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.

How to Make a Musical Instrument Out of Recycled Materials

Children often grow bored with toys very quickly, and parents regret having spent a lot of money on items that collect dust in a corner. One way to save money and to engage children’s creativity is to make musical instruments out of recycled materials. Most children enjoy creating music and participating in hands-on types of projects. Using recycled materials to make these instruments also helps to cut down on waste a little.

Use an old shoebox to make a guitar.

Instructions

  1. Empty an old shoe box and cut a hole in the center of the lid. The hole should be about 2 to 3 inches in diameter.
  2. Glue the lid to the shoe box.
  3. Use a craft knife to cut three or four shallow notches on the top of both ends of the lid. Line the notches up with the hole in the center of the lid.
  4. Stretch three or four rubber bands across the hole. Fit each rubber band into the slots on the ends so that they don’t slip.
  5. Cut a pencil in half and insert it under the strings on one end of the hole. This will serve as a bridge.
  6. Glue or tape a paper towel tube or a paint stirrer onto the top end of the box (the end opposite the bridge) as a decorative neck for the guitar.
  7. Embellish the guitar artistically by using markers, crayons, paint and stickers.

Blues & Jazz Bars in Shanghai

Situated on the Huangpu River near the mouth of the Yangtze River, Shanghai is a famous port city with a notorious past. The very name Shanghai evokes images of the dark and mysterious Orient. Once a small fishing village, it rose into prominence after the end of the Opium Wars in 1842 when Western powers established “concession” zones and developed Shanghai to become one of the most important ports and cultural centers in Asia. Curiously, it was also a haven of blues and jazz music until the music was banned after the Communist takeover in May 1949. With the opening of China to the West, Shanghai is once again one of the most cosmopolitan cities in Asia and the strains of jazz streaming through the tree-lined streets each evening shows that it has rediscovered its strong connection to jazz music.

Shanghai's Bund waterfront

House of Blues & Jazz

  • Founded in 1995, the House of Blues & Jazz was the first new jazz bar in modern Shanghai. In its fourth reincarnation, the club has found a home near the historic Bund, the Huangpu River waterfront area. This location is spacious yet maintains an intimate atmosphere with simple décor. A kitchen offers food throughout the day, but what keeps the house full is the daily billing of bands from around the world.

    House of Blues & Jazz
    60 Fuzhou Road
    Shanghai, China 200001
    +86 21-6323-8326

    A pioneer of modern Shanghai jazz.
    A pioneer of modern Shanghai jazz.

Brown Sugar

  • Brown Sugar offers an upscale experience in the trendy tourist mecca known as Xintiandi, which is a complex of high-end bars and restaurants. Brown Sugar started in Taiwan, and Shanghai is its second location offering international-style to the expat, tourist and chic local crowd. The club promotes itself as a wine bar and offers a selection of Western-style food. Frequently attracting international headline events, the club features its own Brown Sugar All Stars.

    Brown Sugar
    Building 15,Lane 181,Taicang Rd.
    North Block, Xintiandi Plaza
    Shanghai , China
    +86 21-5382-8998
    brownsugarlive.com/

    Brown Sugar mixes jazz and wine.
    Brown Sugar mixes jazz and wine.

CJW

  • Cigars, jazz and wine make up the trinity upon which CJW is based. Founded in Taipei, this concept came to Shanghai’s high-end night spot Xintiandi in 2002. It features a house band that provides the jazz feel, but this club is all about the atmosphere and decor and fine cigars. It offers a surprising selection of imported wines as well. A dining experience with Italian flair completes this premium nightlife experience.

    CJW
    Xintiandi, House 2
    Lane 123 Xinye Road
    Shanghai, China 200001
    +86 21-6385-6677

    A trinity: cigars, jazz and wine.
    A trinity: cigars, jazz and wine.

Cotton Club

  • Cotton Club is one of the longest-running venues for Shanghai blues and jazz. Simple in decor, this tight-packed pub offers a good value for live music. Often the spirited live music fills the house and leaves standing room only. It’s a dark, smoky and informal setting where you can get close and personal with the performers.

    Cotton Club
    1416 Huaihai Middle Rd.
    Shanghai, China 200001
    +86 21-6437-7110

    Music fills this tight-packed pub.
    Music fills this tight-packed pub.

