Stetson University music, musical, lessons, teachers

Musical Influence


On a recent day trip, my husband and I visited Stetson University, a liberal arts college in Central Florida. Our visit was not so much focused on the university, but a music event that was hosted there. The Florida Bandmasters Association was recognizing a friend whose achievement in the classroom had won him the honour of being inducted into their Florida Bandmasters Association Hall of Fame.

With a banquet hall filled with music educators, we had the privilege of hearing personal testimonies of many who were influenced by those being honoured. Even though I had never sat in their band room, I was touched by the dedication and passion for their students and the arts.

Many years after I was a student, I remember the music teachers who nurtured a love for the arts, especially music, in me. My memories are vivid and emotions are strong when recounting moments in private lessons, rehearsals, and concerts. Friendships have spanned decades.

As my husband and I sat by our junior high band director and his wife, my first flute teacher, I was overwhelmed with gratitude. A legacy of creating music has been handed from teacher to student.

The rudiments and repercussions are generational.


Peanut Butter and Jelly

Music and photography go together like peanut butter and jelly. Does anyone ever look at an album cover and think, “WOW! This is art!” My guess is not. Indie music artists are breaking down barriers not only in the music scene, but also with their album cover art.
The image below, by photographer Gregory Crewdson, graces the cover of the album, And then nothing turned itself inside-out by Yo La Tengo, which was released in 2000. The musical style combined with album artwork creates a “cinematic style” that draws on Crewdson’s “scenical and symbolic narrative.”
After listening to the song “Madeline” from the album, the music reminds me of the 1960’s, (also referred to in the blogpost) and the musical groups, The Turtles, Simon and Garfunkel, and The Righteous Brothers. The photograph itself even furthers the emotional feel of the music through the suburban-looking homes and the in-between feeling of neither here nor there. A feeling of suspended time and the notion that there is life in the midst of the unseen is the peanut butter of the image to the jelly of the music.

Tea with my professor

A cozy office. A baby grand piano. Books. Evidence of world travel.

This was the scene I walked into this week. An appointment with my music history professor led me into another place in time. A place overflowing with written information in the form of books, paperwork, music, and news. Yet, there were unseen shelves filled stories of travel, intrigue, and adventure. An offer for a cup of tea led to the uncovering of what appeared to be a wooden box from China filled with teas from around the world. My selection, jasmine tea, was hand delivered from China. This set the mood for an hour of questions concerning coursework, advice for my journey, accounts of meetings and dinner with a famous composer, and more. The enveloping experience washed over me with such delight that I assured my professor I would return to her with more questions and I hope, more stories.

The Influence of Music

After sitting through another class on Music in Film, the first thought that came to me was just how fortunate I was to have a class that focuses on music and its importance in film and that I get to watch clips of great films. My second thought was the creative minds that collaborate to paint texture, color, and timbre into a visual piece of art through music are powerful. The emotions triggered through a single instrument captivate me. I have always felt the impending doom in a film when I hear the low brass or strings dominate the scene and the camera pan out to what will be an unexpected entrance of something evil. Most may not recognize it immediately, but the goose bumps on their arms says something completely different.

This is the power of music. John Williams and Howard Shore know this all too well. Their film scores include Star Wars, Schindler’s List, Lord of the Rings, and Harry Potter, just to name a few. Try watching any of these films with the sounds muted and you will quickly realize the importance of the music and the mood and emotion it creates. The influence of music goes beyond our imagination, captivating and evoking a response that will change us and our culture.