid-state amps. They are definitely not recommended for a beginner, as they do require maintenance and care must be taken when using them; they are quite fragile and can be costly to repair.
      • Special note: Some amps use a combination of Tube and Solid-State technology. They are often a good choice for the amateur guitarist who has moved beyond the beginner level. They sound far superior to entry-level Solid-State amps and are a lot cheaper than fully Tube amplifiers.
      • Another special note: “tube” does NOT refer to the shape of the amp.
  3. Buy some picks. Get lots and lots of these. You’re going to be losing them, I promise. No guitarist can avoid that, so have backups. Get some with a thin to medium thickness and some that are heavier. You will probably find you like one more than the other. Once you have found a preference, buy primarily that type of picks. Jim Dunlop makes great picks of all thickness.
  4. Buy strings. Guitars are nothing without good strings. Investing in these will produce awe-inspiring sound.

    • D’Addario and Ernie Ball strings are the most commonly used strings for both rock AND heavy metal. It’s mostly a matter of personal preference.
    • Keep in mind the string gauge when buying strings. String gauge refers to how thick the strings are. When people refer to string gauges, they usually use the gauge of the high E string (the 1st string). For example, if you buy strings that are .009 gauge, that means that the 1st string gauge is .009 inches (0.0 cm) thick. See for an accurate list of string gauges.
    • The thicker the string gauge, the more bass you can hear and powerful-sounding the strings will be, but it will be more difficult to do string bends. A string bend is when you bend the string so you can change the pitch of the note. The thinner the string gauge, the easier it will be to do string bends, but the strings will sound more like treble. Make sure you try many different kinds so you can figure out what suits you best.
  5. Learn to understand tablature, often shortened to “tab” or “tabs”. Tablature is a system that uses numbers to represent positions on the fretboard. Remember, the 1st string is the one closest to your feet when you play, and the 6th string is closest to your head.

    • The long lines represent the strings:
      • E (1st)———————————————
      • B (2nd)———————————————
      • G (3rd)———————————————
      • D (4th)———————————————
      • A (5th)———————————————
      • E (6th)———————————————
  6. Learn from examples. Here is a tablature staff telling you to play a note at the 3rd fret on the 6th string, then a note at the 6th fret on the same string, then a note on the 3rd fret of the 5th string, and finally two notes together – 2nd fret 4th string and the fifth string open (not fretting any note). Whenever notes are shown directly over or under other notes, all of them are played together as a chord.

    • E (1st)———————————————
    • B (2nd)———————————————
    • G (3rd)———————————————
    • D (4th)——-2————————————-
    • A (5th)—–3-0————————————-
    • E (6th)-3-6—————————————–
  7. Tune your Ax. If you don’t know how to tune the guitar, buy a tuner. Everybody uses them anyway, because tuning by ear is impossible for a beginner. If you cannot get a tuner, use a pitch pipe or some point of reference to:

    • Tune the fifth string to A.
    • Then match the sound of the 5th fret on the 6th string to the open A.
    • Match the D string to the 5th fret of the 5th string.
    • Match the G string to the 5th fret of the 4th string.
    • Match the B string to the 4th fret of the 3rd string.
    • Match the high E string to the 5th fret of the 2nd string.
  8. Learn about key. Key, is a big mystery to a lot of beginners. It’s going to remain one too – because we aren’t going into the swamp of music theory here. Next is this nifty chart which will tell you what fret (position) you can play your pentatonic scale at over any chord and stay in key. If this confuses you, remember that the scale starts on the 6th string, and the first note in the pattern is the root. Even if you skip the 6th string and start playing on the 4th, whatever fret you started on is your position. If you started anywhere on the 5th fret, you’re playing in the key of A, etc. Still confused? Have a look at this:

Rhythm chord or Key with “Safe Frets” (positions) to solo at

  • A – open, 5, 12
  • B flat – 1, 6, 13
  • B – 2, 7, 14
  • C – 3, 8, 15
  • C sharp – 4, 9, 16
  • D – 5, 10
  • E flat – 6, 11
  • E – open, 7, 12
  • F – 1, 8, 13
  • F sharp – 2, 9, 14
  • G – 3, 10, 15
  • G sharp – 4, 11, 16

This chart is based on something monstrous and foul called the “Circle of Fifths,” which you can feel free to ignore until you become more advanced. Learning about it now will only cause a headache and (in the state of California) tooth decay. There are also tons of other scales you can play and other positions you can use in each key, but this is a basic crash course and there is no use in making you want to toss the guitar out the window before you learn to play it. That sort of information is available elsewhere. With this one scale (the pentatonic), played in the positions indicated by the chart above over the rhythm chords, you can be tearing it up in not so much time. At least 75% of hard rock solos are based around this concept anyhow, including a lot of the mega-classics.


  • Make sure you keep good technique. You don’t want to develop bad habits, especially as a beginner. Habits developed now will be very difficult to break later on.
  • If you are a fairly experienced guitar player but are having difficulty with heavy metal, don’t worry. Keep at it, and you’ll get it. Though it may not appear it, metal guitar is one of the hardest types to get good at. Also, consider learning how to play classical guitar. While it sounds very different from heavy metal, a lot of the technique used for classical guitar can help you be a better metal player.
  • For understanding music theory, learning piano helps.
  • Sometimes, try to warm up on a bass guitar, it strengthens your fingers and makes playing on the guitar easier. This is not necessary however, and most guitarists don’t bother with this.

Choosing a Ballet Instructor and Dancing Studio For Learning Ballet Footwear and Pointe Footwear

This article provides you with 7 impressive techniques to choose the ballet instructor. If you’ve never experienced one, how can you know exactly what good Dancing School seem like? When are you going to, the grownup ballet newbie, or your own dancing child, need pointe footwear? Many aspiring ballet dancers undergo these ideas in seeking an excellent ballet course. Here tend to be some essential tips.

Tip #1 Why Have you been Attracted In order to Dancing Colleges?

What would you, or your son or daughter want through ballet? Might tap dance, karate, hip-hop or even jazz be considered a satisfying option, or is there to end up being ballet? Ballet is really a traditional, specialized form needing commitment as well as discipline. Sometimes it’s not fun!

Ballet footwear and pointe shoes could be challenging. But many adore this challenging and conventional Dancing School type.

What are you going to look with regard to if there are many studios you can examine out? The following advice about the fundamental requirements in order to good, secure, ballet training, will be useful to parents trying to find a great dance facilities.

A ballet regimen may be used for a weight loss program, a childcare electric outlet, health upkeep, or relief for any troubled teen. It requires a special adore, and may fulfill numerous requirements from the soul. Numerous ballet colleges, in gorgeous and well-known settings, or little and taken care of regions, work simply to provide a good outlet with this broad spectrum in our needs.

A few are specialists at training pre-pointe, most are not.

Tip#2 Areas And Looks

Professional Dancing School are usually in old buildings, that have large areas with undivided areas, and leapt wooden floors rather than floors arranged over cement. A teacher been trained in a expert school might choose this type of place on the newer facility inside a fashionable area with scaled-down rooms along with a concrete ground.

If the area is secure, don’t assess a facilities by its insufficient “chic”. A instructor who chooses a mature, low-rent area studio might be providing students with less dangerous flooring, much better musical complement, and the posh of scaled-down classes. If premises happen to be built specifically for Dancing School , the greatest amenities are most likely in location.

Tip#3 Songs

Today’s economy won’t allow just about all teachers to possess live violin accompaniment. Whilst definitely more suitable, it is going to be reflected within the fees a person pay. Recorded songs for classes don’t necessarily imply lower training standards.

Tip#4 Dimensions of Courses

For the start levels (we. e., younger kids) there shouldn’t be classes more than approximately 15 students with no teacher’s helper, or the actual students won’t get a lot individual interest.
Tip#5 Ballet Colleges Floors

Floors arranged directly more than concrete don’t have any give, thus making the possibility of Dancing School injuries from drops, or repetitive landings through jumps. This produces stress and deterioration on sensitive developing important joints and gentle tissues. Sprung floors would be the best, that is wood upon wood facilitates. There will also be dance flooring especially designed for ballet colleges.

Benefits of internet advertising over Television advertising

Advertising on the television was considered to be a major visual platform for the marketers. Off late the advent of internet and internet television has created more opportunities for the companies. The soaring competition levels among the companies have also created a necessity for finding newer platform for advertising.

Many countries including india on demand internet television and this growing demand opens door for more advertisement on this medium. This platform reaches more audience and can have direct impact too. Though it is not possible to completely stop the television advertising, internet ads must be looked for its benefits.

Covers larger span

The major advantage of advertising on the internet is that it can cover larger group of audience. When the companies broadcast their ad on the television it has to specifically choose the channels depending upon the product and the target audience. This restricts its viewing to only local audience. But in case of india on demand internet advertising will cover audience of different regions and nationalities.

Better information

Consumers are now relying on the internet more for added information. Thus the companies can have a direct touch with the final consumers through this medium. It can create awareness about the brand and also foster loyalty amongst the customers. The advertisement in the television tends to be very short and not all information can be given out within this short time. Internet comes to the rescue of the companies as you can insert complete details of the product and the brand without much cost.

Instant buying impulse

The online stores have flourished in past few years which create new consumers for the companies. To tap this potential, internet advertising is a great means. Most of the online advertising campaigns will have an in built buy feature and so foster instant buying decision. The consumers can get the products with just click of the mouse.

Easy updating

Huge cash outlay is required for shooting an ad on the television and lot of research needs to be done to broadcast it in a particular time slot such that they reach the intended audience. Updating the same is also very cumbersome. But, internet ads are free from such worries. It can be easily updated and can be broadcast without many expenses. Cost wise internet is much more viable yet offer greater returns in terms of loyal customers and newer customer too.

The Importance of Music for Small Businesses

If you’re running a business and are looking for ways to earn a bit of extra cash, you’re not stuck for choice. Small businesses, such as café’s, shops and bars, can market their business effectively for a very low cost by utilising the Internet. Email campaigns, social media and maintaining a website are now easy to do without very expensive help and if done well, they can help a business enhance its reputation and profits significantly.

Marketing, however, is usually the tool used to attract customers to your business in the first place. Securing repeat business is often key for shops and bars to keep turning over a healthy profit, and that’s where great customer service and referrals come into play. Making sure your product is of high quality is clearly a prerequisite; a bakery with bad bread is hardly going to put up much resistance to local competition.

Assuming your product is worthy of taking on the competition, providing helpful and friendly customer service is another essential business offering when it comes to bringing customers back to the door. Achieving this, they’re likely to spread to the word to the people they know who are likely to find your services valuable.

However, thinking outside of the box can often work wonders. One thing often not considered is purchasing the right backing tracksthat can help create a welcoming atmosphere.

No Awkward Silence

Independent shops and high street chains alike often have dry spells during their business hours. As much as it would be hard work, most companies would leave to have customers queueing out of the door constantly. But the reality is, during the more quiet periods, people can feel a little uncomfortable in a silent establishment with only staff members present. Of course, friendly customer service can ease the tension, but with quiet and suitable music playing in the background, people can feel at ease browsing at their own leisure.

Even in a busy shop, decent backing tracks allow people to feel a sense of privacy around swarms of strangers who are also taking an interest in your business.

Increasing the Likelihood of a Sale

Provide an awkward setting and it’s obvious people might feel more comfortable to leave your premises than consider making a purchase. Most people have been in a situation where they’ve visited a shop with a specific item in mind to notice an unforeseen bargain, only to feel a little intimidated to peruse with nothing but silence filling the room. Suitable music avoids these situations all together, and that upselling opportunity can be taken advantage of.

Repeat Business

Perhaps one of the best reasons to provide a relaxed atmosphere through background music is because it can leave customers feeling positive about the environment they’ve been provided with. If they remember a business as having an awkward setting, they’re unlikely to return, but they’d be glad to return to a site they feel easy and relaxed in.

What Type of Clothing Do the French Wear?

The French are known for their stunning taste in clothing and effortless elegance. Home of some of the world’s most successful design houses, it is no surprise that Paris is considered to be the fashion capitol of the world. If you feel your style needs more sophistication, try to emulate the French style of dressing. The key lies in understated clothing and accessories that are not overly glitzy.

What Type of Clothing Do the French Wear?

