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    OT: Help us with music, please

    Hey guys! I am hoping you can help us out. My son is almost 16 and is quite talented on the piano. He loves music that has a lot of energy and power - which means he grins and bears the classical pieces he has to learn for his repertoire. He's been trying to find a genre of music that really "speaks" to him, that hits at his own instinctive "sound" but that he is not yet creative enough to produce himself. It's like that feeling of something being on the tip of your tongue but you just can't remember it, you know? We have been exploring a bit this past week - listening to jazz, (clean) rock, and Christian artists, and he's been exposed to country and bluegrass since he was a baby. But we're still coming up short. Today we found some music by The Spinners that he thought was fun, but I would love if any of you have some musical tastes to which some of this might resonate so that you could help us find a direction. Any thoughts?

    AMDG,
    Sarah
    2019-2020 - 9th Year with MP
    DD, 18, Homeschool grad; Art major/philosophy minor
    DS, 16
    DD, 14
    DD, 12
    DD, 10
    DD, 7.5
    DD, 5.5
    +DS+
    DS, 18 months

    #2
    Hello! My oldest (nearly 14) also has a passion and talent on the piano.
    Listed are some of the artists that came to her mind when I mentioned "energy and power."

    My daughter plays instrumentals by The Ventures (try "Walk, Don't Run") and loves Baroque composers, especially Bach and Handel, as well as English composers
    Vaughn Williams and Holst.

    Our family enjoys Earth, Wind, and Fire, many of the "skittle" folk songs by Lonnie Donegan, and soundtracks by John Williams.

    We are also great fans of Vince Guaraldi, best known for composing "Linus and Lucy" and the music for the Charlie Brown TV specials. He also made several other jazz recordings with his own trio as well as Bossa Nova guitarist Bola Sete. Many of his recordings are really lovely, very energetic, and never fail at our house to lift spirits. A more "powerful" kind of interpretation of his compositions was done by Ellis and Wynton Marsallis on their recording "Joe Cool's Blues."

    Hope that this helps -- at least leads to some fun rabbit holes for your son.

    Laura
    Laura H.

    DD: 14, special-needs (modified 7M Core)
    DD: 11
    DD: 6
    DD: 6

    Comment


      #3
      Confession: I kind of loathe classical music. I've tried, seriously. It actually is painful to listen to. The only thing worse is Jazz. I'm not saying they don't demonstrate skill, nor that they aren't worthy of study. It actually gives me headaches, like I'm listening to some rambling story that has no idea where it's going - but it's going to take it's sweet time getting there. The randomness of a lot of this music drives my brain to literal aggression. I actually find myself getting "angry" the longer it plays. A few pieces I do love - but they often have a definitive "theme". I'm thinking Edvard Grieg "In the Hall of the Mountain King", or Beethoven's Fur Elise. When I say theme, I should probably say "pattern". Beethoven, Bach, and Mozart seemed to create patterns in their music so it is much easier to follow.

      Jazz...I can't even... I defer to better ears out there.

      I guess I would say start there. Does he gravitate to patterns or is randomness his thing? Acoustic or plugged in? Strong themes or softer touches? Soundtrack composers (John Williams, Hans Zimmer, Michael Giacchino)? I'll even painfully admit to some video game soundtracks that I just love.

      A more modern twist?

      2Cellos - They've taken a lot of songs (classic rock, 90's, some movie themes) and put it to this dueling cello style music. When you know the lyrics, it's just...fun. Especially the fast ones.

      The Piano Guys - "Code Name Vivaldi", "Beethoven's Five Secrets"


      PS I even have a music background. Chambers, Chorale, 8 part acapella Madrigals, piano for 6 years. You'd think I would have grown up a bit here.

      No idea if that helps. Good luck Mama!

      Melissa

      DS (MP3) - 9
      DS (MP2) - 7/8
      DS (K) - 6
      DD (Adorable distraction) 2 1/2

      Comment


        #4
        Laura,

        Thank you! This is exactly the sort of exploring we need to tackle...super!

        He has the whole songbook from Charlie Brown...with a few pieces already under his belt, including “Linus and Lucy.” And yes, the “lifting the spirits” is a good way of describing what e tends toward. So many artists emphasize so many minor chords that he skips right over them because they are such “downers.” We will check these out - thank you!

        And any other suggestions would be greatly appreciated, too!

