Da Musically Inclined Bomb

DePauw University's First Year Seminar on Writing about Music

Saturday, September 16, 2006

My Musical Life - Revised

Have you ever heared something so beautiful you were encouraged to recreate that sound? That happens to me all the time and I think it's the basis of my success as playing trumpet. When I was at the end of fourth grade I heard a beautiful saxophone sound echoing throughout the local mall. It was the first time I had ever heard a professional instrumentalist, with interest on my part. Kenny G was my first inspiration to make music.

Later that week, I went through "instrument tryouts" for our 5th grade band. I knew as soon as I got there I was going to be bringing home the instrument that would lead me to Kenny G's success! But I was wrong! Turns out, I couldn't even get a noise out of the saxophone. That's when I decided to test out the trumpet.

Mills Lawn was a very small school elementary school. It was your decision to play in either the orchestra or band. But, either way, you were guaranteed to be the only one in your grade on your instrument. Competition between instruments took place on a grade level. As a fifth grader, I couldn't wait to play with the 6th graders and show off my talent. My brother was a 6th grade trombonist and he kept me "updated" with the latest repitore. I remember practicing "Go Tell Aunt Rhodie" several hundred times with my brother in the freezing cold garage before a 6th grade rehersal. At Mills Lawn, you were pushed to learn your part inside out and always play at your personal best.

A move in the family eventually caused for transferring schools. Indian Valley Middle School was a drastic change for me. There were 4 different 5th grade bands! Each with 10 or more playing trumpet. But, because of such advanced playing at Mills Lawn I was still able to outplay them all! I'm almost certain I didn't improve much as a musician at Indian Valley because I never had any one to compete with, or any beautiful sounds to imitate.

Throughout my 3.5 years there, students expierenced three different changes in directors. Many students dropped out because the couldnt rely on the stablilty of the music department or because they just weren't inspired. My parents were the only reason I myself, made it to high school band.

Wow! My first day of band camp I was so impressed! I arrived and chairs had been marked off as a result of the auditions earlier that week. I walked along the back looking for my chair. It wasn't anywhere around my freshman friends! I must have looked confused because my band director approached me and took me to my chair. I was sitting 2nd chair next to the junior section leader! I remember his words exactly as I sat next to him, "So you're the girl who sits here? We'll don't get your hopes up.... your first chance at section leader won't be until your senior year when all of the upperclassmen have filtered out!" Typical statement of a trumpet player. It didn't bring me down though, I had work to do... there was someone better than me. I had a challenge!

I worked very hard that year and it paid off. The audition results were posted at the beginning of the next year. I had outdone every trumpet player in every ensemble in high school. It seemed great... until I realized I no longer had challenge. For the rest of high school, I did the minimal work to keep my spot as a section leader.

Over my 8 years of playing, I don't feel as if I got the musical expierence every child deserves to have. My fellow students and I had five different band directors. I witnessed many students dropping music because of poor instruction and lack of dedication. It is now my desire to improve instruction in districts where music is a crumbling subject. The arts are an important part of elementary, middle and high school curriculum. Students at least a teacher who cares!

My old post is here!