General Guidelines

  • Both French men and women wear sophisticated, elegant clothing. As a result, many American tourists often feel underdressed compared to the French natives. One of the cardinal rules of the French dress code is wearing understated, well-fitting clothes. It follows that the sweatpants and oversized T-shirt look popular in North America is seldom seen among the French, unless they are in the privacy of their own home. More specifically, the French prefer a tidy look that does not reveal.

Summer Apparel

  • While France does experience hot temperatures in the summer, most French men and women do not wear shorts. To keep cool, men often wear pants that end at the mid-calf length and are made of light fabrics. French women choose patterned skirts or capri pants that end at or below the knee for spring and summer. Both men and women pair these warm-weather bottoms with short-sleeved buttoned-down shirts or simple T-shirts.


  • Because of its simplicity and elegance, the little black dress is a fashion staple for the majority of French women. Of course, women wear these reserved dresses in many other colors, in addition to black. Sometimes featuring various patterns, dresses are worn both in the professional and casual setting. However, in an effort to avoid flashy, loud clothing the French often prefer dark colors and minimalistic patterns for dresses and other garments.


  • The French do wear sneakers, but in styles that differ from sneakers worn by many Americans. Unless they are exercising, French men and women do not wear traditional white sports sneakers. Instead, they opt for slim-fitting fashion sneakers made of materials, such as canvas. During the summer, leather sandals, as opposed to flip flops, are the preferred choice of summer footwear for both men and women in France.


  • The scarf is a favorite accessory for both French men and women. Elegantly tied, knitted or wool scarves are worn to protect the neck from the cold during the winter and fall. Women continue to wear scarves even during the warmer seasons. They drape light scarves made of fabrics, such as silk or cotton, across their shoulders or tie them in a knot around the neck.

How to Identify Indian Artifacts & Rocks

Indian artifacts and rocks used as tools or construction material are a fascinating archaeological find almost anyone can make. Because Native Americans covered most of the North American continent before Europeans settled, the artifacts of their passing are relatively abundant if you know where to look. Identification of these items is based on a few simple observations of the artifacts to determine if it is a find of Indian origin and what it might have been used for.

Indian artifacts and rocks are an archeological documentation of ancient people.


  1. Note the location of the area you are looking or have found an existing artifact. Settlements near rivers were common as travel by waterways was useful and water was a necessary resource. A search near a a river or old river bed may yield artifacts and rocks used by the inhabitants.
  2. Compare the shape of the artifact or rock to items known to be used by native people. Arrowheads are common artifacts, as well as sharpened rocks for skinning or cutting animals. Pottery or shards of pottery are obvious man-used materials, which can then be further examined for origin. If the shape of the item looks like it has been altered for human use, it may be an Indian artifact.
  3. Examine the material of the item to compare to known Indian tribes or commonly used materials from the area of the previous inhabitants. Items like animal skins or natural fibers don’t often withstand the elements or deterioration of time unless they have been protected. Rock, pottery or bone artifacts can often be found intact. Determine if the material is consistent with the native inhabitants and compare it to documented items used by tribes in that particular area for comparison.
  4. Take the item to a local expert for the native people in the area. A museum or archeology department at the local college may have displays or documentation and staff familiar with the area’s previous inhabitants and have the expertise to help identify your artifact or rock as being part of a native collection.l

How To Make Out With Pop Rocks

You may have done your share of experimenting with candy, such as exploding Peeps in the microwave or smoking Smarties. But making out with Pop Rocks–known as the Pop Kiss–requires more finesse. Those bubbling granules of candy can make for romantic spark, or a mouthful of glop, so technique is everything.

Gummy Bear Kiss


  1. Choose your poison. Your options are strawberry, watermelon, fruit punch, Xtreme Sour Apple, Xtreme Sour Berry and bubblegum. The extreme flavors pack a lot of punch, but the strawberry and bubblegum mix well.
  2. Restrain yourself. Young romantics want to pour the whole bag down their throats and go at it, but this gives your saliva the consistency of erupting lava. A few sprinkles should do the trick. The thicker Pop Rocks, rather than the dust that collects on the bottom of the packet, work better for making out.
  3. Remove lipstick or lip gloss. Make sure your hands and fingers are dry. You do not want anything moist getting between the Pop Rocks and your mouth before the making out begins. Moisture is what activates the sizzling action of Pop Rocks. Saliva melts the hard candy surface, popping the bubbles of carbon dioxide gas trapped within.
  4. Place the Pop Rocks with care. Setting a few rocks on the tips of the tongues is ideal. Another method is to dust a few Pop Rocks on the lips. When your partner’s tongue touches your lips, you can both feel the spark. If you place the Pop Rocks far back in the mouth, they explode too quickly and, for your partner, it feels like kissing sand.
    "Tongue" by Jyn Meyer
  5. Sip from your bottle of unflavored mineral water between sessions. The aftermath of a Pop Kiss can be slimy, and the mineral water is an ideal way to cleanse the palette. You also have the option of swigging a shot of mineral water while Pop Rocks are in your mouth, resulting in a higher-voltage experience.
  6. Branch out. After sampling the Pop Kiss, move on to other sweets. One alternative is the Candy Kiss, involving the exchange of Jolly Ranchers. Another is the Trade-Off Kiss, in which one partner has a hot cinnamon candy and the other a mint and they exchange candy via kissing.
    "Sugar Cube" by Mark Webb

5 Best Grunge Band All Time

Stone Temple Pilots

5. Stone Temple Pilots

Could grunge grow outside of Seattle? That was the question in 1992, when San Diego-based rockers Stone Temple Pilots arrived with their ‘Core’ album, leading the second wave of grunge. The brutal lead single ‘Sex Type Thing’ introduced the band and vocal style of Scott Weiland. But it was the second song ‘Plush,’ with its memorable rhythmic guitar lines that truly established the band. Though they would evolve into a more straight-ahead rock band over time, the ‘Core’ and ‘Purple’ records had songs firmly implanted in the grunge sound.


4. Soundgarden

After forming in Seattle in the ’80s, Soundgarden finally broke through with the 1991 single ‘Outshined,’ followed by the spirited follow-up ‘Rusty Cage.’ Blending in some of their punk roots, Soundgarden provided a frenetic interpretation early on before settling into a moodier, more trudging sound. Singer Chris Cornell shined on such hits as ‘Spoonman,’ ‘Black Hole Sun,’ ‘Fell on Black Days,’ and ‘Pretty Noose.’ There’s no doubt Soundgarden deserves their upper echelon ranking in the Top 10 Grunge Bands list.

Alice in Chains

3. Alice in Chains

Was there a more impactful partnership in the grunge scene than Alice in Chains guitarist/vocalist Jerry Cantrell and powerhouse frontman Layne Staley? The pair’s harmonies were unmatched, with Staley delivering the extra punch when things got really heavy. ‘Man in the Box’ put them on the musical map in 1991, and by the following year, they spawned the grunge masterpiece, ‘Dirt,’ which featured such classics as ‘Would?,’ ‘Rooster,’ ‘Them Bones’ and ‘Angry Chair.’

Pearl Jam

2. Pearl Jam

Formed after the demise of Mother Love Bone, Pearl Jam emerged from the ashes to soar with 1991’s ‘Ten’ album. The rhythmically heavy ‘Alive’ set the tone for the group, while the hard-hitting ‘Even Flow’ cemented their status as a band to be reckoned with. And by the time ‘Jeremy’ commanded MTV’s airwaves, everyone knew Pearl Jam. The ‘Vs.’ and ‘Vitalogy’ albums kept the grunge vibes going, and the band is still one of the most successful touring acts to this day.


1. Nirvana

It’s hard to argue against Nirvana as the No. 1 act of our 10 Best Grunge Bands list, as they essentially put the genre on the map with their 1991 classic, ‘Nevermind.’ But things didn’t stop with ‘Smells Like Teen Spirit,’ as ‘Come As You Are,’ ‘Lithium’ and their ‘In Utero’ favorites ‘Heart Shaped Box’ and ‘Rape Me’ are as good as they come in the grunge world. Sadly, we lost Kurt Cobain in 1994, but the fact that the band reached iconic status speaks to the quality of the music and their dominance in such a short timespan.

How to Become a Singer in Hollywood

Hollywood is the destination for singers who hope to achieve success in any possible genre. Although Nashville is known as the country music haven, some country singers–such as Beverley Mitchell and Carrie Underwood–started in Hollywood. The same is true for pop, rock, rap, and everything in between. From the Orange County native Gwen Stefani to Olivia Newton-John, who grew up in Australia and came to find musical success in Hollywood, there are hundreds of Hollywood success stories for singers. It takes doing more than the norm to get ahead, though.


  1. Make the move to Hollywood if you are not already a resident. Explore the city. Get established and know your way around. If you are pursuing musical theater, doing auditions in all areas of the city will be a part of your career foundation.
  2. Determine your type of voice. Most singers in Hollywood are well schooled on their vocal abilities. You need to know your vocal abilities before gathering music that will best display your own special sound. You are either a soprano, alto, tenor, or bass. Some people have extraordinary abilities and can cross ranges, but that is rare. A soprano is a high female voice and an alto is a low female voice. A tenor is a high male voice and a bass is a low male voice.
  3. Study music. Learn to read music if you don’t already. Take up an instrument, such as the keyboard or guitar, to make your singing performances even more entertaining. If you have a knack for songwriting, write your own songs. This adds to your authenticity. Learn and expand your talent all you can before showcasing it for others.
  4. Try out for “American Idol.” While this is a long shot, so is having a singing career at all. This show provides a forum for singers with little or no experience and no professional backing to get an audience of millions and perhaps become a star. Jennifer Hudson, Kelly Clarkson and Carrie Underwood made it to Hollywood singing stardom on “American Idol.”
  5. Go to open mic nights. This is a must for Hollywood singers. You never know who your audience will be. Kulak’s Woodshed offers an open mic night for singers. It’s located at 5230 1/2 Laurel Canyon Boulevard in North Hollywood. Call them at (818) 766-9913 to make sure you can perform on the night you want. Cafe Audrey offers open mic night every other Friday. Call them for a complete schedule at (323) 465-5359. There are many other places as well. See the Resources section.
  6. Record and market your music. While demos are important for landing a record deal, more artists are starting by producing albums independently. Recorded music can reach a wide audience. Market yours on a website such as CDBaby. It lets independent artists sell their music on the Internet at a better per-copy profit than standard record deals allow. The only drawback is that a record label will heavily promote you while self-promotion on a national level is difficult, if not almost impossible without huge funding.
  7. Establish pages on social networking websites like MySpace and Facebook. This is important for a Hollywood singer. Your location adds credibility to your page, showing that you are going the extra mile to get your voice heard. Add people you already know and ask for recommendations. If you spam people you’re likely to be reported and your site may be shut down. Both websites allow you to upload parts of your songs which can be a great way to get an audience anywhere in the world.
  8. Get a music manager. You want someone who can get behind you, establish your career and book dates across the country. When you’re starting out, the key is to get your sound heard. A manager can use his connections to get your sound out there. Most go through referrals. Consult an entertainment attorney; he can often get you in touch with a manager or others who can help boost your musical career.

First Nations Art Projects

First Nation peoples have diverse cultures, histories, languages and social circumstances. There is a wide selection of art projects possible, drawing from traditions ranging from Ojibwa floral bead work to Hopi water jugs. Each tribe uses specific materials, tools and processes based on its individual artistic tradition.
Learn about First Nation peoples with art projects.

Cultural Sensitivity

  • While it is good to appreciate and get inspiration from First Nation arts and crafts, it is important to respect the spiritual significance some native craft objects have. For instance, according to Native Languages of the Americas, it is offensive to make inaccurate copies of sacred objects such as kachina dolls or spirit masks. More appropriate choices would be dream catchers or beading projects, which do not have specific religious meanings.

Traditional Motifs

  • First Nation arts often feature motifs from nature or geometric patterns. You can use traditional motifs in new ways; it isn’t necessary to reproduce indigenous works exactly. For instance, you might use acrylic paint to render patterns from Ojibwa floral bead work on paper, canvas or art board. Another possibility is to make electronic art by using illustration software to draw traditional geometric patterns from Tlingit basketry or Hopi pottery.


  • First Nation art often uses natural materials such as bark, animal hides, clay, wood or feathers. Again, it is not necessary to exactly reproduce indigenous art. You can use modern materials to produce your First Nation art projects. You might use plastic containers to fashion Hopi-style headdresses as worn in the autumn Butterfly Dance or use paper to roll Lakota-style beads.

