Mar 15

Through the years, music has been known to soothe a person’s troubled mind.  Most people consider it as a profession to entertain the masses and get a lot of attention.  There is, however, another side to choosing music as a career.

Yes, we are talking about Music Therapy.  Music is more than just entertaining.  It is actually more therapeutic in nature.  Music Therapy is a relatively new career option in music.

Your next question might be: What degree do I need to study in order to become a music therapist?

There are several degree programs that are available in the United States that teach you to not only become a music therapist but also assist you in getting certification as well.

You must remember that your interest should not only lie in music but in psychology as well, while having the natural desire to help difficult and troubled people with their problems through your talents.

If you are interested in such a profession, be sure to enroll in a program that is certified by the American Music Therapy Association. After you have completed your course, there will be a certification exam that you will have to pass that is given by the Certification Board for Music Therapists.

Since this profession is a nascent one, you have to be updated with the latest developments as regards music therapy.

Feb 2

Chorus Line is back. And so am I. I saw the original in 1975 as a 25-year-old starry eyed stage manager who believed that my work in the wacky, burgeoning field of experimental theater would feed me body and soul.

I am back weeping in the Gerald Schoenfeld Theater. I am now 56, and old enough to be friends with the man whose name graces the theater. That is a small testament to the time and water under my theatrical bridge. I have worked all over the world with various theater, dance, and interdisciplinary companies. I have gone to galas and cleaned the toilets. I have held friends, too many friends, in my arms as they moved toward dying because of the scourge of AIDS. I have raised funds, raised the curtain, razed buildings, and endeavored to produce work that might raise spirits.

In the end I left working in the theater to write about it. The endless scrounging for money, funders, audiences, and enthusiasm had taken its toll and I moved to become a journalist, a writer. Still working in the arts but not as gut wrenching. And so I know, I feel, much of the struggle that is sung, danced and emoted in A Chorus Line. I have never been a performer, yet am married to one. And still I know the agony of “I need that job. I really need that job.”

Working in experimental theater, working as an artist is more a calling than a profession. And A Chorus Line vibrantly portrays that sentiment. After all, the very bright, creative Michael Bennett spent hours interviewing and recording real dancers’ experiences, people who were struggling to find their inner muses and feed them through work in the theater. And even though there is an ongoing controversy about whether or not they were ripped off when they were paid a dollar for their heartfelt stories, that is a question for the lawyers. Our only task as audience is to allow them to move us, to enlighten us, and for many of us from a certain era, to transport us to another time.

I sat, and as the lights dimmed it was as if a time machine took me back to 1975. One dancer, Bobby, wore a green T-shirt emblazoned with the logo tkts on it. This represented the then new organization selling tickets at half price in Father Duffy Square, 47th Street. The Theater Development Corporation ran it, and many of us wore the shirts as we worked hawking this innovation to tourists and passersby. Mine was blue with hot pink lettering. I had not given that shirt a thought in 30 years, yet here was its mate singing and dancing, and even this simple shirt flooded me with memory.

As audiences, we have now seen many shows that used Chorus Line as inspiration, a stage filled with great stories illuminated by performers who are beyond human in their capacity to move, sing, and fill the bare stage, vibrating with emotion. This 2006 Chorus Line does just that. Each of us in the audience reacts to different characters: Are we reliving coming out and discovering homosexuality, recalling spurned love, shyness triumphed by performance, or the thrill of making magic?

When near the finale Diana sings “What I Did For Love,” I lost it. I realized that my life, the crazy arc of my life, was all lived for love. I worked for more than two decades in the theater, where I earned nothing, had no savings, no IRA or retirement plan, but I was crammed full of excitement, had a coterie of equally joyful, wild friends and traveled around the world in circles. I have watched the spinning beauty of dancers, had my chest heave with the vibrancy of song, and seen my eyes melt night after night as words unlocked places I never knew existed. And yes, I did it all for love.

And yes, now I have less in my hard-figure balance sheet than many others who eschewed making magic and worked in what we used to call disparagingly “straight jobs.” But I have sewn to me, along with my wrinkles, blisters, and sliver hairs, an array of memory, experience, and people whom I would never trade. When what you do is actually done for love, then there is no balance sheet that can measure it.

If A Chorus Line will do nothing else, it will remind us of the magic that is theater, music, and dance, and for 90 minutes we will revel in that reality.

