Happy October Everyone!
What a beautiful month this is turning out to be—and not just the weather—our household is loving the Royals ride we are on this baseball post-season. I’m writing this on Monday, the 12th, so if it arrives to you after Wednesday’s game, I hope we’re all still smiling!
Evangel Church has a huge community Halloween Party on Oct. 31 from 11:00 am – 2:00 pm, and both KCRB Rock Bands will be performing! Come cheer them on then enjoy lots of games and candy. Let me know if you have any questions!
Go Royals! — Laura Lee Crandall
Technology & Music – Tired of using a plain metronome to keep you in time while you practice? Try a drum loop or drum machine app! It can make practicing scales and other technical exercises more fun, plus you can choose different styles to play along with to work on different feels. Drummers, these loops can give you great ideas for new beats! The one below one costs a few bucks, but it’s one app I think is worth paying for! There are free options out there as well.
Buying Your/Your Child’s First Electric Guitar
This month’s article is a continuation from last month’s, where we discussed buying your first acoustic guitar. Now let’s look at electric guitars!
The most reputable and popular brands of electric guitars are Gibson and Fender. You don’t have to buy one of those two, but know that there is a reason they have such good reputations! Buy a guitar from a solid, mainline brand from a guitar store, like Guitar Center. Never buy a guitar at Walmart or anything like it!!! Plan to spend $400-$500 on your first electric guitar.
You can buy a guitar for less, but cheaper guitars tend to fall out tune quicker and usually don’t sound as good.
Some great specific recommendations:
Epiphone Les Paul 100,
Fender Standard Telecaster Ash
Gibson Melody Maker.
If you are buying a used guitar, have someone who knows what they are doing take a look at the guitar first. Important things to look for: how high the strings sit off the neck, and identify any warping or hairline cracks. These can be hidden without a finely trained eye. All of these have the potential to make the guitar un-playable.
A few other things to think about:
1. Don’t be swayed by cool colors and shapes. Colors and shapes are fun, but make sure the guitar is great first! If the shape makes it hard to play sitting or standing, it’s not a good shape. Try it out in both positions.
2. The thickness of the neck of the guitar is also important. Every guitar is different so be sure you (or your child) can reach around the neck to easily reach EVERY string. Some people have short fingers or small hands and will need a thinner neck.
Good luck! Let us know if we can be of any help in your musical adventures!
Teacher Spotlight – Laura Lee Crandall
Drums, Percussion, Rock Band
That’s me! Co-owner and business director of KCRB, as well as one of the teachers!
Music background and education: I started piano when I was young, maybe 5, then switched to drums and percussion in 6th grade for the elementary school band. I played throughout high school in the band, orchestra, percussion ensembles, and marching band. I attended the University of Missouri – Kansas City Conservatory of Music and Dance and got a fantastic education there. The opportunities to perform and learn were endless. I did everything from jazz combos to orchestras, Balinese gamelan to African hand drums. I graduated in 2006 and have been performing as a freelance musician and teaching ever since!
Favorite Music Genres: My dad raised me on 70 and 80s rock, so U2, Sting, Eric Clapton and the like are my go-to favorites. But I love variety, so jazz, orchestral music, country, funk, R&B, and gospel are on the list too ….I don’t think I could commit to just one!
Favorite Food: Prime Rib with creamy horseradish
Interesting Performance You’ve Done: Strangest thing ever—I was hired to be the percussionist for an Accordion Orchestra. Yes, an orchestra of accordions. Thirty accordions waling away on arrangements of anything you can image—major orchestra pieces and Star Wars medleys–anything. It was an incomparable experience!
Hobbies besides music: Gardening, soccer, chasing my three wild little boys, reading
Birthdate and Place: July 10, 1984 Paris, Texas
Favorite thing about teaching music: Watching my students grow as musicians and people. I get so excited to see people learning and improving, reaching their goals, and feeling the pride in their accomplishments. This work is an honor!