The Most Heard, Least Known Composers In America
March 4, 2014Posted by on
For the past few years Stephen Arnold Music has worked closely with an inspirational organization that has grown close to our heart: Little Kids Rock.
This innovative nonprofit transforms the lives of children by restoring and revitalizing music education in disadvantaged public schools all over the United States.
A bit of background: today millions of American children receive little to no music in their school curriculum. Major budget cuts continue to force school music programs to close, particularly in schools serving low-income communities.
Little Kids Rock partners with public school districts, training teachers with a groundbreaking curriculum. The nonprofit also donates all of the instruments and resources necessary to run the schools’ music programs.
Last Saturday, March 1st, I had a rare opportunity to sit in on one of the Little Kids Rock eight hour training workshops for instructors as they initiated the launching of 60 Dallas Independent School District schools.
That’s right, not six or 16 but 60 DISD schools. For a guy who grew up in Dallas, I can’t tell you how proud that makes me.
It was time consuming, painstaking work lead by Little Kids Rock founder David Wish and music director Scott Burstein. The pair led 25-plus DISD teachers (all of whom graciously donate their time) through a marvelous process on how to teach the curriculum. The seminar included everything from holding a guitar and a pick to tuning an instrument, to warm up exercises and learning songs (with “one-finger chords”) all the way through songwriting techniques.
Can you imagine the delight of seeing a second or third grader write and perform his or her song? The one-finger chord process was simply amazing: the very idea of playing The Beatles’ classic “Eleanor Rigby” with just one finger was unforgettable.
Since founded 12 years ago, Little Kids Rock has taught more than 120,000 schoolchildren to play guitar, piano, bass and drums. Currently, there are chapters in 25 cities with over 1,200 dedicated teachers at the helm.
But if you think the best part is the music, the lessons, or even the songs they learn to play, think again. It’s the fact that children with arts instruction are three-times more likely to continue their education and even earn a degree.
This program also gives schoolchildren something to look forward to. It provides confidence and, most importantly, teaches kids how to express themselves, literally transforming their lives. Simply, music is the vehicle that can make a significant difference in their lives.
One of the first things Little Kids Rock does in workshops is to show a video clip of renowned bassist Victor Wooten, a five-time Grammy Award winner who plays with Béla Fleck and the Flecktones. In Music as a Language Wooten makes the case for learning music in the same way as we learned our first language, calling for a more natural, less academic approach. He makes the point that, as babies, we weren’t taught our first language or corrected when we made a mistake. We didn’t have to write out our ABCs (read music) before we talked (played music). We didn’t even know we were beginners and got to ‘jam’ with people much better than us. Wooten draws on his own musical education as an example of how taking this approach can deliver great results.
It’s a powerful message, and to hear it from one of the world’s best players is even more inspiring.
I’d been at the workshop since 9 a.m. and at about 4 p.m. I was exhausted, but energized. But that’s when the real fun began. Little Kids Rock brought four or five students from DISD schools to perform. A pair of guitars, a bass, drums and a singer, all playing original compositions they had learned and perfected through the program. Before Little Kids Rock, not one of these musicians had ever so much as picked up an instrument. It was truly inspirational!
For years when people would ask me, “What comes first, the words or the music?”
I’d always say, “The deadline.”
After the Little Kids Rock workshop in Dallas, I think I’ll modify my stock answer. What comes first, the words or the music?
(For more information on Little Kids Rock click here)
December 2, 2013Posted by on
Seasons Greetings, Everyone!
The holidays are here, and this year has a special meaning. I’d like to invite you to help us raise awareness for a great little cause with a very big heart.
It’s Little Kids Rock, a fantastic nonprofit dedicated to revitalizing music education in America. With your help, Little Kids Rock provides free instruments and music lessons to underserved public school kids, coast-to-coast.
Last year we produced a special CD called The Six Strings of Christmas, an album of holiday arrangements performed by our family of studio musicians — those great players we work with every day. They donated their services, and we all donated our time to make it happen, resulting in a collection of 16 great acoustic yuletide classics all played on a six-string… well, with a few 4, 8, and 12 strings thrown in just for fun.
Thanks to the generosity of clients and friends like you, we were able to give $3,000 to Little Kids Rock.
We’re at it again this year, and here’s the best part: just like last year…100% of each $9.99 CD purchase goes directly to Little Kids Rock.
One of my favorite videos is watching the faces of these kids as they each receive a guitar at this Little Kids Rock workshop.
You can click here to learn more about Little Kids Rock and listen to The Six Strings of Christmas CD by clicking here.
Thank you so much for you help. Happy Holidays, and thanks for helping Little Kids Rock!
January 9, 2013Posted by on
It’s no secret we are huge fans of Jimi Hendrix over here at Stephen Arnold Music. That guy could shred and create new sounds on a guitar unlike anyone else. He truly earned and deserves Rolling Stone’s “Greatest Guitarist of All Times” title. Here’s the premiere of Jimi’s unreleased 1968 track “Somewhere” featuring Buddy Miles and Stephen Stills.
You can read more about this track and Jimi’s upcoming album “People, Hell and Angels” at Rolling Stone »
September 27, 2012Posted by on
Thank you for your interest in our new Vinyl LP featuring “S.A.M. I AM” in “stereo 3D” with special 3D glasses.
To request your free LP just click on the email link below!
Or give us a call at:
We look forward to hearing from you!
June 18, 2012Posted by on
Wow. We just got done with the PromaxBDA conference in L.A. last week (had a blast), and now we are headed off to Vegas next week for Promax’s Station Summit conference.
