A Metric Analysis of Tony Glausi’s “Reconciliation”

During my final term of college I took a rhythm and meter music analysis class. The class explored the use of rhythm and meter in various genres—classical, jazz, and even rock. It was taught by UO’s own recent music theory doctoral graduate Wing Lau. I really enjoyed the class and had a lot of fun dissecting one of Tony’s compositions off his new album. As soon as I received the prompt for the final I knew I wanted to analyze one of Tony’s tunes because it hasn’t been done before. Tony helped me pick one of his most interesting songs in terms of rhythm and meter. The beginning of the paper is definitely full-on music nerd, so if you’re interested in a lighter read, skip to the in final few paragraphs after the horizontal line to understand the main point of the analysis, complete with a composer interview with Tony. Enjoy!

Click here to watch the Reconciliation music video. Get the sheet music here.

– Courtney

Metric Analysis of Reconciliation by Tony Glausi

Tony Glausi released his debut album Identity Crisis in December of 2015. In his words, “Identity Crisis is about soul-searching, change, perseverance, and resolution.” Tony is a programmatic composer, and the entire Identity Crisis album is like a story, giving listeners a peak inside his life’s happenings, struggles, thoughts and passions. As his wife, I have an unfair advantage of understanding Tony on a deeper level than most, so I can vouch for the deep emotional place each of Tony’s songs arises from. Track nine of ten on the album, titled Reconciliation, has received countless praise for its exciting metrical features. I have chosen this song to further analyze and dissect the attention-grabbing metrical components, which offer more interest than exciting drum patterns and horn melodies: these sections paint a bigger picture giving us a glimpse of life through Tony’s eyes. Through the consonant and dissonant sections, changing meter, and metric modulation in Reconciliation, we are given a look inside the life of Tony Glausi and his portrayal of the constant ebb and flow in human relationships.

Reconciliation begins with a very distinct bass line and a 4/4 drum groove with emphasis on 2 and 4. After 4 bars, the piano part joins the rest of the group and repeats the groove for 4 more bars. These 2 bars (repeated 4 times) are metrically consonant and set up a distinct hypermeter of 2 (when ¼ note = 1) because of the phenomenal accents on beats 1 and 3. Consonance is quickly turned dissonant, however, when the horns enter in mm. 3, things get complicated. Not only does the meter change to 6/4, the horns (trumpet and tenor saxophone), piano and bass, and drums are all playing in 3 separate time-feels that somehow mesh metrically together. My metrical analysis of mm. 3 is displayed in figure 1. This analysis is a rendition of Stefan Caris Love’s style of analysis. I realize my analysis is different than Love’s because my dots represent different materials, but this style of analysis was better at portraying the harmonic layers in a more precise way than any other method we discussed in class. The three layers (horns, piano/bass, drums) are displayed above with lines representing the tactus suggested by each layer. The
black dots represent accents suggested by the dictation and the instrumentalists’ performance. The gray dots represent less explicit accents. The solid arrow arcs represent the definite phrasing and the dotted arcs represent the suggested phrasing—note that my metric analysis has more to do with the way the music sounds rather than what is dictated on the score. As I stated, the introductory 2-bar phrase sets up a consonant 4/4 meter. The drums keep this feel, including emphasis on beats 2 and 4 as indicated in figure 1. The horns also keep this feel despite the change in meter from 4/4 to 6/4; however, interpreting the horns in 6/4 is also valid, but based on the phenomenal accents and the interaction with the drum feel, the horns keep a relatively stable 4/4 pattern. The layer that throws everything off is the piano and bass layer that modulates to a 3/8 pattern (see figure 1). This layer displaces the consonant 4/4 pattern introduced in the beginning of the tune and this is where we first encounter metric dissonance.

