Sunday, January 8, 2012


yes and NO

There are many ways that one can hear music or make music. The other day I was talking to the NEC Prep Trombone Choir and brought up how music can be saying yes or no. I had them say yes and no and there was not a lot of difference! This was interesting to me because there can be a huge difference depending on the reason it is being said and the emotional content and context behind it. As everyone has experienced in their own life, there are many ways to express yes and no. Since music can be the vehicle for such a wide range of expression and communication, I personally find it useful, insightful and fun to take something as natural and as seemingly simple as yes and no and listen to music with that mindset.

I told the students about the time I was on a school bus in 8th grade and not feeling very well at all! The bus was angled down a hill and was also coming to a very slow stop with a lot of jerks. I thought I was really going to loose my cookies in front of all my classmates which really upped the anxiety! Then suddenly, I started to think of the opening of Beethoven's 5th Symphony. Da da da daaaaa! Da da da daaaaaaaa! I got so absorbed in it that I lost touch with my nauseated stomach and kept singing that first movement. By the time the school bus got to school I felt great! No lost cookies! That really started to confirm to me how powerful music can be to change a physical and mental state. From that point on, I always refer to that first movement of the Beethoven's 5th, the NO Symphony. NO NO NO NOOOOOOO! That first movement can also strengthen will power. It certainly did mine!

So, why not try an experiment and listen to music and feel the 'yes and no' and where plus how it transitions to the other. You will learn a lot about phrasing and what the music might be saying that you never heard before. I wonder who wrote some maybe symphonies????

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