Tuesday, December 10, 2013

MY MUSIC CLASS by Marion Ekholm


December has always been a busy month. Besides the usual things dealing with Christmas, gifts and parties, I have my final exam on Thursday for my class in Rock Music and Culture, a subject I’ve mentioned before. It’s one of the best college courses I’ve ever taken, and I’ll miss it. The course covers the music and history of the period from the Jazz age in the 1930’s to the beginning of Rock and Roll and continues through the 1980’s. Those last two decades are my absolute favorites.  

We have to be able to identify these styles from recordings: Country Blues, Chicago Blues, Rhythm and Blues, Rockabilly, Doo Wop, Surf, Soul (Motown), The Beatles, Acid Rock, Punk, Metal and Grunge. During the class we’ve heard them all, along with information about the prominent artists and ways to identify them.

The history part covered the British invasion which started around the time the Beatles came to America with their appearance on the Ed Sullivan Show on February 7, 1964. The Beatles contributions are phenomenal. Their music became so complex, created in a studio, to the point where they couldn’t do it in live productions anymore.

The history part continued through the wars, assassinations, the Counterculture and the Civil Rights Movement. We also learned how lyrics changed from the simple to the more complex thanks to Bob Dylan.  The troubled legacies of many artists included drugs, murder and jail time. Brian Wilson, from the Beach Boys, was involved with Charles Manson and was threatened by him. Phil Specter, creator of the “Wall of Sound,” is still in jail for killing his girlfriend. There’s the “27 Club” which tells of so many artists, including Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, Kurt Cobain and Jim Morrison, who died at that age. What would they have accomplished if not for their untimely deaths?

Music has become something I truly treasure and so do the characters in my latest manuscripts. Each story has its own music I play while writing where my characters interact and develop. Double pleasure for me.

9 comments:

  1. Marion, music is a big part of my life too. Not that I'm a singer or play an instrument, but it does add that something special to what I'm doing whether it's cooking dinner, cleaning house or writing a scene.

    Good luck on your final!

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  2. I always forget how great the Beatles were...until one of their tunes comes on the radio. Thanks for the post...good luck with your final.

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  3. Marion - your class sounds fascinating. I know nothing about many of those artists, but I remember the Beatles' first appearance on Ed Sullivan, and I think Bob Dylan writes brilliant lyrics. Even Janis Joplin - whose sound I find really aggravating - had a lot to say with the line 'Freedom's just another word for nothing left to lose,' from "Me and Bobby McGee." If you love someone, you're never truly free to go your own way - the foundation of all good Romance.

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  4. That's my kind of class! It would be fun to study for. Good luck on that last test.

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  5. Marion, how cool it is to learn all of that new stuff. I love to listen to music across the genres, but I have zero musical talent. I think it's so great that they can now save and remake those old songs that we used to listen to on 78 records or even 45s. I hope telling us all about the history helps you ace the test.

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  6. Music is so important and marks many special occasions in our lives. I identify with certain songs or types of music when writing certain books and have even created playlists for my YA books for my teen readers to download or peruse.

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  7. I think its cool that the Beatles are a music type LOL. Elvis comes in second and he's behind by quite a bit. Barbra Streisand is the top performing females.

    Unfortunately, I don't think of Bob Dylan as being complex.

    Frank Zappa, maybe, Dylan, nah.

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  8. Good luck on your final, Marion! Sounds like a fascinating and fun class. I took a class in high school called The History of Art and Music and it really influenced my appreciation for music (mostly classical in that class) at a young age. I personally think the 1980's had some awesome rock songs and I love, love, love the Beatles. I also have a weakness for good country music.

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  9. Marion, you and my son Andrew have inspired me so much by the joy you've found in your music appreciation classes that I've signed up to take a course on the Beatles!

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