Tag Archives: Do-it-Yourself Learning

Do It Yourself Learning: Make sure the eyes and ears are good to go.

Carl “Alfalfa” Switzer (1927-1959) is the boy pictured in this post.  He was a child star better known as Alfalfa.  He was part of the Hal Roach Children’s Comedy troop who made the Our Gang films, which were later known as the … Continue reading

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Learning the Piano: the incredible power of Midi and the Fourth of July

Synthesia is not the only MIDI based software program for reproducing or recording piano notes on a computer. There are much older programs that have been composing music professionally for some time. Roland Sound Canvas is one of those programs. … Continue reading

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Mortgage debacle caused by consumers with poor math skills?

In part, so says an article I read this morning  at Real Clear Science.  The author, Ross Pomeroy, claims that at least one reason for the mortgage meltdown and the high foreclosure rate are the poor math skills of the … Continue reading

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Learning the Piano: back to Synthesia

Stephanie Trick is a young woman who plays ragtime and 1920’s Jazz Piano professionally. Here is a You Tube screen shot of her version of James P. Johnson’s Harlem Strut. Note that one of the commentators complained that she was … Continue reading

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Learning the Piano: What George Gershwin did with a player piano

George Gershwin, the legendary composer of musicals, began studying music at the age of Ten. He began with three famous classical music teachers. His first teacher, Charles Hambitzer was also his mentor. He began as a song plugger in a … Continue reading

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Learning the Piano: What Duke Ellington learned from the player piano

The legendary Jazz musician, Duke Ellington, learned to play James P. Johnson’s Carolina Shout on a player piano. The Carolina Shout was the test you had to pass, the standard you had to meet, to be considered a real Harlem … Continue reading

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Learning the Piano: What is a piano roll?

As we saw in the last post, the player piano has a top roller that feeds the piano roll across the sensor bar to the pickup roll below. The piano roll was made of paper that was punched with holes. … Continue reading

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Learning the Piano: But First, What is a player piano?

It occurred to me today that in my last post, I assumed that people would know what a player piano and a piano roll were. So, first things first, here is a player piano on the left.  The two rollers, … Continue reading

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A Series about Learning, Part 2. Lessons from a dog who sings and plays the piano: imagination and mimicry.

In my last post, we saw how Halo, a dog, learned to play pool despite major evolutionary physical limits: lack of hands, not having evolved the ability to stand on two legs for very long without support. Despite these limits, … Continue reading

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A Series about learning, part 1. Lessons from the pool playing dog: desire.

In my past life, I was a college instructor.  Before that, I did substitute teaching in some of the poorest performing junior high schools in the U.S.  I probably learned more from that junior high experience than from anything else … Continue reading

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