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Does musical taste determine social class?

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We’ve all heard the adage of “snobs” venturing to the Opera or Symphony. We’ve also heard the stereotypes of people from the country listening to, well, country music. But, the question today is whether our social class plays into what type of music we listen to; or vise-versa?

With this conclusion it might be suggested that if you start listening to operatic music that you could rise in class. Well, at least if you GO to the Opera. The point is that musical tastes may play a bigger role in determining our social place than we might have thought. What we have found is that specific people listen to specific things. What links these individuals with these styles of music may give us insight into the psychology of their respective demographics.


 

Love the opera? Hungry for hip hop? It turns out that your musical likes and dislikes may say more about you than you think, according to UBC research.

Even in 2015, social class continues to inform our cultural attitudes and the way we listen to music, according to the study, which was recently published in the Canadian Review of Sociology.

“Breadth of taste is not linked to class. But class filters into specific likes and dislikes,” said Gerry Veenstra, study author and professor at UBC’s Department of Sociology.

The study involved nearly 1,600 telephone interviews with adults in Vancouver and Toronto, who were asked about their likes and dislikes of 21 musical genres. Veenstra himself is partial to easy listening, musical theatre and pop.

Poorer, less-educated people tended to like country, disco, easy listening, golden oldies, heavy metal and rap. Meanwhile, their wealthier and better-educated counterparts preferred genres such as classical, blues, jazz, opera, choral, pop, reggae, rock, world and musical theatre.

The research touches on a hotly debated topic in cultural sociology: whether one’s class is accompanied by specific cultural tastes, or whether “elites” are defined by a broad palette of preferences that sets them apart.

The study determines that wealth and education do not influence a person’s breadth of musical taste. However, class and other factors — such as age, gender, immigrant status and ethnicity — shape our musical tastes in interesting and complex ways.

What people don’t want to listen to also plays a key role in creating class boundaries. “What upper class people like is disliked by the lower class, and vice versa,” said Veenstra.

For example, the least-educated people in the study were over eight times more likely to dislike classical music compared to the best-educated respondents. Meanwhile, lowbrow genres such as country, easy listening and golden oldies were disliked by higher-class listeners.

Sources:

The above post is reprinted from materials provided by University of British ColumbiaNote: Materials may be edited for content and length. http://www.sciencedaily.com 

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Arts integration fills gaps in core-subject learning

976809_10151636660431212_131722587_oArts education within our society seems to be seen in the light of a separate component and/or supplementation to core subject learning. A shift in perspective should take place in the integration of arts education within the teaching of the core academic subjects. Research has shown that this integration enables to secure gaps in learning amongst students that struggle in varying areas of academics. What seems to occur is that the creativity from the arts integration stimulates the different parts of the brain that allow the student to see connections between the various subjects. This broader view of academia, facilitated by the arts integration, places the student in a unique position to create future connections within the life they live. They now see the world from new points of view by the connections they make. This might be the single most important component of arts-core subject integration.


 

Effective classroom arts integration can reduce or eliminate educational achievement gaps for economically disadvantaged students, according to a Mississippi State University research report.

In other words, when teachers reinforce academic concepts with the arts, students learn more and score higher on standardized tests.

MSU’s John C. Stennis Institute of Government and Community Development generated the report, which evaluated the impacts of the Mississippi Whole Schools Initiative. The program supports teachers’ efforts to use the arts–composing, painting, drawing or sculpting; playing, singing or listening to music; and dancing and dramatic performance–to foster retention and learning.

Judith Philips, Stennis research associate, headed the development of “Arts Integration and the Mississippi Arts Commission’s Whole Schools Initiative: A Stennis Institute Study for Decision-Makers.” The report initially was presented at the Mississippi Arts Commission’s 2013 Whole Schools Initiative Summer Institute.

Philips said the research verifies that effective arts integration reinforces classroom learning.

“Schools that effectively implement arts integration have either significantly reduced or completely eliminated the educational achievement gap for economically disadvantaged students,” she said. “This research indicates that arts integration can achieve that objective in Mississippi public schools.”

Currently, almost 5,500 Mississippi students in eight public and four private elementary schools are participating in WSI. The study compared results on language arts and mathematics Mississippi Curriculum Tests, fourth-grade writing assessments and fifth-grade science tests to scores of students not enrolled in arts integrated classrooms.

“The percentage of students scoring ‘proficient or above’ on standardized tests was significantly higher at schools participating in the Whole Schools Initiative that had effectively implemented the WSI arts integration model, when compared to student performance statewide and when compared to student performance for the school district within which the WSI school was located,” Phillips told arts commission participants during her presentation.

Karen Brown, MSU instructor in curriculum, instruction and workforce development, teaches an arts integration course in MSU’s College of Education. She said she’s not surprised at the Stennis report’s findings because students, especially young children, gravitate to learning that way.

