Writing about World Music

Section F, Fall 2016

Author: jostory

The Perfect Studying Technique

Well it’s that time of the year again boys and girls! We’ve been through finals periods before, but nothing like this. One great thing about this that will (hopefully) help us with the transition is the process of self-scheduled finals. This is extremely encouraging because we’ll have so much time to study for the finals we will be taking. The biggest X factor when going through the process is using the best studying techniques. Even though we were all admitted into Davidson so for the most part we had to find an effective studying technique at one point or another, studying for anything at  Davidson has been something brand new for all of us this semester. Everyone has different ways of studying, but I think I have finally found the best method of studying (for me at least). In relation to the class, this of course includes music.

Different subjects and studying techniques constitute different songs and styles. When writing papers, I need something with a beat, but not fast enough to get me hyped up. Most of the time I turn the music down and just try to let it be background noise so that my thoughts will flow. Silence is ideal when writing papers, but there are very few silent places where I usually write papers and no matter the atmosphere, silence or no silence, I have a bad tendency of getting distracted. This environment, because I have kept it constant throughout the semester, has really benefitted in helping me to concentrate on the papers that need to be written and not to worry about outside noise and activity.

When working on things that do not require at much critical thought and are characterized more on the analytical side (like some parts of math, science, or a foreign language), I find myself using more upbeat music that will get me pumped and ready to knock the work out. Because I don’t have to think about my personal analysis of the situation or bring in personal thoughts or feelings, this music has proved to benefit me the most; I can just listen to the music and get into my “Let’s get everything done” zone. I go into a similar zone when cleaning up around the house back at home or just polishing up the room.

Studying is an activity that is not normally fun; it is something that you have to bring energy and thought into in order to show the results that you want to be shown. In relation to Connor Huh’s post, I can’t really listen to music during a test. It is a little too distracting for me, but for finishing papers, studying, and tearing up some homework, music is definitely the key in true concentration and focus.

Grinding through the Final Project

Going into this project, I knew the journey throughout wouldn’t be easy and I knew there would be some difficulties like the ones I pointed out in the proposal, but this really has proven to be a tough project. Evaluating freestyle rapping, something I have participated in before, seemed to be an easy gig when I formed the idea as soon as I heard we needed to evaluate a musical context; even though it still has its benefits, evaluating rapping with a group of friends has proven to be challenging in some respects.

One of the biggest issues with the observations is how the gatherings are unorganized. For something I need to witness at least once a week, it’s not easy finding a time when all the guys are available and “in the mood” to rap at the same time. There have been weeks in the past when I was not working on the project where we got together almost everyday even though it was unplanned and we rapped. On the contrary, there have been a few weeks where the work load in our classes was tough and the times just never came together for all of us to freestyle at the same time. With this project, I have to subtly encourage them to get together when times are getting tough to discuss their problems and just release their emotional burdens.  Sometimes this may not be the case, as sometimes times are really great after finishing a project and the rapping focuses on the joys of life, but that is beside the point. These guys are definitely not easy to deal with sometimes and a lot of the time the project idea is just something for them to blow off.

Although I got kind of negative with the project and expressed the unforeseen difficulties I have had, this has proven to be one of the most interesting, fun, and exciting projects I have ever done. The freedom of the project somewhat tripped me up at first, as I was looking for a strict prompt to follow for the final project, but I am so happy I was surprised. Getting the opportunity to do ethnomusicological work for a project around the people I know and love and evaluating something that interests me is great. When I can finally get all the guys together, it’s a great time and I love listening to some of the material they can come up with without having to worry about thinking of lines myself. Even though I want to join in a majority of the time, it’s still a lot of fun to watch, experience, and be a part of. With this new and exciting project, even with it’s bumps along the way, I am eager and determined to finish this right and accurately depict the amazing moments I’m experiencing.

Music in Sporting Events

After writing about my past experiences with music, how my personal taste has developed, and how music has changed me, I’ve been having some trouble coming up with a new idea for a new post. After thinking ling and hard about this, I decided to move away from my posts being so personal (for the time being at least) and discuss two of my favorite things: music and sports.

