Thursday, March 18, 2010

The Power of Music

The power of music is unlimited and the benefit that we can get from music is endless. Dan Elllsey, a gentleman who was born with cerebral palsy discovered that he could express himself by listening to music and composing music as well. Ellsey composed his music through a computer system called Hyperscore, invented by Tod Machover. Hyperscore was developed with the idea of how our brain responds and processes the music. Basically, our brains are very sensitive to music and they were developed to process rapid tones, which are very much similar to languages. Furthermore, our brains are wired to process music. For instance, listening to our own favorite music will trigger the thinking centre in the brain cortex, as well as the motivation and reward system in the brain. This explained that music is essential need of the human’s body, because the brain gave the same response to food, water and sex. In extension, music has medical potential as well. Doctor used music therapy to help handicapped patients to recover their talking and walking ability, and it can reduce the physical pains of a patient as well.

Music is pretty much bonded with the life of a human. We use music to celebrate events, signify something, even the great composer – Ludwig van Beethoven, wrote a symphony dedicated to Napoleon. Music has the greater influence to humans compared to languages. Music is a universal language, a language without words. We should encourage the usage of music therapy to the public and explore more new music therapy methods as well. Music is something very easy to get and most of the time you can just get it for free. Moreover, music is something very organic and harmless to a human’s body. There are no signs of side effects found from the patients after they go through music therapy. Something that is free and organic will save a lot of money for the patient. There are numbers of factory in the world were built to produce medicines. As a result of minimizing the usage of medicines, we can reduce the global warming problem by reducing the requirement of the medicine factory.

There is more positive potential that we can find in music that is waiting for us to explore. We should realize that there are plenty of solutions to cure a patient and chemical medicine isn’t the ultimate option. 

Monday, March 1, 2010

Genre of Music

Today I’m going to talk about a genre of classical music, which is concerto. Concerto is a virtuoso piece of music, which is composed for a soloist with an orchestra, and it is meant to let the soloist show off their stylistic playing. Concertos normally consist of 3 movements and they are composed in a fast-slow-fast order.  Each concerto has its own unique theme and the main theme in the first movement will be elaborated in the following movements and evolves into a series of beautiful melodies.

People believe that concerto evolved from the Concerto Grosso, which appeared during the Baroque period. The main difference between the concerto and Concerto Grosso is the concerto is normally written for 1 soloist and it’s rarely written for more then 2 soloists. On the other hand, Concerto Grosso is written for a group of soloists (they called it concertino) and full orchestra. In extension, there is another theory that talks about how the concerto was invented. There is a very close relationship between a symphony with a concerto, and some people think that a concerto is evolved from a symphony.  They treat a concerto as a symphony with one less movement and use Scherzo for the third movement instead of Minuet and Trio. In addition, Candenza is the distinct element that we can find in a concerto which makes it sound even more unique.

Concerto first appeared in the Baroque period. Vivaldi wrote a number of concerti for strings and winds instruments, and they are all well recognized.  Concerti in the Baroque period have a lot of call and response between the soloist and the orchestra, and are mostly in monophonic rhythmic pattern. For instance, Vivaldi used scales to develop the theme of his concerto and soon modulate to an Alberti Bass or broken chords, and the orchestra repeats the same right after the soloist. Concerti written for Keyboard instruments were hardly found in the Baroque period, most likely because the keyboard instruments in that time could not produce loud dynamics except the organ.

Moving forward to the Classical period, we have the music prodigy Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. Mozart’s concertos are all very well written in his own stylistic way of writing. He articulates the passage differently compared to the Baroque period and he loves to end his cadences with thrills. Mozart also expanded the instrumentation of the orchestra for the concerto. He added horns to the orchestra and sometimes he even took out the flute. In the Classical period, composers experimented with new musical form in the concerto. For example they used Romance, Rondo or even Theme and Variation instead of a Sonata Form.

Concerto reached its new milestone during the Romantic period when all the amazing composers explored more on the instruments. They used almost all the registers on the instrument and implied technically challenging passages.  One of the greatest examples is Niccolo Paganini. He as a violin virtuoso himself exploited the technical potential of his instrument to its very limits. Meanwhile, cello concertos were mushrooming during the Romantic period as well.  Composers started to realize that there were lots of things that they can explore on the cello and so, cello received the same attention as the violin from this period onwards. The cello concerto written by Antonin Dvorak is the supreme example from the Romantic period.

The developments of the concerto didn’t stop growing. During the 20th century, the concerto was no longer meant for the beauty of the melody or the musical form. The concerti needed more extended techniques to achieve some radical effects on musical language. The composers brought up a new concept of pitch, timbre and dynamics.

Concerto as a genre of music has a very important role in classical music history. Concerto helps the musician to showcase their technique and writing a concerto seems to be a must in the life of a composer. Writing or playing a concerto are both challenging and it’s a big achievement if you are able to complete it. Never the less, concerto helps to attract audience as well and it always inspires people to get to learn more about classical music.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Practice with strategies!!!

