April 19, 2021

I’m grateful today for music. I was feeling wiped after work, but I wanted to work on the wreaths I didn’t finish over the weekend. So when I went to my craft room, I streamed something not my norm. I put on Michael Bublé, and it reminded me of the time years ago that I saw him in concert. To this day, it’s one of my favorite concerts ever—and I’m normally a rock music girl. But the concert and the night out with one of my best girlfriends at the time was memorable and so much fun.

I love how music can energize and transport us to a memory so easily. When I lived alone, music was my go-to over the television. Of course, that’s when I could sing and dance with abandon as well without anyone seeing and judging me. These days I have to wait for Patrick to leave the house, and even then the dogs give me side eye. Oh well, I love music and today I’m thankful for it in my craft room.

Feb 10

I mentioned a few posts back that my class has been a bit blah lately. Well, with school cancellations and the MLK holiday, it’s been a slow start to the semester. It seems as if we haven’t had a full week of classes yet, although we are in week 5. It’s not that my students are doing anything wrong; they’re simply quiet. More quiet than I like. I’m used to trying to corral people and keep them focused long enough to complete an agenda. As an instructor, I’m more comfortable with a class in which students interact and I do less lecturing. And based on a quick learning style survey I had my students take early on, most of them enjoy group work more than solo work as well. So I’ve been trying to figure out a way to get them engaged.

Tonight I decided to take a few minutes at the beginning of class to simply chat. As I took attendance (my habit) I posed the question, Did anyone do anything fun or exciting over the weekend? Silence.

One girl finally offered, I went to the mall, but that’s not really exciting.

No, I said. Not really.

Homework, a guy in the back chimed in. I stopped myself from calling him a suck-up.

Nothing, really? This is probably why they don’t talk. Although, I’ve learned over the years that sometimes, it’s just that they’re afraid to. I finally said, Well, I went to the Zac Brown concert.

A hand shot up. So did I!  FINALLY. But why didn’t he mention it immediately?

We talked a bit about that concert and music in general and other concerts people had gone to. I talked about the Stone Sour concert I went to a couple weeks ago, which elicited some laughter and the comment that they didn’t really see me as a hard rock person. Ahhh!..appearances really can deceive. It took less than ten minutes, but there was an tangible shift in the room. Everyone seemed a little more relaxed. For the rest of the class time, they worked in small groups on the current chapter we’re studying. Each group covered a section they will present to the rest of the class tomorrow. It was great to see them interacting. I almost hated to stop them when class time was over. There was a lot of laughter. A bit of chummy arguing, even.  And everyone was involved. No one just sat and stared. That’s the kind of class time I find most rewarding. Of course, not every class can be that way. Some material won’t be conducive to group work. But I think a few barriers came down tonight. Now that they have chatted and become a little more personal to each other, it will be easier for some of them to speak up later. For that, I’m very thankful.

Day 29

I love music. All kinds. I have favorites, of course, but I have been known to listen to some bluegrass and then turn around and listen to heavy metal. I love some types more than others. I can honestly say I’m not a huge fan of accordion music, although I saw a rock band last night whose lead singer played it. I admit that it put an interesting twist on it. I also am not thrilled with the really heavy metal that is mostly screaming, yet some days…it really seems appropriate.  I’ve never understood people who are so anti-whole genres of music. Usually there’s some song or artist within an genre that is a draw for me and I certainly don’t love every artist or every song of a whole genre.  Over the years,  I’ve come to the conclusion that people fall into different camps when it comes to listening to music: those who simply like the sound and pay little attention to actual lyrics and those who find the lyrics essential to the song overall. I’m in the second camp. I can hear a song that doesn’t necessarily grab me right away, but once I read the lyrics, it speaks to me differently. It’s as if the music itself makes more sense. Like the sound effects in movies–it enhances the story.

It really should be no surprise that lyrics draw me in. As I mentioned in a previous post, I love words. To me, songs are simply poetry set to music, and I even take that approach in classes I teach. I have my students bring in their favorite songs, and we read the lyrics as we would a poem. It’s always interesting to me and my students the different meanings we come up with when dissecting lyrics. I tell them that songs, especially, speak to us on an emotional level. Sometimes we put the meaning we want into what we hear. We personalize it to our own lives. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with that. As a writer myself, I love that. I want my poetry to be universal. Of course, I know the story behind what I’ve written; it has my own personal meaning. But I think all artists in every art form want their audience to be moved by the art, and the way to do that is to connect with people’s emotions.

The concert I went to last night was of one of my favorite bands, Stone Sour. While I love the sound, they’re a favorite mostly because I really appreciate the lyrics to their songs. So many of them tell stories, but not in a trite way. My description is intelligent rock music. I imagine some of their fan base need to consult a dictionary when looking up the lyrics. I had the opportunity to meet the band members (all amazingly gracious and down-to-earth guys off stage) and tell that to the lead singer, Corey Taylor. I won’t document his entire response which included some swearing, but in a nut shell, he thanked me. Apparently, it’s exactly their intent.

So today I’m thankful that I got the opportunity to hear a favorite band live and chat about such things as the importance of lyrics with the members, but even more thankful for music in general. I can’t imagine life without it.