Whenever I have taught a General Music Class I have always begun with the same question: "What is Music?" When I have asked this question, my students usually answer with nothing more than blank stares and the sound of crickets. Granted they are usually not music students and are simply in the class because nothing else was available, but I hope the wheels begin to turn for them with that question. I also hope that it serves as a background for the discussions that we have over the course of the semester.
Dictionary.com's first definition of MUSIC says it is "an art of sound in time that expresses ideas and emotions in significant forms through the elements of rhythm, melody, harmony and color." I love this definition because it opens up so many discussion points and I think it boils down four years of university education in one succinct sentence. I especially love that "color" is a part of this discussion about sound.
Beyond the dictionary definition, though, it must be noted that music is a very emotional and personal thing as well. You may enjoy listening to Speed Metal Rock music while your close friend cannot tolerate the noise and prefers to listen to Mexican Tejano instead. Personal preference is inherently emotional and many people have rather strong feelings about others' preferences concerning music choice. At this point, I could easily begin my own rant about my personal likes and dislikes of the music that comes on my radio or in the various stores I walk into or the car that drives by my apartment or that pulls up next to me at the stop light, but that is not what this is really all about. Maybe another day...
So, after an inspirational talk with my wife (my biggest fan), I am going to focus on my views of music (music education, music composition, and the music heard on the radio) as I see it. After 13 years of teaching music and many more years of listening to and analyzing the music around me, these are my thoughts for all to read. I plan to discuss music that I have discovered and music that I have written.
I hope that you gain some knowledge and inspiration from my musings on this subject. I'd also like you to be entertained as well. If there is something you would like me to discuss specifically or if there is something you would like to share yourself, feel free to share via comment.