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The pattern established in mm. 3-4 repeats itself exactly in mm. 5-6, and starts to repeat itself in mm. 7, but a hemiola pattern in mm. 8 quickly disrupts the repetition. Although mm. 3-7 are dissonant, we get used to the pattern by the end of bar 7, so we are completely thrown off by the disruption in mm. 8. Subliminal dissonance is music that is established by one interpretive layer that is conflicted by another layer because of context and/or notation. In this case the metrical notation is 3/4, which conflicts with the syncopated pattern and sounds different and more consonant that what we see on the score, resulting in a form of subliminal dissonance.Screen Shot 2016-06-25 at 4.22.15 PMMm. 8 is a small bump in the road, however, compared to the continuous hemiola repetition that occurs in mm. 12-14. Between mm. 9-11 (see figure 2 and 3), the music returns to a more regular 4/4 pattern that is similar to what we see in the very beginning of the tune. Metric consonance is established as the same pattern is repeated 3 times. Mm. 12 brings back the hemiola pattern already introduced in mm. 8, but this timScreen Shot 2016-06-25 at 4.23.04 PMe it is extended and leads to a metric modulation in the solo section. A metric modulation, as defined by the Oxford Companion to Music, is “[a] technique… by which changing time signatures effect a transition from one meter to another, just as a series of chords can effect a harmonic modulation from one key to another.” The dotted 8th note becomes the quarter note when the 4/4 meter is established in the solo section (see figure 4). The music sounds consonant as the meter changes from 3/4 to 4/4. All of the instruments, including the rhythm section, are joined together in a few bars of complete consonance, which leads into a full release of tension in the solo section.

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The solo section begins with a trumpet solo by Tony. Although the solo is an open solo (without written chord changes), Tony plays in distinct 4-bar phrases for 16 bars with one beginning accented phrase in the very last phrase. The next solo, a tenor saxophone solo by Josh Hettwer, is also in 4-bar phrases. Despite the open solo improvisation, both musicians create an interesting and musical solo not only harmonically, but also metrically in their use of phrasing. The rhythm section keeps a steady 4/4 feel and responds to the harmonic material presented by the two soloists.

When the first 16-bar solo section is completed, the band repeats the head of the tune in typical jazz fashion; however, because of the metric modulation, this time the music is faster. The tenor saxophone solo is then performed, followed by another repetition of the head. Because the head is faster, the metric modulation into the drum solo is faster, leading to an even faster solo section for the 16-bar drum solo. Finally, the head of the tune is repeated for the final time at the quickest tempo yet. The tune ends with the entire band wailing on the same metric pattern.


 

Now that the groundwork of the analysis of Reconciliation has been established, we are ready to move onto the metrical features of the tune that portray the bigger picture– reconciliation and the mending of relationships. Reconciliation begins with metric consonance and a cool rhythm section groove. Symbolically, this metric consonance is similar to two friends getting along well, having fun, and supporting each other. When the horns enter in mm. 3, the entire band is in sharp metric dissonance with each other. This is when the friends start to enter into rough waters. Perhaps someone’s feelings were hurt. The two friends begin to tear apart. A quick glitch in mm. 8 disrupts the dissonance with a short measure of metric consonance, followed by slightly more consonance in mm. 9-11. This is when the two friends start to come back to each other; maybe they miss what they used to have. They might question why they ever “broke up” their friendship in the first place. The head of the tune ends with the entire band in metric unison leading to the release of tension into the solo section. The two friends finally reunite and feel relieved as the stress of the un-friendship is released and repaired. Because of the metric modulation, each solo is followed by a repetition of the head at a faster tempo than before. But the friendship is still on rocky waters as the two try and find a way to move on and create a friendship like they used to have. They realize that their relationship will always have to change and evolve in order for the relationship to stay intact.

Tony was not necessarily thinking about including these certain dissonances in his tune while he was composing; he was simply composing music from a deep inside himself. The end result is a beautiful portrayal of reconciliation with metrical analogies to the tension and release ubiquitous to relationships.

