Category Archives: Music

Quix Tip: Top Ten Songs You Can Play Along With on Your C Harmonica

If you have a harmonica in the key of C you can play along with recordings of these songs. Pick your spot on the harmonica and try drawing air in, or blowing air out. It’s fun and easy too! Piano Man by Billy Joel – Play out more than in, melody is in the middle, starting on Hole Six, Blow out. Love Me Do by the Beatles – Draw in first on the bottom three holes and then when the chord changes, blow out on the bottom three holes. Repeat. Or try playing the single note melody on the middle of the harmonica. The first note is Hole Five, draw in. Come Together by the Beatles – This very easy melody can be played almost entirely on Holes Four and Five, drawing in. Start on Hole Five, drawing in. Early in the Morning by Louis Jordan – Draw in first on the bottom three holes and then when the chord changes, blow out on the bottom three holes to play this blues rumba. Repeat. In the one spot of the song that sounds different, draw in on Hole One only. Ode to Joy by Pete Seeger (This lovely version of Beethoven’s melody from the Ninth Symphony is on Pete’s album simply titled Pete) Play out more than in. Melody is in the middle. Start on Hole Five – blow out. Rawhide by Frankie Laine (yes, this is the same classic Rawhide that the Blues Brothers did) – Play the melody only. The first phrase moves back and forth on Hole Two, blow out and then Hole Three, blow out, starting on Hole Two. The second phrase moves back and forth on Hole Two, draw in and then Hole Three, draw in and moves up from there. Can’t Help Falling In Love by Elvis Presley (His version on Aloha From Hawaii begins in the key of C) – Play the melody, the first three notes are Hole Four, blow out; Hole Six, blow out; Hole Four, blow out. These Boots Are Made For Walkin’ by Nancy Sinatra – Play the melody starting (and staying on for a while) Hole Five, Blow out. We Shall Overcome, Nobody Knows the Trouble I’ve Seen, and Swing Low Sweet Chariot (all recordings by Charlie Haden and Hank Jones on their beautiful album of spirituals Steal Away) – Try playing the melodies on the middle of the harmonica. Batman (the original wacky 60s TV show theme) – Draw in first on the bottom three holes and then when the chord changes blow out on the bottom three holes. Then repeat. In the one spot of the song that sounds different, draw in on Hole One only. Don’t forget to also add the ‘Bat-man’ vocal part! *The melodies of any simple folk songs, most Americana songs (Shenandoah, Amazing Grace, etc.) can be played, also spirituals and nursery rhymes. You don’t need a recording, just try to find the melody in the middle of the harmonica. Where to get a C harmonica – If you’re a graduate of our Play the Blues program you are already the owner of a C harmonica. If you’re not, it’s time to get your team in tune and give us a call! If you want to try these songs on your own before then, go to a music store and ask for a harmonica in the key of C. Or here on Amazon. Where to get recordings of these songs – The iTunes store, the library or your favorite local music store. Learn more: Play the Blues - Learn to play the blues harmonica in just two hours! Each team member will receive their own harmonica, a copy of Blues Harmonica for Beginners book and play-a-long CD. Within minutes you will be playing a real blues song together. The grand finale features your team as the stars performing an original blues song that you have created together!

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Quest Story: Buddy Guy’s Chicago Blues Quest

Born in 1936, Buddy Guy grew up in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. As a teenager he discovered his quest – playing the blues guitar. When he was 21 years old, he left Louisiana to seek his fortune in Chicago, where such legends as Muddy Waters, Howling Wolf and Little Walter were at the peak of their powers. Almost painfully shy and self-critical, his money ran out. He didn’t have any gigs and he started thinking about heading back home. His luck changed when he was invited to audition at the famous 708 club, where Muddy Waters heard him. “I was going on my third day without eating in Chicago, trying to borrow a dime to call my mom to get back to Louisiana. And Muddy Waters bought me a salami sandwich and put me in the back of his 1958 Chevy station wagon. He said, ‘You’re hungry, and I know it.’ And talking to Muddy Waters, I wasn’t hungry anymore; I was full just for him to say, ‘Hey.’ I was so overjoyed about it, my stomach wasn’t cramping anymore. I told him that, and Muddy said, ‘Get in the car.” He competed in guitar battles, where he emulated the showmanship of his childhood hero Guitar Slim. “I just walked out there with this 150-foot cord, and it was snowing, and I just went straight on out the door. The next day the news media was there, wanting to know who I was.” His performance at a competition in 1958 battling with guitar legends Magic Sam and Otis Rush earned him his first recording contract. Buddy Guy’s fiery, exuberant and at times anarchic guitar playing and singing has entertained audiences around the world, from his early days backing up Muddy Waters and playing with the great harmonica player Junior Wells, to his highly successful solo career. His club, Buddy Guy’s Legends, is one of the most popular tourist destinations in ‘Sweet Home Chicago.’ Learn more: Play the Blues - Learn to play the blues harmonica in just two hours! Each team member will receive their own harmonica, a copy of Blues Harmonica for Beginners book and play-a-long CD. Within minutes you will be playing a real blues song together. The grand finale features your team as the stars performing an original blues song that you have created together!

