A History of ….. Music

In which I toot my own horn and drone on and on

While you might not believe it, The Bookstooge does have a History with Music. I was reminded of this fact when I read the A Very Short Introduction: Early Music last week. While ours was not a tempestuous love affair filled with passionate nights on the Riviera and dramatic and public breakups and reconciliations by day, The Bookstooge and Music are much more than just nodding acquaintances.

It all started in elementary school, as I recall. Music was a required class starting in 3rd or 4th grade and we all had to learn an instrument. For some reason I wanted to learn to play the trumpet. I have no idea why and I suspect it had more to do with the trumpet being shiny than anything else. My parents talked it over and since we lived in an apartment building with neighbors above, below and next to us, the idea was quickly squashed. And the price. I had no idea trumpets were so expensive. Thus, I was relegated to learning the recorder, a nice cheap instrument that wasn’t “that” loud and was about the simplest thing you could learn.

I was pretty proud of that instrument and spent at least a whole month being interested in it. After that, I realized that learning music and learning to play were a lot of work, work that took time that could be better spent playing outside. The church school I was at had one music teacher and I’m pretty sure she was just overworked. I remember we were supposed to learn “When the Caissons Go Rolling In” or something like that. I never learned it and I don’t remember there being ANY repercussions to not learning it. However, while I can’t tell you A from G or what a sharp or flat is, I do know the quarter, half, whole and double notes.

My next step down the musical path was in junior high. For those of you who live in the benighted outskirts of the world, junior-high consists of grades 6,7 and 8, your classic tween and early teen years. The only thing I really remember from this time is that music wasn’t cool, our whole class was pretty sullen and our music teacher was trying to teach us like we were still kids and not the intelligent almost adults that we knew we were. Looking back, I feel very bad for that teacher!

In highschool I discovered listening to music for pleasure with such artists as Enya, Ed Van Fleet and Synchestra. My love of new age/easy listening / electronica began then and there. At the same time I learned some basic musical theory and the ideas of harmony, melody and rhythm that have stuck with me to this day.

The next step was in my freshman year of bibleschool. We put on a musical called “One Voice” which was a Passion Play about Christ. After performing it at Easter, we took it on the road to several of the sister churches associated with the school. THAT was a very tumultuous time for me. I now know that I am not a group person and that people wear me out and even just being around people eats at my emotional reserves. I didn’t know that then and my emotions were on a flipping rollercoaster and I had no idea why or what to do about it. I was learning stuff like a sponge, including how to use a soundboard and that whole side of music. I swore after that experience to never participate in a group for music and I haven’t.

During my junior year a local church ran a weeklong series of seminars and one of them was on “Music and Emotions”. What an eye opener that was! Simply learning how things like rhythm, percussion, repetition all affected the emotions of the listener was a huge boon to me. Learning that most modern music is meant to manipulate the emotions of the listeners into a sense of sensual self-indulgence of feeling made the allure of the pulse pounding stuff that naturally attracted me not quite so attractive.

During this time I was in charge of the sound booth at church. I was regularly working with the choir before or after church and let me tell you, what I learned about group dynamics was another brick in my musical mountain. Learning how to balance bass, tenor, alto and soprano, how to listen for the acoustics in the hall, learning that what you hear with your ear can be quite different than what gets recorded, once again I was soaking it all in. I was also learning the mechanical side of music. Running cords, using mics, getting soundboards tuned. I learned that the people singing are only about 1/3 of what goes into that kind of thing.

Then I graduated, began working in the Land Survey field and was still running the sound booth. Only now I was teaching the up and coming kids how to do it. They weren’t kidding when they say you learn more from teaching than from learning.

