Well The Rain Exploded With A Mighty Crash

The following is an excerpt from my email news letter that gives some defining moments in my musical life. To read more, sign-up for my newsletter and get lots of freebies as well!
So what happened at the Peabody? Well, first we learned about Einstein’s Theory of Relativity and saw that in action. As you may recall, Einstein’s Theory of Relativity goes like this;

_____N___________ = Cool 2
N 10
Where N equals Nerd over the quality of Nerd to the tenth power, which then equals Cool squared, or, to put it another way, if you take someone who is a bit of a nerd and insert them into a nerd-rich field or environment, they can actually appear to be somewhat cool in comparison to everyone around them.
This is a constant that holds true whether you are approaching the nerd or ...

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New Music Genres

What do people mean by New Music Genres?

Webster’s second Edition Dictionary of the English Language defines genre as; “one of the categories, based on form, style, or subject matter, into which artistic works of all kinds can be divided.” So this article is a fair attempt to look at some new music genres. Now I have often had fun with the term ‘new music,’ because there has always been new music in every day and age. But what people are often getting at is music that is new and different in some way than what went before and whereas every good composer was new and different than what went before to some degree, one can step back and take a really broad look...

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Instrumental Music by Dizzy O’Brian

My love of instrumental music started as a very young boy in kindergarten when I was rummaging through my father’s record collection and found a recording of Beethoven’s 6th Symphony. This symphony is called ‘The Pastoral’ because it is a musical depiction of different scenes in nature. Beethoven, it seems, loved nature and took long walks for his inspiration. Anyway, I flipped over this piece as I also shared a deep love of nature. Later I would take weeklong hikes on the Appalachian Trail with my friend Dave during spring breaks in music school.

Through grade school, though, I had a friend next door named Billy and we were very competitive; if he liked Chevys, I liked Fords and so on. He liked the Beatles, so I stayed with Beethoven.

In music school, though, things changed...

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Music As Communication


My first really powerful musical experience came at a very early age when I happened upon a recording of Beethoven’s Sixth Symphony in my father’s record collection and I put it on. This music communicated to me so powerfully that, afterwards, when I read the descriptions that Beethoven had made on the manuscript from the record jacket, I was merely validated. I thought ‘of course, that’s what it had to be about; music about various scenes in nature’. It’s interesting that Beethoven also made the following note on the manuscript;

“The hearers should be allowed to discover the situations,”

“All painting in instrumental music is lost if it is pushed too far,”

I find this very interesting because it is a bit of an explanation of how music is a two-way communication...

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Everybody’s Got One

On The Beatles album, Magical Mystery Tour, there is the song; “I am the Walrus,” which has, among other things, a voice chanting a particular phrase. Everyone took this particular phrase to be “everyone smoke pot,” but John Lennon insisted that the correct phrase was “everyone’s got one.”

I tend to take the latter explanation as being correct. Here’s why; let’s take a look at some of the lyrics from “Instant Karma.”

“Who in the hell d’you think you are?
A super star?
Well, right you are!

Well we all shine on
Like the moon and the stars and the sun
Well we all shine on
Ev’ryone come on”

So what is it that everyone’s got? Well, a connection, a source, whatever you want to call it. It’s a source of power and wisdom where one’s truth can be found...

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You’re A Shinning Star

One occasionally hears talk or reads articles about the content of pop music and it usually gets a pretty bad rap. The snippet below, from FaceBook is an all too typical case;

Admittedly, in an effort to appear counter-culture and thus sell more records, the ‘bad boy’ content has been played up. Hell, even violinist Paganini played up rumors that he was in contract with the Devil. Maybe he was the one who started this particular sales tactic. This is kind of an unfortunate situation because, for one thing, it plays right into the hands of the religious right and drum banging about ‘religious freedom,’ which is freedom to do whatever and suppress whomever they want.

The other reason it’s unfortunate is there has been some great music made in this day and age...

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Your Own Opinion

In our society, we tend to rely on the opinions of ‘authorities.’ We look to the media to get our information, when really it’s a lot of misinformation without any reference to the source. In music and art, people look to critics and what is reported to be popular trends. People actually know this and say they are too busy to be doing their own research into things and so they choose a source to supply them with their information.

There is, however, societal conditioning at play whereby a group tends to monitor and enforce the thinking of its members...

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You Are The Composer Of Your Own Life

Everyone, it seems, is fairly creative as a kid. Kids engage in games of imagination, at least I did. My friend Ricky and I were always playing make-believe types of games; we would take legos and constructor set parts and create ‘space cities.’ We would role play, being Batman and Robin or Napoleon Solo and Illya Kuryakin. Small wonder that I grew up to be a composer. We would sit in our class and draw designs for robots, computers and submarines on the scratch paper.

I think every kid does this to some extent. As we ‘grow up,’ however, we are ‘taught to be logical.’ Imagination is discouraged and we are grounded in reality because this is ‘normal...

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Music Appreciation 101

When I went to music school, I went to the Peabody Conservatory of Music in Baltimore. As the name might imply, this is a very conservative musical institution. To make a long story short, they teach music the way it was taught in the 1800’s, and specialize in the music of that period or earlier. There was no jazz taught there when I attended. The professor of music composition was famous for saying that jazz wouldn’t last, although in Baltimore, it was doing a very good job of lasting.

My friend, Big Nose and I were engaging in innovative research at the time, although we didn’t know it was innovative research; it was just what we did. First, we determined that good music has a pleasurable effect almost regardless of genre or complexity.

The next thing we started was an extra curric...

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Six Reasons The Amish Were Right About New Music Releases

The Amish have traditionally held out against the new and novel and this has included new music releases. Actually they have been against any music in any form so pretty much any music would be a new music release to them. At any rate, turns out they were right about this and here is a list of six reasons the Amish were right about new music releases;

1. It leads to handholding and premarital side hugging.

2. It has been linked to a rise in the popularity of pocket-pool among young men.

3. It causes tent pitching.

4. Induces young people to cruise up and down the dirt road in their buggies.

5. Has been linked to dancing.

6. Fills young people’s head’s with wild ideas like going to the Big City.

As you can see, by taking a look at our society, the Amish were totally right; our cities ar...

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