Projects for Children

  • First Nation art projects can be integrated into lessons involving the history of the indigenous peoples of North America. A unit on the Lewis and Clark Expedition could include students learning about the traditional arts of any of the many nations the expedition encountered on its way west. For instance, children could do a project like the Lakota winter count. The winter count was a pictorial representation of the tribe’s history drawn on animal hide or muslin.

Advantages & Disadvantages of Traditional Music

Traditional music, sometimes called folk music, is music that is related to the national culture, noncommercial and passed on from generation to generation. Traditional music is acoustic and employs instruments historically found in the culture. Traditional music varies from country and region and is often played at cultural ceremonies and events.
The bagpipes are a traditional Scottish instrument.

National Culture

  • Traditional music is a symbol for a nation’s culture. The lyrics in traditional music often deal with national historical events and issues that occurred at the time the song was written. The music can be used to identify a certain group of people and unite them. The music has strong emotional ties, as certain pieces are often played during national holidays or other events. Traditional music can help unite people from the music’s country of origin.

Lack of Copyrights

  • Due to the lack of copyrights on traditional music, the music can be sampled and used by modern artists and others without having to pay royalties. The artists who wrote the original music often never got credit for it and as a result did not receive recognition for their creations. In addition, the artist never received any money for writing the music.

Unique Instruments

  • An important part of traditional music is the use of traditional instruments. Many of these instruments are never used in other forms of music. The preservation of traditional music keeps the artisans who create these traditional instruments in business. The instruments are also a symbol of national culture, and as much as the music can represent a people, so too can the instruments.

Loss of Music

  • Traditional music was passed on through oral traditions, and many songs were never formally written down or recorded. As such, over time many of these songs have been lost to the ages, and future generations have been deprived of the music. Since many traditional songs have not been recorded, they can be difficult to find and exhibit.

How to Become a Vocal Coach

Vocal coaches teach people how to use their voice talents and perfect their voice into a beautiful musical tool. Voice teachers often work for themselves, but sometimes work for a studio. Their pay differs depending on experience and the city where they teach, but the job is a rewarding one for anyone who loves to sing and enjoys helping people reach their fullest potential.
Vocal coaches teach their students how to sing with their best voice.


  1. Gain experience early. To be successful at anything, it’s always good to start when you’re young. If you’re young now, get started by singing in your school or church choir to gain some basic knowledge on music and voice. Hire your own vocal coach to learn your voice instrument better and get to know what the job entails.
  2. Learn about music. While many people are born with talent, a lot of skill is learned. No one is born knowing how to play a guitar with precision, and the same applies to the voice and music. Voice teachers need to have intimate knowledge of music structure and how to play music, and they need to be proficient in playing the piano. The piano is often used to help guide students and show them proper key placement, so understanding how to play it is a must for vocal coaches.
  3. Go to a school or college that offers a voice program. This perfects your knowledge of the voice instrument and give you a deeper understanding of how it works and how to use it. Many schools that offer vocal instruction also offer instruction for those who plan to become teachers, so be sure to enroll in such a program. Some schools that will provide you with this valuable instruction include Berklee College of Music and Juilliard, but you may be surprised to find that many local schools in your area can also give you quality instruction with a less hefty price tag.
  4. Find a place to teach voice or to work out of. Align yourself with a school that teachers music and apply to be a voice teacher with them. Alternatively, you can work as a private teacher. Working privately is as simple as working out of your basement or spare room in your house.
  5. Set your prices. Some really good vocal coaches with years of experience sometimes charge $100 an hour and upwards. Beginners, however, should set their prices more reasonably if they wish to attract clients. $30 an hour is a reasonable place to start to attract customers. As your business grows more in demand, your prices can increase.
  6. Market yourself. Marketing is very important for any vocal coach to get their name out and attract customers. Align yourself with others in the music industry by frequenting recording studios and other teaching establishments, such as ones that teach guitar or college music schools. Pass out business cards at these places, or put up fliers that advertise your business to get your name and business out in front of musicians.
  7. Establish a good reputation.The best vocal teachers get their name out through word of mouth, so it is important to work hard to satisfy your customers. Only by taking the time and putting forth strong effort will you establish a reputation for your voice teaching abilities and maintain a growing and rewarding business.

How to Make Live Rock Grow Algae Quickly

Live rock gets its name from the marine growth that accumulates on the surface and inside the rock. Made of calcium carbonate of dead coral and calcareous microorganisms, live rock attracts coralline algae and other bacteria that help the overall quality of your aquarium. The coralline algae will prevent other algae from occurring in your tank. Boosting the calcium levels in your tank and adding Triton 40 watt bulbs to light your tank will increase the growth of algae on your live rock.

Certain types of algae, such as coralline algae are good for the quality of your saltwater aquarium.


  1. Raise the calcium levels in your tank. Use a product like Seachem Reef Builder or Reef Advantage (or equivalents) to raise the carbonate alkalinity in your tank. This just means it will raise the calcium and carbonates in the water without changing the PH balance of the water. Use a 1/2 tsp. of Seachem Reef Builder or Reef Advantage for every 40 gallons of water in your tank (or follow other manufacturer’s directions). Add this supplement twice a week.
  2. Replace the lights in your tank with Triton 40 watt bulbs or other bright fluorescent bulbs for aquariums that are designed for plant growth.
  3. Use a protein skimmer to reduce the amount if phosphates in your tank. Phosphate buildup occurs when organic compounds break down into nitrogenous waste, preventing healthy growth of coralline algae. Hang the protein skimmer on the side of the tank, making sure the filter is submerged in the water. Plug the power cord into an electrical outlet to turn on the protein skimmer.

Facts About Jazz Music

As a distinctively American form of music, jazz nevertheless owes a debt to several different cultures. Part of the music’s strength is its elasticity — jazz has multiple identities. It makes room for new ideas and for individual genius. The story of jazz in the United States is a story of inclusion and innovation.

A traditional jazz trio includes a bass, a saxophone and drums

The Origins of Jazz

  • Jazz began at the end of the 19th century with the advent of ragtime, a musical style made well known by piano player and composer Scott Joplin. Around this time people from different cultures were immigrating to American cities — especially New York — in search of fortune and a better life. With these immigrants came a variety of musical traditions that included Irish jigs, German waltzes and French quadrilles. Joplin and others combined these newly introduced European compositional styles with the rhythmic and melodic music of the black community and ragtime — the written precursor to improvised jazz — was born.

Early Jazz

  • Jazz emerged in New Orleans in the early 20th century as a meeting of blues music — often considered working class — with the more classically trained tradition of that city’s mixed race population. Blues singers, such as Bessie Smith, are also credited as early jazz innovators, as the line between blues and early jazz was still blurry. The sound traveled to New York and Chicago to usher in the era now often referred to as the Jazz Age.

Basic Principles

  • Jazz music is characterized by improvisation, syncopation — unexpected rhythms — and melodic freedom. Brass and woodwind instruments along with pianos are particularly associated with jazz, although guitar and occasionally violin are also used. Jazz vocals are distinctly recognizable and include what’s know as scat singing — a form of vocal improvisation that often includes nonsense syllables, sounds or wordless singing — and using the voice to mimic instrumentation.

Types of Jazz

  • Jazz encompasses a countless number of styles including Dixieland, which dates from the 1910s, the gypsy jazz of guitarist Django Reinhardt from the ’30s, big band swing from the ’30s and ’40s, bebop, also from the ’40s and Latin jazz fusions such as Afro-Cuban and Brazilian or Bossa Nova jazz from the ’50s and ’60s. The musical genre also has an abundance of contemporary sub-genres such as free jazz, acid jazz and soul jazz.

Jazz Greats

  • Jazz’s influence has reached around the world. British singer-songwriter Jamie Callum, in an article in the Guardian, lists the ten most influential jazz artists as composer and pianist Thelonius Monk, bass player and composer Charles Mingus, saxophone virtuoso John Coltrane, Miles Davis, pianist Keith Jarrett, singer Nat King Cole, pianist Mary Lou Williams, singer Kurt Elling, Herbie Hancock and Wynton Marsalis. But American critics would argue that pianist Art Tatum, drummer Art Blakey, trumpet player Dizzy Gillespie, drummer Max Roach, singer Billie Holiday, bandleader Count Basie, tenor saxophonist Coleman Hawkins and bandleader Benny Goodman — and too many other well-loved artists to name — also belong on that list.

How to Make Greek Musical Instruments

Teaching ancient Greek history can be exciting and fun when you incorporate educational crafts into the curriculum. Making Greek musical instruments can be a great way to teach children about how ancient Greeks made them. It’s also an innovative way to teach how sound can be created with common household items. All of the items can be found around the house or at a grocery store.

How to Make Greek Musical Instruments
That Ancient LyreUsing scissors, cut a hole slightly off-center on the top of an empty shoe box. Make the hole around 3 inches in diameter.

That Ancient LyrePush 12 brass fasteners into the shoe box, placing six on one end and six on the other end. Space the brads out evenly.

That Ancient LyreCut six rubber bands in half so they become six long rubber band strings. For each rubber band string, tie one end to a brad, then stretch it across the hole, tying the other end to the opposite brad.

That Ancient LyreCut open an empty toilet paper roll, and slip it underneath one side of the strings, lifting them up slightly. Your Greek lyre is now complete.

Playing the Pipes of PanLay seven plastic drinking straws on a table, making the ends line up evenly. Space them apart so they are 1/2 to 1 inch apart.

Playing the Pipes of PanPlace a strip of packing tape across the straws. Flip the straws over, and place another strip of packing tape across the other side, binding it to the first strip of tape.

Playing the Pipes of PanCut a piece of waxed paper so it is roughly a 12-inch square. Place the waxed paper across the opening of an empty oatmeal container. S

Playing the Pipes of PanHolding a pair of scissors at an angle, cut across the straws to create a straight, diagonal line. Students can now play their very own Greek pan pipes.

Marching to a Different DrumCut a piece of waxed paper into a 12-inch square.

Marching to a Different DrumPlace the waxed paper across the opening of an empty oatmeal container.

Marching to a Different DrumStretch a rubber band across the top of the waxed paper. Gently pull the waxed paper to make it taut. Your Greek drum is now complete.

Traditional Clothing in Jamaica

The Caribbean island nation of Jamaica is known for a vibrant blend of cultures that has been formed over hundreds of years by the people that have inhabited and visited this tropical locale. The beautiful setting coupled with the laid-back style and carefree spirit of this country make it a popular tourist destination. Many aspects of this rich culture are translated into the vibrant and colorful traditional clothing. Modern dress in Jamaica is a fusion of the traditional Jamaican style combined with modern styles from Western cultures.

Clothing in Jamaica reflects the bright colors of the scenery and the vibrant personalities of the islanders.


  • Traditional clothing for women in Jamaica consists of a dress or skirt and top which are constructed using calico fabrics. Calico is a lightweight fabric–similar in pattern to plaid–that is made locally in Jamaica, and commonly used in the local fashion. Much of the traditional clothing in Jamaica is made by hand by the local villagers. According to Maps of the World, women generally accompany their outfits with a headscarf which they wrap around their hair to keep their locks off their shoulders. Traditional Jamaican clothing for men consists of trousers, which can be long or short, and a short-sleeved shirt.


  • Bright infusions of color are an element that is present throughout traditional and modern Jamaican attire. The colors of the fabrics are vibrant and symbolic of the spirit of the Jamaican people and homage to the colorful and beautiful surroundings of this tropical paradise.


  • The climate has a significant effect on clothing trends in Jamaica because the weather is consistently warm and humid throughout most of the year. The central theme of traditional Jamaican clothing is that it is lightweight and breathable. The warm climate is the main reason that Jamaican clothing tends towards light and airy fabrics like cotton and linen. According to the Jamaica Guide, synthetic fabrics are generally avoided in traditional Jamaican garb. Because the mentality on this island is traditionally laid-back, comfort is the main goal of Jamaican clothing.


  • In spite of the heat, the traditional Jamaican clothing adheres to a strong sense of propriety that was instilled by the English influence from Jamaica’s time as a British colony. According to Jamaica Guide, most traditional styles worn by the conservative island people are modest and do not show much skin. The modern trend towards westernization is causing Jamaican fashion to stray from its conservative roots, but traditionalism remains an important aspect of the clothing.


  • In addition to British and Western influences mentioned, Rastafarian culture has become an influential style in Jamaica. This laid-back African inspired style incorporates colors such as red, green and gold (the colors of the Ethiopian flag) into its casual clothing styles. The items are crafted using natural fibers, much like the traditional Jamaican clothing, and are popular among locals and tourists. Possibly the most recognizable element of the Rastafarian style is the knitted hat known as a “tam” which is often worn over dreadlocks, a popular hairstyle in the region.

