Inspiring Talks

Once in a while I watch Ted Talks. And they can’t come at a better time for me: when I’m down, there’s always a video of theirs that brings me back to normal. Through Youtube or their website, I enjoy them. And it’s easy to lose track of time, especially if you watch the videos that are more than 15 minutes long.

These videos are inspiring and thought provoking. There are multiple videos on the same topic so they can be repetive, but there are standouts among the pile. You can learn a lot about yourself, others and life through them.

I watched Amy Cudy’s video on body language to prep for a job interview, and her points worked. I felt relaxed and confident during the ordeal. I didn’t get the job but that’s one example on how Ted Talks helped me.

If you don’t like watching videos, the the Ted Blog is stocked with posts that are just as motivational and intriguing as their counterpart. Whatever medium you choose, you will not be let down.

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Music Monday: Teaching Myself Music Theory

noten lernen

Every musician can benefit from knowing basic music theory, which is the study of music and its elements (pitch, harmony, melody, etc.) Whether we’re writing a song, in a band, or having a jam session, we need to know what we’re talking about. Music theory is the “language” that musicians use to communicate with each other.

After the basics, however, things get complicated. Starting in elementary I learned the basics but couldn’t for the life of me get a grip on more advanced topics like intervals (the distance between two notes). I took a music theory class in college but dropped out because it was too difficult. Even my guitar teacher had a hard time teaching me haha! So after that I forgot about it and didn’t bother with it anymore, even though my teacher and I dabbled in transposing (changing the key of a song) and other theory stuff.

Well, last month I decided that I wanted/needed to learn the notes on the guitar fretboard, so I thought to start tackling music theory again, but on my own. I figured that if I know more theory that I’ll be a much better guitarist because then I’ll understand what’s coming out of my guitar and since I’m gearing up for jam sessions, I’ll be more prepared.

So I bought a notebook and started with the thing that I dreaded the most, intervals. Thanks to Google, learning the stuff has been much easier the second time around. (I remember showing my teacher a paper on intervals, and he said that it “sounds like law”). And so has learning how to construct scales, finding the chords in a key, the circle of fifths…Google and a few articles has helped me a LOT. Of course, there’s still work to do and I need to put all of this into practice, but at 26 music theory is making sense!!! (Why couldn’t I get this stuff at 19?)

Anybody else teaching themselves something that they couldn’t understand years ago, and are finally getting it? Any musicians teaching themselves theory? Let me know in the comments!

“The benefit of music education for me is about being musical. It gives you have a better understanding of yourself. The horizons are higher when you are involved in music. Your understanding of art and the world, and how you can think and express yourself, are enhanced.”- Dr. Eric Rasmussen, chair of the Early Childhood Music Department at the Peabody Preparatory of The Johns Hopkins University

Quoted in, “The Benefits of Music Education”

The Power of the Arts and Humanities

“The arts and humanities define who we are as a people. That is their power — to remind us of what we each have to offer, and what we all have in common. To help us understand our history and imagine our future. To give us hope in the moments of struggle and to bring us together when nothing else will.”-First Lady Michelle Obama

See also: The President’s Committee on the Arts and Humanities