I was able to sit down with Tony and ask him a few questions about the creation of Reconciliation. I asked him to describe his composition process. In Tony’s words, “I started writing Reconciliation in California during spring break of 2015. I was sitting at the piano in the house we were staying at surrounded by my family. We were celebrating the life of my Grandma who had just passed away.” Already we can see that Tony’s composition process for the tune began from an emotional, rather dark place. He was not sitting down to write a tune about reconciliation; he wanted to say something that he could not express in words. Tony continues, “As I was fooling around on the piano late that night, I just kind of found the key of B flat while wandering… I came up with the first shape, which became the bass line that starts the tune. I then went up diatonically from that. It all came down to working with a shape.” Tony explained that his composition process is different with every tune, but it always starts with one idea—a bass line in this case—that he tweaks and expands until a piece is written. He notated Reconciliation in a way that is not only pleasing to the musicians, but also to the overall feel of the tune. Tony explained, “I started fooling with bass line in 2, but when I started to write the melody on top, I realized it didn’t swing as well in 2 as it did in 6. It’s much more swingin’ and feels more groovy in 3.” Tony also described his process with the metric modulation: “As I started to get further with that dotted 8th note thing, I kept hearing a metric modulation. I kept hearing it go faster. So, I thought, well I’ll have the solo section be at a higher tempo. It all happened organically. I just got to the point with the tune where I felt there was nothing more to say in those first 14 bars before a solo hit.” Reconciliation and the entire collection of compositions by Tony Glausi come from a place of deep introspection. His music is not written because he wants a funk tune or a samba tune in his repertoire; he composes his emotions, which makes for a very interesting analysis of what he naturally writes.

Perhaps the most interesting part of Tony’s composition process is his explanation of the naming of his tunes. “I called it reconciliation because one of the themes of my Grandma’s funeral was that and it sort of inevitably snuck into the rhythmic influence of the piece. The theme comes from what I was going through at the time.” Tony described that his music always comes from a very deep place inside of himself, so when he goes to name a tune he looks back at what was going on in his life at the time. He also mentioned his titling process on I Can’t Seem to Get Enough of You from his album Identity Crisis. “When I title something, it’s always retrospectively. I ask myself: What was going in my life? What was I going through? Where did this music come from? For example, the ballad I wrote—I Can’t Seem to Get Enough of You—was written when I was feeling very in love. I never title a piece until after the fact. I always compose from a deep emotional place, from pure inspiration, and then I look back.”

Reconciliation was born out of a period of deep contemplation about relationships and the music, with its many dissonant rhythms and interesting melodies, portrays exactly what Tony felt during the time. As much as we can pick apart and analyze the metric dissonances and label the metric modulations and subliminal dissonances, we are still left with the puzzling idea that not one metric figure or dissonance was intended to mean anything. Tony wrote what he felt. There isn’t a label for what a piece of music can feel like to the soul. From an analytical point of view, it is fascinating to consider the true inspiration behind Tony’s music. Perhaps the beautifully organic place from which Reconciliation was born is the reason why the tune is one of the most popular on the album.

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What’s the Point of Music Anyways?

Every day I ask myself: does what I’m doing with my life have any significance in the grand scheme of things? Does anyone on this planet or anything in this universe care at all if I keep creating art? Of all the things I could be doing with my time, why is it music that I come back to over and over again? Why did I choose to make what the IRS calls a “hobby” into what I call a “career”?

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For most artists out there the answer is simple: “I do what I do because I love it.” To some extent I can say the same. I love what I do. Nothing makes me happy quite like playing and writing music, especially when you enjoy it. But let me tell you…that’s not even the half of why I do it.

One of my favorite university experiences thus far has been the opportunity to hear David Cutler give his talk on the inward vs outward artist. In short, he comes to the conclusion that successful artists are those who focus on serving other people—especially their audiences—more than they focus on benefiting their own personal or musical desires. (For further understanding of Cutler’s ideals, follow this link.)

