Wednesday, July 15, 2015

"88+ Ways Music Can Change YOUR Life" - Volume 1

It was a little over a year ago that I had this crazy idea to publish a book full of inspirational music stories. I thought if people knew how music had impacted so many lives then maybe together we could all support music just a little bit more. Well I'm here to tell you that we did it! On June 1st, My wife Joann and I published the book "88+ Ways Music Can Change Your Life" featuring 165 inspirational stories and quotes from musicians, songwriters, music teachers, TV/movie producers & actresses and music fans from all over the world.

There are stories that will make you laugh, stories that will get you thinking, and yes there are absolutely stories that will bring tears to your eyes. We have found it truly amazed at the many ways music has brought joy and comfort to so many.

Also contributing to "88+ Ways" were almost 2 dozen Grammy winning and Platinum selling artists, songwriters & composers and even a few TV & Film actresses you might know.

To learn more about it and read an excerpt please visit: "88+ Ways Music Can Change Your Life" on Amazon

Recording artists and songwriters contributing to "88+ Ways" include Bobby Kimball (Toto), Simon Kirke (Bad Company & Free), Vanessa Carlton, Siedah Garrett (Michael Jackson), Rick Wakeman (Yes), Rob Parissi (Wild Cherry/”Play That Funky Music”), Rob Hyman & Eric Bazilian (The Hooters), Billy Steinberg (Madonna), Bill Champlin (Chicago), Mark King (Level 42), Bobby Hart (The Monkees), Ciaran Gribbin (INXS), Rose Kingsley (Metropolitan Opera Singer & Ballerina) and Grammy winning Children's artist The Battersby Duo.

Film and TV actresses contributing stories include Audrey Landers (Dallas), and Darcy Donavan (Anchorman, My Name is Earl).

TV/Film/DVD producers & composers contributing include Fred Mollin (Friday the 13th, Hard Copy, Beyond Reality), Michel Rubini (Nemisis, The Hitchhiker, Tales from the Crypt), Jay Gruska (Cocoon-Movie, Supernatural-TV, Charmed-TV), Sara Flatow (Grey’s Anatomy, Desperate Housewives, Scandal)

50% of the proceeds from all book & ebook sales will be donated to foundations providing music instruments and lessons to schools and communities in need.

"88+ Ways Music Can Change Your Life" on Amazon

Wednesday, April 15, 2015


Well its been way too long since our last post - 2 months YIKES! We were on such a roll posting consistently for a while, but then life and music overtook us :) Since our last post we celebrated the 1st annual Teach Music America week from March 16-22 AND we finished collecting inspirational stories and quotes for our book "88+ Ways Music Can Change Your Life". "88+ Ways" will be published as an eBook and paperback on June 1st and will include over 150 stories & quotes including many from Grammy winning and Platinum selling artists & songwriters. I can't let you in on all the stories just yet, but I'm not too embarrassed to say Simon Kirke (drummer from Bad Company and Free) made me cry with his submission. Lot of stories that are going to touch peoples hearts and can't wait to share them with you.


One of the story contributors for "88+ Ways" is Jordan Lally from the band Fiction 20 Down and they are doing something pretty cool this year. They are releasing a new song every month in 2015, and March's release really caught our attention. "LOVE IS IT" by Fiction 20 Down offers us a much needed alternative to the disrespectful lyrics delivered by Robin Thicke and rapper T.I. in "Blurred Lines". Mr. Thicke may have been sued by Marvin Gaye's family for stealing the music, but in my opinion, lyrics that don't really respect women are the much bigger crime. "LOVE is IT" offers a light and happy beat with lyrics that emphasize the importance of love (real love) in all of our relationships.

Take a moment to take a listen to "LOVE IS IT" by Fiction 20 Down and then please promise me you'll treat everyone in your life with the love and respect they deserve!

To learn more about Fiction 20 Down visit them online at

That's all for today folks...I promise to be back with another post before the month's end and then back to regular posting in May. Thanks for listening and have a grrreat week!

Music, Love & Laughter,

~Vincent James

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

TEACH MUSIC AMERICA coming in March 2015

The month of March has been officially designated by the National Association for Music Education (NAfME) for the observance of Music In Our Schools Month (MIOSM®). This is the time of year when music education becomes the focus of schools across the nation. MIOSM began as a single statewide celebration in 1973, and has since grown to become a month long celebration of school music beginning in 1985.

This celebration aligns perfectly with the mission of "Keep Music Alive", so we have decided to make 2015 the first year we will also celebrate Teach Music America across the United States (and eventually beyond).

What is "Teach Music America"? "Teach Music America" will be celebrated the 3rd week of March (3/16 - 3/22) and during this week we are asking all music teachers to find at least one new students to teach a free 30 minute lesson to that week. We are also asking all interested music students (children and adults) to try and find a music teacher participating in "Teach Music America" so they can take one free lesson that week.