    Music is a performing art and it needs discipline practice to ensure the quality of the performances. It will be an endless beginning of a long session of practice, if you chosen to become a professional musician in the future. People spend most of their time to practice their instrument, but the time you spend on the instrument will not guarantee the result that you expected. So what we need to do is get the right strategy that works perfectly on you and have more productive practices.

    We run a little survey among the schoolmate and listed out the 3 most effective strategies for practicing. This is the 3 I get in my list: plan/organize your practice, do fundamental practice and be patient during practice. I noticed that all of them didn’t mention anything regards to technique or even musicality. This reflects that there is no direct way to achieve good technique and musicality, it have to keep practicing and it will come slowly.

    The most effective strategy out of 3 of them is plan/organize your practice; it’s 27.8% from the total, more then a quarter. Actually this is quite true that planning your practice session is something very essential and important. The benefit from this is you save up a lot of time and it allowed you to work more pieces in one practice session. Draft out what you need to practice and what you want to practice and organize the time accordingly.  Set a target for every practice to make sure you can focus on one thing and drill on it. This method allowed you to tackle down what you want achieve in a day and it’s also a good time management practice as well.

     Following that is work on the fundamentals; it stands 16.7% out of the total. When we talk about fundamentals, it refers to long tone, scales and arpeggios. We should know that the tallest building in the world built on the strongest fundamental of the world. This applied to the music playing as well. Stronger basics will bring you further in your playing. 99% of the music in the world is created from scales and arpeggios, work more on the basic is a one stone two birds strategy.

    Finally is being patient when you practice, which are 11% of them. Mastery of your temper is one of the most important things to succeed in your life. Being patient is the only key to achieve perfection in your playing.  Just like you plan a seed into the soil, and you need to take care of the seed and make sure it will grow healthily. You may never know when the flower going to blossom and when will the harvest season arrive, things for sure is if you wait it will happen. Don’t stop practicing when you meet an obstacle, find out the problem and practice patiently is the best solution.

    To conclude myself, there is no shortcut to the success. We have to work hard and smart in the same time. Give a try to any positive advice on practice and some of them may works on you. Be a smart musician and make your practice session easier!

Friday, January 15, 2010

Music is BOOMZ!!!

Hey guys! This my second post of the year!! Specially dedicates to Patricia Tow, my English teacher which is teaching me for EM1202, English for Academic Purposes. So I guess I have to be rather formal in my writing compares with my normal way of

" for your information Pat, LOL stands for 'Laugh Out Loud' "

What is music mean to me? pretty hard to describe it, but i will try my best thou. If you look through the human's civilization history, music stands a main role in the development in every aspect. From the royal to the commoner, from sacred functions to celebration events. Life of human beings is strongly bonded with music and the importants is greater then what you can imagine. People used to say that music is a universal language, but I don't think this is the best way to describe music. Languages are something that's invented by humans, music is something gifted from nature or mother earth. Humans didn't invent it, but we enhanced it and owned it. Music is something beyond you can use words to describe and music has a deeper meaning then words.

Let’s see how professionals describe it:-

"How to define music has long been the subject of debate; philosophers, musicians, and, more recently, various social and natural scientists have argued about what constitutes music. The definition has varied through history, in different regions, and within societies. Definitions vary as music, like art, is a subjectively perceived phenomenon. Its definition has been tackled by philosophers of art, lexicographers, composers, music critics, musicians, semioticians or seismologists, linguists, sociologists, and neurologists. Music may be defined according to various criteria including organization, pleasantness, intent, social construction, perceptual processes and engagement, universal aspects or family resemblances, and through contrast or negative definition.

Well, for what is music mean to me, music is BOOMZ!!

If you only can describe the music with a word, it makes no mercies to music. But if it does, the word will be BOOMZ! Forget about searching the dictionary or Google it for the meaning of "BOOMZ", it's something new and less then one year old. Is'nit too sad to say music is my life? My life is more then music, I have friends and family, foods, travels, and many cool stuffs. This doesn't mean music is less important for me, music is a part of myself, an essential for me. 

Why "BOOMZ"?? 

"BOOMZ" doesn't have a ultimate meaning, you can think of it refers to cool, very, dramatic, awesome, or maybe trendy?? It depends on how you think of it, and how imaginative you are. Music can be just MP3 for me when I'm bored waiting the MRT or at the bus stop; can be my career if I get into a pro orchestra; can be an assignment in my theory class; can be my friend when I'm sad; can be money maker if I'm a businessman... ...and many things else

As a musician, I present music and the music acknowledges me to audience. As Vincent, music is something in my blood and it's something I don't have to put on my face to show it but you can feel it from me. To conclude myself, music for me is everything you can think of. I don't live for music neither music live for me, we grow together and share every moment together.


p/s: here is an interesting article regards to the "BOOMZ"

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Hola 2 0 1 0 !!!!!!