Friday, September 15, 2006

New Musical History

My Old Post

So as I was thinking about our discussion after the first draft of this blog I thought about how I would change my last blog. I decided I didn’t want to focus on what got me here, today, as a student at DePauw School of Music, but rather to focus on what formed me as a musician in general.
I grew up as the daughter of artists. Ever since I was little I have been exposed to more of the arts than some people will see in their lifetime. As a toddler I spent my afternoons in the dressing rooms, lighting booths or studios of theatres. My mom’s a dancer, my father’s a techie, the arts was something I was just born for, or so I like to think. I started taking dance class at the age of 4, which doesn’t seem to relate to the topic of musician, but I think it does. The early years of my exposure to any type of the arts began to form me as an individual. In elementary school I was always ridiculously excited to go to music class. I was the little dorky girl who sat in the front row in class and sang her heart out, even if it was out of tune. Through out elementary school I did a lot of stupid performances, Lullabies and Sing A Longs, musical theatre class and things with my mom’s classes. I played piano for two years in early elementary school, but with the combination of me not wanting to practice and my teacher graduating I didn’t stay with it very long. It wasn’t until fourth grade that I actually began to learn music. I decided and I may or may not have been encouraged to play the cello. Yes, my teacher wanted me to play cello because she was a cellist and also needed cellos in her orchestra, however, my mother wanted me to wait until fifth grade and play flute like she did. I couldn’t wait.
Now, in the rest of elementary school I played cello with the advanced orchestra and went to ISSMA and all the other fun stuff, but thinking back on the situation I realize that I was singing the whole time as well. The first time I went to ISSMA for voice was in sixth grade when the general music teacher was Mrs. Butler. She decided that it was time for me to take singing more seriously so I began to come in after school to work with her. I don’t even remember what I sang at ISSMA that year, but I do remember her having a group of girls perform “It’s a Hard Knock Life” from Annie for the talent show.
Then I moved and went to middle school where I knew no one. I especially didn’t know the music teachers, unlike if I had gone to Clay like I was supposed to. Well, I signed up for orchestra and somehow I ran into the choir director and by eighth grade she had started a “swing choir” as a zero hour class so that I could sing with her. I hated it; it meant I had to get up at 6 a.m. just to go to school and sing with a group of people who didn’t want to be there either. Eighth grade was the year my parents bought me my own cello and that I started private lessons.
I loved cello. It was my passion for quite awhile, and somewhere it got turned around. I began to get exposed to musicals. In my seventh grade year I was in Saint Mary’s College’s production of Gypsy. I don’t know what my mother was thinking. I don’t’ know any other parents who would encourage their children to be part of a show about strippers, but I was. The one middle school kid amongst 20 college students and 2 high school students, it was interesting. Well, as I was leaving middle school I was encouraged to audition for the “show choir” at Adams, but I didn’t. If you haven’t figured this out by now I am a shy person. I don’t often get stage fright because there is a huge gap between the audience, and me but just singing in front of people really makes me nervous. I figured I would be content with just sticking with the orchestra thing. And I was content, until auditions for the musical Mame came around. Mame was one of those musicals that I had seen ever since I was little. My family was weird, instead of Barney my sister and I watched the Sound of Music. I grew up with Oklahoma, Gypsy, Mame, Sound of Music, Singing in the Rain, the list could go one forever. Sorry, that was just a random side not. Anyway, I had told my parents I was going to audition for the show and when I finally showed up for the audition I chickened out and left. I decided I would be content just playing in the pit. I wasn’t. I wanted desperately to be onstage. Well, again, somehow through the grapevine I got connected with the choir director and before I knew it I was singing with the “show choir” for ISSMA, something a freshmen never does, especially a freshmen that wasn’t even in choir. He also threw me into two other ensembles two weeks before contest and gave me a solo to learn. This man was insane, but I did it.
Sophomore year I was able to actually fit both choir and orchestra into my schedule. I loved choir, those stupid dresses and even stupider music. Orchestra began to slip to the side a little. I was still taking lessons and playing but I had stopped practicing, so I had stopped making progress. Well this year when musical auditions came around my friends who were seniors refused to let me not audition. So I went, signed up to audition for the chorus and came out with the lead, much to my senior friends disappointment. Well, I had the lead for a total of two weeks, I went on vacation and came back and one of the seniors had brought her mother in and my part was now double cast, which I didn’t really care about because I was still going to be on stage.
Junior year I was unable to take choir as a class so I worked on music on my own and occasionally with my director during our 17-minute homeroom class. I had auditioned for All-State choir and was working on that music on my own as well. My junior year I felt like I was very empty when it was coming to music because I was no longer in orchestra either, math and science had taken over my schedule. I decided to join the choir, bell choir, and praise band at my church. This had me singing every Sunday and Wednesday. I loved it. Singing with my church allowed me to be exposed to two different types of music, praise music, which I usually just, got to have fun with, and choral music again. There was no musical that year, instead we did Macbeth, I was pretty miserable. That was the year I decided I could never see myself being happy without music. The next year I was not going to let anything stand in the way of doing what made me happy.
Senior year I joined choir again, I still didn’t have time for orchestra but I was able to take Cadet Teaching my second semester. Senior year was probably my happiest year of high school. I was allowed to sing with the Saint Mary’s Women’s Choir so I was finally being challenged. I also sang with All-State again and continued to sing with my church. I took cello lessons until around Christmas time and then stopped because the musical began to take up too much of my time. My second semester of senior year was when I was able to Cadet Teach, first semester I had to take Econ, and I asked if I could teach at Edison with my orchestra teacher. I was allowed to and spent an hour and a half everyday with kids who were in the same spot I had been four years before. It was great, but I also learned that I would probably be driven insane if I ever tried to be a teacher. We also did the musical Grease, which was probably the show that I had the most fun with in high school. During first semester I did take voice lessons for a short while in order to prepare myself for auditions, but other than that I was pretty much on my own.
Music is my passion and I feel like that’s why I’m here. I’m sorry that was so long, but I don’t think I ever really realized all the steps I took to get where I am today. I’ve still left out quite a bit, and please let me know what more you think I should cut or expand on.

