Category Archives: Did you see this?…

Our selection of the weirdest and most wonderful things happening in music around the world.

Can Boys Play Flutes?

Back in 2008, I wrote a blog about how gender stereotypes affect young people before they even play their first note and the influences of parents, peers and the media on choosing an instrument (Read ‘What’s The Right Instrument For Your Child’ here). According to a recent study commissioned by the Royal Albert Hall, nearly a decade later, the steering of boys towards ‘masculine’ instruments such as guitars, trumpets and tubas and girls towards more ‘ladylike’ options such as the flute, is still just as common.

So why, when we have come so far in the last 10 years in our general attitude to sexism (women fighting on the frontline for example) do we still feel uncomfortable when a pink and dainty little girl announces she wants to play the drums?

Read more about the results of the Royal Albert Hall research here.

Top 10 music blogs and review sites

1) If you play ukulele, check out this fab blog packed full of tips, tricks and reviews by the well-known ukulele author and teacher Brett McQueen.

Being the online presence The Guitarist magazine, it seems only natural that Music Radar would host some of the best guitar resources online, including these two….

2) Learn something new and improve your technique at

3) Don’t buy an expensive piece of kit until you’ve read the reviews at

4) Everything you need to know to be a healthy and happy gigging musician from

5) Everything from creating a fab website for your band to tips on dealing with an agent deals with the big issues of the day affecting both professional and amateur band members.

6) If you enjoy supporting new artists and want to know about the next rising star before everyone else, surprisingly one of the best places to be is the BBC!

7) Stay in touch with the Classical music scene at – CD reviews, performer interviews and brilliant snippets of trivia.

8) All the latest gossip from the Jazz world

9) Although it’s the blog of Alex Ross (the music critic at the New Yorker), also features reviews of the most influential productions and performances happening around Europe, as well as fascinating articles about musicians old and new.

10) is one of the most informative music technology websites with an active and friendly forum for all your questions on set-ups, recording and software.

Female musicians are still battling hostilities within a male-dominated profession…

…according to Arts chief Jude Kelly. Speaking at the launch of the Southbank Centre 2014-15 season, Ms Kelly highlighted the recent career of US conductor Marin Alsop who was famously on the receiving end of some shocking sexism when she became the first lady to conduct the Last Night of the Proms last year. Many leading male musicians have made comments indicating that the role of conductor is too physically demanding for women and also implying that females cannot be committed to the shifting life of a musician because of their expected role within a family.

It’s all complete b*****ks of course, since the ability to perform in any role is down to the talent and life choices of every individual. However, we were wondering if any of you lady musicians have ever experienced any hostility from the male musicians you work with? Or what opinion you fellas hold on working with (or under) lady pros? We’d be interested to hear your stories.

Orchestra Image
Female musicians are still battling hostilities within a male-dominated profession…


Congratulations Frankie and the Heartstrings!

Anything that promotes new music, local bands and opportunities for groups looking to widen their audience is a good thing. You don’t often find bands who go to this level of trouble to do it themselves. However, as any band knows, promoters, record labels and agents come and go so taking control of getting the word out there is a smart move on the part of this indie band and their new record shop-come-gig-venue Pop Recs Ltd in Sunderland. Nice one guys!

Frankie and the Heartstrings

Nicholas McCarthy, The One Handed Pianist

We hear a lot about idols and role models in music but every now and then, someone truly inspirational comes along. Nicholas McCarthy is an award winning pianist who graduated from the Royal College of Music in 2012. He is currently touring the UK and USA and recently released his debut CD.

Pretty impressive stuff but here’s the bombshell – this guy only has one hand!! Nicholas was born without his right hand. He was told by many teachers that he should forget his dream of being a pro pianist but lucky for his fans he ignored them all and continues to delight audiences around the world.

We really enjoyed listening to some of the tracks from Nicholas McCarthy’s album, simply called Debut, hopefully you will too.

If you’re learning to play piano (using two hands!!), visit enjoymuzic for a great selection of easy piano music including recent chart hits, jazz and classical sheet music.