A Horrifying Quiet on the Horizon

Earlier this month, President Donald Trump announced his plans to completely cut the funding for the National Endowment for the Arts — to say that I was angry would be a bit of an understatement. This funding takes up a whole 0.004% of the national budget, and the president is planning on taking that money and funneling it towards the military, which currently accounts for about 16% of the budget. By just quickly skimming through this blog, you can tell that the arts are something that I hold very dear to my heart: it is of the utmost importance that we do everything in our power to prevent the opportunities that the arts bring from being taken away from our children. Continue reading “A Horrifying Quiet on the Horizon”

Leland High School’s Big Band and Orchestra

Mr. Rian Rodriguez is the music director at Leland High School, and tonight he led both the school’s big band and orchestra through thoroughly entertaining sets that featured some Michael Jackson, marimba, Mozart, and Lin-Manuel Miranda. The students had clearly worked hard to prepare for this performance, and they were also clearly having fun with the dynamic repertoire. Continue reading “Leland High School’s Big Band and Orchestra”

Spotlight on Rafael Maldonado

When San Jose State University music major Rafael Maldonado first picked up a musical instrument, it was a pair of drumsticks in the fourth grade. His older sister had been in band, and he decided that he wanted to be a part of music too (an inspiring episode of Spongebob Squarepants that featured a band also helped him make his decision). Little did he know that it would lead him to the career in music that he is currently pursuing. Rafael is a magnificent musician with an absolutely inspiring passion for the arts, and with his talents he is helping students become well-rounded individuals while also working to spread the joy behind the universal language that is music. Continue reading “Spotlight on Rafael Maldonado”

The Importance of the Recorder

There are very few instruments that are as annoying as the recorder. Its squeaky, airy, whistling sound can be distracting and irritating, and it has even become the center of various memes — people laugh at its quavering tone, especially when it is being used to play Celine Dion’s “My Heart Will Go On.” However, despite its modern infamy and tendency to be ridiculed, it can play a large and beneficial role in the development of a child’s music education. Continue reading “The Importance of the Recorder”

SJSU Wind Ensemble

I just got back from an absolutely wonderful concert from San Jose State’s Wind Ensemble; there was a beautiful balance between all the different sections, and there was a clear passion in the musicians’ performance as they subtly swayed back and forth with the music, fading into it. Directed by Dr. Edward Harris, the ensemble performed Gustav Holst’s Second Suite in F, Viet Cuong’s Diamond Tide, Antonio Vivaldi’s Concerto in C Major for Piccolo, and John Mackey’s Aurora Awakes. The Vivaldi piece featured soloist Catherine Payne, who guides the San Jose State flute studio. Continue reading “SJSU Wind Ensemble”

Choosing the Right Reed

When playing instruments such as clarinet, saxophone, oboe, and bassoon, the reed can make all the difference. This thin little piece of bamboo can determine the control one has over his instrument, or even the kind of sound and style he wants to make. Without a reed, these instruments will not make any sort of sound — it is of the utmost importance that students select reeds that are appropriate for their skill level and targeted sound. Continue reading “Choosing the Right Reed”

March Fourth!

cropped-15037271_10210226988778537_1216626721793742348_n.jpgOn March 4th, band members everywhere took to social media with the hashtag “#marchfourth” (a play on the phrase “march forth”) to celebrate the magic that is marching band. DCI (Drum Corps International) has pushed for the holiday to be nationally recognized for several years now in order to promote and garner mass support for marching bands. In marching bands, students learn how to memorize music, work as a team, pay attention to detail, play with strength and confidence, and walk with an 8-to-5 swagger. Continue reading “March Fourth!”