Next year, will bring for me a massive challenge both mentally and Physically. I am at this time, preparing for the London Marathon 2016. This is going to be my second London Marathon, and I am running in aid of a blindness charity called Metro Blind Sports. The charity helps Blind and Partially sighted people to enjoy sports and live a Healthier lifestyle, and opens sporting opportunities which may not be available to them.
I have not only been set the task of running 26 miles, but also to promote the charity and hopefully reach out to Blind and Partially sighted people across London. Bring it on!
I am planning to write Blog entries throughout my training, and also hoping to add some film clips of my training runs along the way. These would be available to watch directly from my website or through my Youtube Channel, and I will let you know on Twitter, GooglePlus and Facebook when the next clip is live.
Generally I run from my home, over the Hammersmith bridge towards Barnes, dropping down onto the river bank, heading towards Kew, and on towards Richmond Park. In addition, I will also be doing some track work at the Battersea Park running track , to build up my speed skills and general physical fitness.
As a blind runner, taking on such a challenge, is a real mountain to climb, and I hope my runs over the next few months will interest you, and offer an insight into running a marathon with severe sight loss. If you have any advice or running tips for me, please share them in the comments section below, or by sending me an email. Wish me luck!
Having travelled all over the UK, I often think to myself: is London the most accessible city in the country? We are seeing a really integrated transport system in the Capital, with great transport networks, both above and below ground and having step free access becoming more and more the norm for the commuters of London. As a Blind Piano Tuner, I can travel, using this amazing public transport system, carrying out my work and indulge in social activities. Having a smart phone, using GPS and route mapping, I don’t think I could do as well anywhere else in the UK. Transport for London, TFL, should be really proud of the network, and I would like to give thanks for the skills and insights of the city planners.
Audio announcements on trains and buses are helpful to so many people whether you are new to the city or travelling to other areas outside of your daily commute. These audio systems help along all stages of ones travel. Many accessibility advancements, I feel, have been a direct result of the Paralympic Games 2012, which as one of my passions, finds great coverage across London, providing all the more reason to fall in love with this beautiful capital of ours.
Each of these areas has its own personality, offering great diversity and a colourful mix throughout the Borough of Greenwich.
I really enjoy the history of Eltham, what with the quintessentially English royal Palace, and I wish so much that I could travel back in time and see what life was like there in the Fifteenth Century!
Having moved to London recently, I make the most of what the city has on offer, and you will see me going to concerts at the 02. I have also been fortunate enough to have walked over the top of the Dome, and taken the cable car across the Thames.
I really enjoy the trip aboard the Thames Clipper along the riverbank into Westminster. I especially love this trip at night time, marvelling at all the amazing buildings and bridges lit up as you make your way to Westminster Palace.
My favourite sights include St Paul’s cathedral, the amazing Shard at London Bridge, and Tower Bridge at night time. It was fascinating to discover that Tower Bridge is classed as a ship, and has a captain manning the helm at all times.
The reason I’m writing this blog about Greenwich is chiefly the result of my time spent exploring the Borough following my recent relocation to London.
Time is such an interesting concept, and I guess the Borough of Greenwich is the modern day focal point of time, “the Prime Meridian Line”.
I have so much more to say about the Borough, what with music and entertainment over the years, but for now, it is time for me to go!
London is the ultimate land of art and performance. It is especially so when you consider the presence of the west end theatre, which has been considered by many to be the highest level of commercial theatre in the English speaking nations and fraternity.
It is a common occurrence for tourists to flock to watch and enjoy the art on display at west end theatres wherever. The attendance of people to these events has been hitting the roof for the last couple of years. This could also be due to the fact that some famous faces often star in the productions.
It is here that some of the most famous productions in this lifetime have been unveiled to the world. It also here that some of the longest standing productions have been made and released to the world. You cannot help but get amazed by the greatness that this industry has led to not only in London, but to the world at large.
Imagine the opportunities that it presents to many artistes as well as service providers like the piano tuners. Everywhere art is being made, you will find pianos in great use because pianos are a grand symbol of the past that music and art have come from. It is an instrument that has been there since time immemorial.
In a place like this where pianos are in great and frequent use, it would be a great opportunity for piano tuners to make really booming business. We all know that pianos need to be serviced every now and again to ensure they produce the melodic sounds they are meant to make.
London is providing opportunity for growth of the piano tuning business. It is an open market for those in the industry to transact up to their ability.
The modern music industry has seen a huge revolution whereby electronic keyboards have dealt a death blow to pianos. A few years back, there used to be a certain enjoyment that came with a musician stringing together the strings of a piano to bring together the song’s message. Playing piano in those days was an art that could only be learnt by the best and most talented.
