Category Archives: Collections and Songbooks

The Literary Essay & Its Similarity to Sheet Music

What is an essay? When you look up the word ‘essay’ in a dictionary or online, it’s actually somewhat fascinating how the definition and description about it is so similar to what you would assume you’d find when looking up the definition and description of ‘sheet music.’ It’s quite uncanny, really. With a simple word change here or there, or a twist of phrase, what can be said about an essay can be said about a piece of sheet music, or a music composition. Wait. What was that? A music ‘composition?’ Isn’t ‘composition’ a synonym for ‘essay?’ Well, there you go.

You see, according to Wikipedia, an essay is “a piece of writing which is often written from an author’s personal point of view.” That’s pretty much what a piece of sheet music is supposed to be, too. The best music is sheet music that is written from the composer’s point of view.

According to About.com, “Essays are brief, non-fiction compositions that describe, clarify, argue, or analyze a subject.” Wow. [Sheet] music is much the same.  A music composition should come from the heart and be honest and true. And certainly there’s no one out there that would argue that music is not a descriptive medium. Additionally, what serious, upper-level music student hasn’t been required at times to analyze a piece of sheet music? And let’s not forget the element of clarity that music can bring to just about any situation. Hence, the existence of love songs, silly songs, sad songs, children’s songs, love gone wrong songs, and more. Music makes going through everyday life better.

The primary definition of essay at Dictionary.com states that it is “a short [literary] composition on a particular theme or subject, usually in prose and generally analytic, speculative, or interpretive. Again, wow. Sheet music primarily begins with a theme, and certainly music can be very regimented and analytical, yet its speculative elements and how it is interpreted are big components, too. It’s all relative to the composer and the listener, of course, and it’s different for everyone. But that’s exactly why music has such value. Sheet music is limitless.

Essays are an important educational tool as well, and can be written in various forms and styles, like compare and contrast, cause and effect, descriptive, narrative — the list goes on. To wit, sheet music takes on many forms and styles, too. Some we understand, and some we don’t. And therein lies part of the mystery of it all. Whether sheet music is written in an analytical style, or whether it is written in a myriad of contrasts, it really doesn’t matter. What matters is that the creative endeavor was entered into at all. The process of writing a piece of sheet music includes forming an introduction, developing a body, and a conclusion. Wait. What was that? Introduction…body…conclusion. Sounds like the three primary elements of a good essay.

Enter the Morty Manus “What Music Means to Me” Essay Competition. Deadline is March 25th.

Remembering the Santa Maria

Columbus Day has been celebrated all over the world in one form or another, since the colonial period, when European nation states established colonies on other continents. It was during the 400th anniversary of the United States observing and celebrating Columbus Day (1892) that teachers, preachers, poets and politicians really began using Columbus Day as an overall catalyst in teaching the ideals of patriotism to the masses.

War effort support and national loyalty to one’s country were popular themes that were used to encompass the celebration. Perhaps you made it a point to do something special and patriotic in your classroom last week, leading up to this day (since many schools were closed today); or maybe you’ll consider doing something in the coming days.

It’s always nice to remember where we came from, to reflect upon the sweet journeys of our lives, and to be thankful and proud of what we have, and what we’ve accomplished, either as individuals or collectively – as a classroom, a school, a state, a nation, a people.

Happy Columbus Day!

John Jacobson @ TMEA & in the Pender’s Booth 02/11

John Jacobson, now a bonafide YouTube sensation, will be at the TMEA convention on Friday, February 11th to speak about his new publication written in collaboration with Cristi Cary Miller, Order from Chaos.

Incorporating tidbits from the book, Jacobson will show you how to embrace the chaos, discuss the importance of having a plan, highlight how to get and keep your students’ attention and more!

Then, shortly after his session, John will be in the Pender’s Booth, from 5pm to 6pm. It’ll be a great time for you meet with him further — and have him sign a copy of his book, too!

Remember:

Order from Chaos: Taming the Wild Classroom
Clinician: John Jacobson, Hal Leonard Corporation
3:30 – 4:30 PM / CC BALLROOM C3

Followed by:

Meet and Greet John Jacobson
Pender’s Booth – Elementary Section (near booth #1620)
5:00pm – 6:00pm

In the meantime, did you see John’s debut on the Ellen DeGeneres show? For Ellen’s birthday, he went to the show’s studio and taught her staff the routine to “Double Dream Hands” (aka Planet Rock by Jacobson & Huff). He then led them in a surprise performance that was aired on January 26, 2011. John and his routine has garnered quite a following: it has been recreated, spoofed and posted many, many times on YouTube.

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View other John/Ellen “Double Dream Hands” videos on our YouTube channel, and on our Facebook page, under the YouTube tab….see you on Friday, February 11th @ TMEA!

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Elementary Music Mondays, the series, will post to www.pendersbuzz.com a couple of times a month, with information from our staff, our publisher partners, guest bloggers and more. Come back to this site, or access it from our main Home Page, to find out the latest buzz!