“Not only is it repetition, but it’s time spent whenever a child is learning something in a different way, that means they’re learning it again,” Brown said. “They’re repeating it, and so the immersion in their learning is a different form–through the arts–but it’s also more time spent on the content, so they start thinking critically and creatively.”

Brown said all MSU elementary education majors are required to take the arts integration course. She also takes a student group to WSI’s annual summer institute.

“Arts integration, from the perspective of a classroom teacher, is teaching both the content area and the arts together, and that takes some special training and special knowledge, but when you do that, it immerses the child in the content,” Brown said. Phillips said arts integration requires quality professional development and mentorships for teachers. Providing that training for teachers requires additional resources that many state school systems may not be able to provide, she acknowledged.

“Given our state’s budget constraints, the Stennis Institute recognizes that additional resources to support these efforts will need to come from either federal grants or from philanthropic organizations,” Phillips said. “To that end, we collaborated with the arts commission and wrote a grant for the commission to the U.S. Department of Education for an Arts in Education Model Development and Dissemination Program grant.”

If awarded, the DOE grant should pay for a national workshop leader and John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts teaching artist to visit Mississippi on a quarterly basis. Phillips said the visiting expert would provide professional development, conduct student learning initiatives and train state teaching artists in implementing Moving through Math, a curriculum using movement, music, spatial reasoning, and interpersonal skills to teach mathematics, verbal and visual skills.

Brown said parents interested in having their children involved in arts integration should inquire with their respective school system administrators or inform other parents and teachers at parent-teacher organization meetings. Then, local advocates could request the school system apply for a WSI grant.

“I’d like to see increased involvement, funding and awareness from stakeholders, legislators, teachers, parents–everyone,” Brown said. “We have data that arts integration is working and making a difference in Mississippi classrooms.”

To read the Stennis Institute report’s executive summary or entire content, visit www.mswholeschools.org/research/whole-schools-initiative-evaluation-and-research.

The above story is based on materials provided by Mississippi State UniversityNote: Materials may be edited for content and length. / SienceDaily.com

Future Focus: Test Scores or Arts?

In a recent publication by the Detroit Free Press we see music gain appleheartfruitspotlight amongst political battles being fought over changes in education budgets across all 50 states. Music education is being swept under the carpet of the congressional isles that can’t seem to get along on the many issues that are facing our country. As our country leaders continue to fight, we see drastic changes in the way we deliver arts education to the next generation. Separate entities are taking initiative to enable programs that support the creative arts education beyond what is fiscally allotted by the government.

Keith Wunderlich, the author of the DFP article showcased how the community took important action towards furthering this mission:

Then something extraordinary happened. People in the community stepped forward and began working with New Haven Community Schools to bring the music back. They dug up old sheet music. They donated old clarinets, flutes, guitars, drum sets and more that had been gathering dust in attics, spare bedrooms and garages. In addition to musical instruments, the community gave our students their time and financial support.

We heard the same chorus again and again: These community residents, many of them products of New Haven Community Schools, kept saying how music had been such an important part of their education, how music had helped them become who they are today.

Our community came together with educators and students to help provide a solution to a challenge all public schools in Michigan face, and that was how to save a program the community wanted but could no longer afford.

Music and education in the arts is different than any other academic field and, should be approached as such. Creativity, as a whole, is difficult to score, analyze, and standardize. For this reason, we find that when communities and individuals take action in supporting education systems and institutions in the development of arts programs there is advancement amongst students in all areas of education. Music has been shown to connect both sides of the brain, allowing for the student to understand various other subject matter in a more comprehensive manner.

Wunderlich goes on to state that many of our current successful leaders have benefited from arts in their lives, stating:

Music education has been linked to so many singularly successful people that its impact cannot be ignored. Google co-founder Larry Page (high school saxophone), former Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan (clarinet), Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen (guitar), former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice (piano) and so many other highly successful individuals credit their music education for giving them the courage to create, to collaborate for success, to see solutions where none may be immediately obvious.

Conclusively, our focus on test scores are important so that the future our our world is smart and well educated. Arts education is experiential; the student learns best when experiencing the application of what he has learned. This could be argued as being the best way of learning anything. Therefore, everyone can contribute to the future generations’ success by supporting experiential situations for children to enjoy different areas of art.

We all know deep down that the core subjects aren’t the end-all-be-all to a well rounded educational foundation. If we truly want well-rounded educational foundations for the next generation we must invest our time and resources into the development of independently supported mechanisms that allow access to arts experiences. Because, deep down is where art lives and, deep down we want everyone to enjoy it — most importantly our children.  


Detroit Free Press: Source

Exploring the 5-String Violin

 

Most of everyone knows I play an acoustic 5ing violin, even though I don’t treat it as such. When I first started playing the violin with the newly added, and sometimes controversial, 5th string I wanted to ensure that I didn’t over-use the string as if a new toy or gimmick. Something of this nature, an innovation of sorts, needs to be handled with care as to not allow it to become something that sticks out as a thorn. Rather, the fifth string should be treated as an equal member of the family. A 1/5th component of a larger unit. If this mind set isn’t adopted, the addition string becomes over played and subject to auditory abuse.