Characteristics of Blues Music

Blues is the music that launched a thousand garage bands. Providing musicians with a shorthand vocabulary, the form takes a standard collection of instruments and gives accessible form to both music and lyrics. Its simple and easily learned elements are a platform for collaboration and improvisation while serving as a gateway to rock and jazz music, connecting these to the field hollers from the cotton fields of the Deep South.

Hands playing a guitar.
Origins and HistoryAs a musical style steeped in folk tradition, precise origins of the blues are difficult to define. Musicologists generally attribute a relationship to the music of the central Sudanic region of Africa, which crossed the Atlantic with the slave trade. As portable recording technology emerged in the early 20th century, archivists began to capture blues players’ music. Commercially released race records fixed and simplified the forms and conventions and allowed the spread of blues north, beyond its roots in the Southern states.

Structure and FormHarmonically, blues songs use the I, IV, V chords in a given scale. For example, a song in the key of A would use A, D and E chords — the first, fourth and fifth notes of the A scale. The rhythm is structured into a 12-bar, 48-beat pattern that often repeats for the duration of the song. Melodically, flattened notes blur the feeling of major and minor scales, usually the third and fifth notes of the scale. These blue notes are common with bending and sliding on guitars during solos.

Instruments and CombosWhile blues rose from strictly vocal music in the cotton fields, acoustic guitars and banjos were the earliest instruments to accompany solo blues singers. As musicians moved north to follow factory jobs in urban centers, electric guitars came to the fore, defining both the Chicago and, later, British schools of blues. The harmonica, or blues harp, links back to the earliest days of the genre as a portable and easy-to-play instrument. As blues bands developed, standard rhythm instruments included a drum kit and bass, with electric bass emerging in the 1950s. Pianos and organs became more prominent in this period as well. Another common instrument for blues soloing is the saxophone.

Themes and VariationsBlues has always wandered from the I-IV-V, 12-bar structure, and many songs with “blues” in the title incorporate popular song forms rather than strict blues construction. The “feeling blue” idea of lyrical themes is not universal as some blues songs have up-tempo, dance elements.

How Is Radioactive Dating Used to Date Fossils?

How Is Radioactive Dating Used to Date Fossils?

Radioactive Decay

  • Many rocks and organisms contain radioactive isotopes, such as U-235 and C-14. These radioactive isotopes are unstable, decaying over time at a predictable rate. As the isotopes decay, they give off particles from their nucleus and become a different isotope. The parent isotope is the original unstable isotope, and daughter isotopes are the stable product of the decay. Half-life is the amount of time it takes for half of the parent isotopes to decay. The decay occurs on a logarithmic scale. For example, the half-life of C-14 is 5,730 years. In the first 5,730 years, the organism will lose half of its C-14 isotopes. In another 5,730 years, the organism will lose another half of the remaining C-14 isotopes. This process continues over time, with the organism losing half of the remaining C-14 isotopes each 5,730 years.

Radioactive Dating of Fossils

  • Fossils are collected along with rocks that occur from the same strata. These samples are carefully cataloged and analyzed with a mass spectrometer. The mass spectrometer is able to give information about the type and amount of isotopes found in the rock. Scientists find the ratio of parent isotope to daughter isotope. By comparing this ratio to the half-life logarithmic scale of the parent isotope, they are able to find the age of the rock or fossil in question.

Isotopes Used for Dating

  • There are several common radioactive isotopes that are used for dating rocks, artifacts and fossils. The most common is U-235. U-235 is found in many igneous rocks, soil and sediment. U-235 decays to Pb-207 with a half-life of 704 million years. Due to its long half-life, U-235 is the best isotope for radioactive dating, particularly of older fossils and rocks.

    C-14 is another radioactive isotope that decays to C-12. This isotope is found in all living organisms. Once an organism dies, the C-14 begins to decay. The half-life of C-14, however, is only 5,730 years. Because of its short half-life, the number of C-14 isotopes in a sample is negligible after about 50,000 years, making it impossible to use for dating older samples. C-14 is used often in dating artifacts from humans.

How to Become an R&B Singer

R&B is a popular musical genre that attracts many listeners, as well as aspiring artists. While the desire to become an R&B singer is shared by fans across the globe, few ever take the steps necessary to turn their dreams into reality. R&B singers must possess talent and drive beyond the obvious attributes of vocal quality and ability. Taking the time to develop your total package could make you into the R&B singer you always knew you could be.


  1. Assess your singing skills and career goals. Is your desire to sell millions of records while performing to sold-out crowds as an R&B solo artist, or to perform with your own R&B group in the local club scene? R& B music features a wide range of performance opportunities that can easily align with corresponding skill levels and desires. Be honest with yourself as you determine your singing attributes and weaknesses to help define your specific course of action. Although being a stellar shower singer is commendable, it will not guarantee a successful R&B singing career.
  2. Use R&B greats as inspirational guides. Focus your attention to the music and careers of icons like Aretha Franklin and Tina Turner to help build your artistic concentration and knowledge. Listen to R&B music from yesterday and today to help broaden your vocal creativity. There is much to learn from singers who’ve blessed the microphone in the past, as well as those from the present. Artists like Beyonce and Usher are examples of younger R&B singers who are worthy to be studied as you start your own singing career. Embrace the struggles and triumphs of successful R&B singers to help fuel your own singing passion.
  3. Find your inner diva. While it is great to model aspects of your sound or career after great singers, it is imperative that you find and cultivate your own unique style. There is a huge difference between being an R&B singer and being and R&B impersonator. Sing songs in the style that best suits your vocal range and singing abilities. Songs don’t require Christina Aguilera-like vocal runs or Mariah Carey-like high notes to be sung in a beautiful way. You must let your own voice shine through even when singing songs that are made popular by other singers.
  4. Hone your singing skills. While practice may not make you perfect, it will make your singing better. Raw talent and enthusiasm will only get you so far when attempting to become an R&B singer. Consider hiring a vocal coach to help you sharpen your abilities and lessen your weaknesses. Sing with others to ensure that you’re able to blend and harmonize with ease. Quality practice sessions can make the difference between becoming an R&B singer and watching one from your seat in the stands.
  5. Get constructive criticism. Your family and close friends love you and may have biased opinions when it comes to judging your singing. You may also brush off your own mistakes as being “good enough” or “not that important.” Ask other singers and singing experts to critique your scheduled and impromptu performances. Listen to the opinions of causal listeners to gauge your overall popularity and possible fan base. Although everyone may not be blown away by your singing, it is important to have realistic feedback from experienced individuals.
  6. Perform and audition as much as you possibly can. While church bake sales and family reunions may not be your most desired performance venues, they do provide you with practical experience, as well as a chance to shine for an audience. Even the best R&B singers have paid there dues singing in smoke-filled lounges or opening for more established artists. The more people who hear you sing, the better chance you have of making an impact with your voice. Keep track of upcoming show openings and audition for those that strike a chord with your personal tastes and abilities.
  7. Make a professional demo. This is necessary to move on to the professional ranks and will take considerable preparation and effort. Choose songs that showcase your vocal ability as well as your personality. Many demos don’t get played for more than a few second, so make sure you present the best picture of what you‘re able to offer. Submit your demo to reputable recording agencies and personnel to gain possible entry into the career of your dreams.

How to Write a Country Report

With about 190 countries in the world today, researching a country — perhaps one you have never heard of — can introduce you to different cultures and political ideas, broadening your understanding of the world. To write a report on one of these countries, you’ll research several topics, examining its geography, history, and present-day culture and economics.

A young student is looking at a globe.
Describing the LandWhen you begin to research a country, you will need to find some basic facts about the nation, including its capital city, population and continent. You might begin by looking at the physical geography of the country — its mountains and rivers — or whether it is near an ocean or is mostly a desert. You can also include a description of the climate. For example, if you wrote your report on Tanzania, you could mention the capital city, Dodoma, and its largest city, Dar es Salaam. You could also note that the country is home to Mount Kilimanjaro, which is the highest mountain on the African continent. Your report could include a map of the country to give a clear picture of its geography.

The capitol building.
Researching the CultureLearning about a country’s culture and customs allows you to describe what daily life is like for the country’s people. You could describe the most popular or traditional foods eaten in the country; in a report on Tanzania, you could mention pilau, a dish made of spiced rice, potato and meat. Research and write about common types of music and customary clothing. Include holidays and other traditional celebrations, such as the Tanzanian Uhuru Torch Race, which celebrates hope, love, respect and peace.

A young teacher is helping her students conduct research.
Investigating the HistoryYou can include a summary of the founding of the country, and name any famous past rulers in your report. For example, you could write about how Tanzania has existed in some form since the eighth century and became Tanzania as a combination of Tanganyika and Zanzibar in 1964. You could also talk about how Tanzania’s founding president, Julius Nyerere, was an early supporter of African socialism. Write about any wars the country was involved in. Describe or include a drawing of the country’s flag.

Three young students are typing.
Understanding the EconomyYour report should include a description of any major exports — the products the country creates and sells around the world. Describe the major crops grown and any animals that are raised in the country. For example, a report on Tanzania could include the fact that 75 percent of the population is employed in agriculture, which produces coffee, cotton, cashew nuts, cloves and tea. Determine whether the country has any natural resources, such as minerals, that it exports to other nations. You can also include a report on the major products the country buys from other countries.

Young students and their teachers looking at globes.

The Requirements to Become a Singer

Many people can “sing” a song. In order to be considered a “real” singer, you need to go above and beyond hitting the right notes to a point where the vocal performance is strong and full of emotion. Whether or not you’re looking to be a professional or amateur, there are certain requirements that music fans and industry insiders look for in a singer.

A convincing performance is just one requirement to becoming a singer.


  • Without a doubt, nothing else matters for a singer with a bad voice unless she has millions of dollars in marketing money and an incredible auto-tune program. A strong voice is essential to becoming a singer. Singers need to be able to project without shouting, as this not only sounds bad but damages the voice. Singers need to possess a wide range as to accommodate different pitches that come in different parts of songs. Singers need to know from where and how to sing, such as from the diaphragm and not the throat. Singers need to be able to control their breaths within pauses in phrases, as not to disrupt the flow of a song or have their voice trail off at the end of a phrase.


  • An effective performance requires extra effort. Singers need to be able to use their dynamic voice to display the array of emotions different songs ask for. Great singers can bounce back and forth from sad ballads to upbeat dance songs. Part of the reason why people call Aretha Franklin the “Queen of Soul” is that she puts so much emotion into her performance; just listen to “Respect.” This is important in a recording situation, but especially important when singing on a stage. A singer needs to be able to entertain the audience. Even the greatest singer in the world could put on a bad performance if no emotion or personality comes through in the vocals. Audiences crave authenticity and can spot a fake a mile away.


  • World-famous singers continue to take lessons and train their voice throughout their lifetime, in order to better themselves and keep their voices intact and at their best. Prospective singers should devote themselves to their craft just as tenaciously if they expect to get better or potentially make a career out of it. Singers should take private voice lessons and participate in choirs and other singing situations. If possible, singers should seek degrees in vocal performance and familiarize themselves with music theory, in order to learn the ins and outs of melody and harmony. As singing professionally is a hard field to break into, singers need to have perseverance and be willing to handle criticism and rejection. Singers should possess good networking skills and make friends in the music industry to score opportunities.

Differences Between Ragtime Music & Jazz Music

Trying to pin down the key differences between ragtime and jazz music can be a confusing process. The two genres are very similar, and many scholars trace the roots of jazz back to ragtime music. A few key differences do exist between these two genres, however, and these were outlined by Ortiz Walton in 1972 as part of his text, “Music: Black, White and Blue.”

Jazz music is usually played by ensembles.

Solo vs. Ensemble

  • Traditionally, ragtime music is played by a single piano. Although many ragtime players do use other instruments, most notably the banjo or the guitar, the music is generally thought of as being played by the piano. Jazz, on the other hand, is almost always played by a group of musicians on instruments like the piano, trumpet and trombone. It’s possible to find pieces that stray from this instrumentation, but they generally hold true as a difference between the two genres.

