Saturday, June 03, 2017

Appreciating Music Appreciation

Next year I will be adding high school music appreciation to my schedule. It's what happens when you teach in a rural area.

One of the ideas suggested to me in a music teacher group had students pick five songs that have the most meaning to them, create a PowerPoint slide/collage for each one and give a presentation on them.

Yesterday, on the first day of summer vacation I started my version to have as a model. I thought about songs that I have "binged" on as well as those that seem so sacred to me that I save listening to them for some imaginary special time that doesn't really exist.

What I wasn't expecting to find were overarching big picture life connections. Once I started to think about how to represent each song these connections surfaced.


Barber's Adagio for Strings is the ultimate in sorrow. I can remember sitting on a floor for hours and weeping. It may also be the most comforting release for the clinically depressed. Andwhile I realize now that it was Samuel Adler and not Samuel Barber that I met in college, this encounter brought to light the fact that the composers are a separate entity from the music. Maybe it's not so much we want to meet them as we want to be them, or in some cases we feel we already are them having experienced their music.


In contrast, Carl Orff's Street Song is the ultimate in joy. I have never been happier than when I got to play the timpani part in my level 3 Orff training. Also, that training has made me who I am as a teacher and there is no doubt some connection in the joy and sense of accomplishment in that moment and throughout my career.


The Littlest Birds speaks to humor and friendship. Knitnightdrjustine brought this one to me and while,they are really singing "the littlest birds sing the prettiest songs", when I first heard it I thought they were saying "the little assed birds sing the prettiest songs" and even when I found out the real words, I stuck with my version and laugh and laugh every time I hear it. One time I listened to only that song over a three hour drive. I'm a big fan of the repeat option.

The last two will be Blackbird and the South African song Shosholoza. I've already come to some realizations about thos pieces but I will save them for when the sleeping res are done.



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