Saturday, October 09, 2004

Where did the hours go?

I just got back from the MITC lab and what seemed like only 30 minutes passed was actually 3 hours. I barely even got anything accomplished and could have stayed many hours longer if I hadn't remembered to write a post. For this portion of our First-Year Seminar, each member of the class is composing pieces using loops with the program Sonic ACID. It is not complicated and a lot of fun. For our homework I started creating a jazz piece, but then saw many interesting loops and decided to experiment and ended up making an Indian piece. After being shown the exciting things in the MITC lab, I think I would be perfectly content spending a whole weekend there.
Speaking of Indian music, The Srinivas Krishnan Ensemble concert on Tuesday was amazing. The performers were so talented and entertaining. It was hilarious when Srinivas Krishnan started rapping. After taking the portion of our seminar on Indian music I really appreciated the concert, and felt it was an incredible opportunity--not every school has musician from India come and perform!

Losing Our Creativity?

So while I was showering and refelcting upon my experencies this week in the technology portion of the first year seminar I had an interesting realization. With the new technologies that there are it has become easier for everyone to compose and create orginal music. I wonder if the ease of creating music has decreased it's quality. Have musicians lost some of their compositional talent? No longer do they have to labor for hours over scores, instead they can play a few notes on their midi keyboard and ta-da, their work is done. Of course it's not quite as simple as that, but it has become alot easier to put music on print. And I do wonder also if there are more composers now. The field of composing music has most likely grown so it is probably harder to find employment.
I know that to become a composer one must posess a great amount of talent, but techonlolgy still makes me wonder; is the amount of talent required lessening over the years?

Friday, October 08, 2004

MITC LAB

This week in the MITC lab has been very interesting. I learned a lot about myself...one thing being that I'm terrible at playing piano and it takes me forever to enter data into Finale. Even though it takes me longer then everyone else, I still get it done which is good. Also, using the computer software Acid this morning was very fun. It allows you to be as creative as you want to be with composing some sort of musical piece. Although sometimes creativity comes easier to others....Like Shua who already has like 10 pieces he's composed (i'm exaggerating). Anyway, this week has been very interesting in learning about the different computer programs and how we will use them in the future. I wonder what next week will hold....?

Monday, October 04, 2004

The Rhythm of Searches

In the last 100 referrals to this blog, 10 were google searches for "hemiola," 5 were for "imitative counterpoint," 5 were for some variant on "idiophones membranophones aerophones and chordophones," and one search each for "Antecedent and consequent," "understanding musical meter," "define nonmetric," (good thing you found it Jessi!), "Simple meter and compound meter," "ostinato," and "baliwood musical."(And so Shua takes over the internet.)

In addition, Roger Robert Gable has written an article for NewMusicBox about music blogging, in which he mentions The Musical Crematorium:
 Already, blogs are subdividing into various specialties. Examples of the diversity include a personal view, a broad set of entertainment and culture criticism, life in a particular urban center, a geographic and personal view, an American heartland cultural focus, an English cultural focus, a classical music blog written in Italian, classical music news, CD release news, online contemporary music, a blog written by a college class describing musical terminology, a conversation of music critics (and others) , Elvis Costello news and gossip, and reviews (in order) of UK #1 hits since 1952. Specialized by utility rather than content, MP3 blogs provide (or link to), hopefully legal, MP3-formatted sound files of merit for download. Examples include older pop music, current art-pop music, or better yet, aggregated MP3 blogs.

The "blog written by a college class describing musical terminology" links directly to this blog. Several visitors have come to this site because of that link.

Good work, everybody.

