Music Mission 5: How does it work?

This post is part of a series of posts for my school and one-on-one students.  My original post explaining this whole series can be found here.  If you have questions or comments about this mission, please leave a comment on this page and let’s talk about it!

Sure, you can probably guess how a piano works, but I mean, really, how does it work?  What happens on the inside when you press a key down?  FIND OUT!

You may research any of the following instruments:

acoustic piano
electric guitar
clarinet
oboe
flute
tuba
violin
cello
human voice

For this music mission, research how any of the following instruments work and create sound.  Describe to me in a step by step process how the sound is actually created.  An example paper would like something like this:

How sound is created on an acoustic guitar

1. pluck a string.
2. the string’s vibrations transfer to the saddle.
3. the vibration then transfers to the guitar’s sound board.
4. the sound board and body amplify the sound.
5. the sound comes out the sound hole.

You may include a diagram (whether hand drawn or printed from the internet) of how the sound is created on your instrument.

To do research for this Music Mission, you can easily search the internet.  The first one or two returns on your search should answer your questions.  You may also wish to watch videos on the subject as well, to see the process of creating sound in action.

Questions?  Problems?  Suggestions?  Please, let me know in the comments!

Music Mission 4: Happy Independence Day!

This post is part of a series of posts for my school and one-on-one students.  My original post explaining this whole series can be found here.  If you have questions or comments about this mission, please leave a comment on this page and let’s talk about it!

 

Ok, I kind of love that this week I can give you an American Independence Day themed Music Mission on just the day after Independence Day AND this happens to be our 4th Music Mission!  What a coinky-dink!

It’s hard to separate the notion of Independence Day and parades – and you can’t have a parade without a marching band!  Take some time this week to learn about John Philip Sousa, here at this website hosted by the Dallas Wind Symphony.  On this site you can learn about Sousa, his career (he was a rockstar before rockstars were even a thing!), the march he wrote called “The Stars and Stripes Forever” which is our country’s official march, and peruse a listing of all of the pieces he has ever written.  You can listen to an original recording from 1897 of Sousa’s band performing “The Stars and Stripes Forever” plus you can listen to MIDI version of all of his songs and watch selected videos of other marching bands performing his music.

To complete this assignment, tell me a little bit about JPS.  Give the names of any of his songs that you listened to, and what you think of them (which did you like?  were there any that you didn’t like?).  This assignment should be at least 5 sentences long.

Questions?  Problems?  Suggestions?  Please, let me know in the comments!

Music Missions 3: Live Music!

This post is part of a series of posts for my school and one-on-one students.  My original post explaining this whole series can be found here.  If you have questions or comments about this mission, please leave a comment on this page and let’s talk about it!

As a little aside – I originally  came up with this challenge with a vague notion that there are multiple free concert series that go on in the Amboys and Woodbridge.  However, after researching them to include in this Music Mission, I have to admit that I am absolutely  blown away and delighted at the amount of free music available to the residents of these towns.   In fact, in Woodbridge alone you can catch live music FOR FREE on any night of the week except for Saturdays.  This is one of the greatest things I’ve ever heard and I really hope that you will take advantage of them!

So let’s get onto it!   For this week’s Music Mission, you must attend a live music event and then write about it.  Include the name of the artist, what instruments you recognize, the style of music, and what type of venue the show was held at.  This should have a minimum of 4 sentences and a maximum of… however many sentences you need.

If this is something that interests you – you can go the extra mile (and yes, for an EXTRA extra credit) and write me a full on concert review (do I have any budding music journalists in my midst?).  To achieve this next level, you need to include information on the concert venue (where the concert took place), and if it is part of a concert series, information on that series (when it happens, what the admission is, etc).  When at the concert, you can take notes on things like song titles, particular musician performances (did they have a really excellent guitarist for example?), and the concert itself (was there more than one performer?  did it start on time? was it too crowded?  kind of empty?  what was the weather like?).  Give an overall review of the show – was it good or not so good (be sure to back up your opinion). You can also include reactions by the people whom you went with (what did they think of the show?  what did they particularly like?).  If you decide to go this route, I expect this to be a minimum of 3 paragraphs.  Whoa Miss L that’s way too much work! you might be thinking.  It is a lot of work, which is why this form of a concert review will be worth 10 extra credit points instead of 5.

So finally, onto the concerts!  In no particular order, here is a listing of a TON of local concerts that will be happening in July and August.  Additionally, I found all this information in this edition of the Amboy Guardian, so for more details – like who is performing when – please click over there.  All of the concert info begins on page 11 and continues for a few more pages.

Almost every concert series asks that you bring your own lawn chairs or blankets.  All of these events are free BUT the Woodbridge concerts all request that you bring a non-perishable food item for the Woodbridge Food Bank.

Concerts by the Bay – Bayview Park, Perth Amboy – Sundays from 3 – 5pm, 7/5 -9/4

South Amboy Summer Concerts – Raritan Bay Waterfront Park, O’Leary Blvd, Wednesdays from 6:30 – 8:30pm, 7/1 – 8/26

Sandy Hook Beach Concerts, Beach E, Wednesdays 6:00pm, 7/1 – 8/20

Country Sundays, Parker Press Park, 400 Rahway Ave. Woodbridge, Sundays 6:00pm, 7/12 – 8/30

Warren Park Mini Theater, Florida Grove Rd. Perth Amboy, Sundays 6:30 – 8:30pm. 7/5 – 8/9

Mayor’s Summer Concert Series, Woodbridge High, 25 Samuel Lupo Pl. Woodbridge, Mondays 7:00pm, 7/6 – 8/31

Woodbridge Wednesdays, Parker Press Park, Wednesdays 7:30pm, 7/1- 9/2

Local Band Thursdays, Parker Press Park, Thursdays 7:30pm, 7/9 – 9/3

Rockin Tuesdays (Tribute Bands) – Woodbridge High, Tuesdays 7:30pm, 7/7 – 9/1

I really cannot stress enough how wonderful all this free music is.  Yes, there are other ways to consume music for free nowadays (Spotify, Pandora, or on radio or television), but a live concert experience is a completely different animal and often prohibitively expensive (PNC Bank Arts Center tickets for Idina Menzel start at $26 and go to over $1000!!).  Plus, I know these concerts are practically in the backyard of most of the people reading this, so it would really be a shame to not take advantage of these concerts at least once throughout the summer.