An Ordinary Life Take Two

When I was young, I did all the normal kid things. I starting dancing at age three, and I started playing softball and soccer when I was five. I played with barbies and I loved to watch cartoons. But there was one thing missing.
My mom sang in the church choir for as long as I remember. I would live for Thursday when I could go to practice with her. I loved being there and hearing the music.
Finally, in third grade I started taking piano lessons from a lady from my church. It was great for awhile, but eventually I wanted more. I went to a private school, so we didn't have band or orchestra, but my mom had a clarinet, and in fifth grade, after a while of me scaring the animals with my squeeks and squawks, she asked her friend's daughter to teach me. I loved it from day one!
Elementary school came to an end and my parents sat me down and told me I had three choices- I could continue with sports, dance, or music. The choice came easily, I had to go on with music. So I enrolled in public middle school and joined band and choir for the first time in my life. Half way through the year my friend convinced me to start cello, and after the first playing test I seated first chair, ahead of people who had been playing for years, but all obviously hated it. I did my thing for awhile, joined jazz band to play piano in 7th grade, and continued on with that and all three ensembles until I was done with middle school.
When it came time to try out for marching band, it just kind of seemed like it was already set in stone. I had been planning on it, along with my parents, so I tried out and got in. It was probably the best choice of my life. I had a whole new group of friends before highschool even started. We bonded quickly and it was like we had always been friends.
Freshman year started and I joined orchestra, chamber orchestra, jazz band, and pep band. Marching season ended and I was one of a few freshman placed into our highest band. We travelled to Florida and got to march down Main Street in a Disney World parade. It was one of the most amazing experiences in my life, seeing the castle in front of you and knowing all these people are watching I you. At the end of freshman year I was selected for pit orchestra, which meant I was now in all the ensembles I could possibly be in. I was THE band geek. But it didn't bother me. People would call me one, and I would say "Yeah, so?". I had found my passion.
I continued on with all my music through highschool. I went through some private teachers in the area, eventually quit taking piano lessons, taught myself saxophone and bass, and then it was time to select a college.
I knew I wanted to continue with music, but I had no clue where. Luckily, I did know that I did not want to be more than 4 hours from home and that I wanted to study music business. I did some research and found there was really only five or six colleges that fit that criteria. I had three in mind-University of Evansville, Elmhurst College, and Millikin University. I visited all three and was set on Evansville. I was going there, no doubt about it. Then one day my mom asked why I never looked at DePauw University, since they sent me mail about five days a week. I said I didn't know and so she decided we should just go look at it and I could just use it for a practice audition if nothing else. Well, obviously, my visit changed my mind, and here I am.
I have led a pretty ordinary life. I haven't studied with any famous concertmasters or recorded with anyone from an amazing band. But all the same I am here for the same reason as everyone else. Music is my life, and I can't imagine doing anything other than continue with it.

First Draft

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

An Unstable Musical Life DRAFT 2

Around 13 years ago, I became interested in music. I had no heroes, no music idols; I just wanted to play. I asked Santa Clause for a piano. Apparently Santa did not have the money for a piano but did have the money for a very cheap violin. This did not faze me. I held the scroll under my chin and smiled at my mom and dad and said, "Look! Santa brought me a violin!" This was where it all began.

I began taking lessons the summer following that Christmas; it was the summer before I was to enter the second grade. By the time I had reached the third grade, the orchestra teacher at my elementary school had found that I was more advanced than many older students already in her class. Even though students were not allowed in the elementary orchestra until the fourth grade, I quickly became an exception. The teacher, however, lacked many, if not all, teaching skills. We played "Twinkle, Twinkle" until I graduated. If it had not been for my private lessons, I would not have progressed at all.

