world music ensembles r us

Ted Solis’ (ed.) wonderful work Performing Ethnomusicology is well-known among ethnomusicology students. If you haven’t read it, go read it right now! We won’t tell any of your profs. The work addresses numerous issues involved with teaching world music ensembles at academic institutions. While the main focus was on teaching–and therefore, from the teachers’ perspectives–a few authors included the voices of their students. Playing the music that we study has become a given in our field, but rarely do we talk about what this music means to us, how we benefit from the experience, particularly in the academic setting. The expectation is that we will play and sing and dance while in the field and that this experience will make our ethnographies that much richer. But it is also interesting to consider what happens before we leave for the field, while we play in the ensembles often taught by the very teachers who contributed to Performing Ethnomusicology.

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bring on the noise, bring on the funny!

Music and Humor

Being a music student isn’t easy. The work and the practice always pay off in the end but sometimes it’s hard to see that from the middle. Through everything, a sense of humor is a valuable trait.

In looking for an article to link to this week, I was struck by a few such pieces written about funny music that weren’t actually funny themselves. Funny, huh? That got me thinking about the nature of humor, which is certainly culturally constructed. Continue reading

musicians on what helps them get through

Theses, graduation, and comps. Oh my!

It’s gearing up for a stressful semester as students fiendishly reading and writing in preparation for, what will be for some of us, the next step in the journey. And this got me thinking. We’re all musicians; we practice and play, sometimes harder than we read and write. We all know that there have been studies done to prove the effects of music on physiological responses. (http://www.cracked.com/article_18405_7-insane-ways-music-affects-body-according-to-science.html This study is clearly peer-reviewed).

But I started wondering how, on a practical and personal level, music students use music to relax or focus. So after exhaustive polling by myself and Liza Munk, several people shared with us the ways they use music to relax during times of school-related stress: Continue reading