Distinguished musicians made a career statement by choosing the piano as their instrument of choice. They learnt how to play it at the feet of the best teachers in the world and then translated this knowledge into powerful musical notes that were known to resonate in the hearts of their listeners.
Today however, the industry has seen the advent of electronic keyboards. These keyboards have diminished pianos completely because of many reasons. One of these reasons is that electronic keyboards are easy to learn about. There isn’t much for musicians to learn because some even guide him/her on where to press to make the kind of sound they want.
Electronic keyboards can also accommodate a memory card. Musicians have turned to this method largely. They acquire pre-recorded material from somewhere else and insert it into its slot. When they are performing they only pretend to be playing the notes.
They are very user friendly because you do not need a teacher to guide you. There are many applications on the internet that have been made to teach first-timers how to play the keyboard. It isn’t hard to follow the simple instructions they give though.
Electronic keyboards have really done a number on pianos. They would need a lot of effort to catch up if they ever will.
If you would like to know more about this topic or talk to musical experts, log on to http://www.tuningpianos.co.uk. This is the chance of your lifetime.
People love freebies too much. Some have even come to love free things with an un-understandable keenness. People have almost learnt to wait for free things all the time, so much so that they begin to expect them automatically. Many people then have been quoted asking whether fixing their pianos is part of the process that includes tuning of the pianos.
The answer to that very common question is a No. The reason is that fixing of pianos is done whenever a piano has been damaged in any way. That is the scenario that calls for a specialist to repair it. If it is found to be beyond repair, it is then thrown into the lot where recycled materials are thrown.
Tuning though, is a gradual process that takes place regularly where an expert seeks to align the pitch and keys properly. Such an expert has the musical ear to know how to align and tune the keys, so that they produce the notes in the best way possible.
Another huge difference between fixing pianos and tuning them is in the costs. Depending on the kind of damage that is being fixed, the cost could either be extremely high or extremely low. Tuning though, is a uniform process that may not vary very much in costing unless the demographics are too far apart. This is not a frequent occurrence. One cannot replace the other and it cannot complement the other.
Fixing pianos is quite demanding and takes quite a bit of time; therefore it cannot be considered to be part of the tuning process. The two are very different processes and they also require different specialisms too, to some extent.
The cosmopolitan metropolis, our capital, has spawned many talented artists across all creative disciplines. As our population diversifies post world war II, we continue to embrace the fusion of styles, creating something entirely new representing the globalising, hybridising melting pot that is London. Extending our geographical reach across Europe, and further widening the net to the Middle East and North Africa, is it possible to separate London’s modern style, whose boundaries have been blurred into one another throughout history?
I notice an interesting modern musical phenomenon with a clear north-south divide. Music in southern Europe appears to have more of a pop variety, whilst the northerners lean towards heavier beats, culminating in the Scandinavian heavy metal craze. I can extend my argument by pointing to the boundaries of Europe where the style, to this day, retains its old world musical roots. One only needs to take southern Spain, where the music has Flamenco overtones (itself originating from the migrant Indian Gypsies), and Arabic and Hebrew styles due to the Muslim and Jewish communities respectively. Similarly Greek and Turkish music maintain their links to medieval classical music, as does the music of the Balkans and other southern European states. Note that Middle Eastern and North African music still sound similar to Klasma and Raga, that continue to be popular and prevalent long after their creation close to 1000 years earlier.
Now observe how Germanic, Celtic and similar northern European music has a more rock influence, with heavier, louder beats and a slightly classical melodic overlay. Additionally, notice how central European music appears to blur the boundaries between northern and southern styles, both in composition and performance. Interestingly, Scandinavian music continually produces heavy metal musicians in the modern charts, with acts like Lordi, even winning the Eurovision Song Contest.
Why this divide? Music is after all still performed using familiar instruments and mainly composed and taught in our curriculum using the piano, an instrument that has stood the test of time and heavily influences music across Europe and its surroundings regardless of genre. Certainly the northern regions experience extreme cold, whilst southern Europe and the Middle East can get temperatures in excess of 40c. Let’s also examine the more fast-paced, task-oriented life-style of the North, compared to the South’s relaxed, more leisurely approach. Surely these factors would affect the artists and adoring public alike. Factor in the industrial revolution, resulting in some of the most advanced infrastructure and social reforms on the planet in Northern Europe and Scandinavia. In contrast Southern Europe is presently experiencing a recession and a consequent drop in living standards. Returning to the arts, notice the linguistic precision English, German, Danish and Swedish and contrast this to the expressive richness of Italian, Greek, Turkish, and even Arabic and Hebrew. There is a musical connection, surely!