As is the case with dedicated musicians, I assume that most farmers, doctors, and lawyers absolutely love the work that they do, too,—including the pay, benefits, lifestyle, etc.—but to me it is clear that, regardless of their own selfish intentions, these types of professionals are directly contributing to society, improving the lives of all those they work for, and truly serving humanity. On the other hand, the ugly truth about selfish artistry is that the resulting product,—that “wowww so neat”, “hmmm interesting”, and “art for the sake of art” stuff—well, it doesn’t help anybody! I hear music like this all the time, and it’s not that I don’t think it’s beautiful or impressive, it just makes me wonder: what’s the point of music anyways?

When these thoughts plague my mind my creative momentum comes tumbling to a halt. I find myself mentally tangled, and I descend into one of my many dark philosophical episodes with which my close friends are all too familiar. I get super self-conscious about what I’m doing with my life, and I often regret choosing the path that I did. I avidly search for answers to my questions, hoping to rediscover the purpose of music in my own life and ultimately find a way to bring purpose into the lives of others through the music that I produce.

It helps when I start from the beginning…

I remember being too young to speak yet bouncing up and down on the couch while my dad blasted the music of Stevie Wonder, who, to this day, remains my all-time favorite artist; his music has brought hope and joy into my life like none other. I remember sitting at the piano before my legs could touch the pedals, endlessly enthralled, teaching myself to play any and every melody I knew by ear, learning hundreds of songs before I even took my first piano lesson. I remember hearing for the first time my cousin playing the trumpet, and I wanted one so badly that I bought a plastic trumpet from a toy shop to satisfy my desire until I was allowed a real one. I remember when I first started writing music (before I even knew which way the note stems go) how everyone would tell me “oh cool, I’ve heard that song before”, which would make me so mad; I just kept writing until it was something nobody had heard. I remember growing up singing and playing hymns every week at church, as I still do, immersed in the origins, traditions, and rich history of western harmony. I distinctly remember falling in love with the music of Glenn Miller, Michael Jackson, Queen, Paul Simon, and Earth Wind & Fire as my parents showed us kids all of their favorite music, and I can’t discount discovering my love for the music of Count Basie, Miles Davis, John Coltrane, Jamie Cullum, and Wynton Marsalis as my musician friends eventually pushed me to pursue the study of jazz. I remember fairly recently listening to Kendrick Lamar’s album “To Pimp a Butterfly” all the way through for the first time and how its colorful stories and raw emotions spoke to me and continue to speak to me more clearly and effectively than any other music I’ve heard. I remember so vividly all of the incredible experiences I have had in these past several years as a professional performer and composer, and now as I think about my “career” in music that has really only just begun, I can’t help but feel an overwhelming sense of deep gratitude for what music has done for me, for the person it has helped me become, for the lessons it has taught me, for the trials it has helped me overcome.

It is when I step back to marvel at how music has nurtured my heart and soul that I regain my confidence as an artist. Music has both given me life and saved my life. Music is a priceless gift. I don’t do what I do just because I love it; I do it in hopes that I might inspire people as I’ve been inspired, that they might enjoy life and everything that comes with it, good and bad.

Music is perhaps the most hopeful thing our world has to offer right now. Don’t quit listening, and don’t you dare quit creating.

-Tony Glausi

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~ JazzArts Oregon Ensemble ~

The Soul of Tony Glausi

Allison was able to capture Tony’s personality in this article– something very few writers can do. Take a read.

ALLISON. DELFIUM

Written by: Allison Del Fium

The Soul of Tony Glausi Photo

I want the people who are listening to my music to enjoy being alive, to feel a sense of purpose in life.”

As I sit in the dimly lit “Jazz Station” found in downtown Eugene, I am surrounded and moved by the powerful sounds made by the night’s musical act. It is the trumpet player Tony Glausi that especially commands everyone’s attention. Maybe it is his put together look or his remarkable stage presence that pulls you in, but for most of my fellow audience members, it is his extraordinary musicianship that is so captivating. After the song finishes and the band takes a moment to breathe, the audience instantly goes wild. I can’t help but notice the look on Tony’s face as the crowd cheers. A wide, bright smile appears and he begins to laugh. In this moment, Tony is at one with…

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Life & Listening To Lately

Well, with my senior clarinet recital one week away, I have successfully stressed my body to the breaking point.