Sunday, October 03, 2004

Performance and Resumes...Week 2

I really enjoyed hearing everyone perform this past week. Up to this point, we haven’t heard each other play beyond the practice rooms, so it was fun to see what people are working on towards their major. I think that performing is one of those lifelong skills that is necessary despite if you enjoy it or not. Some people actually live for and thrive on performing in front of others and these people usually make the best performers in the music field, however, this quality is unique. A few years ago, I read about a poll conducted that asked Americans what their greatest fear. You would think that death would be our greatest fear, but it isn’t. It came in a quite distant second. What, you ask, do Americans fear more than death? Speaking in front of others. The more you think about it, the more absurd it sounds that we get nervous about speaking or performing for people that are genuinely interested in what we are doing and yet most of us experience it at some point. Perhaps the reason that we fear it more than death is that it is a more present issue that we are forced to face than death is and it really is something that everybody needs to cope with regardless of their field. Throughout high school, I found that the best speakers were either debaters or musicians. The debaters were good for obvious reasons, but as musicians we have experience focusing all of our attention during intense performance situations. Although I am not a great speaker nor am I very comfortable performing, I found my ability to coherently convey my ideas for English speeches to be far greater than most students’ skills due in part to my performance experiences.
Throughout the week, we compiled our past musical experiences into resumes before our performance. Although I already had one pretty much completed from high school, it was good to update it with new information. Although it was the hardest part of writing the resume, the “objectives” section of the resume was quite important for me to complete. For me, who is not completely sure what I want to do with my double major, it was a good exercise to get me to think about what I really want out of my education. Like Prof. Foy said, although it may change by tomorrow, it is important to track your goals and to write them down. Although performance skills and improvisation are both broad subjects and rather difficult to get through in two weeks, we really got through a lot of useful information for the amount of time that we were given.

Divas/Divos at Depauw

Wow! This week has been awesome in class. You guys are all divos and divas! I mean that in the sense that you are all amazing performers. This week has been a great learning experience, especially educating was watching others perform. I saw some people make some performance mistakes that I am guilty of, and I think this helped us all see some of our own performance weak points in clearer light. Also, we were able to see eachother's strengths. This helped us all to know what steps we can take to improve our presentation when performing. Lastly, Professor Foy's advice proved invaluable. He really helped me rethink some bad habits and how to overcome them. I never thought that looking at the audience and acknowledging them would actually help alleviate tension on stage, but it sure works wonders. No matter how good a person is technically, their performance is missing something without the necessary connection to the song being performed and the audience. These past two weeks have proved invaluable in showing us how to truly wow the audience with our performance rather than just our technique.

True Performers!!!

I would just like to congraduate everyone one the tremendous job the past week. WOW!!
I didnt know how great of performers we were until this past week. I really have a new found respect for all of you. This past week gave us the chance to bond even more than ever before. Sure we all hang out but now we know why we are all in the music school, We are all Amazing perfomers. Though this week has ended we are now set on a new pathway to further increase our knowledge about music even further. I give every one a STANDING OVATION!! ENCORE!!!BRAVO!!!SUPERB!!!

Bonding

This week was very important for three big reasons. First, I learned more about myself as a performer. I learned how to best present myself on paper by writing my resume. I also learned that it is important to perform often. Second, I learned more about my fellow classmates. By reading their resumes I learned that we all come from very diverse musical backgrounds. Through hearing their performances I was amazed at the talent that my first year seminar class possesses. Everyone did such a wonderfully job. Third, I learned that I have a long way to go in my musical education. Through my journey I must remember to practice hard, perform with confidence, and observe all that I can.
This portion of the seminar was very valuable because it helped me to think about my self as Stacey the soprano, the active performer, and the musician; and not just Stacey the singer.

Creative Performances

I agree with everyone that has said that this FYS is vitally important to our growth as musicians. Two weeks ago, we were able to experience other cultures and their music. We grew an appreciation for all the differences in style and learned a lot of facts about Southern Indian music (and sang ragas together into the night). These last few weeks have been just as meaningful in that we learned so much about creativity. I had so much fun making all the instruments and performing rain storms and trains and just getting into the music we made with our ad hoc instruments. It's awesome how an audience can be just as captivated in our performances with the homemade instruments as they could be in a performance of piano duets or whatever. It's also amazing how I, as a performer, could be just as passionate about the performace on my water bottle as I am on the piano.
I think it was awesome that we got to see each other's resumes. I'm glad I had one written already and merely had to revise it, but I think it really helped having someone critique it and now I realize how far I have to go in the next four years.. it's a bit overwhelming but I think I'm up for the challenge.
Finally, performing for each other, really made my views of all the people in our group change. I no longer see Shua as simply a crazy kid that likes to bang pots and pans together, or Lindsay as the little quiet one that needs to talk more (not to pick on anyone imparticular), but I see everyone as a performer, as a horn, a pianist, or a vocal performer. I think that opportunity to perform for each other was priceless. I know I was insanely nervous, my hands were shaking so badly and I was only playing for the 8 of you. But it all turned out wonderfully. So thanks for another great 2 weeks!! I'm looking forward to this Technology Lab...