Jan 25

These instructions will be for a Gibson style guitar, or a fixed bridge style, meaning there is no whammy bar. First thing that needs to be done is the old worn or broken strings be taken off gently. 

With an empty guitar, make sure all the tuning peg holes are facing parallel with the guitar neck. Starting with the High E, push the string through the back of the bridge into the designated hole. Pull the string to the designated tuning peg and push through the tuning peg hole. While keeping light tension on this string, maneuver it into the saddle, by the bridge and the nut on the head of the guitar. 

Once the string is pulled through the designated hole and is settled into the saddle and nut, use one hand to keep light tension on the string and the other hand to turn the tuning peg in the appropriate direction.

If tuning pegs are split, meaning 3 on each side of the headstock, the bottom three tuning pegs including the High E will be turned to the right to tighten. The tuning pegs on the top will be turned to the left. However, if all of the tuning pegs are on one side of the head, all pegs will be turned to the left. 

Repeat steps moving from High E to Low E, otherwise known as thinnest string to thickest string. Cut off all but one inch of excess strings and tune according to your desired style.

Jan 17

Guest post written by Sidney Owens

When the wife goes out with her friend, the kids and I settle down for a good night in front of the television. Up to two months ago this never happened, then again two months ago I did not own a HD television set. My kids were always on those computer games. I could never get them off of them, I was sure their brains would rot and their eyes would shrivel up.

Anyway, I bought a HD tv and things changed rapidly. When my middle son saw a scene from the film Gladiator all he said was Wow! The scene was so realistic with the added bonus of surround sound that it actually made him take his eyes from his game. The fighting scenes in that film on HD are awesome. The actors seem like they were minature figures fighting on our television stand. The crystal clear quality is amazing and the colors are so vivid and entrancing. I will never go back to a normal tv, not after this one has actually helped me get the children away from their games consoles. We now regularly watch HD programming on Directv, the choices for kids are excellent, I just wish the wife would go out more often.

Dec 14

Posted by Heriberto Fuentes

I remember my parents dragging me along every year to our local mall. Right after Thanksgiving there was only one thing on their mind, going to see Santa Claus. My mother would make sure we were all bundled up while my father would set the home security alarm from Before I knew it we were out the door and inside the packed mall.

This tradition may have been torture for a teenager, but sometimes I forget just how special it was when I was a bit younger. As a child, I can remember planning for weeks exactly what I would be asking Santa Claus when I got those few special moments with him. His red outfit and white beard were inseparable from this magical season. Now it is my turn to offer this special treat to my kids. They are no longer asking for soccer balls and baseball cards, but video games and mp3 players.

I have come to realize that some things change, and some things never change. Going to see Santa every year before Christmas is something that I am going to be sure never changes. I may drag my kids to the mall well into their teenage years, but I am sure when they are parents they will look back, smile, and drag their own kids to the mall.

Jul 29

There are those who are environmentally conscious and recycle their plastic bottles, there are those who just don’t care and dump them where they want to and then there are those who collect plastic bottles so that they can make ocean going vessels.

David de Rothschild and his crew constructed the Plastiki mostly out of plastic bottles – 12,500 of them. They used an organic glue that comprised of Cashew and Sugar Cane to hold the bottles together. Among the other recycled/recyclable items that were used to build the boat was a recycled aluminum irrigation pipe which was used as the mast. Power was supplied via windmills and solar panels located on the boat.

The Plastiki spent 128 days at sea travelling from San Francisco to Sydney Harbor. While on its journey, the boat did make a few stops at Pacific islands it encountered along its way. The islands of Samoa and Kiribati were among those stops. The six crew members consisted of five men and one woman. They encountered varying weather patterns including temperatures that hit 100 degrees Fahrenheit and wind speeds in excess of 60 knots. They also had to deal with torn sails and one of the last storms they encountered had them making an emergency stop in Queensland to make repairs.

According to de Rothschild, the idea behind the bottle boat was to show people that trash could be reused effectively. After the long journey, the crew have changed their mind as to the fate of their beloved Plastiki. It will no longer be recycled as it was originally planned to be. Instead, it will be preserved and put on display as a means of inspiring others and raising awareness on recycling.

Jul 28

They say that the “devil is in the detail” but when it comes to signifying a special occasion with something as simple as a personalized ribbon says a lot about the effort that you have put into the occasion.