Peace Hotel Old Jazz Bar

  • After Deng Xiaoping officially rolled back the restrictions on many cultural freedoms, including jazz, in 1978, the Peace Hotel refurbished its Old Jazz Bar to kick off the jazz movement in Communist China. Six veteran musicians from the pre-communist days formed the Old Jazz Band in 1980, and pianist Gao Ping released perhaps the first Chinese jazz recording in the Peoples Republic of China. Located on the top floor of the hotel, this bar draws a mainly tourist crowd seeking the nostalgia of old Shanghai.

    Peace Hotel Old Jazz Bar
    20 East Nanjing Rd.
    Shanghai 200001
    +86 21-6321-6888

    A jazz icon in Shanghai.
    A jazz icon in Shanghai.

JZ Club

  • Opened in 2004, JZ Club has become a fixture among jazz clubs in Shanghai. JZ has several house bands and acts from around the world. Weekends feature the JZ Latino and JZ All Star Big Bands. This two-floor venue features an upstairs balcony for a better view of the performers and the downstairs by the stage. Both are often packed with music aficionados, but there is also a lounge in back with comfortable seating.

    JZ Club
    46 West Fuxing Rd.
    +86 21-643-0269
    jzclub.cn

    JZ Club features big band sound.
    JZ Club features big band sound.

How to Make Musical Instruments for Preschoolers

Introduction to music is important for preschoolers. Music helps foster creativity and encourages brain development. A great way to introduce music to preschoolers is to involve them in a craft of making musical instruments. Preschoolers enjoy using their hands and tend to respond well to materials they are involved in creating. With a few common craft supplies and household materials, you can lead children to create an entire orchestra using the steps below.

Children love to make music from an early age.

How to Make Musical Instruments for Preschoolers

  1. Make a tambourine. Staple together two heavy-duty paper plates. Cover the backs of the staples with tape to avoid cuts. Using a hole punch, punch holes about an inch apart around the edge. Lace string with jingle bells and tie a bell to each hole.
  2. Make a drum. Provide clean, empty cardboard containers with lids — such as oatmeal canisters. Allow the preschoolers to decorate their containers. Supply dowel rods as drumsticks, or glue empty thread spools onto unsharpened pencils.
  3. Make a xylophone. Help the children fill 10 glass bottles or jars (of the same type, such as baby food jars) with decreasing amounts of water, which will give each jar a different musical note. The jars or bottles may be used with or without lids. With lids the sound will be more muted, and without them the sound will be much louder. You may wish to color the water as an extra sensory experience for the children. Gently tap the jars with a dowel rod or drumstick to make music.
  4. Make maracas. Allow the children to partially fill empty cardboard or plastic containers with dried beans or rice. Apply glue around the rim of each container’s lid and twist the lid into place. Encourage the children to decorate their maracas.
  5. Make a kazoo. Have the children fold wax paper in half over the teeth of a fine-tooth comb. Play the kazoo by humming against the wax paper.
  6. Make a guitar. Remove the lid of a shoe box and stretch three to five different-sized rubber bands lengthwise across the box.
  7. Make a rainmaker. Tape paper to one end of an empty paper towel tube, leaving the other end open. Allow the children to decorate the tube. Fill the tube three quarters full with pompoms. Spoon in three to four tablespoons of dried beans or rice. Then tape paper to the other end of the tube. Tip it upside down to hear the rain.

How to Become a Famous Indian Singer

If you are wondering how can you become a famous Indian singer as quickly as possible, you must slow down and think about the process of singing. Do not ignore the singing tips you are given by those who have been in the singing profession for much longer than you have. It takes years of training, dedication and commitment to become a famous Indian singer.