Life kept progressing. I met and married Mrs B, we started attending another church and I ended up running the sound department for a couple of years. Things expanded once again only now, I wasn’t so keen to learn. I was tired of singers acting like prima donnas and thinking that the singing was the most important part. I was tired of old people complaining that they couldn’t hear and young people complaining that it was too loud. I was tired of people coming up to me at 9am Sabbath morning and saying “Oh, by the way, can we do X” and them expecting miracles. They had no idea what they were asking and when we regularly overcame the hurdles and did what they asked, they just assumed it was normal and kept asking for more and more. And if you said “no”, boy, they looked at you like you were the devil incarnate!

In ’18 we began attending our current church and I helped out with sound for about a year. At our current church, worship through song is as big a part as the sermon and contemporary worship music was the name of the game. I eventually had to stop being part of the sound crew because I couldn’t take it. Even now, we come later so as to avoid the majority of the music. Neither I or Mrs B like contemporary and we just want the old hymns.

So right now, music is a very small part of my life. I probably voluntarily listen to music once or twice a month and if it was down to zero I’d be ok. I know this is just a phase and at some point I’ll get into another aspect of music. I’ll be interested to see what that is when it happens ๐Ÿ˜€

bookstooge (Custom)

48 thoughts on “A History of ….. Music

  1. Thank you for the lesson in Stooge world man. While we differ a lot when it comes to music tastes, me having quite a strong connection to what i losten too. I never picked up any musical instrument. Wish i did tho, wouldve loved to see if i couldve made something out of it

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Had to wiki it as it’s just a phrase I’ve always used without knowing it’s provenance, mind you I don’t think anyone is totally sure where it comes from, but this is the best I found:

        Soft Mick is a name used to describe an extravagance in East Lancashire and West Yorkshire
        Soft Mick is seemingly used more in Accrington in conjunction with shoes “More shoes than Soft Mick” Leading some to believe that Soft Mick may have been a Irish shoe peddler working around Accrington, East Lancs, in the early 1900s.

        I used to play an acoustic 6 string when in my teens and toured the local folk clubs and pubs with my Len my guitar yteacher at school and 6th former who was really good, but I’ve forgotten his name.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Very nice share, Mr Bookstooge. Recorder and cello for me in school.

    My parents silent days were over when I learned how to plug the boom box into the 4×12 guitar amp speaker cabinet and also playing drums on the computer desk.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I have never really listened to music. As a kid I would put on classical stuff (yeah, I was Not one of the cool kids), and whatever my parents listened to. In high school I would listen to movie soundtracks. And now Iโ€™ll prob put an audiobook on rather than music. And when I do it will be some โ€˜epicโ€™ instrumental stuff, or the classic rock radio station (the stuff my parents listened to๐Ÿ˜‹). I am completely in the dark when it comes to current and pop music….

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I don’t remember our household being a very musical one. We definitely didn’t listen to the radio music. I think my folks had some records of 4part harmony singers and brass brands?

      How far back do you like for listening for rock? I can handle from the 40’s up to the mid-60’s but after that, not so much except for individual songs (not even bands). Today? Yeah, not so much ๐Ÿ˜€

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I enjoyed that sneak peek into Bookstooge’s life ๐Ÿ˜€
    I only ever played a little bit on flute in my school years, and than a bit on the classical guitar. But I do listen to music a lot, though not while reading/writing ๐Ÿ˜‰

    Liked by 1 person

          1. I have my favorites which I always like to listen to, but mood plays a role, definitely. I generally listen to instrumental music and classic to progressive rock so the choice is wide ๐Ÿ™‚

            Liked by 1 person

  5. Well, for someone who declares to have only a passing acquaintance with music, your past history with it seems quite intense! ๐Ÿ˜€
    For me music is an important background of my day: I like to have some music play while I read, or while I drive and when I take some long walks I never go out without my mp3 player. Call me addicted… ๐Ÿ˜‰

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yeah, I have VERY strong opinions on music. I think I kept my opinions in check here, as that wasn’t the point of the post. But I’ve delved deeper than I normally would because of those opinions ๐Ÿ˜€

      Well, much like I wrote in that Masters of Ironing post, music soothes the savage beast within. And I don’t see anything being more savage than a bookish owl! ๐Ÿ˜‰
      So you’re doing us all a favor by listening to so much, hahahahahaa…..