Why is this important? We all know that sometimes the biggest hurdle to anything is just getting started. We believe that by encouraging music teachers and potential students to reach out to each other during the month of March, many of them will continue to teach and learn music from each other long after the month is over. Our goal is to get as many new students starting to learn how to play music as we possibly can. Only by creating interest in new students will the art of music continue in our society.

The purpose of "Teach Music America" and "Keep Music Alive" is to help remind people how important and valuable music is and all the reasons why. We believe that the combination of

  • The switch from CD/MP3 sales to music streaming
  • Cuts in arts & music education
  • Less live music venues
are collectively leading music down a troubling path. With “Keep Music Alive” we are looking to push back in the other direction as much as we can so that future generations will continue to enjoy quality new music. With regard to music streaming, that ship has sailed, but we want to see artists and songwriters fairly compensated for their music by the numerous streaming services. We also would like to see music consumers reminded of the value of music they are listening to - Music is not free and needs to be paid for in some manner if we want quality new music continued to be created. We don't have all the answers of how this can happen but we want to help be a part of the discussion for sake of future generations of music makers and music lovers.

"Keep Music Alive" is also publishing the book "88+ Ways Music Can Change Your Life" in May 2015. "88+ Ways" will feature inspirational music stories & quotes from musicians, music educators and music lovers from all over the world. The book will also summarize some of the latest research on the importance of music along with ideas and examples on how schools and communities can help their own music programs.

For more information on Teach Music America and Keep Music Alive please visit where weekly updates will be posted beginning March 1st.

That's all for today it's been a busy month of February already as we near our story submission deadline for "88+ Ways Music Can Change the World". We are both thrilled and honored at the number of artists, songwriters and others who have graciously submitted an inspirational story or quote for the book. Collectively we are going to absolutely raise the awareness of how important music is to all of us. We thank you all from the bottom of our heart for joining us on this journey!

Music, Love & Laughter

Vincent James @

Friday, January 30, 2015

Russian Artist directs a 12 Robot Orchestra

Yes you read the headline right, Russian artist and composer Dmitry Morozov has been working on his robotic endeavors for several years and has now come up with a 12 piece Robot Orchestra that he personally conducts. The project is called Nayral-Ro and the "musical" sounds are derived from scientific algorithms. The robots performances are then controlled by hand movements made through a motion controller.

The result of this technological wonder is not exactly what you were hoping for, at least not yet. For anyone that remembers dial-up internet from the 1990's, you'll definitely recall the sounds your modem made when connecting you to the internet. The combined result of the this robot orchestra sounds a lot more like a Modem Symphony than a musical piece. What Dmitry Morozov has created so far is an elegant way to direct and conduct a dozen machines playing what I'll call "bits and bytes" music. While it's not exactly pleasing to the ear, it is a step towards eventually being able to have a human conduct multiple robot musicians performing a musical piece we'll recognize and perhaps someday enjoy.

We originally came across Dimitry and his Nayral-Ro project in thie article: - Russian-Artist-Conducts-a-Robot-Orchestra/. Check it out and you'll be able to listen to the sounds of his latest creation.

The obvious question now is, are we ready for a robot orchestra? Are we ready to have human musicians replaced by machines?? I hope the answer is a resounding no, however I fear the future on this topic has already been written. I'm all for technological advances, but when it comes to expressing human feelings through music and art, I don't see how machines however well programmed can compete with the human heart and soul. We'll check back in from time to time on advances in this field and we'll see where it's going. Hopefully they will find a way to retain the human element in futuristic machine performances of music.

Wow I can't believe it was 12 days from my last blog post, we are really slacking :) Actually we've been working very hard on our Keep Music Alive Mission and looking for stories for our upcoming book "88+ Ways Music Can Change Your Life". If you'd like to learn more about mission and how you can contribute a story or quote for the book please visit Have a great day and we'll be back soon - sooner than 12 days this time :)

Music, Love & Laughter

Vincent James @

Sunday, January 18, 2015

"Eye Play the Piano" Helps Physically Impaired Children Play the Piano

The power and reach of technology grows every year, and now a Japanese company has created a way for disabled children (and adults) to be able to play the piano using only their eyes. The company FOVE has teamed up with the University of Tsukuba to invent a headset that tracks the eye movement of the user. This of course has many possible applications, but in this case it is being used to play the piano. The wearer of the headset simply looks at panels on the virtual reality headset and this triggers piano notes and even chords.

The system appears to have at least 3 different modes, one where the user can play single notes, a second mode where they can play chords with accompanying bass notes, and a third where they can play a melody and a chord and/or bass note is played along with their melody.

How amazing and awesome is this! Now children who could previously never dream of playing the piano, can now do so and not only play existing songs, but also learn to write new songs utilizing this technology. This opens up a whole new world of playing and creating music for an audience who will immensely benefit from this capability. Take a look at this short 3 minute video demonstration that shows a young boy playing the piano accompanying a choir of physically impaired children singing "Joy to the World".

