Monday, January 16, 2017

Music Merit Badge: Beginner

Merit Badge Monday


As a member of The MaryJane Farmgirl Sisterhood, we are each given an opportunity to earn merit badges. It is sorta like scouts for grownups. And, what a great way to learn new things. This month I earned  my “Beginner” Merit badge titled, Music.

To earn this badge, I needed to
  • Learn about three of the basic elements of music: rhythm, melody, and harmony.
  • Listen to three songs from three different genres of music and identify the elements in each.
Marching on the field at The TOB East Coast Championships.

Last year my son joined the High School band. I admit that at first, I was totally against it. Band is a huge commitment and I was not sure if it would work with other activities that my son is involved in. However, after much thought and discussion as a family we made the decision to embrace the opportunity. My husband and I both have no musical background. We don’t know how to read music and thought, “Hey, this will be an opportunity for us too. Therefore, we decided to take music lesson from our Son’s private instructor. Sam Jannotta from Shepherdstown School of Music. The adventure began! We first learned  some of the basic terms such as rhythm, melody, and harmony.

Rhythm is the element of "TIME" in music. When you tap your foot to the music, you are "keeping the beat" or following the structural rhythmic pulse of the music. There are several important aspects of rhythm:

DURATION: how long a sound (or silence) lasts.
TEMPO: the speed of the BEAT.
(Note: Tempo indications are often designated by Italian terms):
Largo = "large" or labored (slow)
Adagio = slow
Andante = steady "walking" tempo
Moderato = moderate
Allegro = fast ("happy")
Presto = very fast

METER: Beats organized into recognizable/recurring accent patterns. Meter can be seen/felt through the standard patterns used by conductors.

MELODY is the LINEAR/HORIZONTAL presentation of pitch
(the word used to describe the highness or lowness of a musical sound). Many famous musical compositions have a memorable
Melody or theme.

THEME: a melody that is the basis for an extended musical work
Melodies can be derived from various scales (families of pitches) such as the traditional major and minor scales of tonal music, to more unusual ones such as the old church modes (of the Medieval and Renaissance periods: c. 500–1600), the chromatic scale and the whole tone scale (both used in popular and art-music styles of the late 19th and 20th-century periods), or unique scale systems devised in other cultures around the world.

Melodies can be described as:
• CONJUNCT (smooth; easy to sing or play)
• DISJUNCT (disjointedly ragged or jumpy; difficult to sing or play).

Harmony is the VERTICALIZATION of pitch. Often, harmony is thought of as the art of combining pitches into chords (several notes played simultaneously as a "block"). These chords are usually arranged into sentence-like patterns called chord progressions.

All these terms above were taught to us and explained in a great book titled, “Elements of Music” It is a very good book and I noticed that this book is very popular in the schools. My next task was what sorta genera or music do I want to play on the piano. I listened to several different styles but decided on learning some classical, Jazz, and a seasonal song. I am going to keep this part as a surprise because I plan on making a video of this in an upcoming blog post. Yes! Me on piano, hubby on guitar, and my son on Sax. It really felt great to be able to learn a bit more about music and pick out the different elements. Even better to do something together as a family!


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