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April Band of the Month Lexington

April Band of the Month Lexington

April is Jazz Appreciation Month!

Jazz legend, Herbie Hancock once said “The spirit of jazz is the spirit of openness.”

It is in that spirit that we are thrilled to share with you that our Band of the Month for April 2016 is The MetroGnomes!

metrognomes

We are quite fond of The MetroGnomes. Composed of 17 musicians, this big band is made up of people from various walks of life who love to play music! They are directed by Doug Oatley, a retired band director from Lexington.

The MetroGnomes perform quite often in the Central Kentucky area! Keep reading below to learn how The MetroGnomes can save you money this month at Willis Music.

Also, you can find out more about The MetroGnomes at these links:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/The-Metrognomes-253513281345045/?fref=ts

Learn more about The MetroGnomes online at: http://www.themetrognomes.com/

Be sure to catch The MetroGnomes live in concert on April 15  and May 17. More information on those performances can be found on their Facebook page we listed above.

Did you know that by clicking LIKE on The MetroGnomes facebook page you can save money at Willis Music this month? CLICK HERE to learn how this works!

 

Want to be the next Band Of The Month in Lexington? Click Here!

Bass-ically Amazing

The Bass-ics.

The bass guitar is one of the most outrageously cool instruments around.  Whether it be an upright, acoustic or electric, the bass guitar is that driving force behind any great song.  When the bass player starts to lay down that thick and precise bass line for the rest of the band to walk on, people’s hearts begin to almost jump out of their chests.

It’s Bass-ically Electric.

Electric basses have taken the music world by storm and have given players the ability to expand and increase their bass horizons.  Once again, Fender has taken the guitar world by the horns and drove out the Fender Jazz Bass, Fender Precision Bass, and their latest musical achievement, the Fender Dimension Bass.  These basses all kick some serious tail and also put out some of the greatest electric bass sounds around.  If you don’t believe me, see for yourself in the video below.

How to Bass-ically Achieve Greatness.

In order to properly grasp how great these basses are, you gotta stop by and play on them!  If you want to properly achieve the highest echelon of your bass playing career, you should pick up one of these Fender basses.  Here at Willis Music, we offer a HUGE selection of Fender basses and we are constantly getting more and more in.  We have both closeout deals and brand-spanking new basses of all kinds.

That’s Bass-ically all I gotta say!

Cody

 

10 Tips to Improve Your Sax Playing

sax

Musicians play music because we love it, but everyone has a beginning point and all of us work to improve our performances. Below are some easy ideas to make your time on a sax better & more fun!

Number 1: Post your fingering chart where you see it on a daily basis

For me, there are always one or two very high notes that I forget if they aren’t in the music pieces I am working on. I have posted my fingering chart by my bed and see it before I fall asleep at night. If you don’t have a fingering chart, buy one! They are small, inexpensive and readily available at most music stores.

Number 2: Wet your reed before you play

The first thing I do when I pull my case out is pop the reed I want to use in my mouth, and keep it there while I assemble my saxophone and sheet music. This helps your reed vibrate more efficiently right when you start playing.

Number 3: Pick a position and stay with it

Depending on who taught you to play the saxophone, you either hold your instrument between your legs or to the right side of your legs. There are merits to both methods, and it is completely personal preference. Try both methods, and then pick the one that you prefer. But either way, stick with it!

Changing your position constantly will hurt your ability to play. This is because you will be concentrating on how to reach that difficult fingering through a different hand position instead of a perfect vibrato or even tone. When you switch positions, the angles change. This changes everything!

Number 4: Posture

Remember when you first started classes or lessons, one of the first things you learned was to sit up straight? We’re back to basics for this tip. By sitting up straight, your diaphragm has more room to expand. This means the ability for longer and more powerful notes, and stronger vibrato and tone.

Number 5: Tighten your Ligature

Have you ever gotten that awful bubbly noise of water under your reed? It will completely destroy any piece you try to play, and sometimes it isn’t possible to stop in the middle of a piece. Turning your ligature joint an extra half turn can make all the difference in the world.

Number 6: Make sure your reed is the right level of hardness

Have you ever stopped playing for about a month, and you start to play with your favorite old reed, and you’re like “Wow! I don’t remember having to push this hard last time I played”? And that is because you didn’t! Your embouchure (the way you handle the mouthpiece and reed in your mouth or the muscles controlling those motions) has grown weaker over the month you’ve been away. On the flip side, if you’ve been playing more than usual your embouchure will have grown stronger. Make sure you get the strength of reed that corresponds with your strength for optimum tone!

Number 7: Use a neck strap

Using a neck strap, especially when you’re playing standing up, is crucial. Distributing the weight off of your thumbs enables your fingers to move more swiftly and efficiently.

Number 8: Cite-read a piece before you start learning it

There are special competitions for cite-reading, for both individuals and bands. Being able to look at a piece of music and run through it a few times, and then being able to play it fairly well shows musical prowess. Cite-reading sometimes, even if you don’t want to compete in it, is a great way to stretch your music reading muscles. I tend to cite-read a piece of music that I am going to learn to play, before I start breaking it down measure by measure. I’ve noticed a dramatic increase in my music reading ability since starting this. To top it off, once you get the hang of cite-reading it is really fun!

Number 9: Play in an area with good lighting

There is nothing worse than playing in an area with subpar lighting. You can’t see the notes right. Playing in the sunshine or in a well light area just improves your mood. I play below a window and have a lamp by the window for playing at night.

Number 10: Invest in high quality reeds

Have you ever had a reed splinter in your mouth? It hurts and tastes really awful. Since then, I have always purchased a higher quality reed. Originally it was to avoid another “Fantastical Exploding Reed” but my tone quality has improved so much. And please, none of those fiberglass reeds. Only reeds made of cane or other natural materials for better tone and control!

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Hot Rod Walt Gretsch Guitars are Here!

hot rod walt

Gretsch guitars have been used for every type of music made. Country guys love ‘em, rockers swing ‘em around, punks slam power chords on ‘em and the jazz cats swear by their smooth tone. One thing everyone agrees on; Gretsch guitars look cool! Gretsch has now had renowned pin-stripe artist Hot Rod Walt come into the factory and do one-of-a-kind pin-striping on a few models, and we’ve got ‘em here at Willis Music in Louisville!

Click the pic to see Hot Rod Walt in action!

The post Hot Rod Walt Gretsch Guitars are Here! appeared first on Willis Music – Louisville.