Blog Reflection

When I first began writing this blog, I had no idea what I was going to learn or gain from it. I’ve had no experience in the past writing blogs so I was honestly afraid I was going to be awful at it. There are so many aspects I didn’t realize were so important in any form of writing such as considering your audience and establishing a voice for yourself. In fact, I don’t think I really mastered either of these skills until I reached my 3rd or 4th post. Each time I wrote, it got easier for me to be myself and really tap into my creative side. I made sure to keep a somewhat academic tone because it went with my theme and audience but I also tried to incorporate personal experiences and add flavor to my writing to prevent it from being boring.

Writing to such a large audience was kind of a challenge for me at first, until I started practicing and really reaching out to the readers. I found that when I personally reached out to some of my followers, I was able to gain a lot of feedback and I got a better sense of what my audience expected. By keeping their suggestions and expectations in mind, I was able to write more efficiently and effectively.

Maintaining this blog has sometimes been difficult when trying to keep up with and incorporate all of the rhetorical skills, however, I believe it has improved my writing tremendously. Before I started this page, my writing was static and boring. Now that I have discovered a creative side, writing is a lot more fun and interesting to me. I loved being able to talk about a topic I love so much because it made me admire it so much more.

I hope I was able to make some sort of impact on the people who have stuck with my blog for so long and I’m really glad I got the chance to take part in this assignment. It has been a fun semester and I hope to continue this writing style not only on my blog but also on oher assignments, and of course, in the real world. Thank you for reading!

Hip Hop: A Love-Hate Relationship

imagesThe Hip Hop Industry has been largely criticized and has served as a catalyst for controversy since its early conception. Most people would say hip hop is nothing more than meaningless entertainment that condones sex, drugs, and violence. However, some would vouch that the industry is often grossly misunderstood. Despite either side, it would be difficult to say that hip hop music hasn’t impacted us in some sort of way. Most individuals woudn’t be able to go a day without inadvertently listenting to hip hop. If you watch tv, surf the internet, or listen to the radio, it’s inevitable to encounter hip hop music.

No matter the controversy, hip hop music greatly affects the people who choose to listen to it. It particularly sparks behavioral changes in young teens. Many individuals tend to feel like an outsider for most of their early teen years. Hip hop music gives the outsiders a place to fit in with society. It influences them to fight for justice and equality and to address significant issues such as racism and violence.

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Since teens are exposed to all of the fancy cars, sexy models, and extravagant parties featured in hip hop music videos, they become convinced that if they spend their money on these things they can experience everything the artists do in their videos. Since many of these things are associated with sex, drugs and alcohol, people believe that the influence hip hop music has on youth can be negative.

The song, “Where is the love” by the Black Eyed Peas merely tells listeners to question everything and take resposibility for their own lives. It addresses issues such as social and racial injustice. Some lyrics that stand out are “If you only have love for your own race, then you only leave space to discriminate.” Prejudice and racism are significant issues that continue to be overlooked in society. The song highlights the importance of equality and recognizing the effects that social and racial injustice have on the world. The Black Eyed Peas simply question in such a tainted society, “Where Is the Love?” Through the songs inspirational lyrics, it encourages listeners to think critically and stand up to make a difference. Young teens feel empowered and inspired when they listen to these songs. Hip hop makes an impact on young teens that can change the general perception of these significant issues.

Can Classical Music make you Happier?

Guest Post by Nadine Bouz:

According to MU Department of Psychological studies faculty member Ken Shelden, classical music is proven to not affect your happiness unless one actively tries to be happier.  Ken Sheldon created two groups of study subjects and told one group to actively try to be happier while the other one had no such request.  As a result, the subject that were told to work at feeling happier were more successful when they listened to classical music.  This result shows that a specific genre of music does not make someone happier; people typically pick music that matches how they are feeling. For example, recent research shows that if people are feeling angry, they prefer discordant music.  So it ultimately depends on what type of music you personally like meaning that it varies for everyone. Different types of music bring pleasure and happiness to different people depending on their personal tastes.

http://nadinemarie24.wordpress.com

 

Feedback and Suggestions

Hey guys! It’d be really cool if I could get some feedback about what you guys think of my blog so far. I would love to hear some suggestions on what genres of music I should cover. If you have any suggestions or feedback, please just leave a comment on my page and I’ll definitely get to work!