Upon entering junior high school I had no desire to play the violin any longer. The less than adequate teacher I had had previously made me believe that the violin was not for me. I did not sign up for orchestra. Fortunately my parents pushed me along. I played a couple of excerpts for the orchestra teacher and I remember him saying, “Dang, you can play. You’re in.” My parents assured me that orchestra would be different in junior high. To my great surprise, it was. There were more students and the teacher was an actual orchestra teacher. He knew what he was doing and for the first time in my orchestra career, I heard what an orchestra was supposed to sound like. The different sections had different parts; there were harmonies and melodies. It was only a junior high orchestra but it was beautiful.

As I progressed further in my playing, I realized that our Floyd Central Symphony Orchestra was not as great as I had always seen. Many of the students did not try their best and as I progressed, they stayed behind, making the music sound out of tune and displeasing. I did not sign up for orchestra at the beginning of eighth, ninth, or tenth grade but my teacher had gone to my parents on all three occasions and convinced them that I needed to stay in orchestra because I had a "natural talent." So I stayed.

At this point in time, the violin was becoming less and less appealing. The only thing that really kept me trying was the competition. There wasn’t much of it; in fact there was only one person to be competitive with. I fought with this small blond girl every year for the better chair. To tell the truth, if it hadn’t been for her, I would have had no reason to push myself and I wouldn’t be where I am today.

When I was in the tenth grade, I knew our orchestra was not at the level I would have preferred so I looked into community orchestras. I found one for my county, the Floyd County Youth Symphony. I joined and was temporarily satisfied. I progressed quickly up through the chairs of seconds to firsts until there was nothing left. Therefore my second year proved to be much less satisfying. They also joined the younger orchestra with the older orchestra due to a drop in participants. The younger children only brought the orchestra down. Within two weeks I dropped the orchestra. I found instead a larger and more advanced community orchestra, the Louisville Youth Orchestra's Symphony Orchestra. It was what I had been looking for all along. It was made up of an older crowd and the musicians were only there because they wanted to be. Since they wanted to be there, they tried their best and as a result, the orchestra sounded amazing.

I auditioned late for the LYO. My audition was okay and the conductor placed me in the back of the first violins. We rotated and kept auditioning for first stand. I never tried. To this day I don’t know why I didn’t try. The conductor couldn’t stand me. I sat in the back of the firsts and never pushed myself any further. I didn’t like him much either. I felt he judged me and in return I brought his judgments to life. I was a punk. The following year I was not going to audition for shear hatred of the man conducting the orchestra. To my surprise there was a new conductor that year, so I figured I would give it a try. I didn’t find this out until a week before auditions but I grabbed a random piece of music and ran with it. I somehow was placed as Assistant Concertmaster. I was so surprised and yet vastly pleased. It made me feel as if someone had faith in me; somebody liked my playing. I tried hard that year to make the new conductor happy with his decision. He was so nice and he helped us instead of humiliating us. I don’t think he regretted his decision.

In the summer before my senior year in high school, I began to teach violin lessons privately for spending money. After several months with my students, I began to see improvement. It was not small and minimally noticeable improvement either; it was enormous and obvious. I was amazed at my own teaching abilities. I began to feel this great pride after each of my students' lessons. By Christmas of that year, I knew what I wanted to do for a living. I was going to be a teacher.

Now I am here at DePauw's School of Music. I'm here not only to improve upon my own violin performance abilities, but to learn how to teach others as well. Here I will learn to pass on my knowledge of music to younger generations.

Link to first draft.

Monday, September 11, 2006

Some housekeeping

  1. Remember to make at least five comments each week, besides your own blog post. Your blogging grade is lowered if you don't have enough comments.
  2. For your autobiography revision this week, please include a link to the first version. Click "Permalink" under your post, and the URL of that page will be specific to your own post. Remember that the revision can be anything from small fixes to a completely different writing.
  3. In two weeks the blogging assignment is "Creative writing. How do I write musically?" For this assignment I want you to write about music in a creative way. It could be a poem, a screenplay, a short story, a word puzzle, or even a song. I'm giving you advanced notice so you have time to think about this.
  4. A little lesson on how to refer to musical works:
  • "Song Title" goes in quotes, with each important word capitalized (unless the poetry specifically calls for lower-case words).
  • Album Title or Title of Multi-movement Work is italicized except...
  • A multi-movement work whose name is a formal description is not placed in quotes or italicized. Symphony, String Quartet, Piano Sonata, anything that describes the genre of the piece.
  • Do include things like Opus numbers, the key of the piece, etc. that are part of the formal title, at least for the first mention of the piece. If the piece has a nickname, like "The Tempest," that nickname is placed in quotes after the rest of the formal name: Symphony No. 6 in F major, Op. 68, "The Pastoral." After the first mention the nickname can be used to refer to the piece for the rest of the essay.
  • Distinguish between a song and a piece. A song is a very specific musical work, typically with lyrics, that is a single movement. A piece is any complete musical work.