   
I have shingles.
Shingles…?

Isn’t that that disease that makes the skin look really terrible and older people get? Whaaaaat?

Yep, I have shingles… on my EYE! I started feeling really sick (flu-like symptoms without a fever) and then that turned into a swollen lymph node on the ride side of my face and an itchy eye lid that slowly developed a scab. Gross, I know.

I’m taking it easy this Friday night drinking tea and listening to Dvorak 8 and Mahler 1 because I’m obsessed with both right now. How am I only 21.

Anyway, today I want to walk you through what I’m listening to lately intermixed with random life updates. Randomness is my fav.

P.S. A kind commenter let me know that my previous blog had some (your and you’re) typos. I apologize for how bothersome that is and I promise I know the difference. Thanks 🙂 Cheers to imperfection!

So here it goes!

Tony recently played a gig at a local venue here in Eugene, Oregon that he regularly performs. The Jazz Station has been the home of many great shows and this night was no exception.

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This year’s Valentine’s Day was our one year proposal anniversary. One year ago, he led me through a series of riddled clues that ended with him flashing my sparkly ring on one knee. It was perfect.

Naturally, he took me on another one to celebrate a year later. This one was crazy! He led me through most of the UO School of Music with clues and chocolate hearts. It was really difficult and kind of uncomfortable because I had to interrupt a couple of people while they were practicing… yep, don’t mind me here, just scouring the piano for some chocolate.

All good fun. We ate pancakes, watched The Notebook, and hosted a Valentine’s Day party because we’re cheesy like that.

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We also went to Trader Joe’s (AKA my second home) and Tony bought me the cutest gerbera daisies and we picked up this cute Valentine surprise for a special someone. Is that not the cutest little pot you have ever seen? Okay, I fully admit. I am 100% obsessed with Valentine’s Day.

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We had THE best almond milk steamer with hazelnut flavor at one of our favorite little cafés downtown (also the scene of our picture on the top of our blog page). It was seriously to-die-for.

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And Tony fell in love with a cat that lives in one of the shops downtown. Cats in shops? Oh Eugene, Oregon. I love you.

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Look at that paw. Swoon.

I’ve also been practicing lots of yoga lately. I’d love to do a post on the benefits of yoga for musicians. I’ve been getting a lot better at my headstands lately! This picture was my final project for my yoga class at school.

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I love yoga!

Along with everything else above, the past few weeks have been full of music rehearsing, performing, and listening to live shows. I recently attended a show at the Broadway Avenue House in Eugene and it was not only a very fun night, but also some of the best music I’ve listened to in a while!

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The Westerlies, a Seattle-bred band now primarily based in New York City, stopped in Eugene, Oregon as part of their west coast tour.

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These young, four musicians were a joy to watch and listen to. With an obvious passion and refreshing energy for making music, their performance was invigorating. It was quirky, yet sophisticated. Fresh, yet nostalgic. I loved the improvisatory feel and the balance between new ideas and older styles. Their CD is great, too. The Broadway Avenue House, a living-room turned concert venue, was the perfect intimate atmosphere for this group. I have attended the venue many times and absolutely adore its inviting environment. I especially love the potluck and chance to chat with the musicians during intermission. This was an especially memorable night indeed.

Tonight, Tony played a show with the Oregon Jazz Ensemble featuring Marshall Gilkes. The rest of the weekend will be full of lots of practicing and rest!

What are you listening to lately?

~Courtney

My Advice to Aspiring Music Majors

So you want to be a music major?

…are you sure?

I don’t mean to be cynical. But I was you once, too. Looking back, I was extremely naive entering college as a music major. Although I am very happy with the path I have chosen, I wish I was a bit more informed on exactly what I was getting myself into. Music school isn’t just glorified band camp, my friends.

