February 11, 2014
Robert J. Zatorre, Why Music Makes Our Brain Sing, NY Times, June 9, 2013, http://www.nytimes.com/2013/06/09/opinion/sunday/why-music-makes-our-brain-sing.html?smid=tw-share&_r=1&.
We are all familiar with "that moment when you feel a chill” of pleasure to a musical passage." This article explains the brain chemistry behind it, most interestingly, the release of that dopamine high during an anticipation phase rather than during a "peak emotional moment". Read the full article here.Continue reading →
February 10, 2014
For as long as I can remember, music has been in my life. My parents showed me their love for music which has rubbed off on me in a very good way! Music was always being played in the house, day and night, weekdays and weekends. Even at the young age of 4, I attended my very first concert as a child, which will forever be etched into my memory. This moment opened me up for many more music filled times. Since I expressed to my parents my love for music, concerts had become a regular occurrence in my family. Traveling the United States and parts of Canada on family trips allowed me to hear what others listen to and has opened me up to various genres. I feel that music is necessity in my life to perform my everyday tasks. It is also something I use to calm myself in stressful situations. Even what I listen to reflects what mood I'm in. I don't know what I would do without music in my life. It is what keeps me going. Forget a television, just give me a radio and I'm set for life! Music is something that I cannot live without.Continue reading →
February 6, 2014
Earlier this week, NPR featured a beautifully written short piece on Sam Cooke’s “A Change is Gonna Come”. Catch the full article and podcast here.
"It was less work than any song he'd ever written," [Cooke biographer Peter] Guralnick says. "It almost scared him that the song — it was almost as if the song were intended for somebody else. He grabbed it out of the air and it came to him whole, despite the fact that in many ways it's probably the most complex song that he wrote. It was both singular — in the sense that you started out, 'I was born by the river' — but it also told the story both of a generation and of a people."
"A Change Is Gonna Come" was released on the album Ain't That Good News in March of 1964. The civil rights movement picked up on it immediately, but most of Cooke's audience did not — mostly because it wasn't selected as one of the first singles and because Cooke only played the song before a live audience once.
Guralnick says "A Change Is Gonna Come" is now much more than a civil rights anthem. It's become a universal message of hope, one that does not age.
"Generation after generation has heard the promise of it. It continues to be a song of enormous impact," he says. "We all feel in some way or another that a change is gonna come, and he found that lyric. It was the kind of hook that he always looked for: The phrase that was both familiar but was striking enough that it would have its own originality. And that makes it almost endlessly adaptable to whatever goal, whatever movement is of the moment.
Sam Cooke and the Song that 'Almost Scared Him', NPR Staff, NPR, Feb. 1, 2014, http://www.npr.org/2014/02/01/268995033/sam-cooke-and-the-song-that-almost-scared-him. Continue reading →
February 3, 2014
If it weren't for music, I would not be the person I am today. I've been involved in music since a young age, participating in orchestra and choir in school, but everyone knows that the youth of our generation struggle when it comes to accepting others for their differences, and feeling confident being themselves at times. My first electronic music experience was Identity music festival at DTE, Summer of 2011. I had no idea what to expect going into it, but it resulted in a huge change to my life. As I looked around, I saw a very diverse collection of people. People of all different backgrounds, with different styles, of different ages... and I began to realize that these people would probably not ever come together if it were not for the music bringing them all to this venue. The music itself allowed all of these people to connect on a level so beyond any external characteristic or basic interest. I began to learn that a beat, rhythm, or melody could be the force that drives two complete strangers to let loose, accept one another, and just groove out together without any fear of rejection or misunderstanding.
January 30, 2014
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Last night, Grammy award-winning Esperanza Spalding and non-profit Human Rights First hosted a night of performance and discussion calling for the closure of Guantanamo Bay. Watch the live performance - Spotlight on Guantanamo. Back in November 2013, Esperanza also launched a music video titled "We Are America" (video below) urging Congress to close Guantanamo responsibly.
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