Archive | December 2012

Cut from the Same Cloth.


Basically in this blog, like I said at the beginning its just my opinion, of course backed with a few scholarly sources.

Any way lets get right into it.

I think in middle school I was first concisely introduced to music and song writing. I was also concisely introduced to English and creative writing as well, so it all kind of works out. I would have to say that the two go hand in hand. I have had the pleasure of being introduced to both of these cultures and what really happens behind the closed doors to the offices, apartments, coffee shops, show venues, workshops and open mic nights. Poetry/ short story readings and slams with the foot prints embedded in the dust on the tacky oriental rugs that stand as a foundation for the black microphone. Carrying words of great, yet anonymous, authors and poets. A lot of times words that won’t be heard or seen by the outside world. The splinters breaking off of a plywood stage that has held its fair share of weight, and not weight in pounds but the weight of over fifty plus, sweaty souls that sing together and chant words that have a different deep seeded meaning in each life those songs have touched. Singing in a microphone literally head to head with one of your favorite musicians. I encourage all to be a part of this fellowship.

There is a culture, a lifestyle, a bond that is instilled in you even from just one of these experiences. It is bigger than you and gives you a sense of belonging. These feelings and attitudes is where creative writing and musical composition meet. It isn’t just merely organizing words and notes, or drawing up characters and ideas. It is the moment when you realize you are a part of that. That is a part of what should be taught in our schools when using music or writing in the class room. How to deal with issues that everyone can or can’t relate to through writing and music, and the patterns for both, draw the same conclusion. It is all a form of art.

That is only some things that have to do with applying these two similar discourse communities into my life. When it came to music I was fascinated, when it came to an outlet through writing, I was astounded. Two positive things that I learned how to cope with my feelings growing up, and both things I learned about in the classroom. I’m not sure how it is taught now a days but when I was in school we had music class and had to put notes to poems we wrote for our English class. That was in seventh grade and that’s when I felt like I had an “I have arrived” moment, and I realized that’s what I wanted to do with the rest of my life.

I remember watching Jay-Z do an interview, and he said “there’s poetry in everything… there’s poetry in how someone does an interview, the way they deliver it, the words you choose, and how you set way to the next subject… so there’s poetry in everything if you look for it.”


Have Heart – Boston Massachusetts

Jon Mcgreggor

Jon McGregor- Short Story Slam.

Different Slams and open mics for up and coming and professional writers is becoming more popular in cities and towns across America.

Using Music to Teach in a Proper Discourse Community.

In a real world classroom setting you wouldn’t think that music could play a part in learning on the subject of composition in the English language. I think and in my experience I would play a huge roll in students learning how to manipulate their words in to sentences, sentences into paragraphs, paragraphs into pages and pages into a piece.

When all else fails… music. When music is brought into a classroom for the purpose of learning, you open the doors to so many issues in the world and basically build a bridge from the podium as a teacher to the minds of the students. When using music that deals with raw issues occurring in the world right now and in the past, it gives students the inspiration, for lack of a better word, to talk to their teachers essentially building trust when these issues are brought up in the class.

For example, Rap music in inner-city schools is a big thing when dealing with issues that are relate-able to that discourse community. I read an article in which a teacher educator, Jamal A. Cooks. Cooks gave three reasons why he believed using Hip hop music in this type of classroom setting was important: “1. hip-hop music was culturally relevant to the lives of the students because they listened to rap music, wrote rap songs, and imitated hip-hop artists; 2. the issues discussed in most rap songs could be used to talk about a variety of topics, determine how these issues affected the students, and increase student engagement; and 3. students needed illustrations of how to master a variety of writing styles for academic success.”(Cooks) see in works cited page.

Knicks Poetry Slam. Semi Finals.

This is a great example of a Slam poem and a way Slam poetry is used as a form of self expression.

Composing Composition

In Peter Elbows essay on relating musical composition to writing… academic and creative. He touched on setting up expectations in music and how you can learn a lot about the composition of writing from how a song is written, not just the words but how the music is composed. He talks about setting up expectations through songs and how if this is studied and practiced it could greatly improve a writers ability to develop more depth in his/her story or academic work. So your basically setting up expectations and building a scenario in a story rather than dilly dallying around with a whole bunch of detail, although pin pointing detail plays a major key in pulling this off successfully. (elbow)

I always have trouble getting so wrapped up in detail in a story or even a poem I am working on. I tend to over write things. When and where I could cut things down I get so scared that I would be taking away from a piece but rather if I were more inclined to do so i would actually be adding to my work. This is a bad habit I need to work on breaking. When ever I hand something in for revision from either a teacher, a mentor or a friend, its always the same story. “Cut this down, take this out or keep it short.” Ever since having this drilled into my mind my writing has greatly improved. and looking at this method in a means that I can understand, in regards to music, it just makes things so much easier during the writing process to think “hey how would this sound in a song.” I know that is rather childish but sometimes when it comes to writing I have to keep things so simple that they’re complicated for me.