        AMDG,
        Sarah
        2019-2020 - 9th Year with MP
        DD, 18, Homeschool grad; Art major/philosophy minor
        DS, 16
        DD, 14
        DD, 12
        DD, 10
        DD, 7.5
        DD, 5.5
        +DS+
        DS, 18 months

        Comment


          #5
          Melissa,

          There are some of the classical that he doesn’t mind - Bach is good; he would love to play Liszt’s Hungarian Rhapsody no 2 - but he learned a tough lesson about jumping ahead in his progression so he’s not allowed to tackle that one yet - even in pieces! He does enjoy patterns; when he was younger he used to take those patterns apart and monkey with them - making a simple piece longer by reverting the pattern, changing the key, etc. His favorite movie score in his rep is “He’s a Pirate” arranged by Jarrod Radnich from Pirates of the Carribean. So yes, movie and gaming theme songs are not familiar from watching but rather just from looking for interesting things to play - and often have a fun mixture of power and soft touches.

          He has a lot on his plate to learn - it’s more looking for things he enjoys listening to - and that may provide inspiration for creativity. That’s where we’re more stuck right now.

          Thanks for the suggestions!
          AMDG,
          Sarah
          2019-2020 - 9th Year with MP
          DD, 18, Homeschool grad; Art major/philosophy minor
          DS, 16
          DD, 14
          DD, 12
          DD, 10
          DD, 7.5
          DD, 5.5
          +DS+
          DS, 18 months

          Comment


            #6
            So, you've got to seriously forgive my lack of musical knowledge, but what about Irish reels/jigs on piano?

            Maeve recently started taking Irish dance lessons, and I LOVE being in the studio, because of the atmosphere and the music. The music they play while the girls do their lessons is just plain fun.
            Plans for 2019-20

            DD1 - 24 - College Grad and rocking her own bakery business
            DD2 - 13 - 8A Louisville HLS Cottage School and MPOA
            DS3 - 11 - 4A Louisville HLS Cottage School
            DS4 - 11 - 4A Louisville HLS Cottage School
            DD5 - 7 - MP2, Louisville HLS Cottage School
            DS6 - 5 - MP K

            [url]www.thekennedyadventures.com/all-about-our-memoria-press-homeschool[/url]

            Comment


              #7
              Dd (who loves playing Linus and Lucy) likes ragtime. Original Scott Joplin might be a good challenge for him. It's a step above the Peanuts songs. Dd also likes Copeland, Debussy and songs from various musicals, but she also recently started voice lessons.

              We did find her a collection of pop songs so she can pick up and play songs people know and like to sing along to. Her current teacher is offering to work with her on musical improv when she gets through her current theory/ scales/ chords work. He does require her to work on at least one classical piece at a time.
              Bean. Long time MP user.

              DD- 9th grade aerospace enthusiast. Using a mix of dual credit, online and classical materials for 2019-2020.

              Comment


                #8
                Thanks guys!

                Dianna, the girls and I love Irish music - and will gladly watch when it comes on PBS! You are right - so fun and happy! Sadly, not his thing.

                Bean, yes, I remember your daughter also being a Joplin fan. That’s actually what got him in trouble - he wanted to play it, so he taught himself several of them (my mom had a book) but his muscles were not prepared for it, so he ended up needing to hang back, take a long break from playing, do a few months of OT, and is just now “safe” to play what he wants again - as long as he’s careful! His teacher has been very stringent about the order he plays things now! (We had no idea it was a bad idea back then - that’s how little I know about these things!)

                I’m having trouble explaining what it is we are trying to find - which is also why we’re coming up dry on google. He wants music to listen to - bands, artists and whatnot who make great music - not just to be famous or be on re radio. Things that are great to listen to, you know? But it’s hard because he’s being really picky - like he’s searching for a sound he’s heard before, but can’t put his finger on. Like someone who makes the kind of music he likes to play but does it in actual songs, not just instrumental pieces. Does that make any sense?

                This morning we listened to “Rubberband Man” by the Spinners and it was the first glimmer of interest - after spending yesterday afternoon telling Alexa to play every single band I could think of from the 80’s and 90’s!!!! I never realized how the “grunge” era was such a downer! Guess it suited the angst of our time, or something. Bleh.

