Da Musically Inclined Bomb

DePauw University's First Year Seminar on Writing about Music

Saturday, October 21, 2006

Yay for textbooks!

Alright, as Becca said everyone will be writing about our theory books, so here's my opinion of it. I like our theory books. And yes, Natalie, I did know about the examples and answers in the back of the book. That's why I like our book so much. And as Andrew said, it is difficult to explain music with words, but I think our text does a good job. Between the book's explanation and what Dr. Carrillo says in class, I can understand the chapter pretty well. I really like the examples in the book because since I'm a very visual learner. I use the examples all the time when I'm doing the workbook assignments.
Okay, onto my French textbook. Every chapter starts of with a hypothetical situation in which you must try to figure out what the correct French answers are based on context. Then there's a listening portion and then a portion on communication. The rest of the chapter is filled with useful charts of vocabulary and verbs, mock conversations, and activities. For the most part, I like my French book, I think it does a good job of using examples and activities to convey the information. Sometimes I wish it wove in the vocabulary a little better, but there's a nice yellow chart at the end of every chapter with all the vocabulary for me to refer to.
Okay, so all in all I like my textbooks, I feel like they are good resources and they really help me to understand the material. So, yay for textbooks!

Page by page

I like to take some time out of my fall break to talk about what I like most...textbooks. Believe it or not this is more entertaining to me right now than having to go through the same questions with my parents about DePauw. Anyway, my psychology book starts each chapter with a story about whatever psyhcological phenomenon will be discussed. I like this notion because I know that I might not read the entire chapter, but it did grasp my attention long enough for me to learn how the subject affects real people. This primes me to want to understand the neurological causes of these processes. If not for that I would not be able to get past page one. Let's be honest, without real examples its just a bunch of scientific words that I don't care about.
As for the my theory book, oh my God. I mean all it has are words that can't tell a story. This is not through any fault of the writer or the reader, it is impossible to explain with words how music works. You have to hear the notes, then the words make sense. I thinks the book does a great job of explaining as best it can. With a science book words will do just fine, but it is a different story with music. I guess that is why the book says we should do our work at a keyboard. Basically it boils down to this, just in case I gave anyone the wrong idea, I like our books.

Text Books....

Well, first of all I would like to comment on the fact that we are all crazy procrastinaters. It is the Saturday before the day this blog is due and we have all had almost two weeks and none of us have posted.

The two textbooks that I have selected are my theory textbook "Theory and Analysis" by Clendinning and Marvin, and my spanish textbook "Camino Oral" by Richard Teschner. Yes, these are two very different textbooks, but I thought that would give me something to discuss, compare and contrast.

I have discovered recently that my theory textbook can be a great resource. In the earlier chapters of the book I will have to be honest that I simply scanned over the information, looked at the stuff in bold print and then quickly moved on to the homework. However, the last few chapters have come to puzzle me a little, so I decided that before turning to my fellow classmates for help I would see if the textbook could do anything for me and low and behold it could. There is alot that our theory textbook has to offer that I had kind of ignored before. DId you know that there are examples and that on top of these examples there are answers in the back of the book? I found this quite amazing. Who knew that a text book could actually equip you enough to do your homework. There are also these lovely blue boxes every few pages. These blue boxes highlight the general idea of the previous few pages. It's amazing, this can really come in handy when you are trying to do a quick review before a test and need just a brief summary of the chapter. I will have to confess that the listening activities are still something I haven't quite gotten in to, but I am sure they are quiet helpful too. Now if we are to move on to the actual language of the book I think in general the writers know how to convey the information they are supposed to but, I will admit that I often have to read things three or four times to understand the entire concept, this, however, is probably me and not the author.

My spanish book on the other hand is not quite as good. This is not a "normal" spanish book. The subtitle (translated) for this book is "phonetics, the study of phonetics and the practice of the spanish sounds". This book, as you can tell, is for my conversation and phonetics class. In general terms this book is one of the most confusing books I have ever had to read for a class. Yes, it is in spanish and yes, it expects you know all of the phonetic termononlogy in spanish, which I am slowly learning, but besides that it is not written in a manner that is easily understood. I usually read the chapter and then quickly give up because it does not make any sense. The funny thing I found was that unlike my theory book when I went to go use my book as a resource it failed me. There are no examples in this book, instead they have the homework activities and the first few answers are in the back of the book. However, I have not found this helpful. This textbook also does not have the quick refrences for a fast brush up on the chapter before class. Overall I am extremely frustrated with this textbook. I do not think it is written in a way that is easily understood and I think that if a book is written to aid in the teaching of a foriegn language the author needs to make sure that it is completely clear.

I hope you have enjoyed my little rant. I will end this as I have ended a majority of the other posts, I hope this answered the question. :) Enjoy the rest of your break.