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Music Team Building Trivia Challenge

Here are some fun music trivia questions from our Name That Tune team building program! Scroll down to find out the answers. The Questions What song did the FBI determine is unintelligible at any speed? In which Madonna song were her vocals pitched up to make her sound younger? (She was 26 at the time.) What song was written after the lead singer and his friend, Marty Jones, got drunk at a bar and were too chicken to talk to a couple of girls (before the lead singer was famous)? What is the name of the duo featuring the brother of Dan Seals, who was “England Dan” of England Dan and John Ford Coley? What was their most popular song? What song made Eminem want to give up rapping? What was the orginal song from which Sesame Street made a version called “(I Can’t Get No) Cooperation” about a school kid who couldn’t find anyone to play jump rope or seesaw with? What song was used in commercials for Bud Light beer in the 90s, featuring 4 guys dressed up as women to take advantage of a promotion at a bar? What song was inspired by the German singer Nina Hagen, when the lead singer of the band came across one of her jackets that he liked? She insisted he take it, explaining that giving stuff away creates good energy. What song did this band’s record company not want on their album because they thought it was too long and that no radio station would play it? The Answers Louie Louie by the Kingsmen Borderline Mr. Jones by Counting Crows Seals and Crofts, Summer Breeze Ice Ice Baby by Vanilla Ice (I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction by The Rolling Stones Ladies Night by Kool and the Gang Give It Away by Red Hot Chili Peppers Free Bird by Lynyrd Skynyrd Explore this idea more fully in Quixote Consulting’s music team building activities: Play the Blues – As featured on NPR and in The Meeting Professional  Learn to play the blues harmonica in just two hours! Each team member will receive their own harmonica, a copy of Blues Harmonica for Beginners book and play-a-long CD. Within minutes you will be playing a real blues song together. The grand finale features your team as the stars performing an original blues song that you have created together! Give the Kids Music – Learn to play and build musical instruments and then give the gift of music to underserved children.

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Nineteen Albums without Words to Support You Playing Work As a Ballad

If you’re attempting to play some important part of your work as a ballad, it will be really helpful to listen to ballads in the background as support. Here are twenty instrumental albums without words to support you playing the work slowly with beauty and feeling. Charlie Haden and Pat Metheny – Beyond the Missouri Sky John Scofield – Quiet John Coltrane – Ballads Chopin – Nocturnes Branford Marsalis – Eternal Anthony Phillips – Field Day Mum – Finally We Are No One David Friesen – Inner Voices Keith Jarrett & Charlie Haden – Jasmine Charlie Haden – Land of the Sun Ledward Kaapana – Led Live – Solo George Van Eps – Mellow Guitar Bert Lucarelli, Susan Jolles – Music for Oboe & Harp George Van Eps – My Guitar Charlie Haden & Kenny Barron – Night and the City Charlie Haden – Nocturne Luis E. Bacalov – The Postman (Il Postino) Branford Marsalis – Romances for the Saxophone Barrington Pheloung – Shopgirl

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Quix Tip – Make Your Own Music

Shuffle, skip, whistle, hum. Tap on your coffee cup or your steering wheel in time to music. Sing along to the radio at work, in your car, in the shower. Sing wherever you feel comfortable, and try some places where you don’t. Experiment musically with Louis Armstrong’s quote: “What we play is life.”

