This video shows you how to play the most common A minor seventh chord shape on your guitar (commonly abbreviated as Am7). It also includes a few adaptations to hopefully make guitar playing more accessible to a wider range of musicians. Enjoy your playing time!
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For many, Monday signals a return to the work week grind. It can come with its fair share of emotions. A push and pull of yearning for the freedom and revitalization often associated with the weekend, coupled with the drive and determination to access a productive and optimized flow state. A work week that leaves you getting ahead in what you seek to achieve, without sacrificing your well being or humanity.
The right music can help prevent a workspace from becoming draining, boring, stale, or devoid of human spirit. Recently, I was introduced to a phenomenal album by my dear friend Tim Berrigan. It's called "playing piano for dad" by h hunt, and I find it to be a highly replayable piece of music that suits the workspace exquisitely. Mellow, warm, and intimate, it can speak to your soul without bombastically interrupting your focus on other tasks. Read on for a bit more about the album, and if you need something new for your headphones, I encourage you to seek this one out. I put a link to the music in the comments section.
"Recorded in one comfortably-seated take at Studio Ferber, Paris, France in 2015 - h hunt’s ‘playing piano for dad’ was initially conceived as a Christmas gift to the composer’s father. Intimately recorded, it is a heartbreakingly gorgeous & sincere work of eleven vignettes which capture even the most nuanced sounds of the recording session - the composer’s breath, the shifting sounds of the piano pedals, the ambient noise and conversation within the studio. With minimalist tendencies, h hunt’s compositions are earnest and heartfelt."
Harmony Integrative Therapy has an extended family. Key people who have inspired us and help make the world a better place. For our first spotlight on the community, we're sending a special shout out to Austin Morford of Morfbeats.
Austin is a skilled designer, builder, and engraver of innovative instruments for Morfbeats alongside his brother Adam. It's not often you come across a family who is creating new instruments, building them from scratch, and inspiring unparalleled levels of creativity in the music realm. In this video you can hear Austin creating a hypnotic rhythm with Morfbeats' High Octave Gamelan Strips and Low Mid Octave Block Bells. It's a thing of beauty to witness.
Aside from the credentials mentioned above, Austin is a composer, ultra talented musician, and all around great person. His designs are a dream come true for the music therapy world: beautiful sounding, hand crafted instruments that can be arranged in a plethora of adaptive, accessible set ups. For example, his Chromatic Gamelan Strips can be arranged in the same shape of a piano octave, or you can reduce the number of pieces at your heart's desire. Try out just having two tones to bounce off of. Need a specific scale? Eliminate a few strips and you have the notes of the pentatonic scale. Or, throw the constraints of music theory and tonal harmony out the window completely, make a custom arrangement, cease to analyze, and just follow the muse. It's endless fun.
Here at Harmony Integrative, we feature a full Chromatic Gamelan Strip set in our library for utilization during music therapy sessions. Thank you Austin for doing all that you do, and for helping us provide the highest quality therapeutic services possible.
Harp is an immensely gorgeous instrument. I wrote earlier this week about that special feeling when you find a new musical experience that is especially moving. Lately for me, “Endless Tide” by Japanese harpist and composer Tomoyuki Asakawa is something special.
I’m not sure if you’ve heard of this phenomenon, but in recent years many long lost, overlooked, and underappreciated works are being discovered and exalted by way of the “YouTube algorithm.” Long out of print musical treasures from continents thousands of miles away are being beamed into the homes and workplaces of those seeking glorious sounds. In many cases, they are obscure and unavailable on major streaming platforms like Spotify.
“Endless Tide” has become a treasured work here at Harmony Integrative. If you need to unwind and disconnect from the pressures of the world, put this on, close your eyes, and let it transport you to a special universe. A lot of us are stuck behind computers for several hours a day during the work week. If you seek to stay focused and productive within your technological framework without losing your sense of the higher self, play this through headphones at low volumes to help steep your daily grind in a more transcendent atmosphere.
Lately I’m thinking a lot about the mixture of music and nature. Here, the harp swirls and creates a meditative experience, eventually melting away and seamlessly blending into ocean waves lapping at the shoreline. It can be blissful.
If you decide to listen, I hope you enjoy it.
the feeling you get
when you're looking for the next song
to really connect with
whenever your head strong
there's always a playlist
always a lost gem to get you through phases
and then when you find it, you're outta your head
your into the skyline
and centered again
Above is a set of lyrics I wrote yesterday while working on a new song. Music is a very special gift. Life can be difficult at times. My hope for you is that in every phase of life, you can pull from the infinite well of sound and rhythm, and in doing so, you can be empowered to carry on and weather the everchanging forces this world presents.
music: "Lighthouse (Parts 1 and 2)" by Will C.
film footage: "Baron Prášil" by Karel Zeman