I can’t tell the difference between a sharp and a flat. Riffs and bridges have other meanings not associated with music. I can’t carry a tune in a bucket. And I have no idea what all those squiggly lines mean in songbooks.
But I do love music … the sound of it, the melody and even, sometimes, the words. I always have, dating back to those days of the transistor and AM only stations. It was/is a way of soothing me, even the loud music of my youth. And I generally play/played it loud enough to scare critters off the road or let people know I am arriving.
I don’t like all music – jazz, opera, hip-hop and rap come to mind – but I think I have a melodic palate that includes Christian to Adult Contemporary, Southern Gospel to Oldies/Classics, Country to Classical. Thanks to ontheradio.net, on any given day, you can hear Third Day, Katy Perry, Gold City, Diana Ross and the Supremes, Carrie Underwood or the London Philharmonic Orchestra playing Beethoven’s Concerto No. 4 in G Minor coming out of my computer speakers at work and even overnight. And thanks to my
SmartPhone apps like IYRadio, Pandora, radioPup and TuneIn Radio, and a Wagner Sleek signal booster, my enjoyment extends to my car.
The twist to all this is I’m not “restricted” to area broadcasts. I can – and do – listen to stations from around the nation. I mix and match genres. For example, I’ve been listening my way alphabetically in the aforementioned genres across the country and, ironically, am currently locked into New York stations.
The listening experiment has given me a new appreciation of the diversity of the country as well as its uniformity. Many stations use “canned” content, but just as many have
original content streaming. I prefer the latter over, say IYRadio, NPR or K-LOVE, which “switch” to their own advertising over the local station.
I like listening to the local news … even if I don’t know the neighborhood. The issues tend to be the same, but the inflection gives a clue to what triggers the audience. For example, in the midwest, you can’t have a news break without a farm report. Urban news is so different from rural reports.
I didn’t particularly care for Hawaii’s radio choices, but I was fascinated by Alaska. I heard
local reports of the primaries in both Iowa and Michigan (a different take from national coverage). I heard an ad for a bar/restaurant in Junction City, KS, Karen and I actually ate at! (You just can’t forget anything about Junction City.) I re-lived connections in Illinois,
Maine, Maryland and New Jersey and can’t wait to “revisit” Ohio.
I was part of a tornado watch that turned into a warning in Mississippi, and “cooled off” listening to weather forecasts of “four more days of 100 degree temperatures” in Nebraska while battling with 90s here. Last winter in Fairbanks, AK, I was impressed with the calm report “we might actually see a plus temperature today with little wind.”
My favorite anecdote – also from Alaska – was a call in. The caller said a guy was emptying a van on the highway – television, furniture, etc, – apparently after an argument with his female traveling companion. After the station played a song, the caller called back to report. “Forget about the big screen TV. Somebody took it.”
Kids, close your eyes and stop reading. I have to admit I failed my college music appreciation class (actually, I think it was an incomplete). I couldn’t tell the difference between Bach and Beethoven and those sharps and flats and riffs and bridges things had something to do with it. But it was probably more because I missed at least half my classes. It was scheduled at 4 p.m. on Fridays – well after my last getaway class of the day that wrapped up at 11 a.m.
However, I always went on the field trips. Going to school in Manhattan, Broadway shows, concerts and recitals were available at little or no cost. I almost always took a date (mostly Karen) so it served a double purpose!
As I look back, I did indeed fail music appreciation … but I learned how to appreciate music.