Drummers are smart • Site changes • Stand By Me • Axis of Awesome
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Musical notation? Not much to it really...
If musical notation has you a bit mystified, this wonderful TedEd animation explains it all beautifully in no more than five minutes and twenty three seconds. It's also nice to hear an Australian accent in a TED for a change, that of musical educator and narrator, Tim Hansen who's list of musical achievements and involvements is wide-ranging and impressive.

Drummers are natural intellectuals, reportedly
This interesting piece is entitled the 'Amazing Neuroscience of Drummers'. The conclusion of a number of research findings seems to be that drummers are incredibly intelligent, cooperative and have high pain thresholds. However, this has me thinking that those of us who play not only drums but other instruments, or keep a steady rhythmic strumming going on our stringed instruments while navigating chords and melodies, must be but a whisker away from genius level?
Welcome to sweet 2016! 
It may not be super obvious at first, but the Ukulele Central website has had a makeover. It now sports a Google custom search which means you can search for ukulele information and register results from 60 sites which rank highly in quality, popularity, usefulness, or all three.
The other new function is links to quality/high profile sites in specific areas such as lessons, songs, teaching resources and groups. It makes finding these things easier as you can now do it all in one place.
My next project was going to be video lessons, but I've had the inspiration to do something a bit different and which meshes a number of interests. I've started work on a book which combines ukulele playing with brain fitness and memory exercises and applying the methodology of memory athletes like Australian champion Daniel Kilov to learning songs off by heart. There's some self interest involved, as being able to play songs from memory helps me do my various musical jobs better. However, I know it has potential to make a considerable difference to others as well, and will help us all keep our brains fit while playing with ease, abandon and not a music stand in sight...
I'll keep you up to date with progress and exciting trial results!
Stand By for a I vi IV V
Last year one of the all time great R&B singer/songwriters, Ben E King, died, aged 76. He left an incredible musical legacy, including the classic, Stand By Me. King was with the Drifters in the 1950s and had rehearsed the song with them, but their manager knocked it back. Instead, King released it as a solo artist in 1961. It was a huge hit then, as well as in the 1980s when it was used in a Levis ad and a movie of the same name. Jerry Lieber & Mike Stoller were the co-writers and producers (they wrote Hound Dog, amongst many others) and Stoller wrote the beautifully simple but incredibly effective and recognisable bass line. This YouTube clip includes shots of the riff being played on a double bass. Download the bass line sheet if you'd like to play it too. Ironically, for a song that has been reportedly performed more than 7 million times, the name of the album that the single finally made it to was called 'Don't Play That Song'.
Speaking of four chord songs (although I think these ones are mostly I V vi IV), this routine never loses its punch - Axis of Awesome at 2009 Melbourne Comedy Festival (language warning).  
2016 - I'm ready!
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