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Debating music fo shizzle

How does anyone debate music? Is debating Deerhoof any different than debating Mozart? Of course, but not really. You could take a monstrous potato-picking woman from Idaho and have her debate Nickel Creek and take a suave potato-eating man from Florida and have him debate Shostakovich, but what to debate? This is where y'all can get creative.

What are the things to debate? Style? Format? Creativity? Substance? Everything, really. First you got to start with a gooood question. A question such as "Was that composer actually creative, or did he just rip off the work of someone else?" Boom. There's a question. But for more contemporary things, like Deerhoof, one could ask "Is this music queer, or just understated?" Boom. There's another question.

Debating music isn't as hard or obscure as some people make it out to be. It's simply like debating anything else, but there's more subjective things to talk about, like sound. With writing or painting, everything is right in front of you and concrete, whereas music is constantly changing, like one piece of music can sound completely different based on the person performing it.

Just ask a question about the music, and there's the beginning of your debate. Happy eating.

how to masterfully debate music.

I just wanted to put a cool title.

Music is made for interpretation, and everyone on the planet hears and interprets things differently. The idea of debating such an open ended subject almost seems pointless. No one person can ever have the final say and the right opinion. There is no wrong way to hear music, so in turn there is no wrong way to form an opinion about a piece/song, w/e.

BUT. If you absolutely HAD to debate music, I think certain things should be taken into consideration. For instance, it would be kind of ridiculous to compare the musical integrity of Brahms vs. Daddy Yankee, so you would have to debate within genres and styles. I think the master music debating should also be between people of equal musical intellect, so both positions would be respectively cognizant of what they're discussing.

To warp it up (because its almost midnight), there is no music guru who can tell you clear cut whether on style or artist is better than another. We each form our own opinions based on not only what we've heard, but where we're from, our families, our friends, etc.


My debating history for all to see

Q: How do I debate about music?
A: The only way I can talk about how I debate about music is to discuss how I have debated about music in the past. I hate contraversy and hate debating, so I can only remember two instances where I have debated about music, besides 2 weeks ago about EMI.
The first musical debate I remember having was with a few kids on my bus who said rap was the best kind of music ever. I know that whatever someone likes is their own choice, and in this case, thier own fault, and that in someones opinion rap can be the best THING ever. What we debated about that day was whether or not rap was music. The term "rap music" is the biggest oxymoron ever. I told them what I thought about it, and that just because you're talking in a rhythm doesn't mean it's music. I don't remember what they said, or if they said anything at all - it was a long time ago. All I know is I'm right.
The other debate I had was with my older brother AJ. We were listening to Coldplay in my car this summer, and he asked me why I listened to that crap. He listens only to jazz and jazz legends. His point was that - why would i listen to this stuff that has been modified and computerized over actually raw talented musicians. I went on to say that I do respect and enjoy listening to raw talent, but i also enjoy listening to other music that makes me feel good. I said as long as music gets me in the mood I want to be in, and It makes me feel good and sing along, I couldn't care less how computerized or edited it is. He went on to say that he can't enjoy it if it isn't raw talent. We both acknowledged eachother's opinions, and we both have our own views on music and we respected that.
So, that answers the question of how I debate music, because you have the two instances when I have debated music. And that's how I do it.

Debating gets me so angry, that I think I'm going to hurt myself

I believe that music is hard to debate about, but not impossible. In the EMI debate, what was more evident than anything, was that no one was going to listen to any one elses point. Granted that is hard to do when trying to make your own. In any debate, all points should be considered valid. As I am stepping off the soapbox, I will begin how I debate music.
Music can only be debated on one front: if you like the music. For example, I can't argue why I think a D written by Mozart is better than a D written by Bach. Although I can say that I enjoyed the notes written be Mozart better than the ones by Bach. Also I can't bring the hard-hitting facts to why I like Ben Folds tremendously and why I never really got into Billy Joel. Point being I just like somethings better than others.
So in my humble opinion, you can talk about facts, styles, time periods, experiences and anything alse you want to prove to me which is better, but you cannot change the fact that I like some things more than others. In fact, I would rather you just hold your breath and wait to tell me that I look nice today.

