Monthly Archives: April 2015

International Jazz Day

30 - IJD“Jazz is so much more than music: it is a lifestyle and a tool for dialogue, even social change. The history of jazz tells of the power of music to bring together artists from different cultures and backgrounds, as a driver of integration and mutual respect.”

Irina Bokova, UN Director General

We couldn’t agree more and, as you know, jazz instruments form a big part of our portfolio; from the superb Dupont BeBop Blonde archtop to our wonderful value-for-money Stradivari type violins, to our Dragonetti type jazz double bass.

Why is jazz such an important music genre? – so important, in fact, that the UN recognised its significance with an International day. Here’s a few reasons:
– Jazz broke down race barriers in the past and continues to create opportunities for mutual understanding and tolerance;
– Jazz is a vehicle for freedom of expression;
– Jazz can be a symbol of unity and peace;
– Jazz reduces tensions between individuals, groups, and communities (unless you’re in a jazz band ūüėČ :-O¬†);
– Jazz fosters gender equality;
– Jazz reinforces the role youth play for social change;
– Jazz encourages artistic innovation, improvisation, new forms of expression, and inclusion of traditional music forms into new ones;
– Jazz stimulates intercultural dialogue and empowers young people from marginalised societies.

Why not join us on Facebook and tell us what you think about jazz and whether it warrants it’s own UN-recognised day?

Browse our instruments here: http://www.sandarac.co.uk/instruments/21/

Finger Exercises

We’ve been running a short series on how to practice recently as part of our ongoing committment to #WednesdayWisdom.

Today we’re going to start a new series to help you strengthen your hands and fingers to allow you to practice and play longer.¬† Each week we’ll detail exercise that focusses on a specific aspect of strength or flexibility so be sure to check back regularly.

Please note that these will sometimes be different for bowed instrument players than guitar players as shown today:

Guitar¬† and bass players: start on any fret on the¬†fattest string. The numbers for your fingers are 1,2,3, and 4 running from index to pinky. When you get to your 4th finger switch to your 1st finger on the next string. Using the pick you’re most comfortable with start with a down-up alternate picking pattern.

29 - finger exercise IWhen you get to the 1st string and you come to your 4th finger change directions using an upward stroke to start your alternate picking. Continue with an up-down alternate picking pattern and work your way back down.

Arco players: start with any full tone position on the fingerboard on the 4th (fattest) string. The numbers for your fingers are 1,2,3, and 4 running from index to pinky. When you get to your 4th finger switch to your 1st finger on the next string.  Bow smoothly starting with a down stroke moving to an up stroke before moving to the next finger.

When you get to the 1st string and you come to your 4th finger change directions beginning with an upward stroke and continuing to moving smoothly back.

29 - finger exercise bowedPizzicato players: start with any full tone position on the fingerboard on the 4th (fattest) string. The numbers for your fingers are 1,2,3, and 4 running from index to pinky. When you get to your 4th finger switch to your 1st finger on the next string.  Pluck the string cleanly for each finger.  When you get to the 1st string and you come to your 4th finger change directions and work your way back down.

For all players: you should aim to do this exercise at a moderate, even tempo with as many repititions as it takes to fill at least 5 minutes Рfinishing on a whole rep.  You can repeat at a fast tempo afterwards if required.

Jacques Dutronc

Today we are wishing Jacques Dutronc a happy birthday. Born this day in 1943, Dutronc is a French guitarist, composer, singer, songwriter, and actor.

He has been married to singer Fran√ßoise Hardy since 30 March 1981 has a son (jazz guitarist Thomas Dutronc, born 1973). He also has been a longtime songwriting collaborator with Jacques Lanzmann. Some of Dutronc best known hits include “Il est cinq heures, Paris s’√©veille” (akin to “Waterloo Sunset” by The Kinks that All Music Guide has called “his finest hour”), “Le Responsable”, and “Les Cactus”.

28 - dutroncDutronc played guitar in the rock group El Toro et les Cyclones. He wrote successful songs for Françoise Hardy in the 1960s before moving on to pursue a successful solo career. His music incorporated traditional French pop and French rock as well as styles such as psychedelic rock and garage rock. He later branched out into film acting, starting in 1973. He earned a Cesar for Best Actor for the leading role in Van Gogh and, according to the All Music Guide, Dutronc is one of the most popular performers in the Francophone world; although he remains little known in the English speaking world aside from a cult following in the UK.