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Today in Music History
A Daily Look at Music History For Violin Students
A Look at What Happened on Today's Date
Long, Long Ago . . . Or Maybe Just Last Year
August 6
Can You Guess? Richard Wagner wrote a piece of music that almost everyone has heard.  It is usually played at the time a special person comes into the room, almost always dressed in white.
Can You Guess who that person might be or what the music is?

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What Else
1814 - Premiere of Rossini's opera Il Turco in Italia at La Scala in Milan.

1859 - Richard Wagner finishes the score for Tristan und Isolde.

1868 - Leone Sinigaglia, Italian composer, was born.

1909 - Stuff Smith, Jazz, Swing violinist, was born.

1947 - Miles Davis recorded for the first time as a leader.

1952 - Premiere of Richard Strauss's opera Die Liebe der Danae produced posthumously at the Salzburg Festival.

1954 - Premiere of Malcolm Arnold's Harmonica Concerto. Larry Adler was soloist.

1965 - Sonny & Cher hit the top of the charts on this day with I Got You Babe.

1971 - Rod Stewart released Maggie May.

1981 - Karl Böhm, German conductor, died in Salzburg.

Regina Carter
1966 - 
Regina Carter was born August 6, 1966.

As a Detroit schoolgirl during the '70s and '80s, Carter grew up at a time when the Motor City was a hotbed for jazz, and she lived a stone's throw from Detroit's hottest jazz clubs.  "There's just so much music that came out of Detroit," Carter has acknowledged, "and it all inspired me."
Baltimore Symphony Orchestra
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Violinist Hilary Hahn and Baltimore Symphony at Amazon
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Brotherhood of the Bow Shirt
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Jazz Violin   Regina Carter   Click to See Her Music
Violinst Regina Carter, jazz violin
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Music was a big part of her life. She had piano lessons on Monday, violin lessons on Tuesday, and tap and ballet lessons on Thursday. Saturdays meant the Detroit Community Music School with her violin, her Suzuki lesson books, and her group of violin-playing friends.  She is still a fierce defender of the Suzuki method.

Regina is African-American, and had to deal with her non-violin friends teasing her about playing an instrument and music associated with dead European white guys.

"But I loved the violin so much. I said that's what I wanted to do."

Then one day 14-year-old Regina saw Stephane Grappelli perform at the Renaissance Center jazz series.  Here eyes were opened and she says everything changed.

"I said, ‘Wow, he's got a band behind him. There seems to be a freedom, they can improvise, they don't have to play the piece the same way over and over! He was having such a good time, and I felt really elated after that. I said, ‘If I could feel this way all the time, that would be it.' So that's what jazz meant to me. That feeling."

In her youth Regina had played with the Detroit Civic Symphony.  At 18, Regina enrolled at the New England Conservatory. She intended to become a soloist in a major orchestra. But the conservatory had no jazz violin teacher, so  Carter enrolled at Oakland University which had a jazz band. Her jazz teacher there told her to transpose the alto sax parts, and simply sit in the middle of the brass section and listen.

Listen she did, and she learned.

Soon she met Detroit trumpeter Marcus Belgrave and became part of the jazz community.

Carter has come a long way, making converts to her style of jazz violin. She tours eight months a year. She has recorded several albums as a bandleader and performed as a guest soloist on recordings by jazz trombonist Steve Turre, jazz singer Vanessa Rubin, and soul singer Mary J. Blige.

So how does a jazz violinist practice?

Carter says that the freedom she has to improvise in her jazz makes it hard for her to practice, since she wants to be just as free in her life.  She warms up for 15 to 20 minutes on open strings and scales loosen up her right arm, then gets to work on jazz exercises. "When you're playing classical music, you have a book of scales, etudes, the piece that you're working on, so you have it and you know what to do," she says. "With jazz, there's nothing like that. When you come out of the classical world, which is so structured, it's hard to know what to do. And it's still difficult for me to structure practice."

She composes a bit when original phrases or melodies occur to her and she doesn't want to forget them. And though Carter learns a lot of jazz riffs by ear, she also writes out pieces works by jazz artists such as trumpeter Clark Terry and tenor sax player Ben Webster to analyze their different approaches.

Regina and her music really swing.
Regina Carter CD's at Amazon.   Exciting Stuff!
Listen to the Samples Here! 2 Great CD's, 2 Different Styles!
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Music for...
Did You Guess?
Here comes the bride
All dressed in white
Stepped on a turtle
And that popped her girdle

or something like that.

The tune which we know as Here Comes the Bride is actually the
wedding march from the opera Lohengrin.
Look inside this title
Jazz Violin - sheet music at www.sheetmusicplus.com
Jazz Violin By Matt Glaser & Stephane Grapelli. Jazz. Composed 12-31-1981. 144 pages.
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