Debating About Music

First, as in any debate, you need to know the subject. Picking a side, contrary to what many would think, is not necessary. In fact, when we were debating about EMI, I hadn't developed a strong opinion either way based on the facts I had read about the machine. However, I feel I was still able to "put on an act" and fool the other side of our debate that I did, indeed, feel EMI was wrong. Having knowledge about both sides of the arguement will enable you to have better "come backs" and help you support your side when it is attacked. If you do develop an opinion however, state your facts and remember to stay open or at least listen to other opinions. Debating about music is tough, but if you just keep in mind that everyone is entitled to their own opinion, you can often learn new things about the subject.

(Sorry this is really short guys, but I still think my points were clear and concise.)

Hoe to debate music?

Ok, so like the rest of you, I have no idea what to write, but here goes. Debating music is like debating food. Everyone has a different opinion on what "good food" is and the same goes for music. There is no right or wrong about either.
One way to go about debating music and food is to look at the technical side. Do the spices blend well with the main ingrediant? Are the chords correct and placed in an appropriate place? The problem with this is, that many dishes and pieces are made correctly, but still do not satisfy the urge or hunger.
In my oppinion, the only way to debate the two, is to decide what is right for you personaly and stick to it. A food may tatse wnderful to someone else, and they can debate with you how each ingrediant works together, but doing so will not make you like the dish any more, maybe you will appreciate it more, but not like it. The same is true for music. If a piece is technically "correct" and yet you do not like it, no one can change that. Hearing why the piece is good will give you an understanding for why others like it, but hearing that side will not change you oppinion of whether or not it is "good".
All in all, there is no way to debate music or food. You must go with your gut and stick with your feelings. At the end of the debate you will be able to appreciate the other side more, but it will not change how you like or dislike a piece or a dish at a restaurant.

Debating on Music

How does one debate about music? Well, in the same way as one might debate on anything else. We begin with a good question. Whether Mozart’s music is better than Beethoven’s or whether the trumpet is superior to the violin is a matter of opinion and best saved for informal discussion rather than formal debate. Debate questions can be “yes” or “no” questions, but must include a “why” with either answer, and have a relevant significance to the topic as a whole. A good debate question, for example, would be more along the lines of “Does knowledge of music history positively influence a piece’s performance?” This question can be answered with a yes or a no, but is best answered with a “why”, and its resolution carries implications for the music world.

As with any debate, the question is only answerable using facts to support a point. The main difference between musical debate and, say, historical debate, is the evidence used for this support. Whereas in historical debates, dates, documents and historiographies are used for evidence, the musical debater must use recordings, literature on music, scores and other less tangible sources. If I were to argue in favor of the aforementioned debate question, I would have to find examples of performances (sound and video recordings) or studies that indicate an improvement on the piece with knowledge of its history. It’s always better to show than tell in debate. The best points are backed with solid, unbiased evidence that clearly illustrates your position.

Really, musical debate is no different from any other debate – you pick a side, you find facts that defend your side, and you present your arguments in a neat manner. Is it better than regular debate? Now, that’s a matter of opinion.

A Musical Debate

When I thought about what I was going to write for this week, my plan was to go off on this big ordeal about how you can't really debate about music. But then I realized I would be a hypocrite because I have debated about music many times.
While reading the previous posts I saw that many people decided to go at this from a subjunctive point of view, how they would debate about music. But I thought of it as more of an experience, how I have debated about music.
I know that this is completely a matter of my own opinion, but when arguing with someone about which band is better, I usually start off with the fact that, assuming the song is in English, I think it is best that the lyrics can be understood, and do not just come off as a bunch of mumble jumble screaming. I also like to bring up the question of if I can enjoy the music, or if it gives me a headache. I then continue on with points like these, obviously only expressing my opinion, but I feel that this is really the only true way you can debate music. I don't feel you can use research when it comes down to the question of which is better, because nowhere in the encyclopedia does it say that Backstreet Boys are better than *NSYNC. Sure, you could always compare record sales and concert attendence, but this really only shows whose fans are more commited(or have more money). It does not prove one is better than the other.
So in essence, my view on debating about music is that you should stick with your opinion. Of course in reality no one will ever be right, but really can anyone ever be right?