The Horror!

Unknown-1 Halloween is coming up next week and I can’t think of a better way to get into the spooky spirit than to write a section on the music we hear in horror movies. We all experience joy, laughter, sadness, pain, anger and many other emotions that catagorize us as human beings. Music is something that can trigger these certain emotions based off of it’s meaning. The music you hear in horror movies for example, trigger feelings of suspense and anxiety. No horror movie would be the same or even half as entertaining without the use of the woodwinds and strings that make a scene terrifying just by the sound of the music.

How does suspenseful music contribute to our emotions as individuals? As a song in a horror film unfolds, our brains are on the lookout for patterns as it waits for the next beat to come along. Songs that are meant to build tension and suspense do a great job of altering patterns in a surprising way that keeps listeners on the edge of their seats. If a song in a horror story is doing it’s job, the music will lead the audience down a path, slowly building tension and suspense until an unexpected plot twist scares everyone watching. Without the music, it’d be hard for someone to tell when something bad is going to happen because that feeling of anxiety doesn’t build. In fact, if horror movies didn’t have music, there would be little to no suspense and everything would be much more predictable.

To get into the spirit of Halloween, I urge you to go out and watch a scary movie. The 1960 film “Pyscho,” directed by the one and only Alfred Hitchcock is undoubtedly one of the scariest movies ever screened. The famous “shower scene” magnifies terror thanks to it’s excellent musical score composed by Bernard Herrman. Pay attention to the way you feel when the music is beginning to surface. Notice a change in your heart rate and stomach. I guarentee a feeling of uneasyness and anxiety will come over you. This is what suspenseful music does individuals, no other type of music can create the same effect.

“Indie”pendant

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It’s interesting how certain words you use to describe things can derive from a whole other meaning. It may sound silly, but I only recently descovered that “Indie” music is really short for “Independent” music. However, when you think about the true meaning of Indie, it makes sense. Indie bands aren’t signed to any big record labels, which categorizes them as “independent.” The same goes for Indie music listeners. They’re labeled as “independents” because they listen to underground music that wasn’t influenced by others. For people who listen to indie, the music is about emotion and individuality, not tuning in to the mainstream “pop” or “R & B” songs we hear 10,000 times a day on the radio. In brief, indie music is unique, truer, and less perfect than most of these “big label” songs and artists. It includes the less cookie-cutter versions of punk, alternatve rock, and heavy metal, however it allows more space for more creativity.

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So what is the deal with these mysterious independant music listeners? What makes them so unique and how does the indie music lifestyle effect them as individuals? You could say that Indie music is a cultural phenomenon that shapes how listeners behave specifically in regards to the music they listen to. Indie music fans are more passionate and proud because they choose music based on their own discoveries rather than choosing to follow the overrated musical trend of the radio. It makes poeple feel individualistic and free from the outside control of societal tendencies. There is no other genre of music that effects the individuality of someone greater than that of indie music.

For those who might make decisions based off of the influences of others too often, I reccommed becoming more “indie”pendant. You won’t regret the liberating effect it has on the mind as well as it’s ability to alter someones overall perspective on musical culture. One of my all time favorite Indie bands is Arctic Monkeys. They were signed to an independent record label over 10 years ago and have reached great success with their unique and relatable sound since. Arctic Monkeys are among some of the best Indie rock bands that have proven their originality and good taste in “different” music. When listening to their songs, Arctic Monkeys fans really get to embrace the unique side of their personalities. Check out this next song called “Do I Wanna Know?” just released from their new album!

New Orleans: Jazz Town

For many of us, family is where comfort and stability will always exist in the chaos present in our lives. With family, comes the many traditions, customs and values we hold within our specific culture. It’s interesting how cultural music can affect individuals in a society. Music has developed in different ethnic groups around the globe and has served to communicate a representation of the world and give depth to cultural experiences through familiar rythmes that bring the culture together. It manifests how historical past and present is conceived.

