Starting at the beginning of the year, we have had the opportunity to work with the wonderful people at Melodic Connections. Melodic Connections is a music therapy program, and they have been having a class in our Kenwood store every week since March. The class is set up as a “Career Module”, helping the students learn what it takes to work in the music business. We have worked on many things from cleaning band instruments, selling pianos, making change, and more.
We started out by learning how to put the set together, everything from assembling drum heads to attaching the cymbals. We worked on using teamwork to give each person a specific job, so that the whole group could work together!
Next, we talked about what it takes to sell the drum set! We all made a sample flyer and price tag and choose from them all to see which one we thought was the best.
Our Kenwood location does not stock drum sets, so that means it was time for a road trip! Melodic Connections arrived at our Eastgate location and got straight to work- loading the drum set into the store, deciding where it should go, putting it together, and placing the price tag. It was a great day! Again, we love working with Melodic Connections- they remind us every week that we work in the best industry around!
You can check out this cool timelapse video of the students from Melodic Connections from that day!
If you would like to learn more about Melodic Connections and what they do for the community you can visit their website by clicking here!
The National Association of Music Merchants (NAMM) recently chose Willis Music Company for the final selection of 2016’s Top 100 Dealer Awards. The NAMM website elaborates, “Each Top 100 submission was reviewed by an independent panel of judges and numerically rated across categories that included customer service, music advocacy, store design and promotions and were scored in accordance to determine the Top 100 list, the category winners, and the overall award, Dealer of the Year.” (NAMM)
We would like to thank our customers and staff here at Willis Music for their continued support, allowing us to achieve this prestigious nomination. We pride ourselves on giving our very best to our customers and music community and we are very honored to be part of the Top 100.
Willis Music would like to congratulate all the marching bands that participated in the State Marching Band competition and those whom placed.
High school marching bands from throughout the state competed at the Kentucky Music Educators Association State Marching Band Championships on Saturday in Bowling Green.
The five divisions and their final standings are:
- 1st: Beechwood
- 2nd: Murray
- 3rd: Williamstown
- 4th: Hazard
- 1st: Estill County
- 2nd: Garrard County
- 3rd: Glasgow
- 4th: Washington County
- 1st: Adair County
- 2nd: Bourbon County
- 3rd: Russell County
- 4th: Boyle County
- 1st: Grant County
- 2nd: Madisonville North Hopkins
- 3rd: Anderson County
- 4th: Hopkinsville
- 1st: Madison Central
- 2nd: North Hardin
- 3rd: Paul Laurence Dunbar
- 4th: Lafayette
Last night, I found myself sitting in a crowd of young people, ready to play the piece they had prepared for the Halloween recital. Seeing young people get up there and play is a great experience. There was even a young girl who composed her own Halloween song! And even more, I noticed the pride of the parents and grandparents who were there to see their children play. So I got to thinking, how do we get more parents to see the benefit of music education? So of course, I went straight to Google. I found myself reading all sorts of articles about the benefits of music making in young people. I’d like to share with you the article that I found on The Metropolitan School of The Arts Website. They list “14 Reasons Everyone Should Take Music Lessons”. I hope you find this list as interesting as I did.
1. INCREASE YOUR IQ
According to an article from The Telegraph online magazine, “New research suggests that regularly playing an instrument changes the shape and power of the brain and may be used in therapy to improve cognitive skills.” There is continually more evidence that musicians have organizationally and functionally different brains compared to non-musicians, especially in the areas of the brain used in processing and playing music. Some studies show that playing an instrument can increase your IQ up to 7 points.
2. INCREASE THE CAPACITY OF YOUR MEMORY
Research has shown that both listening to music and playing a musical instrument stimulate your brain and can increase your memory. A study was done in which 22 children from age 3 to 4 years old were given either singing lessons or keyboard lessons. A control group of 15 children received no music lessons at all. Both groups participated in the same preschool activities. The results showed that preschoolers who had weekly keyboard lessons improved their spatial-temporal skills 34 percent more than the other children. Not only that, but researchers said that the effect lasted long-term.
