All posts filed under: Music

Fumbling Toward Composer Study by Dr. Jennifer Spencer

I have always loved music.  Some of my earliest memories involve listening to my mother play the piano.  I started taking piano lessons at age five, I was sight reading by age ten, and at age twelve I sang soprano in the “Hallelujah Chorus” from Beethoven’s Mount of Olives with a youth choir.  Later, I taught myself to play guitar, and I was involved in All-State choirs and University Chorales.  I still love to participate in the seasonal performances of Handel’s Messiah with the Limestone College Community Choir when I can. I have always fancied myself as somewhat of a musician, and yet composer study is one area where I have always really struggled.  In this blog, I am going to try to deconstruct why I think I have been so unsuccessful with composer study in the past.  Then I will share how I accidentally stumbled upon success during the first term of this year and how that will change what I do with composer study from this point forward. First, I think I always …

Savage or Manly? by Art Middlekauff

A few years ago when I was preparing a presentation for a Charlotte Mason conference, I surveyed the covers of books about Charlotte Mason. Most of the covers had a picture of a woman teaching a girl – presumably a mother and a daughter. Some of the covers skipped the mother and only showed the girl. But I can only recall one book that had a male of any kind on the cover. An early and well-known book about Charlotte Mason was subtitled, “Personal Reflections on the Gentle Art of Learning.” Judging these books by their covers, one might conclude that a Charlotte Mason education is a “soft” alternative to other forms of education, designed primarily for gentle mothers to teach gentle daughters. Now I have nothing against mothers and daughters – I am married to one and the father of the other – but what does that leave for me and my boys? I was pleasantly surprised recently to find that this perception of a Charlotte Mason education is nothing new. It turns out …

Twaddle Dee Dee by Rebekah Brown Hierholzer

In the grocery store checkout line I recently overheard a harried mother resignedly talking about the books her daughter was reading – not very inspirational, not very informative. . .  As a matter of fact, a bit disconcerting, and then she said, seemingly mustering up a modicum of hope, “ Well, at least she’s reading!”  I don’t think she truly believed that was good enough, and I found myself wondering if there were some socially acceptable way I could interject myself into a conversation I wasn’t a part of and offer unsolicited advice.  It took me way too long to try and concoct a plan, and even if I had, I wonder if I would have had enough self-assertiveness at that particular moment to carry it out. (In case you are conjuring up images of me going around as Miss Busy Body, eavesdropping on random private conversations, imagine a jam-packed checkout line.  And did I mention she was on her cell phone?) Those of us who have thought a great deal about books and have …

The Beauty of Aesthetics by Lori Lawing

ON May 2, 2012 The Scream (one of Edvard Munch’s four originals) sold for $120 million at Sotheby’s.  Why?  What is it about this painting?  Is it the haunting expression of the androgynous figure? The wispy curves of the face and fiord?  The blood-red sky?  Whatever it is, it strikes me.  Something is going on that touches my soul.  BEAUTY. ON our first morning in Florence we entered a non-descript building through a side street door.   My two teens and I had taken a trip, the culmination of 10 years of schooling and delighting in art. We rounded the corner of a long hall.  There he was – larger than life, towering 17 feet high.  It took my breath.  Michelangelo’s David.  More grand than I had imagined.  Why do we among the crowds flock, admire, and marvel at this masterpiece of perfection?   BEAUTY. ON an early spring morning my nine year old took me by the hand as he scurried out the front door.  “Mom, Mom!” Quietly he led me to see, springing up from …

Classical Music Appreciation for the Non-Classical Music Lover by Leslie Noelani Laurio

Instilling an appreciation for classical music can be daunting for a parent or teacher raised on pop, rock and rap music. But it can be done. I know — as a young mother, I had good intentions of teaching my children to love the best kinds of music. Before my first child was even born, I would turn on the local classical radio station and plug in headphones, then put the headphones up to my pregnant stomach so the baby could hear it, but I wouldn’t have to listen. By the time I had two preschoolers, I had a plan to listen to exactly two hours of classical music every day (for the children’s sake!), but after a half hour, I had usually had enough and needed to turn on some pop music for relief. Yet now, we listen to classical music for quite a bit more than two hours a day, and it’s by my preference rather than because the schedule says so. I won’t try to convince you of the reasons why classical …