An Introduction to Music Appreciation

If you’re reading this particular post, you’re most likely a student of mine, in some capacity.  This blog is for you.  The purpose of it is to add an additional perspective to the material we cover in class.  Some of it is to help clarify lecture topics, and some of it is to give you ideas — about classical music, popular music, the fusion of the two, composers, trends, instruments, technology, and so forth.  Enjoy!

So where do you fit into class?  As is the case in most classes, I’d wager, my students fall into three categories: those for whom the class is moving at the right pace, those who are more advanced, and those who are struggling with some aspect of the class.  These differences can be intimidating in a music class because, hey — it’s music!  The vast majority of us listen to music every day.  How hard can it be, right?  Those with no prior musical experience approach all the new vocabulary with trepidation.  Polyphony?  Counterpoint?  Dissonance?  What?!  These words are part of a new layer of musical knowledge that can provide a deeper level of appreciation and enjoyment of the music that you listen to every day.  Students who are inexperienced with this vocabulary can also be really intimidating by those students who have been playing an instrument for a while.

Those of you who have musical experience — great!  You have a great background from which to work.  However, let me offer a word of caution.  In my experience, most of you with prior knowledge of music have been either in band or orchestra in school.  A smaller percentage of you have your own bands and play something like guitar or drums.  Either way, I’ll bet you that your middle school band director never used the term “tintinnabulation” in class.  Not his fault — these advanced terms just aren’t generally necessary in middle and high school.  There’s a lot more information that we’re going to cover in class, so please keep an open mind, apply your prior knowledge to the new information, and never assume that there’s nothing more to learn.

If you’re cruising right along and feel like class is moving at the right pace, you’re most likely in the majority.  You can still profit from this blog, though.  If you’re enjoying the class and want to learn more about music, this is a great place to come for some new ideas.

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