Part one of this course has more than anything else shown me that there’s a lot more music out there for me. I listen to a lot of music but I now realise that I’ve become quite staid and conservative in what I choose, even when I’m apparently looking for a new sound or direction. Having a “Suggested Listening” list is a masterstroke by the course authors, giving direct and pertinent examples of the music being discussed and relieving the learner of the need to hunt them down. The combination of these lists with Spotify and YouTube is a powerful learning tool.
A couple of things that I’ve learnt about myself in this initial section are that I seem to have the propensity to waffle when trying to make a point rather than being able to marshal my thoughts for a focussed delivery. This is something that I’d like to work on as I progress as I feel that it’s an important life skill as well, and something that I’ve not been aware of before. I’ve also made a concerted effort when listening to not concentrate so much on the presentation (production, balance, stereo imaging, etc.) of the performance and to try and feel the texture of the music in and of itself, to the point of listening to some of the work in mono if I get too distracted. This is new to me and changes the listening experience for complex pieces.
Another weakness that I need to address is my written reaction to musical examples in the listening log. When I allowed myself to become loquacious I found that my reactions became formulaic and dull. When I kept the descriptions short they became terse and brusque. Hopefully I’ll become more adept with practice, and my reports will become useful.
The different colours and textures of the exercises have been welcome with the genres of music flitting from Pop to Opera to Jazz to Choral. I’ve started to recognise particular areas of the different styles which appeal to me and that I can look for in other possibly contrasting styles. This shouldn’t really be a surprise to me as I’ve long recognised the connection between Classical and Metal, it just never occurred to me to carry this over into other genres.
It took me a few days to figure out what I wanted to do with the learning log and how I thought that it should be presented. I’m still not entirely sure that what I’ve produced is what the OCA is looking for so I’ll be seeking guidance from my tutor with regard to things like publicly visible or hidden content and word counts.
Overall this first part has been a success from my point of view. Having the section broken down into sub-sections allows me to allot time to the task or the pieces to be listened to, making it much less daunting. I hope that part two will be a little easier to tackle as I won’t have to spend so much time fiddling with the blog and working out a personal timetable.