Friday, May 16, 2014

That Time I Realized I Know Nothing About Music

My BFF Shannon is also our ward choir director. Even though I hate the time for practice, I love Shannon, so I try to go each week. Church is at 1 and goes until 4, and choir begins at 4:15. Sometimes we do not go if El is super tired or grumpy. But generally we go.

Shannon was studying percussion at BYU before she moved here. She has been a great choir director. She has a good ear and really excellent rhythm. She was focusing on timpani but also loves the gamelan (a Balinese instrument).

A new friend just moved into our ward. Her name is Lindy and she studied vocal performance at BYUI, meaning she is a trained opera singer.

For choir, we are working on "Come thou fount of every blessing," which we will be singing a capella. One day, Shannon brought in a paper with hand signals and "do re mi fa so la ti do" on it and told us we are going to do solfage today. Lindy started laughing. Everyone else stared at her with a blank expression. It is an ear training exercise (which is great for our choir because we are great at going flat) which they did at the beginning of her sight singing class. She had us start at "do" and go up an interval and back to "do". I immediately saw the benefits of it, even though I had never done such a thing nor heard of it beyond The Sound of Music. I thought, "wow, I know nothing about music." In my defense, I did not study music in college, but it was still amazing to realize how little I know.

Another time where I realized I know nothing about music, was when we had dinner with Lindy and her husband and daughter. She wanted to talk music. Ummm, yeah. I have never been to the opera, I have not played in a symphony for two years and can't remember my favorite pieces we played, I have never heard of any of your favorite songs to sing, I have never heard of solfage. Pretty much I know nothing about music.

But I have to amend that. I am a rather musical person. I just never studied it. I am definitely an amateur musician, but I think I do have some talent. I can play any hymn on the piano or organ, I am quite competent and expressive on the cello, I am a second soprano who can switch to alto when needed and not need extra help, and I know basic music theory and history. However, I know very little about music theory, compositional structure, vocal technique, and repertoire.

I would like to learn more about music---who knew there was so much to know until you "talk music" with musicians!

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