New Orleans, Louisianna is mostly known for Jazz music, the musical style that originated in the heart of the city in the early 20th century. Jazz is often associated with rythme and blues. Its African influence traces back to the Congo Square, where slaves would play music and dance on Sundays. With such a historical background, the music yields a strong sense of cultural pride. Since the 1920’s (The Jazz Era), the people in New Orleans have gathered to listen to the music that shaped their traditions and created a place where everyone could feel welcomed. Jazz historian, Bruce Raeburn once said, “There were opportunities for interaction, in spite of segregation, and many neighborhoods were a crazy quilt with blacks, whites and Creoles living together.” Through Jazz music, different races were brought together in a sense of freedom and traditional heritage. The music creates an undeniable “at home” effect on a wide variety of listeners who come from French, African, Cuban, White, and other backgrounds. It’s a phenomenon that remains true and continues to flourish today. There are Jazz festivals held in New Orleans every year that bring this sense of comfort and freedom among everyone.

To tap into the cultural state of mind in New Orleans, I reccommend the city’s  native and five time grammy award winner, Terence Blanchard. He’s said to play his trumpet like a seasoned athlete. His ability to bend notes slowly with the perfect precision creates a rythme of jazz that can take anyone on a journey to New Orleans.

In summer 2004, I went on a family trip to New Orleans for a week to visit some friends. Seeing the city’s livlihood and love for the art of Jazz music came as a real shock to me, but in a good way. I had never experienced a city so invested in their musical traditions. As I walked through Burbon Street, Jazz musicians played on corners of every sidewalk as crowds of people cheered and danced for them. This was a liberating experience for me because I was able to join this different culture and feel just as welcomed as if I had come from their same roots. By watching the jazz musicians perform, I was exposed to the life, love, culture, and togetherness through the passion they had in composing these rythmes. The effect Jazz music had on me and the way I perceive New Orleans culture will always remain close to my heart as I keep in mind the traditions and practices of my own culture. Now I have a better understanding that through musical culture, there is always a place for someone to call “home.”

The Mozart Effect

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Something that tends to be forgotten throughout high school and college is the power that music has on all aspects of everday life.  With the power of music comes love, passion, belief, and even knowledge. Studies have shown a particular genre of music that strengthens the mind and can cause a student to perform well on a test or focus on studying. This theory has been labeled as “The Mozart Effect.”

“The Mozart Effect” has been seen as extremely effective in classroom settings. In 1993, scientists at UC Irvine had college students listen to either Mozart’s Sonata, a relaxation tape, or silence for 10 minutes then had them take a spatial reasoning test directly after. Results showed that the student’s scores improved after listening to the Mozart tape. The scientists concluded that the sound of the music shared a pathway in the brain with spatial abilities and therefore must have “warmed up” the brain for spatial reasoning.

The overall health and well-being of individuals have also been seen as transformed by “The Mozart Effect.” Uses of sound have been proven to activate the body, relieve stress, and induce sleep or relaxation. The music is sequenced according to soft key, tempo, and other factors that contribute to psychological and physical responses from the brain. It’s mellow, soft tone makes for an incredible environment to cleanse the mind and focus on relaxation. When listened to frequently, Mozart’s musical composition can shape a mind connected to less stress and can also contribute to the overall well-being of an indvidual.

I thought I’d test this theory out myself by having my roommate listen to Mozart before she studied for her mid-term. She noticed that throughout the entire period of studying, she felt very calm and was able to pay attention without being distracted by her thoughts or other loud noises. The musical effect allowed her to study more efficiently and she was able to feel a sense of ease after stressing out about her upcoming exam.

For students that often worry too much and feel as if they have too much on their plate,  Mozart’s music can really make a difference. Even though it may not be the average students preferred choice of musical genre, studies have proven it’s variety of positive effects on the brain. Not only can it help students with studying and test scores, but it can provide them with a way to relax and succeed regularly.