Cheryl Hughey

Cheryl Hughey

Are you getting ready for a night of jazz music but are unsure of what to wear? Looking great and having a good time has never been easier. We asked a couple of our jazzy friends for advice. Here is what they had to say: "My idea of Jazz fashion for a night on the town is a look of edgy elegance, keeping it classy and sophisticated with the right balance of sass and sex appeal. Statement high heels, and one bold (leopard print) or "bling" accessory can make your look pop. Hair can make or break ones overall look. Start with a great haircut, one that reflects your personality and can be styled to change with your moods. Makeup - natural, clean and simple accentuating one feature, eyes or lips," said vocalist Lisa McClowry, who is also a frequent collaborator with Jim Peterik (Grammy award-winner, Oscar nominee for "Eye Of The Tiger," writer of "The Search Is Over," "Hold On Loosely," and "Vehicle")

Jazz collectibles is a personal experience that produces a euphoric state of bliss for many. The decision on what to collect is an intimate reflection of the person's soul. Just like there are many forms of jazz, there are many different types of things to collect. "Jazz music is not unlike any other forms of interest. In order to be well grounded in that interest one should collect pieces of that interest in order to form a basis for that interest. If you decide to take up cigar smoking you will want to sample a variety of cigars and begin collecting the ones you like. The same is true with Jazz music. There are probably more forms of Jazz than any other type of music. A collection should reflect those forms that interest and intrigue your ears ... The basis for a collection should be fun and creative," said Al Hall, Owl Studios CEO (Indianapolis, IN).

For music fans that grew up prior to boom of digital technology, record players remain a favorite way to listen to music. What are the advantages of vinyl to digital?  “Vinyl sounds warm and real. Analog recordings have accurate room sound and all the overtones of live music, so older vinyl sounds even better than new, digitally recorded vinyl,” said Lew Prince, Founder/Managing Partner of Vintage Vinyl Inc. (St. Louis, Mo.).

The subject of equipment is a popular topic amongst the music community. When asked to determine the most important piece of equipment needed by a musician starting out, the responses that we gleaned on Facebook revealed some unique insights that approached the topic from different directions.One respondent pointed out the importance of the digital age in the music industry. "Now that the interweb has become the go-to place for band promotion, an easy-to-operate Mac computer will enable any aspiring musician to record via the Garage Band app, publish a website, network socially on all the right outlets, sync to Spotify and Mog, post videos to YouTube, and so much more. Those who go without will go without," said Guy Arnston, freelance writer based in Chicago, Illinois.

Love listening to jazz records and want to play like Charlie Parker, John Coltrane or David Sanborn? From bebop to jazz fusion, the saxophone is a powerful instrument with a rich musical heritage.

There are several types of saxophones. The most recognizable to novice students may include the alto, tenor, soprano and baritone. Each one plays within a specific range of notes. From the low notes of a baritone to the dramatics of a high-reaching soprano, the type of saxophone chosen by a musician or composer can alter the mood and sound of a jazz piece. (Source for types of saxophones:

Have you played Guitar Hero and are now ready for the real thing? This article will share some practical advice from a professional player that will help you get started. Although it takes more than just American Idol dreams to be a great guitarist, anyone can learn to play the guitar. Whether you want to rock like Eric Clapton or groove the Latin beats of Carlos Santana, it all starts by choosing the right teacher. "As a novice, you need a teacher who understands that to maintain enthusiasm for practicing ... you have to get some results quite quickly," said Grammy-nominated writer and guitarist Miles Gilderdale of Acoustic Alchemy. A student needs "a teacher who can give you some simple but very effective studies which sound like "real" playing early on." Gilderdale also believes that, "good grounding in technique is essential."

Studying jazz theory can instill a deeper understanding and appreciation for its rich musical heritage. While the task may seem overwhelming at first to a novice music student, learning jazz theory doesn't have to be as difficult. What is the best way for a jazz fan to learn more about the basics of music theory? "I'm a big fan of learning music by ear, so I'd say for a student to work on imitating a song and solo exactly as it was played will be very helpful. That way, he/she is able to pick up on theory in a melodic context and improvisation as it relates to music on the whole, not just the specifics of what notes to play on a C7 chord," said jazz trombonist and educator Delfeayo Marsalis.

If you are a new student of the jazz bass, finding the right teacher is an important step in beginning your musical studies. Your teacher will serve as the guide in your journey through the rich musical heritage of jazz and introduce you to your role as a member of the rhythm section. What skills should you look for in your instructor? According to John Clayton (Grammy-winning bassist/composer/conductor), the number one thing that a student should look for is "any qualities that give the student a high level of comfort and trust. If a student trusts his/her teacher, they'll be comfortable enough to accept the teacher as a friend, coach and mentor."

Learning to play the piano can provide you hours of education, entertainment and enjoyment. If you've ever thought about learning to play but are unsure of where to begin, this short article will provide some tips to help get you started. First, choose a quality instrument for practice. "A great way to start with piano is to love the sound of the instrument. That's why it's hard to get kids started on cheap little keyboards and such. There's nothin' like the real thing," said contemporary jazz pianist Tom Grant. He also suggest that you get an "easy song, or part of a song, that you can teach the new piano student." This will ensure "early success" on the piano.

Heather Ramsey, vocalist and CEO of The Midwest School of Voice, honored to be releasing her second CD with "Peace Like a River." Her soulful vocal style and poignant interpretations of holiday classics are a reflection of her diverse influences in music. Renowned pianist, arranger, composer and author Dr. Monika Herzig adds her unique spin to these festive tunes to showcase Ramsey's ability to sing many styles.