Replication vs. Improvisation

  • Jazz depends heavily on improvisation. The only fixed version of many jazz songs is the particular version that has been recorded. Finding transcriptions of jazz records can be difficult, and many musicians have to learn new songs by listening to other musicians perform them. With the improvisational spirit prevalent in jazz, learning each individual note played by the original performer isn’t that important. Ragtime music, on the other hand, is often written down, and the songs are more musically structured than jazz.

Homophony vs. Polyphony

  • Jazz music is heavily textured musically. The multiple instruments often play their own section and this provides an overall richness and depth to the sound. This is one way in which jazz can be similar to ragtime, because both use syncopation, but ragtime music is strictly homophonic. This means there is one musical voice, while polyphonic means there are multiple. Syncopation, a common factor in ragtime and jazz, means that the music changes so that the previously weaker beat is accentuated.

Saloons vs. Weddings

  • The setting in which ragtime and jazz are played is the final key difference between the two genres. Ragtime music is more dance-oriented and was generally used as background music in locations such as saloons or homes. Jazz music wasn’t limited to such informal scenarios, and was often played at functions such as weddings, balls, funerals and parades.

5 Things to Know About Grammy-Winning Rock Band Imagine Dragons

IMAGINE DRAGONS alternative electronic rock Indie (12) wallpaper background

1. They’ve come a long way. The band’s four members, Ben McKee (bassist), Wayne Sermon (guitarist), Dan Reynolds (vocalist) and Dan Platzman (drummer) originally played four nights a week at O’Shea’s on the Las Vegas Strip.  With the release of their platinum-selling debut album, Night Visions, in September 2012 though, that all changed. The rock group edged into the spotlight, hitting the number two spot on the Billboard 200 charts…and they haven’t let anything slow them down since. According to Diffuser, Platzman once passed out into the drums during a long set in Vegas, for example, but came to and finished the song.

2. They’re humble. In spite of their success, the band mates, who’ve only been together for five years, didn’t think they were going to walk away with a Grammy Sunday (they were nominated for two).

“Let me just say we are definitely not going into this thinking we’re going to win a Grammy,” Reynolds told Rolling Stone. “We’re up for Record of the Year, and ‘Radioactive’ was a big song. But songs like ‘Blurred Lines’ were huge. If I were a voter, I’d be like, ‘Robin Thicke was at the VMAs with his pin-striped suit, and Lorde is cute — and who are Imagine Dragons? I have no idea what those dudes even look like!’ When that’s the take, you know you’re not going to win that award.”

Imagine Dragons, Grammys
3. They draw a lot of inspiration from hip hop music. “We’re all fans of Kendrick,” Reynolds told Rolling Stone. “We’ve been playing his record on the tour bus. We’re more influenced by hip-hop than most rock bands. I was into 2Pac and Biggie, and to me, Kendrick reminds me of that era. He feels authentic.”

4. Two of Imagine Dragons’ members–Reynolds and Sermon—are Mormon. But, Sermon said their religion has never been an issue for the band. “For a lot of people, it might have been more difficult, but for us, it has been easy to do both,” he told the Dallas Observer. “Everyone in the band is open-minded. For us, it hasn’t been an issue. I think you surround yourself with the things you want to be surrounded with. For us, it’s always about the music. That’s always been primary for us. Some things have been challenging, but I think, for the most part, things have been basically easy.”

5. More big things are lining up. Imagine Dragons is gearing up for their February 1st debut on Saturday Night Live with host Melissa McCarthy, and they’re also working on their next album, which Reynolds said will have a different sound thant Night Visions. “I have about 50 demos kicking around,” he told Rolling Stone. “I think the next record’s going to be much different. I want to strip it back quite a bit. We embraced a lot of hip-hop influences with Night Visions, but I think the next record will be more rock-driven. It’s too early to say, but there is some weird stuff going on in these songs.”

The Difference Between Blues and Jazz

The focus on most discussions of blues and jazz has to do with the similarities — the common points of origin and the way both genres of music spread up the banks of the Mississippi, both culturally and geographically. The differences between them are both obvious and subtle, with tremendous crossover.

A group of jazz musicians playing in street.
The Delta OriginsThe most pronounced difference between blues and jazz is rural versus urban. Although it is difficult to provide precise origins, the spirituals, field hollers and juke joint songs integral to sharecropper culture served as the foundation of the blues, which simplified rhythm, structure and harmony into the musical shorthand of the 12-bar blues form before the end of the 19th century. Jazz, on the other hand, wasn’t coined as a term describing music until 1913 in Chicago, although the jazz tradition centered around New Orleans during the same time period.

Contrasting Musical CharacteristicsJazz with its urban origins incorporated elements of European music in both orchestration and theme. Proto-jazz styles of ragtime and Dixieland strayed from both the 12-bar structure and call-and-response lyrics of the blues, giving a more complex and sophisticated cachet to the music. Blues remained a music of the people, with its simple form allowing players of modest ability to participate. Many of the early instruments of blues music were homemade and improvised, while jazz used conventional band instruments.

Instruments and BandsJazz bands are larger and soloists more integrated, while blues bands more often feature an artist supported by a rhythm section — although quartets and big bands exist in both styles. While many instruments are common to both styles, the approach of the players may vary tremendously. For example, jazz drums incorporate sophisticated syncopated rhythms while blues drumming tends toward building a straightforward groove with the bass. Perhaps revealing the rural/urban split, blues favors simple, inexpensive instruments such as the harmonica, while jazz commonly incorporates brass and woodwind instruments such as the trumpet and saxophone.

Melody and ImprovisationBlues melodies and solos generally are built around five-note, pentatonic scales, with bent or slurred blue notes used to invoke emotion. While these are quoted in jazz playing, the pentatonic scale serves only as a starting point for improvisation, free of the restrictive nature of blues form. Traditional Dixieland bands were comprised mostly of single-note instruments such as the trombone and clarinet, leading to the distinctive jazz notion of simultaneous improvisation. Blues bands were built on rhythm sections of drums and bass, with single-note instruments usually improvising alone.

Singing the MessageWhile both jazz and blues may incorporate singers, blues preserves more of its origins as music of the cotton fields. The stories of hardship and joy in blues songs are integral to the compositions, with the singer bringing emotion and life experience. Jazz vocal styles often highlight the virtuosity of the singer through improvised scat singing, focusing on musicianship more than message.

How to Get Rock Candy Out of Your Pans

Homemade rock candy can be a fun project with delicious results, but sometimes the candy can stick to your pots and pans. This can be caused by cooking the candy to the wrong temperature, or letting it sit for too long before pouring it out for cooling. As the candy cools and hardens, it may seem like it will ruin the pan. Fortunately, rock candy is made of simple ingredients and is easy to remove from a pan.

Rock candy is a treat made of sugar, corn syrup, colorings and flavorings.


  1. Fill your rock candy coated-pan with hot water bring it to a boil.
  2. Stir the water regularly, but don’t try to scrape out the candy. Let the water boil for 5 to 10 minutes before turning off the heat and carefully dumping out the water. Let the pan cool for 5 to 10 minutes before proceeding.
  3. Repeat Steps 1 and 2 until all of the rock candy has dissolved and been removed from the pan. As the water gets hotter, more sugar will dissolve into the water. Repeat the boiling process until all of the sugar has been dissolved and dumped out.

How to Become a Lounge Singer

You want to be a lounge singer and belt out pop tunes in nightclubs. Many opportunities exist for lounge singers, but to land them you must distinguish yourself from the stiff competition. Here’s how it’s done.


  1. Take vocal lessons. No matter how good your voice is, it can always be better. It’s going to be one in a million to get anywhere without vocal lessons.
  2. keep taking vocal lessons. That’s right, stick with the voice instruction. Ask your instructor what level you’re at, and take his/her advice seriously. When your voice teacher tells you you’ve got a competent voice, then you know you’re ready to try for the big-time.
  3. Adopt a persona/stage name/fashion etc. Some lounge singers, like Andy Kauffman’s alter ego Tony Clifton, trade more on drama and grit than actual singing. It is possible to make waves in the entertainment world with “performance art”, but you’ll have to decide what you really want: to be an actual singer, or a vaudevillian entertainer.
  4. Find connections. Locate venues where you can be heard. You can’t be a lounge singer if you can’t envision a few lounges that would be right for you. Also, it helps to have friends in the industry, but either way, you’ll have to start humbly. If larger venues won’t listen to you, book smaller until you find the right fit.
  5. Get a gig. Don’t wait for the perfect job to fall out of the sky. Being a lounge singer can be a job like any other, requiring toil and dedication. In the end, like most entertaining jobs, the result will be established by a complex combination of skill, energy, commitment, and Lady Luck.

How to Build a Rock Screen

A crucial part of tilling dirt and preparing it for future use is in the removal of weeds, rocks and other unwanted sediment. Soil that has been cleared of this material provides a richer base, which can be treated with compost, peat moss and fresh, store-bought soil for use in sowing fruits and vegetables or to grow a beautiful lawn. A properly made rock screen helps remove these articles and acts as your first step toward turning over your acreage in preparation of a coming growing season.

Rock screens are an integral part in the preparation of tilling an sowing in your garden.


  1. Establish a safe area to cut the 2-by-4, plywood and furring strip. Utilize the work horses to provide a stable fulcrum for your cutting purposes. Wear safety goggles to avoid sawdust residue getting into your eyes.
  2. Cut the 2-by-4 into two lengths of 36 inches and two lengths of 21 inches using circular saw and set aside.
  3. Cut the plywood into four 5-by-5-by-7-inch triangles using the circular saw and set aside.
  4. Cut the furring strip into two lengths of 22 inches and two lengths of 6 inches each and set aside.
  5. Paint the wood with wood treatment or stain and allow at least 24 hours to dry.
  6. Cut a 24-by-36-inch piece of the hardware cloth using tin snips. Trim any edges so that perimeter of the cloth remains enclosed.
  7. Lay the hardware cloth on a flat surface and place a cinder block at each end to help keep it flat.

Building a 24-inch-by-36-inch Rock Screen

  1. Select a 36-inch 2-by-4 and a 21-inch 2-by-4 and place the narrow side edge of the 21-inch piece flush against the wide face of the 36-inch piece. The two pieces together should form the letter “L.” Place the carpenter’s square on the inside of the “L” to ensure a 90-degree angle.
  2. Drill a screw from the outside of the 36-inch length into the end of the 21-inch length that is flush. Place the screw in the center of the longer 2-by-4 at the point above where it meets the shorter piece at the inside angle. Ideally, you should drill into the center of the of the connecting 2-by-4. Recheck the angle with the carpenter’s square, maintaining it at 90 degrees.
  3. Drill two screws on either side of the first screw equally apart to completely fasten the two pieces together.
  4. Place the other 21-inch piece against the other end of the same 36-inch 2-by-4, forming the letter “C.” Repeat steps 2 and 3.
  5. Screw the final 36-inch 2-by-4 to each 21-inch piece, forming a 24-by-36-inch rectangle, using three screws for each end (as in steps 2 and 3) for fastening.
  6. Stretch the hardware cloth across the newly built rectangle. Concentrating on one corner, arrange the cloth so that its corner is flush to the corner edge of the rectangle.
  7. Place one of the plywood triangles on top of the rectangle corner so it covers the cloth between the rectangle and itself. Drill one screw into each corner of the plywood triangle into the rectangle. Repeat this step for each remaining corner.
  8. Center a 22-inch piece of furring strip on one of the 36-inch sides of the rectangle between the triangles on each corner. Drill three screws equally apart on the furring strip to fasten it and the hardware cloth to the rectangle. Repeat this step on the opposite side of the rectangle with the other 22-inch piece of furring.
  9. Center a 6-inch piece of furring on one of the 21-inch sides of the rectangle between the triangles on each corner. Drill a screw on each end of the furring strip 1-1/2 inches from each edge to fasten it and the hardware cloth to the rectangle. Repeat this step on the opposite side of the rectangle with the final piece of 6-inch furring.
  10. Stand up the newly formed rock screen to ensure it is sturdy.

How to Be a Personal Assistant to a Rock Musician

Working as a personal assistant to a rock musician can be a fun, exciting and glamorous career. It’s also hard work. You don’t punch in at 8 in the morning and punch out at 5 in the afternoon like many jobs. Instead, you will be expected to work long hours and will likely be on call around the clock.

Personal assisting is a 24/7 gig.

The Nature of the Job

  • A job as an assistant to a rock star is essentially a job as a celebrity personal assistant. As an assistant you are responsible for taking care of all the details of your boss’ professional life so he can focus most of his energy on what he does best — making rock music. Your duties as a personal assistant might include keeping your boss on schedule, arranging childcare for his kids, looking after his pets and ordering meals. Anything that makes your boss’s life run smoothly may be in your job description.