As someone who is nearly done with their music performance degree, I have some tips. These tips are based on my own experiences and will likely vary from school to school. Take it as you will and please don’t hesitate to ask me questions!

  1. Making the choice: pursuing a college degree in music is extremely difficult. Sure, it can be easy if you take the easy way out of everything and never practice and get Cs in all your classes. But if you want to be a great musician, it’s going to be brutal. This isn’t just honor band every day of your life. There will be hard theory and music history classes, hours of practicing a day expected from you, and so many rehearsals for ensembles you never knew you signed up for. There will be days you want to throw your instrument at the wall. There will be days when you’re on a cruise ship in Mexico (yes, I have), or camping on the coast (yes, I have), or away for a weekend with friends (many times), and you’ll have to be practicing for your recital or the next audition. These times are hard. There will be days when you’ll question your love for music. There will be days when you will have know idea what you got yourself into. But there will still be days when it’s all worth it, for that amazing feeling performing music for an engaged audience with a group of people you have worked so hard with. For that time you inspire a young musician to play your instrument. Pursuing music is difficult and all things crazy, but it can be equally as rewarding and beautiful. Make sure you know what you are getting yourself into before you willy-nilly put music major on your college application.
  2. Talk to everyone you can. Along the same lines as above, talk to anyone and everyone you can talk to. Reach out to your band/choir/orchestra director and ask them about their experience. Believe it or not they were in your shoes once. Talk to everyone you know, or your friend knows, or your mom knows who is a music major. What do they like about it? What don’t they like about it? What schools do they recommend? What’s their daily life like?
  3. What school do I choose? Applying to be a music major is a bit more complicated than seeing if a college simply offers a music degree. You want to make sure where you are going fits with your personality and goals as a musician. Email prospective teachers in your instrument or voice and set up a time to talk, or preferably take a lesson. Do you like their teaching style? Do you like their musicianship? This is someone you will spend 4 years with for at least one hour every week. Trust me, you want to like them. Email undergraduate advisors and talk to them about your interest in the school. Take a tour. Is this somewhere that you could see yourself living? Is there a lot going on musically in the community? Is there a symphony nearby? These aspects will become increasingly more important as you grow during your time in school. Get your hands on as much information as humanly possible so you can make a well-informed decision.
  4. What music degree do I choose? Performance or education? Composition or music history? There are many different music paths you can head down, and you can always change your mind, but you do want to have a relatively good idea of what you want to do before you enter college because school goes by really quickly! A music education degree is fantastic if you can picture yourself teaching elementary, middle, high-school or college music classes in the future. But music education is not for everyone. Talk to more people, shadow your band-director’s daily life, and gather as much information as you can to see if this is something you would want to do. If it is, great! If not, there are other options. A performance degree is different for different focuses, but for an instrumentalist your schooling will be preparing you to be a successful performer in a symphony, opera, chamber ensemble, etc. Choose to the best of your ability, but don’t sweat it too much. You will be able to decide more once you get to college.
  5. What about a minor or a double major? So your Uncle keeps telling you to minor or double major in business, right? There is some truth in this advice. I say definitely take on a minor if you are a performance major. I don’t necessarily recommend a double major. Depending on your performance aspirations, this may take away too much from your practicing which is extremely important. With that said, add some diversity to yourself. Find other passions and take classes. Even if you don’t take on a full minor or double major, these classes will be important and could be a great way to take away from the stress of the daily life of a musician. If your school offers arts management classes, TAKE THEM. If there’s anything I wish more musicians knew about it would be the business side of music. As a musician in the field, you must know about how it works in the world. If there’s anything you take away from this article, it is this advice right here– learn about the business side of music. Not just any business, those are different. Music business and administration will be extremely vital to your success as a musician.
  6. Believe in your decision. After you have talked to current music majors and learned a bit more about what being a music major entails, ask yourself if this is something you can picture yourself pursuing. If after all of this you still come to the decision that you love music so much you want to pursue it every day of your life for four years and more, then choose it with your whole heart. There will be people who look down upon you and tell you that you’re foolish to be pursuing such a useless degree. You have to own it and not let anyone get in the way of your dream. And above all you have to believe in the power of music. Whatever that is for you. It will be easier to believe in music when you recognize the worth it has outside of yourself. Sure, you may love listening to music, but what does it give to others? Focusing on what you give to others as a musician is where you will find the beauty and the profound impact music has in creating a better world.