Instructions

  1. Getting trained from a voice coach is of utmost importance. The coach will guide you through voice projection exercises that will assist you in honing your singing skills. The coach will also make sure that you learn appropriate vocal warm up exercises, to help you achieve a beautiful and melodious voice. Your other efforts are bound to fail without this training.
  2. Keep an optimistic attitude. This always helps. To become a famous Indian singer, you must cultivate an optimistic and enthusiastic attitude that is reinforced with a healthy belief in yourself and your talent. If you doubt your abilities and capabilities, success will be hard to come by.
  3. Use Your imagination. Imagination is important for singing. Try to put yourself into the situation of the song. If you understand what the situation is and what the song is attempting to convey, you will be more successful. Portray what the song is saying and its meaning. Communicate to your audience on a deep and profound level with the song you are singing.
  4. Study singing techniques. Although you need to find your own unique singing style, it is not wrong to study the singing techniques of more accomplished and famous Indian singers like K.L. Saigal, Kishore Kumar and Md. Rafi. There are numerous techniques and styles in Indian singing, and you have to select a technique and style suitable for who you are and what you have to say.
  5. Dedicate yourself. You must commit yourself to singing, wholeheartedly, and practice all the time–morning,noon, and night. Do this five days per week. You must continuously develop your voice and singing style to the best of your ability. Be consistent and regular in your voice training schedule.
  6. Start singing for local cultural groups, religious festivals and parties. Take part in singing competitions to get noticed by the media and the industry. Don’t be discouraged if you don’t win in competitions. Think of it as a stepping stone to success.
  7. Record a demo and submit it to all labels and agents that are seeking Indian singers. You can also promote your demo at live performances.

Famous New York Jazz Clubs

New York City offers a wealth of renowned jazz clubs, some a few decades old as well as those that have been around since the 1920s. You can visit venues where such celebrated figures as Duke Ellington, John Coltrane and Miles Davis once performed. In addition to the great music, most jazz clubs in New York serve food, including buffet dinners and brunches.

Famous New York Jazz Clubs

The Cotton Club

  • The Cotton Club opened in 1923 and quickly became the center of Harlem nightlife. The club regularly booked Duke Ellington and his orchestra, helping to establish his reputation. The club closed for a short period but reopened in 1977 after extensive renovations. Visitors can enjoy buffet dinners and live blues and jazz on Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights, or swing dance nights on Mondays.

    Cotton Club
    656 W. 125th St.
    New York, NY 10027
    (212) 663-6879
    cottonclub-newyork.com/

Blue Note

  • This popular Greenwich Village club has hosted many famous performers, including Sarah Vaughan and Dizzy Gillespie. It now features hip-hop, soul and R&B in addition to jazz. The dim, candle-lit atmosphere creates a cozy ambience. Try the Late Night Groove series every Friday and Saturday starting at 12:30 a.m., or one of the popular jazz brunches, every Sunday.

    Blue Note
    131 W. Third St.
    New York, NY 10012
    (212) 475-8592
    bluenote.net

Birdland

  • This jazz club is named after the brilliant saxophonist Charlie Parker, whose nickname was “The Bird.” John Coltrane, Miles Davis and Dizzy Gillespie were among the major jazz figures who performed here in the 1950s and 1960s. The club’s Southern-comfort food complements the music. The dim lighting and sophisticated décor create an intimate, high-class setting for live music.

    Birdland Jazz Club
    315 W. 44th St.
    New York, NY 10036
    (212) 581-3080
    birdlandjazz.com

Iridium

  • Iridium, established in 1994, is much younger than other clubs on this list. Its flashy décor and location in the center of midtown Manhattan, near Times Square, draws many American and European tourists. Visitors can enjoy tapas plates while they listen to performers, and students can purchase discounted tickets on select weeknights. The club holds Les Paul tribute nights every Monday.

    Iridium Jazz club
    1650 Broadway
    New York, NY 10020
    (212) 582-2121
    iridiumjazzclub.com/

55 Bar

  • 55 Bar, established in 1919, is in the heart of Greenwich Village, near Washington Square Park. It is more affordable than other New York jazz clubs, with relatively low cover charges and drink prices. The club also has a more modest, dive-bar atmosphere, unlike other Manhattan jazz clubs. It features live jazz, funk and blues every night.

    55 Bar
    55 Christopher St.
    New York, NY 10014
    (718) 965-9177
    55bar.com

How to Start a Musical Instrument Retail Business

At the time of publication, starting a retail business to sell musical instruments can run between $10,000 and $50,000, according to the “Entrepreneur” magazine website. Expect much of your initial seed money to go toward obtaining merchandise. Industry resources and social media can help with store-opening considerations.

Announce your grand opening to band parents and directors.

Physical and Virtual Space

  • Launch your business with a storefront and an online platform such as eBay or Craigslist to reach the greatest number of potential customers. According to the 2014 global report by the National Association of Music Merchants, or NAMM, eBay ranked eighth in online visitors and Craigslist was 11th. When deciding the size of your first brick-and-mortar site, consider your merchandise volume and whether you’ll offer instruction. For example, The Music Store in Mesa, Arizona, says it started with 2,000 square feet for three instructional studios and its merchandise. To focus your customers’ attention on the instruments, “Musical Merchandise Review” suggests a mix of ambient and accent lighting.

