Welcome to my weblog!
The place where I will regularly post thoughts and comments on any aspect of music.
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(As you see, the blog is in DInglish - Dutch International English - but comments in Dutch, German, French, Spanish and Frisian are welcome.)

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And you might check my other blog, Evert Listens to Dylan, if you would be interested what listening to the complete recordings of Bob Dylan does with (or to, or for) me.

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Monday, December 24, 2012

Learning to love Dutch Hawaii music - or The Great Mystery of Music.

When long ago I started to study at the conservatoire in order to become a music teacher, I had to do teaching practice as part of my study. My teaching practice started in a primary school. I remember some things vividly - my mentor, Ed Silanoe, for example, a great guy, a living example of what it means to be a teacher; or me writing songs for the children at school; or the feeling at 7.30 in the winter morning when you knew that in an hour you had to start teaching - not an idea cherished automatically by a 19-year old student.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Music makes you smarter - but so what?

My newspaper featured an article on the closing down of municipal music schools. It also featured, on the same page and meant as a 'besides', the opinion of its classical music critic with the speaking name 'Mischa Spel' (Mischa Play) on the present-day problems of music education. I sympathize with many of his ideas (especially with the idea that singing by ordinary classroom teachers is one of the key factors of music education in primary schools), but as usual in those cases, Spel's 'besides' also contained quite some sweeping statements on the general benefits of music education. In this case, Spel referred to research showing that  "when  more music lessons are given, certain parts of the brain (the auditory cortex) develop better, and the scores on IQ, social behavior and concentration become higher and better".

"Higher and better". Yes.

 The Brain Craze, revisited. Indeed.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Bob Dylan; on judging and liking

As I said earlier, I love music but I am not a connoisseur in any way. Even of my favorite group, The Beatles, there are many songs I hardly know. The same counts for classical music - I love Beethoven symphonies but play me a random movement and I will probably not be able to tell you from which symphony it comes; and he only wrote nine, so basically that is not even 40 ditties to store in memory.  Fandom is for some reasons  not attractive to me. I am, maybe, a lazy listener.

That is the reason why I continuously make new discoveries by which many people are astonished -  not because of the discovery, but because of the fact that I only discover it just now, and not thirty years ago. So recently I started to listen to Bob Dylan. Of course I know many of his songs, often second-, third- or fourth-hand, because he wrote so many classics. But hearing them from the man himself now is my recent discovery. I find him a great singer, a great songwriter, and quite a good guitarist as well. But it is especially the singing I like. Seldom you hear someone sing with such confidence and dedication.

If I would be a reviewer it would be my task to find the right wordings to express the impression Dylan's singing makes on me; to try to express my taste in order to convince others to take over my judgment. To be precise: that could be one of two of my reviewer's tasks; to convey the reasons why I like this music. The other one would be to convey my judgments about the music. 'Liking' in terms of - probably - beauty (unless you think beauty is a judgment), 'judging' probably in terms of quality. Nice/not nice; and good/not so good.

In an earlier blog entry I stated that, whereas you can disscuss judging - good/not so good - endlessly (matters of taste which may be 'good' or 'bad'), discussing liking - nice/not nice - (matters of personal taste) makes little sense; and liking is therefore probably also something you cannot teach.

Nevertheless, nothing human is alien to me. So I said to one of my cherished bandmates that I listened to the "Essential Bob Dylan" (the sampler cd I bought) but before I could start stating how much I liked it, assuming - as it goes - that my bandmate would share my 'taste', he said: "The essential Dylan? That must have been incredibly short." I weakly attempted to say something about why I thought Dylan so good, but then realized the point was not so much talking about 'good', about judging, but about 'nice', about liking.

So I decided to shut up. There is nothing wrong with showing who you are by stating what you like. But there is no sense in trying to teach others to become you.