“[W]hy not do pieces more accessible, more traditional and more ‘musical’?”

Noiseman433-instrument

It’s been a number of years I posted (warning: explicit language) Joe Roemer’s (of Macronympha) to my harshnoise blog.  It had been circulating around emails, listserves, and the net in online forums (when those were the primary online social networks after listserves) and I wanted it to be posted in a more “public” space.

(you might want to turn the sound down a bit before listening to the youtube video below)

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[Music] entrepreneurship will favor the very few and marginalize the vast majority

MusicMoney

The title of this post is from a recent piece by Andy Lee taking to task some things that Claire Chase (Artistic Director and CEO of the International Contemporary Ensemble) said at a convocation address at Bienen School of Music at Northwestern University. The full quote is actually in the comments section of the piece:

I think a slight clarification on (what I hoped to make) the thrust of my piece would be that I’m saying that entrepreneurship under current conditions will favor the very few and marginalize the vast majority. I’m not saying it isn’t a path to success, but I see it as the great hope that others seem to.

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Unexpected non-standard cello techniques

non-standard-cello

Several years ago I came across George Dennehy, the boy who played the cello with his feet because he was born without arms and hands.  Every once in a while I’d take a look to see what other differently-abled* folks are doing with the cello (or other instruments) since I have a driving curiosity to learn about alternative string techniques.

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Jim Carrey, Steve Martin, Classical Music, and why you might not want to follow your passion…

Carrey-ComSpeech

I’m sure most of you have seen the recent Jim Carrey commencement speech (or at least the shortened clickbait version).  If not, here’s the short one:

While it is inspirational and uplifting if we put aside some of the issues of privilege in Carrey’s situation which I’ve been having discussions about with some folks elsewhere, this Salon.com piece, Dear graduates: Don’t follow your dreams (A commencement speech for the mediocre), by Tim Donovan reiterates what I’ve talked about regarding Survivorship Bias in two previous posts. Interestingly, Donovan’s piece isn’t specifically a response to Carrey’s speech as the post was published two days prior to the Maharishi University of Management Graduation.

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New Music for Kids!

Jon Silpayamanant teaching an "Alien Music workshop for Kids" at Cyphan Science-Fiction Convention in Chicago, Illinois.

A recent piece by Kenneth D. Froelich at NewMusicBox has spurred some interesting discussion on my facebook timeline here. I posted it with the following quote from the piece:

Then she played Steve Reich for them.

The response was, in a word, astonishing. The students began tapping along and became actively engaged in their listening. They asked questions—questions!—about the music (which, in of itself is a pretty remarkable feat). Whereas Mozart was boring, Reich was exciting! It was new—something they did not expect, especially in the context of “classical music.” They wanted to hear more! Several times after my wife played them Electric Counterpoint, they asked for it again, even over popular music examples that she had played.

While Steve Reich might be a composer that we would expect younger students to engage with, what was more surprising was the response she received when she played them Pierre Boulez. Admittedly, the students reacted with confusion at first. However, as the music played they wanted to hear more. They wanted to know where this “crazy noise” was going. Once again, the music engaged her students on a level that neither Mozart nor Tchaikovsky ever did. They became active listeners. The music was unique and didn’t sound like “stereotypical classical music.” Like Reich, her students asked to hear “that weird Boulez music” again—many times over, in fact.

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