Assignment 1

It was nice to see that we looked at John Cage in this class firstly as an example of an artist who does the unconventional.  I know of him because of his music.  Having studied piano and clarinet as a kid and a teenager (and a bit with the piano still as an adult), John Cage cropped up when my fascination with minimalist music began.  It started with Philip glass for me, and then I sought out other composers who explored music in similar ways.

Philip Glass was a composer who used music like repeating patterns that had no particular goal or phrasal quality that told you a “musical narrative”.  Many of his early works just “were”.  The sound of the music was almost like what was happening in the moment rather than telling a musical story.  Once I found John Cage and 4’33”, I was amazed, and it helped me make sense of the two composers.  John Cage was very concerned, especially with 4’33”, sounds in the now — in the moment.  That performance is one that could never be replicated since it depends on the ambient noise of where and when it is performed.  Everytime it’s experienced that experience only lasts in the moment.  That is what I loved about Philip Glass’s minimalist music and other composers like Michael Nyman, Steve Reich, and John Cage.  It was a liberating and mind blowing way to experience a “classical” composition for me.

My two rules:

Do fail.  You should.  It’s okay.  Don’t let it stop you, though.

Good work brings joy.  Even painful work brings joy.  Joy in accomplishment.  Joy in effort.


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