The 2012 PromaxBDA Station Summit is a four-day critical gathering where networks, station groups, syndicators and local broadcasters discuss, dialogue and debate the issues, trends and emerging business opportunities driving success in local television.
We’re looking forward to the Summit, meeting with friends and colleagues, and it’s an opportunity for us to have another cool giveaway. So, if you want a chance to win some awesome prizes, just stop by our Kiosk, located in the crossroads of the main hallway next to the session rooms at Planet Hollywood, for more details.
GRAND PRIZE – Giveaway Item #1
Handmade Tonedevil: Harp Guitar S-12HG
Not your everyday 12 string, this harp guitar is handmade by Anthony and David Powell in Idaho. Designed after the vintage Knutsen/Dyer harp guitars from the early 1900s, it has an Alaskan sitka top, African mahogany back and sides, and Cocobolo rosewood fingerboard. Heavenly.
Giveaway Item #2
Fender Road Worn ’50s Stratocaster
Few things in this world have gotten cooler with age than the Stratocaster guitar. Born in the ’50s, they became even cooler after years of use (and abuse) on the road; morphing over time to look appealingly battered and feel even better than when they were brand-new. Fender’s maple-fretboard Road Worn ’50s Stratocaster delivers that aged look and feel – built to look, sound and feel like it has more than just a few miles on it. Designed with 1950s specs, including a nitrocellulose-lacquer finish, and supercharged with Tex-Mex pickups and 6105 frets.
Giveaway Item #3
Mary Frances “Hall of Fame” Leather Guitar Handbag
Be the music sensation you’ve always wanted to be…or at least feel like it when you carry this perfect guitar replica. This registered/numbered handmade leather purse is a conversation starter that will be the hit of any party.
Also, come join us at our “Jimi Hendrix Jam Party” Thursday evening, 9pm, in our Panorama Suite #1101, South Tower at Planet Hollywood and receive a complimentary copy of Stephen’s new book “A Story Of Six Strings”.
“If you like guitars, you’re going to love this book. The combination of cool guitars, brilliant photography, and funny stories results in one of the best guitar books I’ve seen.” — Steve Miller, The Steve Miller Band
We look forward to seeing you at the conference. Viva Las Vegas!
April 12, 2012Posted by on
Today the 2012 Edward R. Murrow Awards were announced by RTDNA (The Radio Television Digital News Association). Congratulations from all of us here at Stephen Arnold Music to this years winners.
RTDNA (formerly known as RTNDA) has been honoring outstanding achievements in electronic journalism with the Edward R. Murrow Awards since 1971. Murrow’s pursuit of excellence in journalism embodies the spirit of the awards that carry his name. Murrow Award recipients demonstrate the spirit of excellence that Edward R. Murrow made a standard for the broadcast news profession.
In honor of Edward R. Murrow and this year’s award winners, we thought we would post this clip from the George Clooney movie “Good Night, And Good Luck” – A riveting speech given by David Strathairn as Edward R. Murrow at RTNDA in 1958.
February 7, 2012Posted by on
Nothing sounds like vinyl. An analog recording has a quality, a warmth and expansiveness, that digital just can’t equal.
For those of you too young to remember what it’s like to drop a needle on a record, it’s hard to explain how it turned the act of listening into a sacred ritual, something requiring care and attention, but you may get your turn yet. According to the Wall Street Journal, while CD sales fell 5% last year, sales of vinyl records grew by 36%. Everything old is new, again. Hipsters are buying them like hotcakes.
We never gave up on vinyl. It’s not just the quality of the sound that we love so much, but the fact that an album is an actual thing. Its size allows for artwork that can’t be effectively shrunk down to fit on a CD jewel box. It has a weight that feels like it matters. Nothing about vinyl says disposable.
That’s why we released our own vinyl LP last year, “Sonic Branding”. We took special care to create a package that provided the perfect visual accompaniment to the music it contained. If you have it, but don’t have a record player, run out to Target and buy one (or just pop the companion CD into your player if you must). Put on your headphones (the kind with the RCA jack) and pour a glass of your favorite beverage. We suggest a nice single malt scotch. Then, let those warm tones carry you away on a cloud of sonic bliss.
Don’t take our word for it. Check out these recent articles about the vinyl revival:
- Dallas Record Company Benefits From Vinyl Record Boom (NBC DFW) »
- Neil Young: Steve Jobs listened to vinyl (USA Today) »
- It’s Alive! Vinyl Makes a Comeback (The Wall Street Journal) »
December 2, 2011Posted by on
I remember when Carol and I first got married, she was getting her masters in Special Ed and her thesis was on autism. We kept 5 autistic boys in our home for a year! Those were such hard times, but great times and so rewarding… it made me realize and prioritize what’s really important.
With that in mind, here’s a great track accompanying an even a better message (at least until the advertisers plug… Oops–did I say that?).
I love the way the space in this acoustic guitar piece allows room for the mother’s voiceover to weave in and out and complement her sense of loving acceptance and hope. The hallelujah vocals provide a subtle touch that drives the comforting feeling of this piece home.
What matters most to you?
November 16, 2011Posted by on
‘TIS THE SEASON for singing 400 various letters of the alphabet, for 100+ TV stations … and in many cases, cramming 20 lbs. of lyrics into a 5 lb. song. We are now officially “Christmased out”… and it’s not even Thanksgiving!
Here are a few fun clips, live from the session featuring the talented (and patient) singer Annagrey.
Be sure to check out the 2nd clip- when we figured out she had sung every letter in the alphabet!
Merry Christmas to all our friends at KAALKAMCKAMRWAWVKARDKARKKAVUKBTVWCIAKCRAKDBCKETKWCJBKEYCKFBBKFDXWCYBKGETKGNSKGWNWDEF