Requirements for the Job

  • Personal assistants to rock musicians are required to be discreet. You’ll likely be asked to sign a nondisclosure form that means you are bound to secrecy about his personal life. Sharing stories about your employer with unauthorized people could not only lead to termination, it might also land you in legal trouble. Assistants are also required to be flexible, resourceful, highly organized and strong communicators. According to the Association of Celebrity Personal Assistants, the best preparation for the job is to gain experience as an administrative assistant and work your way up to the executive level. Working for a CEO can give you a preview into what working for a celebrity might be like. The association also recommends that you watch “The Devil Wears Prada” to get an idea of the pressures you may have to endure as a celebrity personal assistant.

How to Find the Jobs

  • Working in public relations, or for talent and casting agencies, are good ways to hear about job openings for personal assistants to rock stars and other celebrities. If you meet the basic qualifications to work as a personal assistant, register with an employment agency that specializes in celebrity personal assistant jobs. Because of the need to maintain privacy, the job listings may be somewhat vague. For example, a prospective employer may be listed as a “Grammy-winning rock star” whose identity you will not learn unless you are selected for an interview.

Salary and Perks

  • According to an October 2014 article on the “The Hollywood Reporter” website, celebrity personal assistants average around $80,000 per year. However, salaries vary widely, and because most sign celebrity assistants sign nondisclosure agreements, the data are underreported. For some assistants, the benefits of the job are what really make the work rewarding. According to a 2007 article on the ABC News website, some assistants report receiving year-end bonuses equal to their salary as well as high-dollar gifts such as new cars. The opportunity to travel the world and have a front-row seat to the celebrity lifestyle are attractive perks as well.

Five Ways to Build a Musical Instrument for School

A school project that requires your child to make an instrument from scratch can be lots of fun and educational on different levels. It teaches the basic principles of sound waves and lets kids explore the many ways that instruments create and manipulate sounds. These hands-on projects require some dexterity and artistic skills, but what entices kids most is the end result — the chance to conjure up a wonderful cacophony, all in the name of homework.

Five Ways to Build a Musical Instrument for School

How to Compare Blues & Country Music

According to Etta James in an interview with American Chronicle: “The Blues and country are first cousins … What I look for in a song is for the story to be for real. I like a blood and guts kind of thing. That’s what you find in the lyrics of country music.” Blues and country music both developed in the 19th century in the Southern United States. They share a similar history. For this reason, they share many of the same musical and lyrical characteristics.

How to Compare Blues & Country Music


  1. Learn the history behind blues and country music. They are both forms of American folk music influenced by earlier styles brought overseas. Blues music grew out of field hollers and chants sung by African slaves. Irish and Scottish balladeers borrowed the guitar and banjo of blues and thus created “country”. According to Reebee Garofalo in “Rockin’ Out: Popular Music in the USA”, “Terms like country and blues are only used to separate the same kind of music made by blacks and whites … designations like race and hillbilly intentionally separated artists along racial lines and conveyed the impression that their music came from mutually exclusive sources.” Country is an offshoot of blues. They are essentially the same thing. In the PBS special, “Rhythm, Country and Blues,” country is referred to as “white man’s blues.”
  2. Listen to the instrumentation in country and blues songs. They share many of the same instruments. These include guitar, bass, piano and drums, among others. Traditional country music differed from blues in that it utilized instruments such as the pedal steel guitar and fiddle. Modern country doesn’t necessarily include these instruments, sounding closer to rock music, an offshoot of blues.
  3. Listen to the similarities in lyrical content in blues and country music. Both genres tend to express raw emotion like heartache and frustration. Freed slaves and immigrants both had to deal with economic and civil hardship, and channeled their strife into song for solace. Listen to Muddy Waters’ “Trouble in Mind” and Hank Williams’ “Cold Cold Heart.” Both songs express pain over a lover. Waters sings “I’m going down to the river/Oh you know I’m gonna sit right down right down there, on the ground/ You know if I get to thinkin’ about my baby, I wanna jump overboard and drown.” Williams expresses similar heartache and frustration over his object of affection, singing “The more I learn to care for you, the more we drift apart/Why can’t I free your doubtful mind and melt your cold cold heart.” Listen to current blues and country music. They continue to express the emotions felt by real people.

Facts About the Rainmaker Music Instrument

Rainmakers, or rainsticks, are traditional musical instruments originally made and used in South America. Rainmakers simulate the sound of rainfall, and were originally used in native ceremonies during dry months to ask the gods for rain. In modern times, the instruments are a common novelty musical instrument used in the United States and throughout Mexico and Central and South America. Rainmakers, or rainsticks, are also a quick and easy craft project and a way to teach children about rhythm, percussion, and native cultures.

Rainmakers are musical instruments used to simulate the sound of rain


  • Rainmakers are generally made of a hallowed tube or wooden stick, which is then filled with small rocks, thorns, beans or pins. The ends are then sealed to contain the pieces inside. The rainmaker may have been traditionally made of a hallow, dried out cactus. Many modern native variations of this instrument are still made of this material. Homemade rainmakers can be made with household items, such as a paper towel tube and toothpicks.

Playing the Rainstick

  • Traditionally, the rainmaker is played by turning the tube so that the items inside fall up and down to either end. This falling motion simulates the sound of rain, as the items bounce off the sides of the tube interior. A rainmaker is turned repeatedly up and down to the rhythm of a song. Additionally, the rainmaker can be shaken or tapped to the beat to create a more percussive sound.

History of the Rainmaker

  • There are many theories about the origins of the rainmaker. The rainmaker may have evolved from wooden rattles filled with dried beans that have been found in archaeological digs in Peru. These rattles date back to the Incas. Similarly, the origin of the rainmaker has been linked to rattles used by the Huicho of Mexico and the Diaguita Indians of Chile. Both groups are alleged to have used the instrument to bring rain to the arid desert regions of their countries.

Contemporary Rainmakers

  • Contemporary rainmakers may not be used to bring rain, but are still used in a variety of different types of music as a percussion instrument. The use of rainmakers as a percussion instrument was popularized in 1960s Mexican music. Rainmakers made of reeds and painted with traditional imagery are a common souvenir items for visitors to South America and Mexico. Due to the ease with which rainmakers are crafted, they are also popular kids’ craft projects, which are then used to teach children about percussion and rhythm.

How to Audition as a Backup Singer

Pop artist Sheryl Crow began her career as a backup singer for Michael Jackson. Latino singing artist John Secada sang backup for Gloria Estefan. When music directors hold auditions for backup singing talent they are searching for artists who can blend their voices with other backup singers, provide supporting vocals to the lead singer and not get distracted by other singers’ parts or the melody. Becoming a backup singer requires talent and the persistence to keep going on auditions. Success can bring you exposure or, better yet, your big break in the industry.
Know the lyrics flawlessly before going to an audition.


  1. To prepare for auditions, study vocal technique with a music teacher and polish your vocal skills. Take music theory courses to brush up on reading sheet music. Practice singing everyday to keep your voice strong.
  2. Search trade publications for notices of upcoming auditions for backup singers. Subscribe to “Back Stage,” a weekly entertainment magazine for people in the music business, as well as other industry magazines. Apply for auditions.
  3. Familiarize yourself with the artist you may be working with once you are called for an audition. Listen to the artist’s most recent music online. Study the songs on his upcoming or current album.
  4. Pay attention to what will be asked of you at your audition: the length of the song, the type of song you will sing and anything else the director mentions. Prepare a variety of material that suits your voice. Limit your song to 2 to 3 minutes if the director does not specify a time frame. Learn the lyrics so you can sing them flawlessly.
  5. Rehearse with a pianist. Rewrite the sheet music in the key that works for your range. Mark tempo changes, repeats, codas or cadences and other adjustments in red ink on the sheet music. Photocopy your song and tape the edges together in accordion style to hand to the pianist at the audition.
  6. Stand and sing at the audition without dancing or walking around. After the audition, leave a demo and a press kit with the producer so he can blend your voice with other backup singers when making a decision.
  7. Audition as often as you can just for the practice.

Tops 10 Rock Music Movies from IMDb

1. School of Rock (2003)
Image of School of Rock


After being kicked out of a rock band, Dewey Finn becomes a substitute teacher of a strict elementary private school, only to try and turn it into a rock band. (108 mins.)
Director: Richard Linklater
Stars: Jack Black, Mike White, Joan Cusack, Adam Pascal
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2. Dazed and Confused (1993)
Image of Dazed and Confused


The adventures of incoming high school and junior high students on the last day of school, in May of 1976. (102 mins.)
Director: Richard Linklater
Stars: Jason London, Wiley Wiggins, Matthew McConaughey, Rory Cochrane
3. Detroit Rock City (1999)
Image of Detroit Rock City


A comedy about four teenagers in 1978 who try to scam their way into a KISS concert. (95 mins.)
Director: Adam Rifkin
Stars: Edward Furlong, Giuseppe Andrews, James DeBello, Sam Huntington
4. Almost Famous (2000)
Image of Almost Famous


A high-school boy is given the chance to write a story for Rolling Stone Magazine about an up-and-coming rock band as he accompanies it on their concert tour. (122 mins.)
Director: Cameron Crowe
Stars: Billy Crudup, Patrick Fugit, Kate Hudson, Frances McDormand
5. Rock Star (2001)
Image of Rock Star


Lead singer of a tribute band becomes lead singer of the real band he idolizes. (105 mins.)
Director: Stephen Herek
Stars: Mark Wahlberg, Jennifer Aniston, Dominic West, Jason Bonham
Image of The Rocker
6. The Rocker (2008)

The Rocker tells the story of a failed drummer who is given a second chance at fame. Robert “Fish” Fishman… (102 mins.)
Director: Peter Cattaneo
Stars: Rainn Wilson, Josh Gad, Christina Applegate, Teddy Geiger
7. Elvis (2005 TV Movie)
Image of Elvis


A chronicle of the life of Elvis Presley (Rhys Meyers), from his humble beginnings to his rise to international stardom. (173 mins.)
Director: James Steven Sadwith
Stars: Jonathan Rhys Meyers, Randy Quaid, Rose McGowan, Tim Guinee
Image of Walk the Line
8. Walk the Line (2005)

A chronicle of country music legend Johnny Cash’s life, from his early days on an Arkansas cotton farm to his rise to fame with Sun Records in Memphis, where he recorded alongside Elvis Presley, Jerry Lee Lewis and Carl Perkins. (136 mins.)
Director: James Mangold
Stars: Joaquin Phoenix, Reese Witherspoon, Ginnifer Goodwin, Robert Patrick
Image of Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story
9. Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story (2007)

Singer Dewey Cox overcomes adversity to become a musical legend. (96 mins.)
Director: Jake Kasdan
Stars: John C. Reilly, Jenna Fischer, David Krumholtz, Nat Faxon
Image of The Doors
10. The Doors (1991)
The story of the famous and influential 1960s rock band and its lead singer and composer, Jim Morrison, from his days as a UCLA film student in Los Angeles, to his untimely death in Paris, France at age 27 in 1971. (140 mins.)
Director: Oliver Stone
Stars: Val Kilmer, Meg Ryan, Kyle MacLachlan, Frank Whaley

What Kind of Clothing Do People in Mali Wear?

The West African nation of Mali is famed for tie-dyed textiles and unique colors and prints used in its garments. The culture is lively, and that is reflected in the garments you see throughout the entire nation, no matter which region you are in. Although Western clothing is becoming more popular, you can still see much of the traditional dress that the Malian people pride themselves on.

Map of Mali.

Traditional Clothing

Silk skirts, tunics and long dresses are popular choices for Mali women, particularly the pagne, which is a wraparound skirt. Traditionally, women also wear turbans that match their dresses. The boubou, which is a full-length tunic, is a traditional men’s garment.

Tribal skirts.

The Republic of Mali consists of many individual tribes and ethnic groups that have developed their own colors and styles of clothing. The Tuareg tribe, for instance, specializes in making a specific indigo blue cloth that is also used for making wedding blankets.

As a result of globalization and previous colonization, Western style has also impacted Mali clothing, particularly in the cities. Many men wear Western-style pants, shirts and tunics to work, while women are in wraparound skirts and tunics, and even occasionally pants.

