Monthly Archives: March 2014

How To Study For A Music Listening Test

Since grade school, many of us have learned or were taught how to study for the average test. We are taught visual, active, and aural clues, tricks, and tips to learn how to take mostly visual exams.


How do you study for a music listening exam?

For many students, when they encounter their first listening test, they freeze.

Non-music majors might encounter this type of test and music majors DEFINITELY encounter the aural listening test at some point in their life.

I have compiled a list of tricks and tips for the listening exam.

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Artistic Context

The summer after my freshmen year of college, I worked for the Pittsburgh Irish and Classical Theatre.

I love this city!

I love this city!

My job was mainly stage management and I worked with a lot of actors and directors centered in the Pittsburgh area. As someone involved in the Pittsburgh theatre scene since the age of 6, these were people that I had admired for years. Forget the A-list actors in Hollywood, these were my living idols that I had grown up seeing in equity productions since I was very small.

One of the directors that I worked with was a particular celebrity of mine. I had seen her in many, many shows and watched a lot of her work as a director.

I remember listening to a discussion between this director and a fairly famous-even-outside-of-Pittsburgh actress during a rehearsal break.

Director: “I don’t understand the ‘researchers’ and ‘scholars’ that study and break down performance. They are removing the context and stripping art of meaning.”
Actress: “I agree. You can not replace the experience. That is the point of art.”

For some reason, this exchange has stayed with me.

Does scholarly study of art take something away from that art? Continue reading

Our News Contributes To Ignorance

In 2011, I visited Scotland. While it was not my first time out of the US, it was my first time to Europe. There was so much that I fell in love with on that trip.

For example, I loved the European newspapers.

This may seem like an odd thing to “love” but when you are addicted to information, like I am, you tend to notice how different people interact with information and how the information is presented and what perspective is taken.

European newspapers, news channels, and general European conversations, while often featuring European issues (obviously), also discuss US politics and Middle Eastern happenings, and so on and so on. There was a certain amount of balance regarding the local happenings and the rest of the world.

It is as if there is more to the world than Europe!

By itself, this is an obvious statement. However, let’s look at American newspapers and news channels for a second.

While there IS world news in US channels and newspapers, there is a lot of weight on US happenings. The news is, shall we say, “filtered.”

This is not to say that there is NO filter on European news but the fact that I have to go to the European websites for information about the rest of the world says something about US news.

About two years ago, I started to notice something very odd on the Yahoo! home page. I was slowly seeing more and more world news. This is fine but I also wanted to look at news from the US and maybe something science-y.

When I would go to Yahoo! from any computer other than my own, I would see a lot of stories for celebrities but no world news or I would see a lot of advice pages but not US news.

There is an explanation for this.

The internet is becoming tailored for each user.

Now, I no longer go to Yahoo! for my news but it definitely showed me how I am slowly being put in a bubble without truly realizing it.

Continue reading