Saturday, October 31, 2009

The Yarts

1. The arts teach children to make good judgments about qualitative relationships. Unlike much of the curriculum in which correct answers and rules prevail, in the arts, it is judgment rather than rules that prevail.

2. The arts teach children that problems can have more than one solution and that questions can have more than one answer.

3. The arts celebrate multiple perspectives. One of their large lessons is that there are many ways to see and interpret the world.

4. The arts teach children that in complex forms of problem solving purposes are seldom fixed, but change with circumstance and opportunity. Learning in the arts requires the ability and a willingness to surrender to the unanticipated possibilities of the work as it unfolds.

5. The arts make vivid the fact that neither words in their literal form nor numbers exhaust what we can know. The limits of our language do not define the limits of our cognition.

6. The arts teach students that small differences can have large effects. The arts traffic in subtleties.

7. The arts teach students to think through and within a material. All art forms employ some means through which images become real.

8. The arts help children learn to say what cannot be said. When children are invited to disclose what a work of art helps them feel, they must reach into their poetic capacities to find the words that will do the job.

9. The arts enable us to have experience we can have from no other source and through such experience to discover the range and variety of what we are capable of feeling.

10. The arts’ position in the school curriculum symbolizes to the young what adults believe is important.
SOURCE: Eisner, E. (2002). The Arts and the Creation of Mind, In Chapter 4, What the Arts Teach and How It Shows. (pp. 70-92). Yale University Press. Available from NAEA Publications. NAEA grants reprint permission for this excerpt from Ten Lessons with proper acknowledgment of its source and NAEA.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Early account of Aboriginal Music

I am enjoying reading Jack Egan's Buried Alive, in which he has given us extracts of accounts of 1788-92, the first years of colonisation of Australia by Europeans.

I enjoyed reading Captain John Hunter's February 1791 letter about witnessing Aboriginal singing and dancing. Hunter was a trained musician, as this extract shows:
Their dance was truly wild and savage, yet in many parts there appeared order and regularity; one man would frequently single himself out from the dance and running around the whole of the performers, sing out in a loud voice, using some expressions in one particular tone of voice which we could not understand; he would then join the dance, in which it was observed that certain parties alternatively led forward to the front, and there exhibited with the utmost skill and agility all the various motions which, with them, seemed to constitute the principal beauties of dancing…
Their music consisted of two sticks of very hard wood, one of which the musicians held upon his breast in the manner of a violin and struck it with the other in good and regular time; the performer, who was a stout strong-voiced man, sung the whole time and frequently applied those graces in music, the piano and the forte; he was assisted by several young boys and girls who sat at his feet, and by their manner of crossing the thighs, made a hollow between them and their belly, upon which they beat time with the flat of their hand, so as to make a kind of sound which will be better understood from the manner of its being produced than from any verbal description.
These children also sung with their chief musical performer, who stood up the whole time, and seemed to me to have the most laborious part of the performance.
They very frequently, at the conclusion of the dance, would apply to us for our opinions, or rather for our marks of approbation of their performance, which we never failed to give by often repeating the word boojery, which signifies good, or boojery caribberie, a good dance. These signs of pleasure in us seemed to give them great satisfaction and generally produced more than ordinary exertions from the whole company of performers in the next dance.

Monday, October 05, 2009

Some favourite quotes about Music

Music is enough for a lifetime
But a lifetime is not enough for Music.
- Serge Rachmaninov

Musica laetitiae comes medicina dolorum.
Music is the companion of joy and the medicine of sorrow.
- Anon

Song title:
You don’t have to join the Ku Klux Klan to be a wizard under the sheets!

Album Title:
Songs I Learnt At My Mother's Knee (and some other low joints)

which can be made anywhere,
Is invisible and does not smell
- W H Auden

Music washes away from the soul the dust of everyday life.
- Berthold Auerbach

You just have to press the right keys and the right pedals at the right time and the music plays itself.
- J S Bach

The aim and final end of all music should be none other than the glory of God and the refreshment of the soul. If heed is not paid to this, it is not true music but a diabolical bawling and twanging.
- J S Bach

Ludwig van Beethoven (1770-1827) [on the Well-Tempered Clavier]
This is not a brook [Bach means "brook" in German], it’s an ocean.

We musicians, like everyone else, are numb with sorrow at this murder, and with rage at the senselessness of the crime. But this sorrow and rage will not inflame us to seek retribution; rather they will inflame our art. Our music will never again be quite the same. This will be our reply to violence: to make music more intensely, more beautifully, more devotedly than ever before. And with each note we will honor the spirit of John Kennedy, commemorate his courage, and reaffirm his faith in the Triumph of the Mind.
from Leonard Bernstein's Tribute to John F. Kennedy Speech made at United Jewish Appeal benefit Madison Square Garden, New York - 25 November 1963

The whole problem can be stated quite simply by asking, 'Is there a meaning to music?' My answer would be, 'Yes.' And "Can you state in so many words what the meaning is?' My answer to that would be 'No.'
- Aaron Copland

My biggest kick in music – playing or writing- is when I have a problem. Without a problem to solve, how much interest do you take in anything?
- Duke Ellington

Objectivity in music is rubbish ... Have you ever had an objective love affair? And what is music but love?
- Lili Kraus

Next to the Word of God, the noble art of music is the greatest treasure in the world.
- Martin Luther

It’s kind of like a funky sort of Afro-Cuban swinging jazz-rock sort of Classical punk waltz reggae calypso sort of Scottish feel.
- James Morrison, on his song "Ease on in"
James and his family lived, for a time, across the road from my Uncle Dave and Aunty Win. Aunty Win says they were very nice but very quiet, and only occasionally would you hear music coming from the house

Without music, life would be a mistake.
- Friedrich Nietzsche

There is nothing more difficult than talking about music.
- Camille Saint-Saƫns

The study of the history of music and the hearing of masterworks of different epochs will quickly cure you of vanity and self-adoration.
- Robert Schumann

I haven't understood a bar of music in my life, but I've felt it.
- Igor Stravinsky

You just pick a chord, go twang, and you've got music!
- Sid Vicious

and I love these three Frank Zappa quotes:
Some people crave baseball -- I find this unfathomable --
but I can easily understand why a person could get excited about playing a bassoon.

I write the music I like. If other people like it, fine, they can go buy the albums. And if they don't like it, there's always Michael Jackson for them to listen to.

It has never mattered to me that thirty million people might think I'm wrong. The number of people who thought Hitler was right did not make him right... Why do you necessarily have to be wrong just because a few million people think you are?

Rock journalism is
people who can’t write
interviewing people who can’t talk
for people who can’t read.

Saturday, October 03, 2009

Keating's eulogy for Geoffrey Tozer

Whew! Is Mr Keating ever passionate about Geoffrey Tozer!

I didn't even know The National Times still existed!