Sports and music are two different industries that are often associated with each other. Music at sporting events is extremely common. When you think about it, music is part of some of the oldest traditions in sports events. Likewise, there are several songs that are popular because of their exposure at games and matches. Everything from “Take me out to the ballgame” when referring to America’s pastime to “Sweet Caroline” at any sporting event in Carolina shows just how far music in games reaches. Those are just the well known songs in the middle of sporting events. One of the best parts of the sporting experience in the eyes of some is the beginning of the game when the hype music played. This could be just when the players go out to warm up or when the teams are ready to take the field, court, pitch, etc. The music is played usually to get the athletes hyped up to concentrate or get “in the zone.” It can come from a large range of genres and it, sometimes, can get the crowd just as hyped to watch the game. People in the stands will be ready for everything from a corner kick to a last second clutch field goal.

And it doesn’t just end with the music they play through the stands; the people in the stands produce their own music. Different combinations of chants and stomping are a constant act of participating as a fan at the games. This, even though it can get somewhat wild when too much of certain liquids are consumed, can actually be constituted as music and can actually surprise you sometimes with how good it actually is.

Just out of curiosity, I looked up occupations that involved music at sporting events. After searching, the only thing I could really find were the DJs that played at these events, and even that was hard to find information for. The area between the music and sporting industries is one not heavily sought after apparently. For me personally, the DJ job is not really for me. I would rather be sitting in the stands enjoying the sports and the music then having to stress and worry about which song would be best for the coming situation.

To end the post, I have attached below a song that many of you will recognize when you hear it. It is extremely popular in almost any sport and you will most likely hear it if you go to any kind of pro sports event. Please enjoy, and try not to tap your foot or nod to the music when listening to it.

Music: My Escape

Music has always held a very peculiar, but influential part in my life. One of the major purposes music serves for me and I’m sure several other people is the ability to cope and even escape from difficult situations and problems. This is not entirely true for my childhood; I listened to music whenever my parents had it on and never explored past that. (For more about my musical preferences, check my previous post “The Evolution of my Musical Taste”) As a grew older, the world of music as a whole was revealed before my eyes (or my ears… I don’t know). I was introduced to different genres, artists, and styles that made me want to listen, learn, and understand more about music. It got to the point that different situations warranted different genres and even different songs in some circumstances. There are different rap songs that I listen to in order to hype myself up for a football game, but I want to listen to other rap songs when I just want to relax. On some occurrences, this can happen with the same artist. I’m not much of a Kanye fan, but some Kanye West songs are great to listen to before a football game. On the other hand, I find that some of the older songs from Kanye (I like the old Kanye) are better songs to just chill to. His first album The College Dropout, shown below, is a great example of this and if you haven’t listened to it, I highly recommend it.

Image result for the college dropout

Music has helped me celebrate the best times and gets me through some of the tough times. When my first legitimate relationship ended with the girl I thought I was going to marry after 3 months dating, I found comfort in the songs “Happy” from Pharrell and “The Man” from Aloe Blacc (I thought some would find that enjoyable). After my most recent girlfriend and I split ways after a year and a half, Kid Cudi seemed like the only person who understood me through his verses. It was crazy and amazing how much I could relate to almost everything he was saying at that time (even though I’m not a pothead) and I realized how much music actually meant to me.

Most recently, music has served a huge role and helping me cope and escape from the current issues in the world today. With the recent developments last week with another African American male being shot, I felt this to be extremely relevant and important. Throughout the entire summer including last week, it’s been extremely difficult to deal with these outside issues. Many times, I’ve felt as though nobody truly understands me with these matters and nobody really knows what I’m personally going through. I quickly found this to be untrue when I heard some music from Kendrick Lamar. Having been a fan already, I have found a new appreciation for Kendrick in the current circumstances. He knows what’s really going on and explains some of my views in his songs/pieces of art. I honestly don’t know how I could get through some of these situations without music, which means music saves me from myself sometimes and even some of the world’s issues. With that being said, I’m going to leave with one of my favorite lyrics from Kendrick Lamar:

“I’m f-ed up/ Homie you f-ed up/ But if God got us then we gon’ be alright”

The Evolution of my Musical Taste

What kind of music do you listen to? It’s a common question that almost everyone has a different answer to. Personally, my answer to this question has changed drastically throughout the last decade of my life.

