CUA New Voices

Overpaid profession, overrated musician-My 5 series

I recently joined a community of people who prepare for the GED exam  ( I write questions for their online classes).

Somebody suggested this funny game to answer these 5 questions.

  • What’s a profession you believe to be overpaid?
  • Who’s a musician you believe to be overrated?
  • What in your life could stand to be overhauled?
  • What’s something interesting you recently overheard?
  • Who is the most overextended person you know?
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So what do you think is music? Is it this?

Well, technically it is, so you’re right.  However, what I want to focus on is not the notes on the page but the tunnel it creates. That seemingly infinite number of possibilities of what music can be.  The reason I’d like to keep this open “definition” of music is the minute you define what music is – is exactly when you define also what it is not.

Since art is about expression, I firmly believe that art in all it’s forms should be inclusive.  If you set limits, you may have the benefit of weeding out some weaker forms, but also you exclude what could evolve into the next great phenomenon.

In order to think about the progression of music, I thought about the oldest kind of music I could think of – Gregorian Chant.

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Alternate Career Barrier: Where are the Bridges?

What is the primary barrier to entry to alternate careers for musicians?

Usually used in business parlance, a barrier to entry is an obstacle in the path of a firm wanting to enter a given market. Actually, barriers to entry are all around us. They exist in music to ensure that only qualified individuals obtain licenses to practice, when they are obviously forces for good. You see them used in the dirty world of real politics, where they may be forces for nastiness; witness the barriers to entry to the U.S that the Mexicans are experiencing as an unfortunate current example. Once again, humankind seems to want to shoot itself in the foot as we witness one great opportunity to progressively blend cultures going up in smoke.

For musicians wanting to explore alternate nonclinical careers a barrier is the absence of obvious bridges. Music school transports us from idealistic young men and women to being young musicians. Residency and any post-residency training moves us from neophyte musicians to being groomed in a particular discipline. Our culture shapes us further in our early years in practice whether we be in private practice or at an cultural institution. We reach, say age 40, experienced and mature, having followed well delineated road maps with all signs to bridges clearly marked.

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T in the Park 2016

T in the Park 2016
What a day yesterday was. Of course, I was at T In The Park 2016. After the craziest mix up regarding tickets I could even imagine, I finally made it.
A few months ago I bought two Saturday and two Sunday tickets for the best music festival in the world. The reasoning behind this was that I wasn’t sure if we’d be able to go for the full weekend due to money and work stuff, so I figured I’d just buy two lots of day tickets for myself and the boyfriend and if we had to, we could sell the Sunday tickets to some friends.

Did it work out that way? Of course not, that would be too simple.

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Please Don’t Stop The Music

Please Don’t Stop The Music

635935011491326578-136848868_music-bar1Being the anti-social, home always, hard to make have fun type of person that I am, I decided to get out this weekend. On Saturday, it was the Honda Battle of The Bands and like a lot of people from my school and State, I decided that I too would go.

For more reasons than just to see the band. Any way, it was pretty ace if you ask me. Being a band geek, I’ve only been apart of a show, so it was nice to “see” a band than playing in one. It’s a lot different, and of course less tiring and painful (except than for composing music).

Even though I got my ticket on my way there, less than an hour before the show started, I managed to come across some seats better than people that had bought their tickets weeks in advance. I got the 8th row, pretty much on the field and I was ridiculously close. Luck, am I? I was adjacent to most of the performances, but because a friend said there was a seat over his way, I went and sat with him.

Mind you, there were designated seats, but not everyone sat where there ticket said, so it was okay, until the person whose seat I took ended up showing up, so we just moved down. Yay for no confrontation. Now I must share with you some crappy photos I managed to take whilst sitting in my “ridiculousawesomeish” seats.

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Become a music composer in 3 steps

If you want to learn how to compose music, the first thing you need to do is making clear to yourself that you are just a beginner. Check also this post about a job of a composer. Please do not bother yourself with a burden that’s too heavy.
It is not the job of a composer to create a masterpiece, but to piece a master together.
A fantastic help in the process of learning to compose music is following a 3-phase system of learning:

1. Music Grammar: First you must get a solid grasp of the basics.
2. Music Logic: You need to master how to create logical arguments.
3. Music Rhetoric: Develop your skills to persuade.

First we need to learn the fundamentals, the “grammar” of music. It is crucial to first learn and understand the language of music before we can start thinking about how to make composition.
You must have the capacity to read and write music notation. It’s as simple as that.

Now some of you may make objections, referring to countless famous artists who are able to compose by ear. While these people are existing, I can at the same time point your attention to several hundreds of composers who were indeed able to write and read write music notation. Beethoven, Bach, Schubert, Chopin, Mendelssohn, Debussy, Ravel, Mahler, Stravinsky… all these magnificent composers were able to write, read, and think in the notation of music.

You can find quite a few resources out there that will be helpful if you want to learn to read and write music. A simple search on google should already put you on the right track, and you’ll discover soon enough that it isn’t that hard at all to read music. There’s more challenge in getting all fluent than in becoming familiar with it.

But you also will need to learn the fundamentals of music theory. Things like triads, scales, or seventh chords are the building blocks of music. If you think of music notation as the alphabet, then these things are the words. And most probably, just like a little child, you already have some sort of sense and knowledge of these music theory “words”. Probably you will know what major chords sound like, and what minor chords are sounding like. But if you want to be a music composer, you need to master knowledge that goes far past this simple and superficial level. You are required to understand perfectly well what the basics are and how you can apply them.

When you can read music, the following step for you would be to sign up for some free beginner’s course to learn the art of composing. The course should explain in a fast way all of the fundamental elements of music theory, and how you can apply them to compose music.

Now by the time you master reading and writing music notation, and understand all about the basics of music theory, things like triads and scales, you are ready for the next step. This is the phase where you will learn how to combine these elements and create some simple, small scale music. That is actually what all beginner’s courses should teach.

Music mostly sounds apparent logic, and this is because most music that we hear is following more or less the same patterns and guidelines. These patterns and guidelines have become fixed in our ears and brain, so we are expecting already to hear the things we hear. Most music pieces are containing these expectations. The music logic lies in getting to understand how we can use these basics of expectation.

The greatest composer know everything about these patterns of expectations, and they understand very well how to apply them to their pieces’ advantage. In most cases, they are following the expectation patterns, but there are times that they do not, and this is exactly what great music is all about. Composing at this level is thinking and communicating like a great Greek rhetorician as you are persuading the audience towards your musical ideas and points of view.

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