Pursuing a music degree is hard, hard work. Not just for the daily practicing that feels so insignificant compared the all of the other events happening in the world, but also for the many concerts with only a few people in the audience. It’s difficult, but it’s also extremely beautiful. Music is as human as language. Pursuing a degree in the field requires constant self-directed learning, teamwork, and creativity which can be translatable skills in any field of work.

Get your hands on all the information you can, talk and network with people in the field, and believe in your decision. If you don’t decide to pursue music, that is definitely okay. But don’t forget to support your local musicians by attending their concerts and listening to their work. That’s the biggest gift you can give.

This is an exciting time, but don’t worry too much. You can always switch schools and/or majors. It is possible! I hope these tips help your decision on whether or not to pursue a music degree and where to go to college. Let me know if you have any questions!

Want to be a musician? Check out these other great articles: 

Music Major Blog – Guidance for Majoring in Music

What Can You Do with a Music Degree?

John Legend Has The Realest Advice For College Students – MTV

Do You Need a College Music Degree?

The Value of a Music Degree

Orchestra Musician: It’s Not a Cush Job | Brian Lauritzen

Thanks for reading!

~Courtney

 

 

 

 

Behind the Music– A Plea for Art

This week has been a busy one for the two of us. I’m getting ready for my senior clarinet recital in 3 weeks and looking for jobs, and Tony is working on several music projects, substitute teaching a college class, composing, teaching lessons, practicing… he does so much. We’re both looking forward to a fun Valentine’s Day weekend filled with late mornings, heart-shaped pancakes, seeing this movie, and hosting a Valentine’s Day party with friends.

Just this week Tony released this video of the University of Oregon’s Trumpet Ensemble playing an original work entitled “Extrapolation.” If you haven’t watched the video yet, I encourage you to do so. Sometimes music just feels inspiring. This is one of those times.

Why watch this video, you might ask? Well, because behind this video was a lot of hard work done by someone who truly cares about bringing music to the world.

A video so easily watched in a matter of minutes and clicked and shared in seconds, it seems so easy. Anyone with an Internet-capable device can make a video and post it on YouTube these days.

But what you haven’t seen are the many, many hours of work that Tony put into the making of this video. The nights he came home late for dinner because he was working on Finale in the computer lab. The several rehearsals he had with the University of Oregon’s Trumpet Studio. The couple of hours he spent on a Thursday morning preparing, recording, and filming the piece with the group. The morning a couple days ago when he scrambled to get ready for school and finish finalizing the video at the same time.

It seems trivial– all that hard work, just to post a video on YouTube? Just so some people can maybe click on the video and maybe listen for a couple of minutes?

But there’s more to it than that. Of course, there’s the physical piece he wrote for an ensemble, which is something he’ll always be able to have. And the opportunity for the Trumpet Ensemble to play an original work and to cooperate in a way that perhaps they haven’t had the chance to before.

But there’s still more to it.

This is art.

Tony doesn’t create art for himself, he creates art for you. He creates art for the world.

Art is hopeful. Art challenges. Art is every adjective there is. Art is life.

It’s so easy to get caught up in the daily junk of work, to-do lists, stressful relationships, the long lines at the grocery store, the traffic on the freeway… Art takes all of this junk, focuses it into one medium, and creates something that we can relate to, all while leaving us feeling something bigger than ourselves by the end of it.

Art humbles. Art creates change. Art brings beauty into an otherwise bleak world.