We first read about this amazing invention though an article in The Guardian here: The Guardian: "Disabled Play Piano Using Virtual Reality Headset". In the article they explain a bit more about the technology and where its leading to next. FOVE and the University of Tsukuba are now seeking funding to help distribute this technology to schools for the physically impaired. Presumably this will start in Japan and hopefully soon spread to the rest of the world. Personally I can't wait to see what future capabilities develop through this as the technology continues to evolve and becomes available to more children and adults who can benefit from it.

That's our musical tech tidbit for the day. We hope you all had a great week and will be back with another post early in the week. Stay warm (for those of us in the Northern Hemisphere) and stay safe!

Peace, Love & Music,

Vincent James @

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

How Do You Keep Teenagers Interested in Music Lessons???

Many times children will start out learning to play an instrument when they are in elementary school. Very often it will be piano lessons at home, or perhaps a band instrument at school including trumpet, flute, clarinet, saxophone, trombone and drums/percussion being the most popular. However, by the time these same children become teenagers and begin entering high school, their interest in music and music lessons often begins to fade.

There a number of reasons for this of course, not the least of which the number of distractions now presenting themselves these days. Teenagers now have computers, laptops, tablets, cell phones, cable TV, Netflix, Twitter, Snapchat, Instagram, Tumbler, and the grand daddy of all social media Facebook. With all of these entertainment options and distractions now available is it any wonder that teenagers today have a hard time wanting to stay focused on music and continue learning their instrument.

I can think of several ways to try and rekindle the interest of your teen (or perhaps yourself) in music lessons and music in general. Not in any particular order, here are a few:

  • Try learning a new instrument you haven't played before - Sometimes we get stuck in a rut playing the same instrument for years, and if we just try learning how to play something new maybe an instrument you've always wanted to play this would do the trick.
  • Consider learning songs in a different genre - If you've been taking classical piano lessons for years and perhaps you're tired of it, try beginning to learn how to play popular songs from the radio and YouTube. This is a whole different experience and playing songs that are more familiar to you may help recharge your musical batteries.
  • Try learning from a new teacher - It can be difficult to tell a teacher you've had for a while that you want to move on and try something different but sometimes that what you need to do. Get a new and different perspective from someone else who will undoubtedly have a different style of teaching. In fact don't be afraid to take lessons from several different teachers over time as you'll be amazed what different techniques and tips you'll learn from each one.
  • Start learning how to write your own songs or instrumental compositions - If pop, country or R&B music is your favorite style then try your hand at writing some original songs; if jazz or classical is your specialty then write a few instrumental musical pieces in those genres. Learning the process of how to write your own music will open up your eyes and musical hearts to so many different possibilities.

That's all the ideas I can think of for now, but I'm sure we will add to this list over time. I got this idea for today's post from an article in the Irish Times about how to keep teenagers interested in music. One major theme they discuss is to share with your music students the social importance and impact of playing an instrument. Playing music with others either in a band, an ensemble or any type of musical group can be one of the most satisfying experiences you will ever have. To learn more about what Music Generations and Limerick Voices are doing over in Ireland to help teens stay interested please read Irish Times - How to Stop Teenagers from Tuning Out of Music Lessons

That's all for today boys and girls - Stop back in a few days for our next post. In the meantime go find a quiet spot and play some music, or better yet call some bands and do a jam session.

Music, Love & Laughter,

Vincent James @

Monday, January 12, 2015

Preserving Nashville's Music Row for Future Generations

The National Trust for Historic Preservation recently announced that it is placing Nashville's Music Row on its National Treasure list of historically sites that are threatened by development. Along with New York City's Tin Pan Alley and Brill Building, Music Row in Nashville is where so many of America's treasured songs were written and first recorded. The preservation efforts in Nashville came into focus last year when a developer was looking to demolish one of the historic RCA Studio buildings in Nashville. This studio was originally developed by country legend Chet Atkins in 1964 and has been used by a multitude of artist legends over the years including Elvis Presley, Willie Nelson and Waylon Jennings. The Trust working along with Music Industry Coalition, the Mayor's office and several other groups were successful in saving the studio which for the last dozen years has been rented by singer-songwriter Ben Folds.

As the future of music and technology continue to change, many of the buildings and facilities that were once necessary to create the music of the day are no longer relevant. But that doesn't mean that the historic legacy of some of the most important sites should not be preserved for future generations to see and learn about. RCA Studio A was about to become victim to the development of more luxury condominiums. Similar size recording studios in other cities such as Chicago, Los Angeles, New York as well as international locations have already met this fate with their physical history now gone forever.

Here is the original article where we learned about these preservation efforts: ABCNEWs: Coalition-Announces-Effort-To-Preserve-Nashvilles-Music-Wow. To learn more about the National Trust for Historic Preservation and their efforts to save many of our treasured buildings, please visit them at

What musically history sites do you think should be preserved for future generations? Drop us a comment to let us know your thoughts. Until next time, have a great night and we'll be back sooooon with another musical post-it note for you :)

Music, Love & Laughter

Vincent James @