View of Mali.
Religous InfluencesA vast majority of the Mali people is Muslim, however, they haven’t adopted the typical Muslim dress you might find in other Muslim-dominated nations. The Muslim veil or hijab is one example of this, as Mali women do not wear them. Some traditional Muslim dress rules do apply, however, such as the one regarding shorts, which are not considered decent to wear, particularly by adults.

Mosque in Mali.
ColorVibrant color is a mainstay of the Mali wardrobe, and dressing up in costumes and jewelry is a popular activity. Colors used for clothing are typically from entirely natural dyes, which allows the craftsperson to develop his or her own specialized colors.

Assorted bright jewelry.
Mud ClothMali is famous for a type of rough-cotton textile called mud cloth, which is often used to make dashikis, a colorful men’s shirt. After the cloth is woven, it is hand-painted in centuries-old patterns, then dipped in dyes made from mud. After it dries, it may be dipped again in a process that may take several weeks to complete.

Colorful dashiki.

How to Determine If a Musical Instrument is Stolen

Musical instruments can be large investments. With such a large investment, it can be heart breaking when an instrument is stolen. It can also be a major headache to purchase a musical instrument only to find out later that it was previously stolen and must be returned, often for only a limited refund if a refund is available at all. This article lists the steps necessary to avoid the purchase of a stolen musical instrument.


  1. Buy from reputable sellers to avoid the purchase of a stolen musical instrument. This is one of the most important steps in the avoidance of stolen goods. If an instrument seems too cheap, there is a possibility that it may be stolen. However, do not turn down a good deal if the serial number checks out.
  2. Locate the serial number on the instrument. On most wind instruments, the serial number will be printed on the instrument near the mouthpiece. On string instruments, the serial number is typically printed on the inside of the main portion. String instrument serial numbers are typically visible through the left F-Hole if you are facing the front of the instrument. You may need a magnifying glass to see the serial number on some wind instruments. It is likely that you will need a flashlight to see the serial number printed inside most string instruments. The serial number will be a set of numbers containing anywhere from 2 to 6 characters.
  3. Write down any specific remarks about the instrument in addition to obtaining the serial number. For example, if a string bass contains a band sticker on the back, write down a description of the sticker. You should also record the brand, model and other distinguishing features of the instrument.
  4. Enter the serial number at, if you obtained it, to check if the instrument has been stolen in the past. Otherwise, this website also lists distinguishing features about each stolen instrument. People whose instruments are stolen often offer rewards for the safe return of their property.
  5. Check the website to see if anyone in your area has reported a musical instrument stolen. If their description matches the description of your instrument, you may want to investigate the matter further with the dealer and the person that reported the instrument stolen. People that list their instruments on this website typically offer rewards for the return of their property.
  6. Check with the dealer of the instrument should you discover that the musical instrument is stolen (whether or not you purchased it). The dealer from which you made the purchase will be able to find out who sold the instrument to them and further action can be taken. If your purchase was made from a private seller, you will need to contact your local police department to report the crime and take further action against the seller.

How to Become a Cabaret Singer

Cabaret singing is the art of fronting a vocal performance in intimate venues of all sizes. It is among the most challenging of all professional music avocations. The successful cabaret artist is more than a vocalist; she is also a performer, often a band leader, and a tireless and savvy performer. Successful cabaret singers can make anywhere from $30 to $500 per hour and sometimes more. If you choose this profession, you have to be on your game — as a cabaret singer, you are the show. There is no plot or production to hide behind, and you may have to react to any number of unexpected challenges.


  1. Develop a repertoire. As a cabaret singer, you will need to be able to sing between three and four hours of solid music each night. But you must know much more than those three to four hours of music. You must also have enough “spare” repertoire to mix up each show, to respond to requests and have songs available for special occasions. As a cabaret singer, you will need to be able call a song to celebrate anything from 21st birthdays and 50th wedding anniversaries, to bat mitzvahs and Christmas. You’ll not only need to know the words to songs, but also the keys you sing them in so you can call them out to your accompanying musicians.
  2. Find a mentor in a successful performer. The most effective way to learn the art of cabaret singing is to work or play with other successful cabaret singers. If you can’t work with them, take the time to watch as many experienced performers as possible. You will gain performance experience, develop your repertoire and build a valuable Rolodex of venue managers and musicians.
  3. Develop your promotional materials. Cabaret singing is a business, and you provide a valuable service to venue owners by attracting people to their establishments. Treat it like a business and establish a marketing plan and budget. You will need business cards, a mailing and e-mailing list, and a website. Create a demo recording to showcase your vocal talents. You will need to create a social media presence, too.
  4. Market yourself to venue managers. Call the venue, or visit in person and ask who books the entertainment. Tell them you’d like to book your act. If they don’t know who you are yet, you should have some promotional material you can get in their hands quickly. Set a fee that is agreeable to the venue management, yet still adequately compensates you and your musicians for their time, including travel, setup and tear-down times. You may want to identify whether the venue is a union establishment or not. Many hotels in some areas only hire union musicians. If this is the case, you may need to join a musician’s union to play.

Ideas for a Jazz Party Theme

Parties are fun events. Jazz parties, in particular, are memorable and exciting. In general, jazz-themed parties often take one of two routes: Marti Gras jazz-themed parties or Roaring Twenties jazz parties. No matter what you choose, guests will have fun, and you can enjoy a special night of dancing and music. If you have been planning a jazz-themed party but have been short on ideas, consider these options.

Ideas for a Jazz Party Theme

Jazz Music

  • The most important element of a jazz-themed party is the music. Take the time to book a band, or find some great music that can be softly playing in the background. Great jazz music also will open the door for guests to dance during the party.

Classy and Over the Edge

  • Many jazz-themed parties are decorated in a classy but sometimes over-the-edge decor. Stick with black and gold for balloons and decor. If you want more of Mardi Gras look, keep things festive with a Mardi Gras arch or metallic curtains. For a Roaring Twenties approach, go for the Chicago speakeasy look, with vintage 1920s posters and signs.

Adorn and Have Fun

  • Invite guests to dress up as flappers and mobsters, or adorn them with Mardi Gras hats and beads when they enter. Activities can involve anything from a murder mystery to playing the Mardi Gras mambo. Guests can dance to the jazz music, start a conga line or even play charades.

Origins of Folk Dance

Folk dance—a type of dance that has evolved organically from the culture and traditions of a region or community—is neither choreographed nor performed by professional dancers. Despite the coining of the term “folk dance” in the 19th century, spontaneous dancing to celebrate significant social occasions, sacred rituals and rites of passage has been observed throughout human history. Due to shifting demographic patterns and urbanization, many folk dances have been lost as older practitioners pass away. Today, troupes of dancers who specialize in folk dancing preserve tradition by putting on theatrical performances.

Folk dancer


  • The official term “folk dance” was introduced in Europe during the 1800s to distinguish between ballroom dancing as performed by aristocracy and the dances of peasants. However, folk dance was also a part of court life. “Carolers” engaged in folk dancing in the medieval times and roamed throughout the United Kingdom and other European nations. In other cultures, the terms “traditional” or “ethnic” are applied to ceremonial dances.


  • Many types of folk dance fall under the term folk dance; however they exhibit a handful of commonalities. Most dances evolved spontaneously before or during the 19th century. They reflect and uphold tradition rather than prize innovation in the art form. No authority has established formal rules, teaching methods or competitive arenas. Folk dances were created for common people whose participation is not restricted by age or class.


  • Varieties of folk dance include: English country dance, Scottish country dance, Nordic polska dance, Irish dance, Morris dance, Maypole dance, square dance, sword dance, Ball de bastons, contra dance and clogging, to name a few. Irish step dancing features the rhythmic stomping of the feet and was made popular by the performance “Riverdance.” In the Maypole dance performed on May Day, ribbons are attached to a tall pole covered with garlands. Dancers clutch a ribbon and circle the pole. Reminiscent of tap dancing, clogging is performed by twice tapping the ball and heel of the foot on the ground. The German schuhplattling dance involves smacking the body and feet in a synchronized pattern. Many American square dances—e.g., the Virginia reel—are based on European folk dances.


  • Three scholars—Cecil J. Sharp, Maud Karpeles and Violet Alford—from England engaged in folk dance study. After attending a Morris dance in 1899, Cecil J. Sharp was inspired to explore the origins of the dance, and then launched the English Folk Dance Society in 1911. Sharp and his assistant, Maud Karpeles, traveled to America in 1917 and spotted the Kentucky “Running Set,” a country dance where couples move in smooth glides. Violet Alford edited a series of handbooks that described various folk dances as well as listed festivals.

Character Dance

  • Folk dances have been stylized and incorporated into classical ballet. Several 19th century ballets—e.g. “Swan Lake,” “Don Quixote” and “Raymonda”—feature court gatherings in which different types of folk dances are performed for entertainment, thus providing variation from the ballet sequences.

How to Become a Famous Kid Singer on the Disney Channel

Britney Spears, Zac Efron and Ashley Tisdale are just some of the famous names that got their big break singing and dancing on The Disney Channel. Getting a job on the Disney Channel is a dream for many talented kids, but it’s no easy task to achieve since there are thousands of kids with the same dream and only a few opportunities for stardom. If you’re ready to be persistent and are willing to put in big effort for an uncertain return, there are some things you can do to improve your chances of getting a Disney audition.

Britney Spears.

Take voice lessons. With so much competition for parts, training can significantly improve your chances of succeeding when you do land an audition for Disney.

Voice lessons.

Get an agent. It is not an easy process to send headshots and resumes and follow up to secure an agent, but having one is the best way to secure a Disney audition. Though there are other ways to get an audition with Disney, agents often have access to casting calls that aren’t open to the public.

Signing a contract.

If you don’t have an agent, visit casting sites, such as Casting Networks, to present a self-submission. These sites list castings, sometimes for Disney projects, and you can submit yourself for consideration. You’ll need good quality photos. Keep in mind that if you submit for an audition in another city and are invited to audition, you’ll be responsible for your own travel expenses.

Visit casting websites.

Read local entertainment news to find Disney open calls in your area. Anyone can go to an open call. Open calls are often crowded—sometimes so much that not all hopeful singers have a chance to meet with casting directors.


The Difference Between Classical and Jazz Music

There are multiple differences that set jazz apart from classical music, including the choice of instruments, the style of music, and how the music is played. Even though the two genres share some of the same instruments, the way the instruments are played and presented reveals the distinct nature of the two forms of music.



  • One basic element that sets jazz apart from classical music is improvisation. This element is a creative process that enables the jazz musician to be spontaneous by making up music while it is being performed. Classical musicians usually perform musical notes exactly as written out on the page by a composer although in past times major figures such as Mozart and Beethoven were known for their improvisational abilities.


  • The way that rhythms are performed is another basic element that separates the two styles of music. Even though both genres are based on a regular beat, the beats that are emphasized are different. Whereas classical music generally emphasizes the first beat of each measure, jazz music emphasizes the second beat of each measure and handles rhythm more flexibly, creating what is known as a “swing” effect. This tension created among the beats in jazz is called syncopation, a trait that can be traced back to one of the major precursors of jazz, ragtime. Ragtime itself, though, is sometimes categorized as a form of classical music since it it usually performed as written by composers such as Scott Joplin. Extremely complex rhythmic effects in classical music have been achieved by innovators such as Stravinsky and Messiaen.


  • Jazz music often features a combination of brass, woodwind, and percussion instruments. Jazz big bands rely heavily on brass instruments, particularly saxophones, which are rarely used by classical composers, and the upright bass in jazz is usually plucked rather than bowed as it typically is in classical music. Classical orchestras feature woodwinds, brass, and percussion but also include bowed string instruments such as the violin, viola, and cello, which are rarely used in jazz. There are typically anywhere from 50 to 100 musicians that make up a classical orchestra. As another example of the differences in instrumentation, a piano trio in jazz typically consists of a piano, upright bass, and drums whereas in classical music it typically consists of a piano, violin, and cello. The piano is a central instrument of both classical and jazz.

    Jazz musicians also play their instruments differently than classical musicians do, sometimes using slurs and “dirty” sounds that create tone colors distinct from what one usually hears in classical music. The composer George Gershwin, who was influenced by early jazz, wrote a famous clarinet glissando at the beginning of his Rhapsody in Blue that imitates the “dirty” sound of jazz.


  • Historically, jazz musicians have usually performed in more casual venues such as nightclubs or hotels or specialized jazz clubs. Classical players usually perform in more formal settings, such as a concert hall or amphitheater. Over time, though, jazz has increasingly moved into concert halls and other more formal settings as well. The famous jazz clarinetist Benny Goodman played Carnegie Hall back in 1938. Today, jazz, like classical music, is taught in universities and conservatories and considered by many to be “serious music.”