3. INCREASE MATHEMATICAL ABILITY
Reading music requires counting notes and rhythms and can help your math skills. Also, learning music theory includes many mathematical aspects. Studies have shown that students who play instruments or study the arts are often better in math and achieve higher grades in school than students who don’t.
4. IMPROVE READING COMPREHENSION
According to a study published in the journal Psychology of Music, “Children exposed to a multi-year program of music involving training in increasingly complex rhythmic, tonal, and practical skills display superior cognitive performance in reading skills compared with their non-musically trained peers.” It’s not surprising to hear results like that because music involves constant reading and comprehension. When you see black and white notes on a page, you have to recognize what the note name is and translate it to a finger/slide position. At the same time, you also have to read what rhythms the notes are arranged in and force your tongue to produce the correct pattern
5. BUILD SELF CONFIDENCE
Overcoming musical challenges that you thought you’d never quite master can give you a great sense of pride. When you first start learning how to play an instrument, it seems like just holding a note for a couple beats or hitting a high pitch is an amazing accomplishment. Many small successes will eventually breed long term, innate self-confidence.
6. REDUCE STRESS & BE HAPPY!
Listening to and playing music can promote stimulation to areas of the brain that promote increased joy and decreased stress. During the past decade, the investigation correlation between music and the brain has proven that music can modulate activity in parts of the brain that are known to be crucially involved in emotion. The potential of music to modulate activity in these structures has important implications for the use of music in the treatment chronic stress.
7. ENHANCE HAND EYE COORDINATION
The art of playing an instrument requires a lot of hand-eye coordination. By reading musical notes on a page, your brain subconsciously must convert that note into specific motor patterns while also adding breathing and rhythm to the mix.
8. LEARN PERSEVERANCE & SELF DISCIPLINE
Learning to play an instrument takes time and effort, which teaches patience and perseverance. Musicians have to work through difficult sections of music multiple times in a row before they can play it correctly. Practicing often and working on the hard parts requires perseverance. The best musicians in the world are masters of discipline.
9. INCREASE COOPERATION
Cooperation is an important aspect of being successful in life. Playing an instrument requires you to work with others to make music. In band and orchestra settings you must learn how to cooperate with the people around you. Also, in order for a group to make beautiful music, each player and section must learn how to listen to each other and play together.
10. LEARN RESPONSIBILITY
Maintenance and care are very important in keeping an instrument in working condition. Each instrument has different procedures to keep it functioning properly, but most instruments need cleaning and some form of oiling/greasing. In addition to maintenance responsibilities, there are other aspects such as remembering music events (like rehearsals and performances) and making time to practice.
11. LEARN CULTURAL HISTORY
Music reflects history and gives us insight on what it was like to live in the era and geography of its creation. Each piece of music has a unique history that is explored upon learning it. The more diverse your musical knowledge is, the more informed you are about a variety of cultures, eras and geographic influences that shape the art form as we know it today.
12. BOOST LISTENING SKILLS
Playing an instrument requires you to listen very carefully. You have to learn to hear when you’re playing a wrong note in order to correct yourself. Tuning your instrument means hearing if the pitch you’re playing is high (sharp) or low (flat). When playing in an ensemble, you have to listen for the melody and play softer if you’re the supporting part (accompaniment). Training listening skills teaches us how to be reflective and thoughtful.
13. ENHANCE RESPIRATORY SYSTEM
Air is one of the key components in making music. In order to play music correctly when playing an instrument (or sing music with your voice), you’ll need to take huge breaths and learn how to expel the air properly to make the desired sound. Breathing exercises are highly recommended for musicians, and they can strengthen your respiratory system.
14. MAKE LIFELONG FRIENDS
When you become a musician or a vocalist, you become a part of a bigger community. Not only is it fun to play music that you enjoy, but it feels wonderful to join together with others to create a unified sound. Friendships and relationships are strengthened through common interests and artists typically find that their most meaningful (and longest lasting) relationships are found through those they meet through the sharing their art form.
“The Sound of Learning: 14 Reasons Everyone Should Take Music Lessons – Metropolitan School of the Arts.” Metropolitan School of the Arts. N.p., 27 July 2014. Web. 30 Oct. 2015.
