Playing the Mandolin
Learn a New Instrument: The Mandolin
The mandolin has been around a long time, yet this old time instrument remains current, thanks to its versatility, multi generational fans, and the downright catchy music it plays. To this day, countless thousands of music students learn the mandolin each year.

The mandolin originally descended from the lute, one of the most common medieval instruments. It became a very well-known modern instrument in countries like Italy when played by famous performers like Bernardo De Pace, and continues to remain so today. In the US, the instrument is very prominently heard in many bluegrass and Texas country recordings in the southern states and throughout Apalachia, in addition to the occasional Nashville hit. Even jazz has been known to be played on this versatile instrument, as heard by the famous musician Jethro Burns. Indeed, one can find that all manner of musical styles have been played and recorded on the mandolin if you take the time to search.

To learn the mandolin requires no more then a creative desire and a consistent devotion of time. Those who put in the effort to learn the mandolin are rewarded with several popular styles of music they can play on the mandolin. For example: folk music, country music, jazz, blues, old time music, and ragtime.

Most courses will begin with teaching the fundamentals, including an understanding of the instrument, basic chords, simple tunes, stroke patterns, fretting, playing an open string, and picking. When you learn the mandolin strums and chords, you will also learn to tune the instrument. You’ll have plenty of practice, since it should be tuned each time it is played. 

To learn the mandolin properly you must understand the instrument. The mandolin’s design is fairly simple. The body is basically a hollow wooden oval made to amplify the sound of the string’s vibrations. The 8 strings that run over it are divided into 4 pairs, each pair of two strings carrying the same note. They stretch up the flat, fret covered neck called the fingerboard, and usually made of rosewood or ebony, ending at the tuning box.

If you are ready to begin to learn the mandolin, you can find numerous free instructional sites and videos and demos, as well as more complete online courses for purchase. A private tutor may help you make quicker progress; you can find these listed in local classified ads or directory websites. Those who aspire to learn the mandolin and play the it professionally may want to consider taking lessons at a music school.

Photo Credit:Tim Green

A Viola
Learning the Viola for the Best Price
The viola, less well known than the violin but still extremely common, is a popular and attractive instrument. Just like the violin and the cello and all the instruments in the violin family, the viola takes a great deal of time to practice and even longer to properly master, but both the process and the end result are fun and fulfilling.

You can find viola lessons in many places. Schools and colleges often offer lessons that are open for general signup, and private tutors and instructors are rather easy to find. But the price of these is generally a bit to high for many people to pay, and some people just aren’t interested enough in the instrument to invest that much money. But what if there was a better price? What if there were even free viola lessons available?

Free viola lessons are available, easier to find than you know. If you have been looking for free viola lessons and have had no success, then it just means you have been searching in the wrong places. The best and easiest place to find these free viola lessons is online, where there are thousands of resources, videos, tutorials, and tips that you can use in your viola learning process.

The easiest thing to do to find free viola lessons is simply to use an online search engine, where you will find thousands of search results in a matter of seconds. You will find entire websites dedicated to the history, methods, and techniques of violin playing. You will also discover videos and clips showing you free viola lessons in action, demonstrating fingering and providing accurate and quality advice. Not only that, but there is also free sheet music, viola tuners, viola songs to play, and much more.

Don’t let a lack of money deter you from learning to play the viola. You can do it completely for free if you just have discipline, determination, and a good internet connection.

Photo Credit:Stuart Dallas

U2 Band
U2 New Film
The rock band known as U2 is no stranger to documentaries and film. In 1988 their award winning rockumentary, Rattle and Hum, hit theaters across the world. The Dublin based band went on to create hit after hit. In 1991 their hit album, Achtung Baby, was released. It hit record sales and become one of the most widely known releases by the band. It was no surprise that this release would lead to a documentary. In 2011 the release of a U2 new film was announced.

The Release

From the Sky Down is the latest in the U2 documentary and rockumentary releases. Directed by Davis Guggenheim, this film tells the story behind Achtung Baby. The making of the release, the trials and tribulations leading to the world famous music and the band that brought it all together. The U2 new film created a new standard when it debuted at the Toronto Film Festival. It was the first documentary of its kind to be pre-screened at the festival.

The Concept

The film was designed to not only tell the story about the making of Achtung Baby, but it was also used to commemorate the 20 year anniversary of the release. The band had full control over every aspect of the film, including who would direct it. Bono and the rest of the band members decided that if a U2 new film would be released it had to be directed by Guggenheim himself. They brought their new director on board for the project with open arms. The director decided that in order to make this U2 new film great they would need to go back to where it all began. Interviews and filming began in Hansa Studios. The interviews were individual, personalized and long. This only added to the background of how everything had come together.