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Eleven Albums with Words to Support You Playing Work As a Ballad

If you’re attempting to play some important part of your work as a ballad, it will be really helpful to listen to ballads in the background as support. Here are twelve albums with singers and words to support you playing the work slowly with beauty and feeling. Rebecca Martin – People Behave Like Ballads Rebecca Martin – The Growing Season Rebecca Martin – Thoroughfare Frank Sinatra – In the Wee Small Hours of the Morning Frank Sinatra – Only the Lonely Iron & Wine – Around the Well Janis Ian – Between the Lines Silvio Rodríguez – Dominguez Dáithí Sproule – A Heart Made of Glass k.d. lang – Watershed Chet Baker – Let’s Get Lost

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Play the Symphony of Your Day

 “I hear America singing, the varied carols I hear…each one singing his…each singing what belongs to her and none else.” – Walt Whitman Take a moment to search with your ears to the sounds around you. It may be helpful to close your eyes – sound is noticed more fully when the eyes are closed. Take in your office symphony, the symphony of your day. You may hear people in the cubes next to you or elsewhere in the office talking on the phone, the click of a keyboard, people walking by, the ding of the microwave in the office kitchen. Perhaps you’re at home, out on the deck with a cup of tea, hearing birds and distant traffic. These sounds are part of the symphony created for you today, the symphony you’re part of. There is a commonality in playing this symphony with your co-workers, with other commuters on the road or in the train, with your family at home. We’re all part of this day’s symphony and we’re all contributing our small parts. You are contributing to my symphony by reading these words even if I can’t physically hear you in this moment. Perhaps there’s a way we can see beauty, or at least a poignancy in every part that is played. “What we play is life.” – Louis Armstrong There is an inherent playfulness and joyfulness in music. We play music, we don’t work music. So if this day is a symphony, you have an opportunity to play your part well and to move through the music in a lighter, more playful manner than if today was just comprised of worry, deadlines, demands and drudgery. Even if that’s what this symphony sounds like to you, how can you conduct that same music in a lighter way? Classical music aficionados collect different versions of the same piece of music by different conductors and different orchestras. Even though the notes are written the same each time, the playing can be very different. And even though your day’s demands may be written very clearly, there is a great deal of freedom available within that existing framework. “What he does is real, and true, and honest, and simple, and even noble. Every time this man puts his trumpet to his lips, even if only to practice three notes, he does it with his whole soul.” – Leonard Bernstein on Louis Armstrong That freedom to play within the existing structure is very simple. Listen to the reality of this present moment – the sounds of today’s symphony – and listen to what your whole self, your “whole soul”, wants to give. Then contribute your part. You’re contributing something already. If you consciously listen outwardly and inwardly, your contribution transforms into your best, and you help not only your passage through your day but everyone around you. Every day, every moment, every action holds within it the possibility to give something that is, like Louis Armstrong, real, true, honest, simple and noble. We all could use some more playfulness, more joy, and more connection in our lives. If you want to see that change, perhaps today you can be that change and play the symphony of your day with your whole soul, no matter how humble. Like Louis Armstrong, play your life. And you too, like Walt Whitman, will hear America singing. Explore this idea more fully in Quixote Consulting’s teams building and team development activities: Play the Blues – As featured on NPR and in The Meeting Professional  - Learn to play the blues harmonica in just two hours! Each team member will receive their own harmonica, a copy of Blues Harmonica for Beginners book and play-a-long CD. Within minutes you will be playing a real blues song together. The grand finale features your team as the stars performing an original blues song that you have created together!

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Quix Tip: How to Play Lightly

Notice a spot in your work that is calling for a very rapid tempo. Imagine what you could do to do that work perfectly. Now note what the minimum is that you could do right this moment. Notice which of the two approaches is going to allow you to produce something right now. Start by just doing one thing and sending it out into the world. Celebrate the sending of a note from you, perfectly imperfect. Repeat – play lightly all day Explore this idea more fully in Quixote Consulting’s teams building and team development activities: Give the Kids Music – Learn to play and build musical instruments and then give the gift of music to underserved children. Music of Teams – Music of Teams links music and the effective team and transforms your people into musicians of their work. Build a Team Song - Write, record and perform an amazing team theme song.

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Play Lightly When the Rhythm is Fast