Guess what guys??? Vincent was missing for almost 2 years!!! I really found that keep updating my blog is a very difficult task and it take a lots of time. And my blog is lagging of interaction with my followers or you may call it readers. sigh... ...

Well, 2010 is a new start i guess. The beginning of a new decade and I'm sure it will be a fruitful year and full with laughter and some crazy moments. For those who don't know what I'm up to now or where had I been, I'm now studying at Yong Siew Toh Conservatory of Music, National University of Singapore. Here is the link for those who never hear about this school or you kinda knew it but never visit my school, you would like to pay a visit to this webbie.

This school rocks!!! I had experienced plenty of amazing moment there. I met some of the great flutist that i thought i will never have the opportunity to  meet, and few stunning workshops such as the new Principal Conductor from New York Philharmonic Orchestra offered us a one day 2 session of orchestra rehearsals. Even though I'm wasn't playing in the orchestra but it's already more then enough for me to listen to him. And before i forget, Sir James Galway and his wife Lady Jeanne Galway visited us too!!! The childhood idol for the most flutist in the world, the man with the golden flute...

And the best part is, I'm a full-scholarship holder of the school. Well...apparently all most of the students here are under scholarship, or i should say it's all under scholarship. You have no idea how good the school is, and i really fortunate to get into the school. Although this school is the house of bitches and drama queens ( some mad men as well ), but it's well worth to study here! Or maybe this is one of the artistic sign of a musician??

Last but not least.....


Friday, September 26, 2008


Goodness me!! Mr.Vincent!? Where had you been?? You still alive??

Yeah yeah...I'm still here...blogging it's a long term dedication, dedication to the readers and myself too. It's unbelievable that i stop blogging for nearly 2 weeks! How can i let this happen?? Bad boy !! Vincent!!

Sorry guys and i don't mean it!!! I know...i know...i will give many stupid excuses but i really busy!!!!! I'm so stress up for the pass few weeks. I gonna rush for my programme notes and work for my finals, follow up with my graduation recital! YES!!! a solo recital man!! And i finally made it!!! yeah~~~ First of all i really have to say thanks to my dear pianist! She is a beautiful and understanding yet amazing pianist!!! Without her i can't make it!! She is~~~~~Kong Su Mei!!!!!!! muacks muacks~~~ a lot of kisses and hug for you!!

I'm so surprise Mr. Joost Flach came to my recital! I'm so nervous and i wish i don't screw up!!! fingers cross!!!! I had a good start on my J.S Bach sonata in E major, yes...i know...still shaky~~Later on is the suite by Benjamin Godard, I really hate this music cause i never ever make it sounds right! Fantasie for flute and piano is my 3rd item for my recital, it's written by Georges Hue. I think i did a great job on those scales...ahahahaha~~ And the very last finale is my Mozart Flute Concerto No.2 in D Major...According from Mr. Joost, it's good but the 3rd movement is slightly faster...should make it in a moderate tempo...(sigh...i think so...but i just couldn't stop my fingers, i m too nervous!!)

That's it for my recital and a foot stop for my diploma it's a brand new start for my life...i been occupied with few performances and will tour to east Malaysia the end of year...I planed to make myself a recordings so i can send to conservotary to apply a scholarship!!

Mission confirmed!!

I will work harder and i promise to myself i won't give up blogging!!!


Monday, September 8, 2008

fasting mode activated!

There is a question that i always want to ask my Malays friend. "Will you get upset when the fasting month arrived?" From what i know about "fasting", it's a very tough thing to do because it's involved physically and mentally discipline! You cant swallow your saliva when you are thirsty, you can't even kiss your mate! No food before buka's quite suffer that if you are hungry but you can't eat! A fat boy like sure will faint for the first day! LOL
So as a non-Malay, yet I'm Malaysian but Chinese! It's quite hard for us to switch or tune into the fasting mode...well...well...i'm not saying that i gonna fasting as well...i mean i try and avoid drinking water and eat my food in front of's tough!!! me, myself is naturally hungry most of the i wild put something in my mouth naturally when every i feel i want i show you an example: I just got to KL Central after my flute lesson with Hristo at KLCC, i decided to buy an ice-cream at McD...yummy!! a nice chocolate ice-cream, it's so refreshing under the great heat of the sun! And the platform is always packed with people and you gonna squeeze like sardine if you want to get in the commuter. So i have my yummy ice-cream while i m waiting at the platform...well when time passed by, i can feel some negative "energy" or "Qi" around me!!!!! my bloody Malay friends are fasting NOW!!!
I snake out from the sight of the peoples asap and try to cramp all the ice-cream in my mouth in once! what a terrible experience!! my sweet ice-cream was wasted and i can't have it slowly as in i can enjoy every single moment the ice-cream melt on my tongue tip! gee...
Anyway, i'm not blaming you guys? Boleh? I just want to show my respect to them because i know it's very tough! So to all my fella Muslim friend, SORRY!!! and all the best for the fasting month!!! I will help you all to finish the foods before they appear on your sight!!! muahahahahaha.....