Reviews of the film were mixed at best. Fans had the widest range of reviews with comments ranging from perfection to statements regarding the director's treatment of the bands personal lives. The personal interviews went so in depth, in fact, that several of the band members were noticeably uncomfortable during the interview process. Though the reviews were mixed the movie still went on rank highly with fans and critics. The lowest rating for the film was a meager C+ with the only fault of From the Sky Down being the appearance of ego-driven band members. It was noted, however, that when you are U2 you have the leeway to be a bit ego-driven.

Overall Impressions

Overall impressions regarding the U2 new film, From the Sky Down, still vary. Fans feel that it was one of the best documentaries ever made. Some fan views and impressions said it was amazing to see the contrast of how Achtung Baby came into being while seeing the conflict and uncomfortable nature of the interview process. It gave insight into the band members and their view of what should be kept private, what is hard to talk about and how personal the entire event actually was.

Photo Credit:Matt McGee

Art History Photo
Why You Should Learn About Art History
Art history can be a fascinating and useful topic of study for anyone. It doesn’t matter whether you have artistic talent or not, because the history and story behind art and famous artists goes beyond the person studying it. You don’t have to have any knowledge of art techniques, history, or anything else to begin delving into any of the wonderful and fascinating art history topics.

Art history is studied for a variety of reasons, and one of the main reasons is to be able to understand and appreciate existing art and the beauty all around us. Studying art history topics ensures that we truly value all different kinds of art and beauty for what they are rather than what they may represent. Not only that, but the study of art history can reveal to the student what human creativity really is, and what goes into the creative process of each individual. We can also learn about cultures past and present, finding out what is important to them and what affects their daily lives.

Among the art history topics covered in an art history course are various famous works of art, architectural wonders, and performances and films from the past. You will be able to delve into many of the most famous paintings, sculptures, lithographs, calligraphic works, and more, of the greatest artists in history. You will discover through these art history topics what truly makes a great piece of art.

Studying art history topics and taking a history course is well worth it not only because of the sheer interestingness of the topic, but also because you gain many other skills and career-related advantages. By studying art history topics you pave the way for a career in a museum or as an art critic, art gallery curator or tour guide, as well as many more fun and interesting jobs. Besides that, you gain critical and analytical thinking skills, as well as a grasp on other cultures and people that will benefit you for the rest of your life.

One thing that you will find amazing is the wide range of opinions and different emotions throughout history that art invokes. It truly tells a story, and you may find that the opinions of those who study these works can often be as varied and subjective as the artists themselves.

Still, the greats will always be revered. From mankind’s ancestors who used stones to draw on the walls of caves, to the works of Renoir, Da Vinci, Picasso and Dali: it is a fascinating journey through time. As many who paint or sculpt will tell you, the journey has not ended. As Leonardo Da Vinci once said, “One can have no smaller or greater mastery than mastery of one’s self.”

Photo Credit:fusion-of-horizons

Drum Teacher
How to Find the Best Drum Teachers
So you want to learn how to play the drums? Drums are actually one of the coolest instruments to master. Without drum beats, the music feels dry or dull. Sure—there are a lot of alternatives like beat boxes or synthesizers, but the feel of a real drum beat still differs from these instruments. Learning how to play the drums is not an easy task, though, and you need to find the best drum teacher in order to ace the beats! But how do we find the best drum teacher?

Finding the best drum teacher is not simple, but remember, the term BEST is subjective. What you consider best, may not be best for others, and the other way around. In simple terms, it is up to your standards to set the qualities for a best drum teacher.

One thing that cannot be stressed enough is the importance of your own goals and musical preferences. If you enjoy rock music and want to play a hard hitting style like Keith Moon, you might not want a jazz teacher. At the same time, you may find some commonality, depending on the style, if it is a jazz player like Gene Krupa who was equally flamboyant.

All that is to say, these kinds of influences, goals and preferences should be discussed before jumping in. Particularly with an instrument like drums, there are so many styles and techniques to choose from that some direction and focus may be required to obtain the desired results.

Another thing to consider before you begin your search for the best drum teacher for you is the importance of practice space. Yes, drums are loud, and as with all instruments you will need to practice in order to get better. There are electronic drum kits that are becoming more advanced, but you will want to make sure your teacher is amenable to this practice if you are going to go that route.

The best drum teacher need not have a wide array of diplomas and certificates, or a tall exhibit of trophies and medals. An excellent drummer may not be an excellent tutor so be sure to ask about his or her experience in teaching students to play the drums.Also, make sure to determine whether or not he is still active in the field. This is an important quality of the best drum teacher. A teacher who is still engaged in music is definitely more fervent and passionate than those who have settled to teach for the rest of their lives.A very important thing to consider in choosing the best drum teacher is his personality. His outlook in life and his way of dealing with people is a big deal. A tutor needs to be motivating, inspiring and dedicated to his work. Moreover, he should be flexible and must learn when to be strict and when to set back a little.There is no doubt that the best drum teacher will play a big role in your hopes of becoming an excellent drummer; but remember, your improvement and mastery in this skill will greatly depend on your commitment and passion.

Photo Credit:John Pemble

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