The Middle Ages had a more expressive way of doing things, longer attention spans and a depth of perception, since there were less things to do and even fewer advancements to compensate for human error. Hence the greatest classical musicians can be linked to this era. If these observations were to continue, would sound bytes replace symphonies? And does this mean that the next wave of musical geniuses will come from Southern Europe, the Middle East and North Africa? Finally, what conclusions can be drawn about the emerging culture of London as the population continues to rise and diversify and styles and roots constantly merge into each other?
Whatever your style and preference, talk to AMH Pianos about how we can help you get the most out of your piano. Also, the opinions and views of my readers are always highly appreciated. Have a great and wonderful 2015.
It is the season for pyrotechnics across Britain. It normally begins with Halloween & gathers momentum, culminating with the new year with a bang. Fire has fascinated man since the dawn of time; the ancient Greeks regarded it as one of the primary elements, & the Zoroastrians even worship it. The old traditions of history, like the Hindu wedding ceremony & the Olympic torch, all depict a harmonious relation between fire & musical accompaniment. So as I wander across the busy streets of London, I can just imagine a time when the historical grandure of London would have consisted of gaslights, architecture & beautiful music – perhaps some of the finest works ever created.
Music through Europe’s history has been created to grip the listener, captivate the imagination & provoke thought. There were no editing tools, no recording studios & tracks did not end after four minutes. We of course now have more types of instruments at our disposal than ever before. It makes me wonder that if people have still maintained the love for fireworks- simple yet spectacular in appearance- then what has happened to our oratory tonal sense? Classical music was simple in execution & creation, despite the complex layers of stories & human emotions conveyed. What has happened to us that our musical concentration has waned in spite of easier access to sound, whilst simultaneously, our fascination with fire has heightened as we find it possible to create & enjoy newer ways of enjoying bigger & better fire based displays, even in the face of fire safety legislation & our unpredictable weather?
Could our changes in perception be explained by events that are evolutionary, or are these events revolutionary? And I wonder if there was an event that marked the turnaround for us humans to develop our appreciation of light at the expense of our appreciation for good sound? Are our combined senses now drawn to entirely different types of rhythms, that the transverse light waves resonate more with our consciousness, compared to the longitudinally generated sound waves? Most important of all, are these trends reversible, and if so, then what would be the catalyst to tip the balance to a more stable equilibrium? I wish to leave my readers with these thought provoking questions. Meanwhile, I am hoping for a new, more fulfilling sound amidst the fireworks leading up to Christmas & beyond.
Having moved to London not so long ago, I have noticed a definite surge in my energy. The crowds and the hustle and bustle, coupled with the relentless pace of life, are all definitely a shock to anyone’s system, especially if the person has not been accustomed to living in big cities. Now that I am settled and gradually becoming more established, I can certainly appreciate the whole spectrum of activity and opportunities that this world-renowned capital of ours has to offer… and I love it more every day.
Having lived in Bristol and Bath for a considerable chunk of my life, I was fortunate enough to attend plenty of events that featured some of the best music I have ever heard. Whilst Bristol may be renowned for its music scene, there is certainly no place like London when it comes to the Arts. Having just attended an Ed Sheeran gig last week, it got me thinking: does London’s music tempo match its lifestyle?
Comparing the size, population and average distance travelled per week, the pace of London completely dwarfs that of Bristol. I now find myself walking and talking faster and I certainly want to achieve a lot more in the smallest possible timeframe. Assuming that this phenomenon applies to every Londoner, does it mean that I am now listening to more up-tempo music to match my energetic lifestyle? London has certainly given rise to many musical genres including Drum and Bass and more recently Dubstep – both being a somewhat up-tempo take on the world famous West Indian influences of Reggae, Calypso and Steel Band. I have not conducted formal scientific research. However, I do wonder whether or not my music loving customers expect their pianos to be prepared differently to produce more up-tempo and louder sounds so that they can play at top-notch speed. Given that a piano is always a piano and serviced in exactly the same way to produce the best quality of music regardless of location, are there underlying factors expected by the piano player to aid their composition that matches the pace of their lifestyle. It goes without saying that with each passing day I seem to be working faster and more efficiently in line with the London way of life.
Humans have a tendency to naturally increase their rhythm over time once they have mastered a particular pattern – a psychological phenomenon known as forward telescoping. It is therefore imperative that strict discipline is required to counteract this tendency if one intends to produce top quality music. The question still remains: Does the pace of London, or for that matter any city, impact the rate of playing or producing music? I would certainly love to hear from my readers purely to generate interesting ideas on the subject that I could one day turn into academic research.