Music is a hobby, a passion, a lifestyle, a profession and an expression of our very humanity. From time to time, we'll post items of interest here about the many ways in which music serves our lives and our souls.
This is an interesting article equating the decline in the "Lyric Intelligence" of Pop songs over the past ten years with the corresponding rise in "American Idiocy." Simply stated, our popular culture reflects, reinforces and informs the knowledge base or intellectual activity of those people who are consumers of it. And, of course, most pop culture is aimed squarely at our children. A recent study of pop music lyrics has shown that most are written for readers functioning at a second to third grade reading level. That is not much of a challenge! As a musician and songwriter, I am appalled at what passes for "Art" in this day and age. And, as a parent, I know that it is my responsibility to see that my sons meet with a better example. We listen to music meant to lift and challenge their emotional and intellectual development. I would encourage all parents to take a much more active role in shaping their kids' choices in popular culture, so that those same kids demand better of the purveyors of pop (by voting with their feet and dollars). To read the article, follow this link:
I had to move this one right up to the top of the list! This is a wonderful "Ted Talk" by Richard Gill, director of the Victorian Opera Company of Sydney, Australia, on the value of a music education. Specifically, it speaks to what making music does to the developing mind of a child. So many times, we become fixated on the specific goal of having our kids learn to play an instrument or a specific piece thereon, when we need to step back and look at the larger picture of what role the wonderfully abstract world of music plays in freeing the creativity in our kids. And it is that function of freeing their creative mind that is at the heart of all learning and development to come.
In this wonderful TedTalk, Grammy Award winning Bassist and Composer Victor Wooten gives his insights into how we can take the primarily experimental and expieriential way in which we learn language and incorporate that process into how we learn music (and just about everything else). His understanding not just of music, but of human nature, speaks to the freedom we feel when we make our own music, and how we sound best when we listen to each other and play together (words of wisdom to the leaders of nations everywhere). Another in the brilliant series of TedTalks!
A young girl steps up to put a tip into a street musician's hat. See what happens next. Music has been with us as long as we have been human and we might argue that we can't really be human without it.
We play music for so many different reasons, chief among them the unbridled joy it brings us to do so. But, watch the video below and see what science is learning about the impact on our brains of learning to play an instrument. Every study of school age kids ever done has demonstrated conclusively that kids who study music tend to do better in school. Now, we are beginning to know why!
There are so many ways to think about this video. One could say that "Music is all around us" or we could marvel at the sources of musical inspiration. I'm inclined to see it as a validation of the idea that music is a way of understanding our world and in that way, becomes a sense unto itself, just like sight, hearing, taste, smell and touch.
This is a very often asked question by beginning and intermediate level music students. It is a difficult question in a way, until you understand it in different terms. The question could be, "When will I have taken this instrument as far as it can go?" Understood that way, the answer now depends not on the instrument or the student's development of specific skill sets, but rather on the imagination of the student. And, the greater your imagination about what you could do with your instrument, the less likelihood that you will ever master it. At that point, it becomes a glass that is either half full or half empty. If the student sees the glass as half empty, he or she may become discouraged and give up at the prospect that the instrument will never be mastered. If the student sees the glass as half full, he or she can look forward to a lifetime of new experiences and revelations in the process of making music. Next time you are in, ask your teachers if they have mastered their instruments! Here is a fascinating little video from a vocalist from Germany, whose imagination for the possibilities of her own voice knows no bounds.
Here is another great little video report on the benefits to kids of making music, this one based on research from Northwestern University. Humanity has been making music since its very beginnings, and we continue to find that we do so at least in part because it is essential to our cognitive development. Check it out!
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Cappella School of Music
317 Oreland Mill Road
Oreland, PA 19075
Phone: 215 233-8933
Congratulations to Cappella's Samantha Klein, who will be starring as Amahl in the Delaware Valley Opera Company's production of Amahl and the Night Visitors, Saturday, January 6th, 2018, in two shows, at 4:00 and 7:00p.m. The performance will be staged at the Venice Island Performing Arts and Recreation Center, 7 Lock Street, Philadelphia, Pa. 19127. Great job, Samantha!
Pictures from our last event are now online! Check them out.