August 29, 2003

Music Appreciation

I'm listening to Alice Cooper. I first encountered this on cassette tape I want to say when I was still in middle school. Regardless of when it actually happened, it was a very formative time for my taste in music. A friend of mine had it stashed in her bedroom and she told me when I happened across it that it was her older brother's. I can't imagine her ever having listened to this willingly, so I'm forced to believe what she told me about it not being hers. I was initially fascinated with the album cover art. It just looked like something that might be worth listening to. The title "Welcome to My Nightmare" was intriguing too.

Welcome to My Nightmare.jpg

I asked her if I could borrow it and she told me no several times. She eventually caved when she realized that I was just going to keep pestering her until she did. I hurried home and listened to it from start to finish. This to me was aural wall paper. I never returned that casette back to my friend. I now have "Welcome to My Nightmare" on CD. I can't explain why I sometimes have the inclination to listen to Alice Cooper, or for that matter anything else; I just know what I like. I have trouble even just describing what it is about certain music that I like. I'm taking a music appreciation class this semester that will hopefully change that.

In my music appreciation class I'm first being exposed to the basics: what harmony and melody are along with a host of other terms. Some of it has been difficult for me to grasp since I have had no experience with any of it. I never learned to read sheet music. I never had an opportunity to play an instrument as a child, even though I had the desire, it just wasn't in the realm of things my parents could afford to pay for when our first priority was to eat. Andrew has kindly offered to not only to tutor me (he's a band geek from way back), but to purchase an instrument for me to learn some of these concepts on and further develop my appreciation of music with. Last night we went and looked at a music store. I decided that I want to learn percussion, specifically the xylophone. As I typed that, I detected the distinct sounds of a xylophone playing on the last track of this CD called "Escape."

Soon I'll be learning all of the instruments of the orchestra, which I have had previous exposure to in an elementary school music class and in a middle school chorus class. So, things should be getting easier. I have some trouble visually telling a few similar instruments apart, such as the viola and the violin. Unless they are positioned right next to each other where I can compare the two different sizes (the viola is larger than a violin) they are virtually indistinguishable to me. I've been practicing with the Benjamin Britten's Young Person's Guide to the Orchestra on my Enjoyment of Music Student Resource CD. I'm already pretty adept at telling the instruments apart by listening to them. Andrew and I practiced doing that in the car and I did well. Good thing, because I have test coming up on the 8th of September covering what the instruments look and sound like. Even before that there is a quiz on next Wednesday on Itallian terms found in discussions of Dynamics (soft/loud) and Tempo (speed or pace). I've already made a study guide for the quiz, but go ahead and wish me luck anyway :).

-- CrystalShiloh @ 01:36 PM