The truth is that the detail is the difference maker for any occasion whether it is a baby shower, a wedding, an engagement, a birthday or even a simple barbecue. However, appropriateness is also the watchword where one shouldn’t go over the top when it comes to literally nitpicking every flaw that can be seen.

Take for example, the difference silk flowers can make to a wedding arrangement as opposed to normal flowers. Yes, of course, every woman’s dream come true has something or the other to do with flowers but if one wants to be practical they will find that this type of flowers will meet the purpose while not costing that much either.

Favor boxes are another way to add that unique touch to a wedding celebration in thanking your guests for being a part of the ceremony, and which can be a memento to treasure as time passes by in your marriage.

And there are organizations that will help you to take care of these details so that you can share these special moments with your loved ones just the way you want it.

    Jun 30

    LeBron James has cooked up quite speculative whirlwind over where he is going to go. It has become such a spectacle that sponsors and media are bending over backwards to be the ones associated with him when he makes “his revelation”.

    Microsoft is the latest big player to throw in their name in the ring. Bing is already the Official Search Engine Provider of James’s website. But now it has offered to sponsor what can only seem to be the most ridiculous and pompous gesture of all – “The Decision”.

    The fact that LeBron James is taking a one hour special on primetime TV to announce who’s request he will consider is atrocious. The fact that ESPN did one of those backward bending exercises is even more atrocious. ESPN agreed to give him the slot, let him pick his own interviewer and let him sell the sponsorship rights to whomever he preferred to. However, in James’s defense, the proceeds from the sponsorship will all go to charity (The Boy & Girls clubs of America).

    All this (apart from the charity angle) is causing public opinion to turn sour on James. The program will essentially be a self-promoting slot of James where he will also plug his sponsors. The whole thing is taking on the look and feel of Pro Wrestling. In the event that all of this does end badly, it won’t look too good on him or his sponsors either (i.e. Bing). So should Bing really get involved in this?

    Jun 23

    The siege in front of the U.N. office in Colombo, Sri Lanka shows no signs of abating. Adding a further twist to the whole matter is Sri Lanka’s Minister for Housing, Wimal Weerawansa.

    Weerawansa was the main instigator of the U.N. office siege which began on Tuesday and now he claims that he has begun a fast unto death, until his demands are met. His goal is to get the U.N. to dismantle the panel that has been set up to investigate war crimes in Sri Lanka. A three decade old war ended last year, when the terrorists were routed and wiped out in an intense military push.

    The U.N. is investigating claims of extra judicial killings of more than 7,000 ethnic Tamil civilians. In this regard, U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon engaged a three man panel to look into the matter and to advise him on how to proceed. It is against this panel that Weerawansa is protesting against.

    Weerawansa is a staunch ally of the President and leader of the National Freedom Front. He was member of the leftist JVP party until he was thrown out for not following party rules. His initial blockade of the U.N. premises was diffused and cleared after Sri Lanka’s Foreign Minister G. L. Peiris intervened. However, Weerawansa returned on Thursday with an agenda that he refuses to back down from.

    A spokesman for the U.N. in New York, Farhan Haq, said that there was no possibility of the panel being disbanded.

    May 20

    Here are a few great ideas for presents you can give your mother on her 50th birthday:

    An outside adventure – just because she is turning fifty, does not mean outdoorsy stuff will be too challenging. Choose something your mom would like to do, something new and exciting. Giving her the chance to do something she has never done, or has always wanted to do will be the perfect gift. If your mom is not the type who would like physical outdoor activities, then take her on a hot-air balloon ride.

    A fabulous holiday – if it fits your budget, then take your mom on a holiday to a place she has never been to before. This will be a superb gift to give. Not only will she get to visit a brand new place, but also experience something entirely new. Take your mom’s interests into consideration. If she is into history, perhaps a trip to Egypt might do the trick, or if she loves the beach, then a trip to Bali.

    Memories – this is a very personal gift – and would be sure to move your mom to tears. Put together all your old memories in scrap book or find all your old home videos and compile a special DVD for your mom. This is a gift she will treasure forever.

    Spa – gift your mom a day of luxury. She will most definitely appreciate the extra attention and treatments such as a manicure, pedicure, facial, sauna, massages and so on.

    Whichever gift you choose, ensure that you make your mom’s birthday extra special and unforgettable.

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