  • Classical music traces its roots back to the 11th century, to Gregorian chants and plainsong developed from monodic (written as one musical line) to organum (two or three lines moving simultaneously but independently, bringing out harmony). By the fifteenth century, composers began writing choral music and adding instrument compositions to the lines of music. Since the Renaissance, the history of classical music is usually divided into baroque, classical, Romantic, modern, and post-modern eras. New Orleans is where jazz originated in the late nineteenth century, created principally by the descendants of freed African slaves. Jazz evolved from dixieland, ragtime, blues, marches, and other influences, including classical music. Its major historical periods include swing, bebop, and post-bop.

What Kind of Clothes Do They Wear in Switzerland?

Switzerland is a multicultural country. People with roots in Germany, France, Italy and other European nations call the Alpine nation home. All the various cultures have an influence on Swiss fashion, as does the nation’s climate. Switzerland’s climate is temperate, although temperatures vary according to the altitude. Temperatures in lower elevations range from cool to warm, with humid summers having occasional showers.

Geneva, Switzerland behind Swiss Flag
EmbroideryMost traditional Swiss clothing is adorned with embroidery. Usually embroidery is stitched on hats, scarves and shirt cuffs. Embroidery also decorates fabric. While embroidery used to be a home industry in the eastern and northeastern portions of Switzerland, it’s now limited to tourism because the people no longer dress in traditional clothing.

Herdsmen and woman wearing traditional Swiss clothes
TightsThe Swiss once wore tights that were either knitted at home or purchased in stores. Hand-knitted tights (selbsgestrickten) were made only for babies. Swiss boys wore only dark-colored tights until around 1960. Beginning about 1970, tights became available in various other colors with children starting to wear brightly colored tights. However, most boys still wear darker colors such as black, gray and blue, while girls prefer red and white.

Herdsman with Cattle
Traditional SmocksSmocks are another traditional Swiss fashion worn by both Swiss-Italians as well as Swiss-French boys. Generally, smocks were reserved for school. In fact, according to the Historical Clothing website, it was compulsory for 9- to 10-year-old boys to wear smocks from the 1930s to the 1960s.

Older man in traditional Swiss outfit
Traditional Swiss Festival ClothingAlthough the Swiss normally wear western-style clothing, they still don traditional costumes at their parades and festivals. Besides the many displays of fine Swiss embroidery, the cattle herders of Gruyere wear a short blue canvas jacket. The women wear long-sleeved jackets, silk aprons and straw with ribbons dangling from the brim. Gold lace caps are also a traditional female costume. In Unterwalden, the women wear silver ornamented dresses. In the Alpine areas, the men wear traditional leather shorts (lederhosen) with leather boots.

Swiss men in traditional clothing
Modern Swiss Teen FashionJust as in other western countries, Swiss teens wear casual clothes, although the same outfit is typically worn for several days. They wear heavy jackets, scarves and gloves in winter. During warmer months, they wear light clothing such as T-shirts. Because Swiss teenagers participate in many sports, they wear typical sporting clothes as worn by U.S. teens while bicycling or engaging in after-school sports such as soccer. Popular brands include Adidas, Nike and Puma.

Two girls decorated with Swiss flags in Luzern, Switzerland
Contemporary Green FashionBeing concerned about climate change, most modern Swiss are extremely environmentally conscious. Therefore, the demand for natural fibers and products using environmentally friendly methods continues to grow steadily. The Swiss are willing to pay more for their clothing to abide by environmental standards.

Couple looking at shop window in Geneva, Switzerland

Traditional South African Attire

If you want to know about South Africa, learn the dress code. Where other countries might have a one-size-fits-all national dress, this is not so in the Rainbow Nation. South Africa’s history has left a legacy of traditional apparel as diverse as the people who have settled there. Recognizing different types of traditional dress is a step toward appreciating a nation rich in history.

Traditional South African Attire
HistoryThe huge area that became South Africa experienced immigration from both sea and land as far back as the 15th century. The African migrants were from a large number of tribes with different cultures and styles of dressing. These groups fought among each other and with the European settlers, who had their own attire and customs. All of these forms of dress are used in celebrations today.

ZuluProbably the most well-known people of South Africa are the Zulu. Their dress is recognizably bright and colorful, especially that of women and girls. Unmarried young women wear bead-work “izincu” bands around their waists, ankles and elbows, as well as beaded headbands and necklaces. This use of color is to display their status as single. Married Zulu women wear more sedate “isicholo” hats and “ibhayi” shawls. Zulu men traditionally wear different animal-hide coverings, depending on their marital status.

XhosaXhosa traditions are distinctive, and tribal dress reflects this. Young women looking for husbands go bare-breasted to show their comeliness. Beadwork is again heavily used in women’s clothing, and different garments reflect a woman’s status within the tribe. Beads are also used on accessories such as tobacco pouches, which are carried by women with married sons. Male attire includes brightly colored blankets or cloaks dyed with natural ochers. Male horsemen in some groups wear distinctive conical-shaped hats.

VendaThe Venda people from the northern areas of South Africa have unique ceremonies, such as rainmaking. As part of this ceremony, a male rain dancer wears a skirt of grasses, along with a helmet mask and arm and leg bands made of feathers. Female tribe members play the snake dance on “djembe” drums while dressed in traditional loincloth, while other female initiates perform the dance wearing animal skins, tassels and a feather in their hair, indicating their maturity.

VoortrekkerThe Voortrekker tradition is celebrated by the Afrikaner community. These early Dutch-speaking farmers wore simple everyday clothes, but liked finer outfits for celebrations. The Voortrekker bonnet, as worn by women, is the signature element of this style. Other female items are the apron and colorful neckerchiefs with ornate brooches. Males wear broad-brimmed felt hats and waistcoats of silk, satin and velvet.

How to Know When You Hit Rock Bottom

Many people go through difficult times in their lives. Sometimes the end result is hitting rock bottom. For some, hitting rock bottom is the wake-up call needed to begin steering life in a more positive direction. When you have hit rock bottom, there is nowhere to go but up. Recognizing some of the common signs is an important part of getting back on your feet.
Recognizing when you hit rock bottom can end up being the begining of something better.


  1. Losing your job. Whether you are struggling with substance abuse or dealing with a financial crisis, losing your job can be a sure sign of hitting rock bottom. After all, the average person needs some sort of income to make ends meet. According to WorkingAmerica, 77 percent of Americans are living paycheck to paycheck. Losing a job for many means losing access to the basics necessary for survival, which include food, clothing and shelter.
  2. Abandoned by friends and loved ones. If you are struggling with substance abuse, mental illness or some other crisis, you might eventually notice the people in your life pulling away. Friends and loved ones might have a difficult time watching someone they love self destruct; especially if it seems that you can make the choice to turn your own circumstances around.
  3. Having property repossessed. Having possessions you once worked hard to acquire, such as your car or home, taken away because you can’t make payments can be a sobering reality check. You might even find yourself having to sell or pawn your things just to make ends meet.
  4. Experiencing stress and depression. The series of events that lead you to hit rock bottom can take a toll on your mental, emotional and physical health. It’s not unusual to experience problems with insomnia, anxiety or depression as a result of the stress. These conditions can immobilize you and make it hard to carry out simple daily tasks, such as getting out of bed, eating or spending time around others.

How to Design Musical Instruments for Kids in the Fourth Grade

A fun music lesson for fourth graders is learning how to make instruments out of everyday objects. It is an interactive craft project that can be used again and again by students. Once your fourth graders have made their instruments, let them play a song or two together as a class. Not only will this project teach students how instruments are made, but it will teach them to look at old objects in new ways.

Bottle caps can help create an interesting clinking instrument.

Bottle Cap Clinker

  1. Gather 16 glass soda bottle caps.
  2. Hammer a nail into the center of each bottle cap to create a hole.
  3. Place stacks of four bottle caps on the top half of a 1-foot piece of wood that is at least 2 inches thick. Keep a 1/2 inch space between each stack of bottle caps.
  4. Place a 2-inch long nail through each stack of bottle caps, and then hammer it into the wood. Don’t hammer it all the way in. There should be room for the bottle caps to move when the wood is shaken.
  5. Shake the wood to hear the clinking sound your new instrument makes.


  1. Take the cardboard cylinder out of the center of a roll of paper towels.
  2. Place a small square of wax paper over one of the cardboard cylinder’s openings. Secure the wax paper with tape.
  3. Punch three holes in a vertical line on one side of the cardboard cylinder. Use the tip of a pen or pencil to make the holes.
  4. Blow into the uncovered opening of the cardboard cylinder to hear the noise that comes out.

How to Become a Singer

Anyone can sing, but to sing beautifully and make a successful career out of it calls for more than just innate talent. Your challenge depends not only on skill, but on your dedication to your craft and on whom you know in some cases.


  1. Get your voice ready. Avail of audio or video materials that instruct you on the effective and safe use of your singing voice. Rehearse on a daily basis and take care of your vocal cords. Avoid smoking, drinking hard liquor, and the ingestion of anything too cold or too hot, particularly before singing.
  2. Observe those who have come before you. Watch videos and actual live performances of successful singers to take note of their techniques for vocal and stage performance. Singing after all is about more than just being a skilled vocalist. Adapt a combination of tried-and-true tactics that work well with your own style and strengths as a singer.
  3. Record yourself singing along with instrumental or karaoke tracks and begin performing in front of caring yet honest audiences such as family and friends. Listen for constructive feedback and make adjustments accordingly.
  4. Look for all opportune moments to perform in the public eye. Depending on your singing career goals, you could make appearances at open mic nights, get a license to sing on the boardwalk at the beach, sing at weddings and other special occasions, book yourself at cafés and even join singing competitions. Sing with confidence. If you are passionate about being recognized as a singer, you will put yourself out there and dust yourself off if ever you take a fall. So-called failure is a step towards greatness if you learn from it.
  5. Invest in equipment and materials necessary for your growth as a singer. Examples of these are a microphone especially made for singing, and computer software for the purpose of recording and editing. These can help you create your own record album to sell or hand out at your public performances. The chances that you will be discovered or that other performers will find you and want to work with you are greater this way.
  6. Build your image. The right clothes and makeup can make or break you. Ideally, they would be the perfect accessory to your talent. Select a look that you are comfortable with that goes with your singing style and is likely to click with the crowds you perform for.
  7. Continue giving yourself publicity as a singer. Perform in public every chance you get. Set up profiles for yourself on social networking sites, where you can post demos of your songs for others to listen to at their convenience. Keep up the great work. Before you know it, you could be in demand as the next hot singer!

How to Make Flavoring for Rock Candy

Making your own rock candy flavorings at home is easy, but requires even more patience than making rock candy. You’ll be making extract, like the familiar vanilla extract, but you can make it with virtually anything–fruits, vegetables, herbs or spices. If you’re brave enough, make all of the unusual extracts you want; you just might discover that black pepper rock candy is tastier than it sounds.

How to Make Flavoring for Rock Candy

Clean and dry a large jar with a rubber seal and an airtight lid.

Prepare the ingredient or ingredients you want to use to make your flavoring. If you’re using something flavorful and fairly self contained like cinnamon sticks or peppercorns, you don’t need to do anything. Vanilla beans should be sliced down the middle to expose their contents. If you’re using a fruit or vegetable, wash and peel the fruit and chop it into small cubes. If you’re using fresh herbs, chop them coarsely. Keep in mind that you will need to strain this out at the end of the process, so avoid using dried powders or anything that will completely disintegrate after soaking in liquid. For best results, use only one ingredient and make multiple flavorings if you want to combine flavors.

Put your flavoring ingredient in the bottom of the jar.

Pour in some vodka. You can approximate how much you add, but try to aim for a five-to-one vodka to ingredient volume ratio for all dried ingredients, and a three-to-one ratio for all fresh ingredients.

Seal the jar tightly. Give it a good shake and store it somewhere cool and dry.

Wait eight weeks while the mixture turns into an extract. Every three or four days or so, give the jar a shake.

Pour the mixture through a very fine mesh strainer into another clean container. You may need to strain the mixture a few times to get out all of the pulp and particles, but it’s worth taking your time to strain your extract well.

Store the extract in small airtight jars or bottles. Preferably use colored glass instead of clear glass to best preserve the extract flavor.