The confused answer of how to debate music....

So I may seem like a slacker when it comes to this weeks post because I have waited until Sunday afternoon to write this. But honestly, I had absolutely no idea of how to start this blog. I waited, hoping that someone would write something that would spark the thoughts flowing in my head, and yes, people wrote things, but I still don’t exactly understand the assignment. ☹ All I can say is that I don’t often debate music. If you can see the comment that I left on Mo’s blog it says something about “discussing” music. In order to understand what I am going to say about “discussing” music, you have to understand how I deal with music. I deal with music, for the most part, on an emotional level. Yes, technique is amazing and theory is wonderful, but I cannot say that I know enough about technique or theory to have an educated debate about that aspect of the music. I “debate” music on the level of how it makes me feel. Yes, I enjoy lyrics and I enjoy harmonies, but in the end those also lead to the way you feel about a piece.
Now, the other posts that I have read have kept mostly to the classical aspects of music, but when I first read this assignment I took it to mean more in general. How do you debate the differences between classic rock and country? Rap versus jazz? The answer, I don’t know. So, I guess you could say I’m dodging the question. I don’t think you can debate about something that, at least in my case, is based mostly on emotion. I was always told that a feeling is not wrong, it just is. So, music, which I believe to be based on feeling, whether it be the feeling of the composer, conductor or musician, can not be wrong, so therefore there is no way for it to be debated. Every piece of music somewhere was liked by someone or else it would not have been created. Yes, in my opinion there is some music that is superior to others, but that is my feeling. Others may disagree, but there is no way to prove that one is better than the other.
I hate to bring this up, but in Katz’s book Capturing Sound, there is a section in Chapter 2 about how everyone felt that America was being left behind because the majority of the citizens were not being exposed to “good music” or classical music. They were hearing more modern things. Music played in piano bars or at home. However, looking back I bet that there were many people who considered the music they had been listening to before the recordings of “good music” were available to be wonderful. (I think that was an awkward way to write it, but I don’t know how to word it to make sense.) There is no way to debate with these people that the music they were listening to was inferior simply because it was not the “good music” of Europe. They were still enjoying themselves and experiencing music in their own personal way.
Again, I apologize if I dodged the question. I answered it in the best way I knew fit, which was really no answer. Please, leave comments so maybe I can understand your thought processes more.

The Great Debate...

Okay, at first I had no idea how to approach this blog because debating about music is so vague and weird. But then it hit me: that's what makes music so great-it touches each person in a unique way, whether love or hate for it.

So, if I were to debate about music the way I would about say, drug testing in high schools (and I only use that example because I did have to debate about it in high school), first and foremost would come research. For music, I could study how various artists perform a certain piece and compare and contrast the performance with the score. And then there's what the editor put in and what the composer originally wanted. Here's where it gets weird-you can't really use this research; well to a certain extent. Music touches each artist differently and it's up to the to express how the music flows through them. A vocalist must take a piece and try to figure out the composer's intent with it while mixing in his or her own interpretation. No performance is right or wrong, each one is just different.

For my debate with drug testing, I also had to look at both sides of the arguement in order to make my points stronger and more effective. You can't really do that with music because it is so subjective. What is beauty to one person could be garbage to another. For me, I could never really argue about country or rap because I dislike both and don't ever listen to either one. I could explain why I don't like the music and someone could tell me why they love it, but I can't argue about it because I can't change what a person likes and dislikes. I could understand why someone likes country, but it won't make me like it. I doesn't have the same meaning for me. There are so many different styles of music that affect people in so many ways that it is hard to debate about it. That's the beauty of music-how people connect with it.

I love that one person can enjoy numerous styles. I'm ecstatic when a friend introduces me to an artist I've never heard before. It's great when someone loves the same music I do, but I can't be offended if someone doesn't. If everyone liked the same thing, that would be pretty boring. Music is all about how it makes you feel as an indivdual and music is meant to be open to interpretation-it's the only way one can really express how the music truly affects them.

So when I debate about music, I bring my side to the table and hope that even if the other party doesn't agree with me, they will at least see where I'm coming from and respect me for it. And I think everyone shoud do the same. After all, people's different opinions is what makes life so interesting. = )