From a very young age, my parents encouraged my siblings and I to listen to gospel music. With both of my parents volunteering at the church early on Sunday mornings, we were immersed in the music at least one day a week, and every car ride featured a few songs from popular gospel artists at the time. Gospel music was a very influencing factor in my childhood, but my taste for music started to shift in the 5th grade.

After beginning the 5th grade, a taste for older music started to form in me. Thanks in large part to my parents, artists such as Prince and Michael Jackson caught my interest. I dug deeper into their music constantly and was never disappointed. After buying a couple CDs and listening to a few more of my parents’ old ones as well, my musical taste changed a little bit more.

Image result for michael jackson number one hits

Beginning middle school also meant the beginning of some of the most interesting, awkward years of my life. It also meant the beginning of my taste in the modern Top 40 music. I was finally “getting with the times” and listening to music other kids my age actually listened to. For the first time, I could have a conversation with my peers about a song on the radio that just came out. This was also the time I was in the band, so I could see how some of these songs came together musically and even try to imitate some of them on the tuba.

Transitioning into high school also signified a transition in my musical preference. Joining the football team and getting the chance to play meant that I had to get hyped up for games, so Top 40 pop music slowly transitioned into more rap and hip-hop. Eminem, Drake, and Lil Wayne quickly filled up my playlist as this influence grew. The bass and beats of the songs quickly won me over and a majority of the songs on my phone had to either have (1) a good bass drop and/or (2) a great beat to stay saved on my phone.

One of my most recent taste shifts came in the middle of my junior year in high school. All of my rap music started to sound the same and I didn’t really know what to listen to next. One song caught my attention because it had a great beat to it, but it still wasn’t really what I was looking for. The song, No Role Modelz by J. Cole, is one of the songs in the album 2014 Forest Hills Drive shown below.

Image result for 2014 forest hills drive

One of my friends told me one day to listen to the words of his songs because that’s what he’s really known for, so I took his advice and my whole perspective changed. I listened to No Role Modelz for the words, and the same night stayed up late listening to the rest of that album (2014 Forest Hills Drive) because I just couldn’t get enough. This change in my approach to music has influenced me to listen to J. Cole, Kendrick Lamar, and Kid Cudi.

All of my musical preferences have shaped who I am as a person and all are included in my musical taste now. So when people ask me ‘What kind of music do you listen to?’, I can’t give a great answer. It goes from Michael Jackson to J. Cole to Kirk Franklin and even farther than that. When I get that question, I just have to answer, “A little bit of everything,” even though it isn’t 100% right or wrong. So the real question is what kind of music to YOU listen to?

My Hidden Talent

My story in music began in the 6th grade when I began playing the tuba. Even though it was somewhat random and I had no real reason to play the tuba of all instruments, I committed to learning how to play music. This task was not very easy and I started slow, but once I got the hang of it playing the tuba was one of the most fulfilling activities of my life. Playing in the band helped me meet some of my best friends and people I relied on throughout middle school and even high school. I played through 6th grade and into 7th grade and I began to not just learn about the tuba, but master it.
I auditioned for the Georgia All State Band and earned a spot as the 8th best tuba player in Georgia, travelling down to Savannah to represent our middle school and play the instrument I loved.
I played the tuba again in the 8th grade and decided to cruise my last year of middle school. I relaxed and didn’t fully pursue my attempt to repeat being an All State musician. In my final year of playing the tuba, I enjoyed the ride and really just had fun. I also met my “first love,” but that’s another story!
Playing the tuba has introduced me to new people, helped me find out an unknown talent, and taken me new places. The tuba has truly changed my life.