When playing jazz that has a swing rhythm to it, and the tempo is medium (walking pace or faster), many musicians find it helpful to tap their foot on the second and fourth beats that happen = 1 2 3 4. This reminds them of the swing rhythm emphasis (2 and 4 more than 1 and 3), helps them keep their place without exhausting themselves tapping on every beat. When the song gets really fast (200 beats per minute and higher), it becomes too fast to tap 2 and 4. I end up just tapping on beat 1. Pat Metheny plays the jazz standard “All the Things You Are” at 280 beats per minute on his Trio Live album. That’s fast! To give you a perspective, walking pace is about 100 beats per minute. I don’t know for sure, but I imagine 280 BPM (beats per minute) is faster than a sprinter sprints. At that tempo, you can’t focus on every single note. You rely more on patterns and the product of a life of persistence that came before this moment. And you play lightly. Watching the great chord harmonica player Bud Boblink play a fast chromatic run of chords on that demanding two-foot long instrument, it struck me how lightly he was playing them, barely touching down. Watching Pat Metheny or any other great jazz musician improvise at 300 BPM is like watching someone ice skating or dancing. These masters are dancing lightly over the fast rhythm, efficient. It’s as if they’re at rest in a way – loose, relaxed. They’re feeling a deeper, longer, slower rhythm beneath the frenetic surface pace. Explore this idea more fully in Quixote Consulting’s teams building and team development activities: Music of Teams – Music of Teams links music and the effective team and transforms your people into musicians of their work. Bang On My Drum All Day – Get in sync with one another and drum up good business practices. Sing the Blues – Learn the basics of singing the blues and then as a team write and perform a song backed by real blues musicians!

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How Music Team Building Gets Teams In Tune

“Hey everybody! Let’s have some fun! Let the good times roll!” sings one excited participant as the rest of her team plays blues riffs on their harmonicas. Someone is playing the guitar; another, the tambourine. Everyone on stage is wearing retro-sunglasses and classic blues hats and having fun. As a music team building facilitator, it’s always a pleasure to tell a group they’re going to learn how to play music. They light up, relax and get a little playful. Let’s face it – some people look forward to team building, and some are a little more ambivalent. But everyone loves music. And most people wish they could play music, not just listen to it. While I’ve combined music and team building in a variety of ways – forming rock bands, playing ‘office percussion’, and writing and singing songs, the most popular is the Play the Blues program. In this program, everyone receives a harmonica and learns how to play. For the grand finale, teams write and perform original songs they wrote about themselves. And it’s not just the blues – “Piano Man,” “Love Me Do,” and of course the perennial favorite “Rawhide” are some of the songs that groups have learned over the years. The best team-building programs incorporate something that people are already interested in with something new that will enrich their lives at work and beyond. I love it when I hear back from people that they now start every meeting with a song, or that they went home with their harmonica and taught their kids how to play some of the songs we taught them. All of the performances are memorable – whether in quality or silliness. Everyone’s a beginner and that really helps to break down barriers within groups, especially when they are on very different levels on the org chart. There are a lot of closet musicians in corporate America. Someone always surprises their team by picking up the guitar and playing or singing like Aretha Franklin. There are roles for everyone, and safety in numbers on stage helps even the most shy to have some fun. Does this sound like your team? Everyone has a clearly defined role, an expertise and passion for that role, and the sum of the whole is greater than the parts. There’s a clearly defined goal that is adaptable enough to address the realities of the moment, a common rhythm, an extraordinary amount of listening, responding and interplay that’s all in the service of a tangible, customer-focused final product. That’s what a great band does and it helps teams to connect the metaphor of playing music together and working productively together in the work place. A great band or orchestra is perhaps the best model for a work-team to aspire to. In the debrief at the end of the program, people talk about improving their listening, communication and creativity skills. They like getting to know each other in a different way and especially love discovering the hidden talents in their group. But the two words that come up most often are ‘memorable’ and ‘fun’. Your Brain on Music Brain research has revealed a number of enhancing effects that music has. For one, our brains link up with each other when we play music. Daniel Goleman talks of this phenomenon in his landmark book Social Intelligence. Other studies have shown that music enhances how we think, reason, and create. The Right Place I’ve led groups of almost every size and setting, from small groups of senior executives in a boardroom, to a theater seating of hundreds to groups playing on a House of Blues stage. I’ve seen music team building work for groups across sectors, ages, and nationalities. However, certain conditions work better than others. The more the atmosphere of a room can be transformed from the ordinary, the better. Meeting planners I’ve worked with have incorporated mason jars with candles in them on the tables, blue lights, blues videos playing on a big screen, and a riser for performances. The Right Group Groups that have ‘been there and done that’ with team building often respond well, as well as people who aren’t all that excited about a more traditional team-building program. The Night Time is the Right Time I have led music programs first thing in the morning, and they’ve worked out fine, but the best time for a fun and memorable time together seems to be the evening. Beer and wine are a nice complement to the program.   Explore this idea more fully in Quixote Consulting’s music team building and team development activities:  Give the Kids Music – Learn to play and build musical instruments and then give the gift of music to underserved children. Music of Teams – Music of Teams links music and the effective team and transforms your people into musicians of their work. Build a Team Song - Write, record and perform an amazing team theme song.

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