Technical Alterations:
A common question that arises is whether the technique of the 5ing player is different than that of a traditional player? The answer is, yes. Although, maybe not as drastically of a difference as you might think. The main technical difference is mainly in the openness and reach of the left hand fingers. This is obvious due to that new string you have to accommodate for. As for the right hand, the strings are often closer together. This can make string crossing either easier or far more difficult. Easier in the sense that there is less distance between strings. More difficult in the sense that you can no long rely on that G string as your bottom string. These adjustments are easily adapted once some practice is had. Julie Lyonn Lieberman said that, “Playing a four string and a five string fosters the development of spatial acuity in the right brain, creat(ing) a vital and useful mental heirarchy betwen the motor cortices and both hands.” Chiming in, Daryl Silberman feels that the five string was best for students that was “specifically interested in the technical challenges” of a 5ing violin. In other words, after you beat the “4ing level” you can go on to the “5ing” level? I believe, and know first hand, that playing a 5ing is extremely building of character. Also, the creative component is inspiring.

Creativity:
Although you can do a very many fun musical things with a 4ing, one more string couldn’t hurt. The covenant C string adds a new way of looking at the instrument and the approach to performance. Like a child that has jut received the colour turquoise to add to is crayon collection, a musician with a 5ing is just the same. The crafty use of the new string is found in conscious use, lest everything become turquoise. Nevertheless, this new colour allows for new ideas to emerge, now that the opportunity has been given. To be clear, I don’t think every violinist has thought “I wish I had another strong.” Rather, the new ideas are exciting due to the new string’s availability. Therefore, this creative availability establishes new thought processes and instrument exploration. Now there are options to explore the other areas of the instrument in relationship to the new string. The entire creative landscape alters as the mind can expand along with the music.

Viola Appreciation:
As a colleague of mine stated, “The five string; the wanna be viola” The 5ing can offer some appreciation for the violin’s close family member the viola. As if to transport you to another world, you can suddenly read two new clefs. When playing the 5ing we are able to understand playing from the violist point of view, or at least a good sense of it. This is both humbling and character building at the same time. As this perspective grows collaborating with violists might become easier and simpler.

Conclusion:
Whether you agree with the 5ing alteration or not, I hope everyone can see the many benefits that accompany attempting the 5ing experience. I truly believe that any challenging experience builds musical character and creative development. In the case of the 5ing violin, the truth lies in practice. The rewards in the results. The inspiration in the creation.

(Article originally featured on Violinist.com)

Live your passion deliberately!

With deep appreciation,

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Become A Master Communicator: 4 Tips

“The ability to transfer your idea to the brain of someone else is the ability to influence and make a difference.” – Thomas McGregor


  1. Keep your face in check: Arguably the most important communicator, your face, needs practice and constant refining. “Wait, refine your face you say?” Well, refine your facial expressions. Researchers say that 85% of communication is non-verbal. This would include the expressions your face puts off. Communication via non-verbal communication is communication that connects to our subconscious. This is why we need to constantly take control of what our face is saying without verbally saying anything. Once you are aware of what you are saying with your face, you can then take control of it and be more clear in your communication. Awareness is key in this tip as it will clarify your message. Your non-verbal message, that is.
  2. Study other faces: A great tool available to all of use is to study the faces of other people to understand what types of expressions are to “speak” a message. This will also give you much more information about the person you are communicating with, without them having to say much. Each emotional message is backed up by a facial expression. FBI human lie-detectors are very skilled in reading facial expressions. They watch faces for what they call, “micro-shifts” These are small little shifts in movements of their face that will give away the true intentions behind their words. Now, you don’t have to become a FBI agent in order to benefit from reading people. You too can read faces every day as a practice in order to gain information from people without them having to say much.
  3. Credibility: This component of communication is often over-looked. The reason developing credibility before you attempt to convey a message to someone is because most people won’t listen to you unless they trust your opinion. The fastest way to do this is to establish your credibility in your area of profession. The key to this is to do this in a way that doesn’t sound braggy. You want to simply state that you’ve been apart of things that relate to your field. For example: “I’ve been apart of workshops that have placed me in a leadership position to educate children in the art of music.” This is a statement I would use in order to establish credibility. This resonates differently than “I’ve done this and that and this and that…” Using the word apart makes it seem more like a story rather than you tootin’ your horn.
  4. Perspectives: Keep the perspectives of those you are communicating at the forefront of your mind. Everyone has their story that is held dearly to them. This story offers a perspective that is personal to them. Sometimes something is said and can be taken completely different then intended. This is at no fault of the either involved. However, as a master communicator you must make it your responsibility to take control of understanding where your audience is coming from. Once you understand their position on a specific subject you can speak as to not get snagged on their negative dispositions. Your message will slip by all the mental stumbling blocks that may arise due to a differing in perspective by those you are communicating with.

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