Riding Merchandise Waves

  • Consider the effect of changing musical tastes and technology on demand for certain instruments when you plan the initial inventory. According to NAMM, sales of acoustical guitars have grown approximately 36 percent, or $141 million, since 2009. The 2014 NAMM global report noted a 4.6 percent drop from 2012 to 2013 in electric guitars, which translates to a decline in amplifiers and guitar strings. The report ranked disc jockey gear, keyboard synthesizers and electronic player pianos as the top three products that saw sales increases in 2013. The continuance of school music programs will ensure continued demand for band instruments. Whatever instrument families you choose, include sheet music in your merchandise.

Power in Numbers

  • Join a buying group — the Independent Music Store Owners Association, Independent Music Merchants Group or the Alliance of Independent Music Merchants, for example — to lower your inventory costs. Beyond the purchasing power you gain through membership in these associations, they also channel ideas, information and suggestions. Groups such as NAMM or the Music Distributors Association provide members information on instrument wholesalers and distributors. As a member of NAMM, you can access business resources such as closed-end consumer financing for keyboard purchases, private-label consumer credit cards and leasing or purchase plans for schools.

Be Social and Educational

  • To announce your grand opening, post a short video of your store’s interior, its merchandise or instructions for playing a featured instrument on your website and other social media platforms. NAMM recommends that your store offer services such as on-site repairs and loaner instruments for customers. Private classes for specific instruments can draw customers to your store.

How to Insure Musical Instruments

How to Insure Musical Instruments. You finally splurged on that baby grand piano you’ve always wanted, or your child has outgrown his trumpet and his teacher recommends a new, more expensive model. You need to make sure your insurance company covers these valuable instruments against loss. Here’s how to find a company to insure your musical instruments and how to actually insure them.

Insure Musical Instruments

Instructions

  1. Consider coverage if your instrument(s) is your livelihood. After all, a professional musician can’t perform without his guitar or her flute. Make sure the policy provides coverage worldwide.
  2. Check your homeowners policy to determine whether it will cover expensive instruments. Most homeowners policies don’t cover all things that can happen to your musical instruments. These policies aren’t designed to protect professional quality or rare equipment.
  3. Select an all risk policy that covers your instrument in almost all circumstances. The coverage may also include reimbursement for renting an instrument while yours is repaired in much the same way that auto insurance covers the cost of a rental car.
  4. Have your instrument appraised if it is unique or expensive. The cost of this vital step will be more than covered if your instrument is damaged or stolen. Keep a copy of the appraisal in a safe place along with a picture and any other documentation you need in case you have to file a claim.
  5. Insure instruments for replacement value rather than for what you paid several years ago. Like everything else, the cost of a good piano or drum set is rising.
  6. Buy from a company that specializes in musical instrument insurance. Check at a local musical instrument retailer for names and phone numbers of insurers.

How to Make Musical Instruments at Home

Making musical instruments at home is a great way to introduce children to the world of music and history. Many instruments that you see in orchestras and bands today are derived from ancient and primitive instruments. You can replicate these instruments using household items to create a fun and musical craft project.

Instructions

  1. Construct a show box guitar. Cut a circle out of the middle of an empty shoe box using scissors. Cut six rubber bands so that they can be stretched out to their full length. Press brass fasteners into the shoe box, placing six on the top and six on the bottom of the box. Stretch out the rubber bands, one at a time, tying them onto the fasteners. Cut a toilet paper roll in half, and slide in underneath the rubber bands below the hole. Discuss with your child how the sound is made inside the guitar, and how the ancient peoples may have created the first guitar.
  2. Construct a paper plate maraca. Color the front sides of two paper plates using paints, markers or crayons. Once the plates are dry, fill the bottom of one plate with 1/4 cup of dried beans. Place the other plate on top of the first, and staple around the outside edge. Place the staples close together so that the beans do not fall out. Discuss with your child where the maraca came from and how people may have invented it.
  3. Construct an oatmeal container drum. Paint the outside of an empty oatmeal container. Once the paint is dry, place a 8-inch square of wax paper on the top of the container. Stretch a rubber band over the top of the wax paper, securing it to the container. Discuss with your child how the ancients might have thought of the design for the drum.