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18/08/2017

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The Personality of a Musician.

It has been suggested that Musicians score significantly higher than non-musicians in certain personality traits

It has been suggested that Musicians score significantly higher than non-musicians in certain personality traits and without giving too much of the game away, with your help I would like to take a poll   on various characteristics to see if there is a common type of personality for musicians. 


The poll is actually taken through poll cards on the video below
Questions will pop up in the video which you simply need to click one of the options. After you have voted you will see an aggregate of all the previous votes so you can compare your character against fellow musicians. Please answer honestly - all answers are anonymous and it would be nice for us to get a accurate sample.

PLEASE TAKE PART ONLY IF YOU ARE A MUSCIAN
You can of course watch the video if you are not a musician, but in this case do not vote.



I would like to get a large sample to make this experiment as accurate as possible, so PLEASE SHARE WITH ANY MUSICIAN FRIENDS

17/08/2017

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How many scales in an ABRSM exam?

A question often wondered by students going into an exam is "How many scales will I be asked?"


This post is basically in answer to a question I received on one of my videos on my YouTube channel.

the absolute minimum would be one of each type of scale, and this number increases with the higher grades

In answer to this, I would say that the absolute minimum would be one of each type of scale, and this number increases with the higher grades. It seems from experience that there is usually an easy one at the beginning to settle the candidate down, followed by more difficult ones. If you make a complete mess of one, the examiner may give you a second chance by asking another similar one. The mark for the scales is based on an overall impression, not only of how well the candidate knows the various keys, but also fluency, evenness, how promptly the candidate responds and that the speed matches the grade. So the odd mistake or one disastrous scale won't necessarily lose that many marks. 




It is believed, that examiners are supposed to work their way through all the scales and arpeggios required for the grade over the course of various candidates - otherwise, it would quickly become known that a certain examiner  always asks for Bb minor etc. Experience suggest also, that they aim to ask a mix of easy and difficult scales for each person, so you would be pretty unlucky to get all the worst scales for a grade, but you are bound to get some of them.

Examiners are aware that nerves play a role in exams and may well give the candidate a second chance to repeat a scale. A  struggling 
candidate is usually given several chances to redeem themselves, but someone who is clearly floundering on every scale won't be asked every single one. There just isn't time, and the examiner will have made up their mind on the mark fairly early on in the process.

15/08/2017

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Classical Musicians at extreme risk of hearing loss.

Classical Musicians at extreme risk of hearing loss.

**PLEASE SHARE WITH FELLOW MUSICIANS 

HEARING HEALTH IS IMPORTANT **

Classical musicians are exposed to high levels of noise for five to six hours daily and are at risk of hearing loss.

In this post I want to make you aware of some of the risks associated with being a classical musician or music lover and there is a “hearing test” below to see how good your ears are.


In the European Union, the EU directive sets a daily noise exposure limit value of 87 dB in the workplace. If noise levels cannot be adequately reduced, hearing protection must be available and regular hearing tests must be conducted to safeguard the employees' hearing health. However a flute or the percussion instruments produce as much as 95 dB of noise. Classical musicians are exposed to high levels of noise for five to six hours daily. One recent study among classical musicians found that 15 percent of the musicians in the study suffered from permanent tinnitus, in comparison to 2 percent among the general population.

Below you can play some sample tones at different frequencies. Click on each one to test your "Hearing Age". As we age, we lose the extreme ends of the hearing spectrum so for example people under 50 years of age on average can hear 12,000 Hz. And 15,000 Hz can be heard by people under 40. The frequency of a mosquito - just under 18000Hz is usually inaudible to people of 30 years of age. WARNING - some people find this test uncomfortable and if you have a cat or a dog it might send them a bit crazy - I would recommend trying this test at half volume to start and then repeat it at a higher volume if you wish. Also this test works better with headphones or good quality speakers.


10 kHz

12 kHz

14 kHz

15 kHz

16 kHz

17 kHz

18 kHz

19 kHz

20 kHz

21 kHz

22 kHz




So now I’ve finished scaring you - you might ask so what can I do? If you are a pianist - normal practice range is about a safe 60-70db but if you have an electric piano or even use headphones, obviously you can turn down the volume.


Etymotic ear plugs are developed specifically for musicians which reduce the sound by 20-dB equally across the spectrum of hearing whilst preserving the richness of music
Etymotic Earplugs

For those who play with others, either in orchestras or Rock bands for example, you might think - well I can’t wear ear plugs - I need to hear the other musicians. However there are devices called etymotic ear plugs - developed specifically for musicians which reduce the sound by 20-dB equally across the spectrum of hearing whilst preserving the richness of music. They are available on Amazon.co.uk and Amazon.com


Leave a comment below how you did on the hearing test and if you have any concerns about hearing loss as a musician or music lover.

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