PROJECT Trio is a passionate, high energy chamber music ensemble comprised of three composer/performers from Brooklyn, New York. Blending classical training with an original sound and masterful performing skills. PROJECT Trio engages audiences of all ages by combining classical repertoire with elements of hip-hop and popular music, bridging the gap between high art and pop culture. They have been viewed more than 80 million times on YouTube and have been featured on NPR, MTV, and have played along side the St. Louis Symphony, Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra and schools across the country.
It was our pleasure to host PROJECT Trio last week at CCM, NKU, Winton Woods High School and Walnut Hills High School. They bring with them the importance of music education as well as stories of their many experiences. With the help of Gemeinhardt we gave a flute to both high schools and did a drawing for a piccolo at both CCM and NKU. We want to congratulate all the winners and thank PROJECT Trio for two days of great music, great ideas and a lot of fun!
Thanks for listening and CHECK THESE GUYS OUT!
I recall last year talking to a customer who has marked this sale on her calendar for years to come. It’s always the weekend before Thanksgiving. She thanked me for keeping this tradition going and said this is the one sale she looks forward to each year. In a world where sales, discounts or even free items don’t mean that much anymore, it’s good to know that people appreciate this sale for what it is.
It all started 14 years ago when we were trying to find an innovative way to get rid of older scratch and dent items and discontinued products. We thought we would try having a sale at our main warehouse in Florence. My Father built this building in 1969 and it was later expanded. From here we manage all our stores and our publishing business, which is international. Over the years the sale has expanded, but the concept remains the same. We did have some difficulty early on because the industrial park we are in did not allow sales to retail customers. We had to get special permission but now after 13 years I think the other members of the industrial park look forward to the sale.
This year the merchandise for the sale includes not only pieces from our stores, but from manufacturers who recognize this sale as an opportunity to move items they have sitting around. Just last week we received 8 skids from a guitar and accessory manufacturer. We have merchandise from music stores that we bought or stores that went out of business. We have band instruments from our rental program that we have taken out of our rental pool. One particular band director from Indiana comes in each year to replenish his inventory for his students. He buys instruments with small dents or cosmetic problems and fixes them up himself.
Last year we added free hot dogs and drinks on Saturday, we’ll repeat that. Many of you have been here before so you know to park around the back of the building and come on in. I’ll be there and look forward to seeing many of you. Click here for details or call 859-283-2050.
Take a look at some of the pictures and videos from last year.
Here at Willis Music we are always excited to add new teachers to our education program. Here are a few of our teachers to consider when choosing the teacher that is right for you. To sign up for lessons now, click here.
I just completed my third year of running sound at the Appalachian Festival. The Festival is a three-day event held at Cincinnati’s Coney Island. I’ve had the opportunity to mix sound for some great bluegrass and Appalachian concerts in the last three years. Reflecting back after a month or so, I began wondering: why Cincinnati and bluegrass music? I know bluegrass has a strong presence in the area. I also wondered, what is the purpose of the Appalachian Festival? With this in mind I started to do some investigation….
First, let me tell you about this year’s Appalachian Festival. Willis Music is proud to sponsor it for the 4th straight year, and along with Ric Hopkins from The Sound Workshop, I have run sound for the last 3 years. There are two main stages of the festival, where we use state of the art equipment like QSC K Series speakers and Presonus mixers. We can set delays and balance the sound so it is pleasing to listen to, while being able to hear the clarity needed for bluegrass music.
The Appalachian Festival is always on Mother’s Day Weekend and runs for three days. Music goes from 10 in the morning until 9 at night (groups play a 1-hour show with 15-minute breaks for setup). As you can see, there is a ton of music for people to enjoy. Some of the groups that played this year are: Rabbit Hash String Band, Sternwheelers, Pops & Patriots (Big Band Swing), Missy Werner, Appalachian Grass, P’s in a Pod, Good’le Boys, Retread Bluegrass Band, Wayfarers, NightFlyer, Dry Mill Road, Black Water, Steve Bonafel, Haddix Family Gospel, Evan Lanier & Bluegrass Express, Ma Crow & The Lady Slippers, and Oberst & Dowel. The last show on Sunday is always a real treat – the Bluegrass All Stars play as the house band, and all the other groups come back in a festival review concert.
