Most pianists get their start in classical music, and for good reason. Classical pieces are the most readily available, and they’ve been played enough times that teachers can pick out where you deviate. They also lend themselves well to personalization, which is important when you’ve started to develop your own style. Needless to say, a good grasp of the classics can go a long way when you’re learning the piano. Here are some of the genres you might want to be familiar with. Etudes: The word étude is French for study, and obviously is designed for students. These are actually part of a larger body of piano solos, which includes ballades, ...

Posted in Piano Lessons by: Prima Donna

Most people’s first attempt at a hip hop production tends to be the hardest, not least because they’re working on a tight budget. Often, the best option is to make your own beats, but not everyone has the time or the skill for it. Free hip hop instrumentals, which you’ll find at dozens of music websites, have made things a bit easier. Just listen to a few beats and decide which one best suits your music, and you’re good to go. These have allowed more than a few artists to put together a demo and kick-start their careers. When you have the budget, however, buying exclusive instrumentals may be more worth ...
Hip hop production seems easy—just whip up some lyrics and find hip hop beats online to go with it. But those two steps are more complicated than they sound. Finding beats is especially challenging. Many people have a hip hop beat in mind but can’t quite find a sample to match it. Some just don’t have enough sources, while others don’t like having to pay to use them. Others lack the equipment. In any case, there are all sorts of hurdles to finding hip hop beats—and that’s just part of the whole picture. One way around this is to use royalty-free tracks—pieces that are free for anyone to use, as opposed ...

Hip Hop Workouts

2012-01-04

As one of the most popular dance styles to have hit pop culture, hip hop is an easy choice for those who want to learn dancing for fitness. The wide variety of moves makes it surprisingly effective and versatile, and the beat-heavy music is easy to get caught in. The reviews aren’t bad, either—many have claimed to get in shape by doing hip hop dance and little to nothing else. From the first hip hop fitness videos to hit the market in the late 90s, the trend has stirred up dozens of follow-ups and spinoffs, each one promising fun, fast results. Of course, as with anything that goes mainstream, not all ...

Posted in Hip Hop Dance by: Prima Donna

In hip hop, unlike many other genres, it’s hard to separate the moves from the music. Hip hop dance moves are practically an art form to members of the culture. And while most of the moves are easy enough—the basics have been turned into a popular workout video—one move, known as grinding, is challenging as much because of its nature as for the amount of personality it requires. The grind basically involves two or more dancers rotating their bodies while staying very close together, touching at times. Obviously there are sexual undertones to this move, and that’s what most people notice when they first see it done. It doesn’t help that ...

Posted in Hip Hop Dance by: Prima Donna

If you’re like most people, you probably think of hip hop and folk as two completely different genres. The first few strains of a typical song do suggest a world of difference: one is beat-driven and assertive, while the other is slow and pensive. It’s hard to imagine Johnny Cash taking on a 50-Cent attitude or vice versa. But the two styles have a lot more in common than their respective sounds suggest. Folk and hip hop are tied together by their focus on community. Both forms evolved from people wanting to identify themselves as a group, whether ethnic, social, political, or artistic. The earliest folk and hip hop songs were ...

Posted in Hip Hop by: Prima Donna

The words to most hip hop songs tend to strike listeners as shallow. Today’s musicians rap about the life of the rich and famous, with women, jewelry, and luxury cars coming up every other line. But before it came to that, writing hip hop lyrics was actually an art that required skill, coordination, and of course, a way with words. If you’ve hung around hip hop circles, you may have heard artists talk about flow. It’s an important part of hip hop writing. Flow refers to the way words are sung or rapped in relation to the rhythm; a good hip hop flow has the two elements in perfect unison. Some ...

Posted in Hip Hop by: Prima Donna

Hip hop music goes far beyond the boundaries of its native New York, or even of North America. Anyone who traces the story of the genre around the world is fascinated by the range of styles it encompasses, or the social and political meaning it holds for its followers. In Greece, a particular flavor of hip hop has evolved from the signature style of one group into an entire culture that with its own brand of fashion, movies, and even literature. “Low Bap,” as the music is called, is characterized in large part by a relatively slow tempo and lyrical focus. The rap isn’t as fast and the beats aren’t ...

Posted in Hip Hop by: Prima Donna

As a genre and culture, hip hop runs a lot deeper than most people give it credit for. It has its roots in class struggle and repression in the 1970s, is used for political expression in many countries, and lends itself to a remarkable array of music styles. Even hip hop hair has its history: it has seen 30 years of evolution, faithful to the times yet always reliably edgy. Proud, playful, and at times even conservative, hip hop hairstyles always make their mark even on non-fans. Not surprisingly, African influences abound in hip hop styles, especially in North America. Men tend to have low, tapered cuts, Mohawks, rat tails, and ...

Posted in Hip Hop by: Prima Donna

Two heads aren’t always better than one, but in music, it’s proven to be a winning formula. Some of the world’s best material has come from teams of two: think Tears for Fears, The White Stripes, Simon and Garfunkel. The same is true in hip hop, a genre that lends itself extremely well to variety in vocal and instrumental styles. Here’s a list of two-man acts that have made great contributions to hip hop—and why they’re worth listening to. OutKast: Some say that if you listen to only one hip hop group, it should be the unstoppable team of Big Boi and Andre 3000. Their catchy rhymes were no doubt part ...

Posted in Hip Hop by: Prima Donna