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Music is something I couldnโ€™t live without! I loved reading about your memories here. Couldnโ€™t forget the old recorder. ๐Ÿคฃ Good times in elementary music class.

    I went on to band in secondary school and played clarinet and many saxophones. Then guitar. When I graduated I decided to teach myself how to play strings (violin and cello) because our poor school never had a strings section.

    I couldnโ€™t run one of those soundboards if I tried though. Interesting that you got so involved with helping out at church. Thatโ€™s wonderful. Thanks for sharing this.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hey, hey, hey! Glad to see you back again ๐Ÿ˜€
      I’ll go comment on your return post in a few.

      Sounds like you really enjoyed playing instruments! I’m just thankful my parents didn’t let me have my way and get involved in something that I would have hated. Because they would have made me stick to it (which is good, but you know….)

      Our current church is running a hybrid soundboard and we are in the process of going completely digital. I feel bad for the people who are having to learn everything all over again ๐Ÿ˜ฆ

      Church has always been a big part of my life so it just naturally followed that I’d get involved one way or another ๐Ÿ˜€

      Liked by 1 person

  7. I played the clarinet for several years in jr. high/high school, because our elderly neighbor (Mr. Page) had a free clarinet and gave me lessons cheap. I’m not a fan of the clarinet, either playing or listening (with the exception of the awesome clarinet swoop at the beginning of Rhapsody in Blue). I like playing piano much more.

    I have 3 cousins who do/have done sound for their churches. It’s all a mystery to me – my eyes glaze over at anything more than the on/off switch for the mic.

    I like listening to Spotify and Pandora. Mostly light Christian modern (Tomlin, Getty, Hillsong) or 80s (Madonna, Lauper, ABBA).

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ahhh, Mr Page. He was a music fiend righ to the end! I remember trying to help him break into the digital world as he wanted to transpose (I think that is the correct word?) a whole bunch of music using some program on his computer. He struggled but he wanted it so bad.

      Oh? Who else was/is into it?

      Pandora goes into too many different branches for me to enjoy. If I listen to the Enya channel, I want to hear Enya songs ๐Ÿ˜€

      Like

  8. It’s fascinating to hear the thoughts of someone who doesn’t consider music to be crucial to their daily life. At least we started at the same place, with the recorder hahah I didn’t learn any instruments after that mandatory instrument in elementary as I opted for a more “art” orientation throughout high school but “listening” to music for pure pleasure is definitely something that started in high school and has inevitably become mandatory to my sanity today. ๐Ÿ˜€

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Might indeed have something to do with both arguments. I can’t imagine an easier instrument to learn notes and to practice “playing” something that’s not a triangle hahaha

        I do both. I have sound-cancelling headphones for when I want to focus or to listen on the go and then I have a sound system to play music pretty much all the time. I’m rarely ever in a “no-sound” environment hahah Even if a no-sound environment is the best for learning/studying… ๐Ÿ˜›

        Liked by 1 person

  9. Music was quite big at my elementary school. I learn how to play the recorder, African drums, and one this guy came and taught each grade how to make and play homemade instruments. Then in fifth grade I got to skip PE once a week to learn how to play a string inurement. I pick the violin because for the longest time I was enchanted by the sound violin.

    All through Jr. high I was in orchestra. I remember there was a big rivalry between the band geeks and orchestra nerds where we just shouted insults at each other in the hallways.

    By high school I took private lesson where I learn how to play the fiddle and then learn piano for a short time.

    For listening to music my taste is still forming. I like classical music for I can’t ignore the greats. For rock I can’t stand most 80’s music, it mostly what my parents listen to. I like some 70’s and 90’s but that pretty much it.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for sharing Anna.
      Sounds like musical instruments were a big part of your childhood ๐Ÿ˜€

      Good luck on determining what you like to listen to. There’s such a wide variety out there now.

      Like

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