As you watch Tony’s video and listen to the music he composed performed by musicians, be mindful of the artistic effort. And next time you listen to music, look at a painting, read a book, or even read this blog post, I encourage you to think about why this specific form of art was created. What is the bigger picture? The more you question and the more you dig deep, the more meaningful art becomes. Gradually listening to music becomes less of a self-indulgent act and more of an act of compassion to truly understand another’s form of human expression. 

Tony and I are both artists. We are much different though. His self-expression is through playing the trumpet, composing music and the like, while mine comes through many forms like yoga, writing, and cooking. Playing music for me has become less a form of expression and more a craft I have desired to perfect. I’m working on making music more of a creative outlet for me, but it’s hard when it’s my college degree… Regardless, art is something we are all doing everyday whether we know it or not. Along with being more mindful of the art others are creating around you, I also encourage you to seek out your creative self. We aren’t all as great as Picasso or Beethoven, but we all have an inner-artist. What is it for you? What is your artistic outlet? Do you love to read? Well why not start writing a story. Do you love to listen to music? Why don’t you try to sing your favorite song. Dance around the room. Learn a few notes on the piano. Knit a scarf. Draw a picture of your cat. Plant a garden. Write a poem for your loved one. Paint a picture and send it to your best friend.

Art doesn’t have to be put on such a high pedestal. Yes, there will always be people who are amazing at creating. But art is an all-inclusive, no boundaries form of expression. I encourage you to be mindful of the art around you. You might be surprised at what you find and what you are capable of accomplishing. And above all, without passing judgement, encourage those around you to let their creative-side shine.

“Every child is an artist until he is told he isn’t one.” – John Lennon

I hope you have a wonderful, art-filled Valentine’s Day!

What is your creative outlet? Is there anything artistic that you have always wanted to learn? What is art to you? How do you support art? Let me know in the comments!

~Courtney

Courtney & Tony– The Harmonious Two

Hello, hello! Welcome to The Harmonious Two, a blog co-owned by me and my wonderful husband, Tony. Many of our readers today are likely those close to us, so I’ll skip a big old life story and all that blah and instead get onto the good stuff. If you’re new, click here for a little bit about us.

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The vision for this blog is two fold: one side being an online journal of sorts where we share our navigation through life as two young, married musicians, and the other where we share thoughts, tips, advocacy, and advice on music and the music industry. We want to share the good times and the hard times, the joy and confusion of finding jobs, moving, living in old apartments, all with the common thread of a deep love of music. We want to invite others to participate in open discussions about life experiences as musicians, composers, music majors, etc. In other words, we want an online representation for those of us in the field of music. We want to be a voice for other musicians, a voice for those of us who take a leap of faith everyday to pursue music.

Tony and I were married on August 1, 2015 and the time has already gone by way too fast! Tony recently came out with his first album and I’m getting ready to graduate college in June. Right now life with Tony is so new and fresh. We’re newlyweds navigating through all of the ups and downs of young adulthood with school and finding jobs. It’s exciting and deeply terrifying all at the same time. This blog is a way for us to document our musical life while also discussing topics we’re passionate about.

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Tony and I talk ALL of the time about music. We’ll go back and forth, often times in the course of just one day, from complaining about the worst practicing experience, to gushing about the best performance ever. We listen to music together, we go to shows together, we teach each other, we sing together, and we play music together. We also get in depth talking about everything from the often low compensation for musicians to the lack of respect among the general population for music majors. We question it, we dissect it, we rarely come to a conclusion, but we’re talking about it. And if we’re talking about it together, why not share it with others. We’re passionate (probably too passionate) about music and want to share our love for such a beautiful art with the world.

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Tony and I already have lots of topic ideas about music including thoughts from me about majoring in music and discovering arts administration, and ideas from Tony on making a CD and entrepreneurial skills for musicians. We’ll also include various life stories, projects, and events currently happening in our lives. Is there anything you want us to talk about? What would be interesting to read? Let us know in the comments.

Thanks for reading the first ever post on The Harmonious Two!

~Courtney