Besides music, there is a living history section with Indians and Mountain people that teach on the old ways. There are lots of craft booths to pick up the perfect Mother’s Day present. Story tellers tell great stories with an Appalachian flair. And let’s not forget about some amazing food.
One story teller that is a treat to listen to (and you will walk away scratching your head) is Uncle Mike Carr. He told me a story that went like this:
A man was sitting at a picnic table eating his lunch. Sitting on the ground was a dog. A little boy walked up and ask “Mister is your dog friendly?” and the man replied, “Yes my dog is very friendly!”. The little boy reached his hand out to pet the dog and the dog growled and snapped at the boy almost biting him. As the little boy jerked his hand back he spouted, “Mister, I thought your dog was friendly!”. The man replied, “ He is friendly, but that ain’t my dog!”.
So what is the Appalachian Festival all about? It is about supporting the people from Appalachia. They raise money from the festival that then gets returned in the form of grants to help schools, community centers and artist studios throughout Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky. So far, the Festival has raised $150,000 for the Appalachian Community Development Association (ACDA), which administers these grants. Willis Music is grateful to be a part of keeping the Appalachian culture healthy.
Again, this is a great cause to keep history alive. If you are not usually a bluegrass listener, give it a try! I have found a ton of bluegrass music that I thoroughly enjoy and some that are even inspiring. Here are a couple of local artists with inspiring songs:
One-Iota with Steve Bonafel – “Last Parade from Anthem” from Of A Family Tree
The Moron Brothers – “Story Of A Song” from More On The Morons album
Another great local artist that I have became very fond of is The Missy Werner Band. I have mixed sound for them at least 8 times, own 3 of their albums, and just enjoy the sound of Missy’s voice. If you are at a show that I am mixing, you will hear me use one of her albums during set-up.
Visit the Appalachian Festival website and help keep bluegrass music alive. Without bluegrass, where would music be today? As Henry Winkler says in the movie Here Comes The Boom, “Without music, life would be a mistake!”
I asked the president of the ACDA to tell us a little more about the Appalachian Festival, and here is what he wrote:
ACDA & Willis Music
The Appalachian Community Development Association formed a partnership with Willis Music to enhance the music at the Appalachian Festival on Mother’s Day weekend each year at Old Coney Island. By providing excellent PA equipment for the music and Storytelling venues, the patrons have come to expect the great value added sound provided by Willis Music.
The ACDA, a 501-3c was formed over 46 years ago by the Junior League of Cincinnati for the purpose of helping Appalachians and their descendants adjust to the urban life, far from the hills of Appalachia. It is hard to believe that after all these years the need for this help is still needed in urban as well as rural communities both near and far from Cincinnati. Recently the board of ACDA, an all volunteer staff, narrowed the focus to accommodate other 501-3c groups who provide food or education directly to those in our Appalachian region who desperately need help.
Our Festival itself works very hard to provide a learning environment through entertaining events, displays, music, storytelling, crafts, demonstrations and living history. The story of Appalachia and its legacy in our region must be told and remembered. The Festival is the sole income provider for the ACDA. Without the participation from our friends such as Willis Music, Kroger, Messer Construction, Midwest Polaris, Burger Farm and Garden, and Edudoc, our funds would be very small indeed.
Please know that patronizing Willis Music assures this valuable participation will go on for years to come. We thank the management and staff at Willis Music for their time and effort at helping others in our Appalachian Community.
Thank you again,
West Chester, OH 45069 513.777.7474
Willis Music (Kenwood Galleria)
Cincinnati, OH 45236 513.252.0445
Willis Music (Eastgate Mall)
Cincinnati, OH 45245 513.752.6341
Willis Music Superstore (Florence)
Florence, KY 41042 859.525.6050
Willis Music (Lexington)
Lexington, KY 40503 859.273.4063
Willis Corporate Headquarters
Florence, KY 41042 859.283.2050
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