                AMDG,
                Sarah
                2019-2020 - 9th Year with MP
                DD, 18, Homeschool grad; Art major/philosophy minor
                DS, 16
                DD, 14
                DD, 12
                DD, 10
                DD, 7.5
                DD, 5.5
                +DS+
                DS, 18 months

                Comment


                  #9
                  Originally posted by KF2000 View Post
                  I’m having trouble explaining what it is we are trying to find - which is also why we’re coming up dry on google. He wants music to listen to - bands, artists and whatnot who make great music - not just to be famous or be on re radio. Things that are great to listen to, you know? But it’s hard because he’s being really picky - like he’s searching for a sound he’s heard before, but can’t put his finger on. Like someone who makes the kind of music he likes to play but does it in actual songs, not just instrumental pieces. Does that make any sense?
                  Good evening Sarah,

                  *Takes off MP hat.* Spotify has two features that might help. First, if you look up an artist and go their "page," there will be a list of similar artists. Caveat emptor: Some artists are definitely more similar than others, but this feature might be a start. Second, if your son creates an account, each Monday Spotify will generate a playlist of songs it thinks he might like. At first, it will have no idea, but the more songs he "likes," the more accurate Spotify's suggestions will be. For what it's worth, I've personally had better luck with these generated playlists than the similar artist recommendations, but ymmv.

                  HTH!

                  *Puts MP hat back on.*
                  Michael
                  Memoria Press

                  Comment


                    #10
                    Ha! Thanks, Michael! I had no idea it could be that helpful. We will try that!

                    AMDG,
                    Sarah
                    2019-2020 - 9th Year with MP
                    DD, 18, Homeschool grad; Art major/philosophy minor
                    DS, 16
                    DD, 14
                    DD, 12
                    DD, 10
                    DD, 7.5
                    DD, 5.5
                    +DS+
                    DS, 18 months

                    Comment


                      #11
                      Has he checked out Piano Guys? They do covers of some songs and have some original songs, but most everything is pretty upbeat. It could lead down some musical bunny trails at least. We have two of their books- one simplified, one not. Dd hasn't dug too much into those books, but likes their music.
                      Last edited by bean; 07-24-2019, 10:37 AM.
                      Bean. Long time MP user.

                      DD- 9th grade aerospace enthusiast. Using a mix of dual credit, online and classical materials for 2019-2020.

                      Comment


                        #12
                        Originally posted by Michael View Post

                        Good evening Sarah,

                        *Takes off MP hat.* Spotify has two features that might help. First, if you look up an artist and go their "page," there will be a list of similar artists. Caveat emptor: Some artists are definitely more similar than others, but this feature might be a start. Second, if your son creates an account, each Monday Spotify will generate a playlist of songs it thinks he might like. At first, it will have no idea, but the more songs he "likes," the more accurate Spotify's suggestions will be. For what it's worth, I've personally had better luck with these generated playlists than the similar artist recommendations, but ymmv.

                        HTH!

                        *Puts MP hat back on.*
                        My dd has found some interesting artists this way. She says because her musical taste is so diverse, though, she thinks Spotify's algorithm is a little confused by her. She's gotten some really wacky recommendations. She also follows her siblings and dh's playlists.
                        Bean. Long time MP user.

                        DD- 9th grade aerospace enthusiast. Using a mix of dual credit, online and classical materials for 2019-2020.

                        Comment


                          #13
                          Thanks for the heads up, Bean!

                          AMDG,
                          Sarah
                          2019-2020 - 9th Year with MP
                          DD, 18, Homeschool grad; Art major/philosophy minor
                          DS, 16
                          DD, 14
                          DD, 12
                          DD, 10
                          DD, 7.5
                          DD, 5.5
                          +DS+
                          DS, 18 months

                          Comment


                            #14
                            Sarah,
                            I don't have enough puffy hearts for these two...

                            Bruce Hornsby? He's just a master and there's no way around it. His phrasing, syncopation, and harmonies are beautiful. I could listen to his music endlessly. Start with Mandolin Rain & The Way it Is. I prefer his oldest stuff with his band The Range.

                            Marc Cohn? What a writer. Silver Thunderbird, Walking in Memphis (poor guy is probably tired of this song), many from The Very Best of Marc Cohn, Walk Through the World... Again, prefer his older work.

                            Pre-listening required on these two. Lyrics are written for adults and many are appropriate in context, but probably not so much out of context.
                            Festina lentē,
                            Jessica P

                            SY2019-2020 · 8th MP Year
                            @ Home, HLN, & MPOA
                            S · 10th, MPOA Henle 3
                            D · 8th
                            D · 5th
                            S · 2nd

                            Highlands Latin Nashville Cottage School

                            Comment


                              #15
                              Thanks, Jessica!
                              AMDG,
                              Sarah
                              2019-2020 - 9th Year with MP
                              DD, 18, Homeschool grad; Art major/philosophy minor
                              DS, 16
                              DD, 14
                              DD, 12
                              DD, 10
                              DD, 7.5
                              DD, 5.5
                              +DS+
                              DS, 18 months

                              Comment

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