Hear that buzz? It’s not feedback. It’s music.
Folks who think that the library is a quiet place (have you been to the library lately?) may be surprised to hear about our Music Appreciation Workshop with Lorraine Kneier on Sunday, September 30 at 2 p.m. A music educator and lifelong appreciator, Kneier will fill our library with sound, and ask us to turn a careful listening ear. In fact, she’ll teach us how to listen. Since press releases went out earlier this month, there’s already a buzz about it.
In recent years there have been a number of buzz books published about how to listen to music.
Popular author and “poet laureate of medicine” Oliver Sacks explores the place music occupies in the brain in Musicophilia. The man who wrote The Man who Mistook his Wife for a Hat examines the power of music through experiences of everyday people, including that of the surgeon who is struck by lightning and becomes obsessed by Chopin, or how Parkinson’s disease patients who cannot otherwise move are animated by music.
Stacks endorses This is your Brain on Music by Daniel J. Levitin, calling Levitin’s book “endlessly stimulating.” Levin is a rocker-turned-neuroscientist who shares his fascination with the connection between music and the human brain — and the result is fascinating (and endlessly stimulating).
Levitin believes that music is fundamental to our species, perhaps even more than language. His rocker roots come through as he analyzes the effects of music from Joni Mitchell to David Byrne, a concept he explores further in his follow-up book The World in Six Songs: How the Musical Brain Created Human Nature. (To find out which six songs, you’ll have to read the book.)
Author Alex Ross looks at the scandal new music has created historically in The Rest is Noise: Listening to the 20th Century. Political regimes and social orders have perceived threats from Negro spirituals to jazz to acid rock, and Ross takes us as readers through wars, revolutions, and riots exploring the power of music as subversive influence.
Music from the Inside Out by Rob Kapilow is more in tune with Kneier’s workshop, embracing classical music as an important listening foundation. Kapilow has helped audiences listen for two decades on National Public Radio’s “What Makes it Great?” series and in concert halls throughout the US and Canada. Kapikow’s book does a great job of teaching us to listen in a fresh new way — and you can practice listening to the pieces described in the book through its sister website.
Others in our collection (browse 780–781 in nonfiction) include What to Listen for in Mozart by Robert Harris, and to keep it all straight, The Essential Canon of Classical Music by David Dubal, among others. And, of course, in our CD collection you can find Mozart to Mitchell and Bach to Byrne.
Lorraine Kneier is an author as well. Her book Music: A Window to the Soul: Experiencing Classical Music Through Informed Listening isn’t yet in our collection, but it will be a nice addition — and her books will be for sale at the workshop for those who would prefer not to wait.
As for me, I’m looking forward to the workshop — and looking forward, as always, to my nightly drive home to Bonnington. That’s when my brain becomes a musicophiliac, hooked on beat and buzz and be-bop-she-wop — and my mouth sings along. My gift to the world is keeping the windows rolled up.