In fact, maybe I’ll even see you there!

Questions?  Comments?  Problems?  Suggestions?  Please, leave a comment!

Music Missions 2: Musical Interviews

This post is part of a series of posts for my school and one-on-one students.  My original post explaining this whole series can be found here.  If you have questions or comments about this mission, please leave a comment on this page and let’s talk about it!

Do you come from a musical family, or are you the only musician in your branch of the family tree?  This week’s activity will help you get to the bottom of that!

Interview as many of your relatives as you can – moms, dads, grandparents, siblings, aunts, uncles, cousins – and ask them if they’ve ever learned how to play an instrument.  On a sheet of paper, clearly write who you are interviewing, and their answers to your questions.  If you have the means, you may want to create a Word document on the computer with a space to write their name, their relation to you, and all of the questions.  That way you can easily add in their answers without having to do as much writing.

The first three questions are required!

Did you ever learn how to play an instrument?  Which instrument?
How old were you when you first learned that instrument?
What was your favorite thing about learning that instrument?

The following questions are optional, follow up questions.  Feel free to ask these questions as well, or to think up follow up questions of your own.

Who taught you how to play?
Did you want to take lessons or did  your parents just sign you up?
How long did you take lessons for?
Did you ever get to perform?
What was your favorite song to play?
Were you ever in a band?
Do you still have your instrument?
Can I hear you play a song?

You may learn some very interesting things about your family members!

Questions? Comments? Problems? Suggestions?  Please leave a comment!

Music Mission 1: Travel with your Ears

This post is part of a series of posts for my school and one-on-one students.  My original post explaining this whole series can be found here.  If you have questions or comments about this mission, please leave a comment on this page and let’s talk about it!

Travel with your ears!  It sounds like such a funny thing to say, but in fact, this is a pretty neat exercise and also a good way to calm and center yourself if you need some calm and centering.

Go to a place where you can sit down for about 5 – 10 minutes.  It can be a public place or your own home, or a vacation spot or a friend’s house, or wherever.  Bring some paper and a pen with you.  On the paper, write down where you are and for 5 – 10 minutes, write down everything you can hear.  Try and be as specific as possible.

When I do this exercise (and I do it pretty regularly), I scan my surroundings by distance.  First I listen for what is immediately around me, then I try to listen to sounds further and further away from me.

For example!

Here I am sitting at my laptop writing this blog entry, and here is what I hear:

Myself, typing on my laptop
My laptop fan running
My boyfriend playing on his phone and talking to me occasionally
The air conditioner running in my living room
One of my neighbors mowing their lawn – but not on my block.  The sound is very faint so it might be at least a block away

And that’s it!

Now, I know that if my windows were open, I would be able to hear the occasional car on the street and sometimes I can even hear trucks on Route 440 (it’s only about a half a mile from my house), and the sounds might be different if I did this exercise at different times.  If you want, especially if you are doing this from your own home, do this activity at two different times – perhaps at noon and then again at 6:00 pm.  Compare the different sounds you hear at the different times.

As a fun addendum, once you have written down your sounds, see if you can figure out how far away they are – if you can figure out an approximate place you can look them up on Google maps and have a parent help you figure out the distance (this is how I know 440 is half a mile from my house).  Or, if you can bring a parent with you, try to walk to those places to see just how far away you can hear.

YOU MAY DO THIS ACTIVITY MORE THAN ONCE AND RECEIVE CREDIT FOR EACH ASSIGNMENT.  To receive multiple extra credits, you must do it at different locations.  Start out small – do this once at your own home, then maybe again in a public park, then at the mall, then at a really aurally busy place like an amusement park or a festival.  Don’t just dive right into the big noisy places if you can help it!

Questions?  Comments?  Problems?  Suggestions?  Please, leave a comment!

Summer Extra Credit – Music Missions!

STUDENTS!

If you are visiting my website because I told you to come here for your summer extra credit activities, here’s what you need to know right now.

Activities will be posted either once or sometimes twice a week.  Check back often, and look for “Music Missions” in the title.  Remember that all activities and assignments will be due to me by the first music class of next school year, which will be approximately the second or third week of school (so even if you forget all summer you can work on assignments in September!).

All assignments will be tagged with “music missions” so to make sure you haven’t missed anything, look to the right hand side of this blog page and scroll down to list of tags – you can click on “music missions” there or from any individual blog post page.

Finally, posts will be linked from the “Students” page – which is where you should probably head to if you are lost anyway.

If you or your parents have any questions, feel free to email me at missannalawrence at gmail dot com (of course, use the symbols instead of the words).

PS to my PRIVATE STUDENTS – if you have a passport, don’t worry, almost all activities will earn you a sticker upon completion!

HAVE A MUSICAL SUMMER! (and stay in touch!)