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Two important "Music Lessons"
June 06, 2015 02:03 PM PDT
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In other episodes of this podcast, we've discussed life lessons that music can teach us. In this episode, we take a look at two more important character lessons one can learn from studying and playing music.

One of these, the value of contributing your efforts to something bigger than yourself, may seem obvious considering that a lot of musical experiences come from participating in an ensemble like band or chorus.

The other “music lesson” that we’ll look at, the benefits of delayed gratification, may not be so obvious at first, and yet studying music is particularly well-suited to delivering this lesson in a subtle but compelling way.

The Powerful Language of Music
March 07, 2015 10:42 AM PST
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Many people compare music to a language. You may have even heard a music teacher say to you in school, “Music is an international language all people can understand.” Of course more recent multicultural studies reveal that the music to which these teachers are referring – Western, tonal music – is actually a European idiom expressed in a nomenclature that developed around the year 1,000 especially in Italy.

Just as an author uses words, grammar, metaphors, and more to create a novel, a composer uses the language of music - notes, rhythms, and more - to create a piece of music. When we say that a composer "writes" music, we assume he or she is using some musical vocabulary and that in writing the music, he or she is trying to communicate something.

Let’s take a closer look at the communicative power of the language of music!

Classical Order and Drama
March 07, 2015 10:14 AM PST
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When you hear the term “classical music” you probably think of any serious art music played by orchestras, string quartets, pianists, or any other concert performers….and you’d be right since that is one common use of the word. But…more correctly Classical music (with a capital C) refers to music written in Europe during a musical style period that lasted from approximately 1750 through 1825 or 1830. From this Classical period emerged the works of composers such as Franz Joseph Haydn, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and Ludwig von Beethoven.

Modal vs. Tonal
March 07, 2015 08:50 AM PST
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In this episode of What Music Means to Me I’ll attempt to tackle one of the toughest musical concepts to explain: the difference between modal and tonal music.

Around 500 B.C. Pythagoras wrote about various modes and by 500 A.D. Pope Gregory the Great was compiling church plainsong, which we call Gregorian chant, written in these modes. By the Baroque period and on up through the Romantic period, church and concert art composers shifted to the major-minor tonal system more-or-less exclusively. The shift from the modes of Gregorian chant to the tonal system in place by the 18th-century is quite a story!

When Copying Is Good
March 07, 2015 08:01 AM PST
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No one likes “busy work”. And nothing seems more like busy work than copying. When I was in grade school corporal punishment – or spanking – was still administered occasionally by a building principal, but more often a wayward student was sentenced to copy a corrective phrase over and over, sometimes into the hundreds of times. More recently, teachers have been encouraged to avoid busy work and find more constructive ways to train their students.

But is it possible that a mundane chore like copying could hold unseen benefits for the music student? Let me share a few reasons I believe the answer is YES.

Musical Fusion
February 14, 2015 09:34 PM PST
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In this episode of What Music Means to Me, we’ll look at the concept of musical fusion, the idea of combining elements of two or more musical traditions to create a new, unique sound in music.

The Music of My Youth
July 28, 2014 04:49 PM PDT
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One thing I am sure of: the music of one’s youth makes a lasting impression.

What you listen to, especially in your formative years, is more than just nostalgic. I believe it helps define who you are, and who you are becoming. I know it did with me.

In this episode of “What Music Means to Me” I want to share some of my magical moments of music listening mostly from my high school years. Certainly high school is well beyond what many consider the “formative years”, and yet I do believe the music we listen to during adolescence leaves an indelible mark on our nature.

A Season for Giving (2013)
November 28, 2013 06:00 AM PST
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Long time followers of this podcast know that when all the leaves on the trees here in the Northeast have just about fallen, when temperatures drop, and when Thanksgiving and Christmas are in our sights, that the students in my fall Music Production class at Parkland High School have been hard at work on producing their annual holiday album, “Parkland: A Season for Giving.” As always, the kids select a charity to donate proceeds from the sale of the CD. This year that charity is AUTISM SPEAKS, an organization helping with Autism awareness, science, and advocacy efforts.

Please take 8 and a half minutes to check out a sampling of tracks on the 2013 "Season for Giving" album. To further support our project, visit our blog, www.reverbnation/parklandaseasonforgiving2013, which has sound clips, music videos, links to our facebook page, and info about ordering the CD online.

Episode 20: The Importance of Being Warmed Up
June 23, 2013 08:37 PM PDT
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I view every single moment I have with my students as precious! Whether it’s the half hour, “small-group” lessons I have with beginning instrumentalists, the sectional lessons I have with my second-year players, or the longer rehearsals I have with the entire band, there’s always so much to accomplish and no time to waste.

Nonetheless I still believe it’s worth taking the time to establish the habit of warming up at the start of individual, small group, or large ensemble meetings.

Get Your Groove On
March 30, 2013 10:51 AM PDT
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Groove is one of those extremely important, yet somewhat ambiguous, concepts in music. In this episode of What Music Means to Me we discuss and explore the vital concept of groove!

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