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Thomas Basini Elizabeth Hinnant English 1101 17 September 2013 Tuba Thomas and His Musical Literacy I started

playing music at a young age. Going way back to the fifth grade, I remember playing Amazing Grace and Hot Cross Buns on the recorder. It wouldnt be for another full year before I actually started playing in an adjudicated ensemble. But in that year I played bass guitar, and I took a class called general music, which really showed me the beauty of playing in an ensemble. Starting in seventh grade I played multiple low brass instruments, and continued on into college. Every music teacher I ever had made sure academia was a priority, with each one of his or her students. Playing music in an ensemble setting has affected my literacy in many forms that I am still discovering today, but most of all has given me confidence to communicate to larger audiences. My reading, writing, and verbal communication have improved immensely, because of it. As a beginning musician in middle school, there was a looming hatred of being singled out to work on a section of music in front of the entire class. As embarrassing as it may have felt, this taught me a lot about communicating in front of audiences. It made me more confident as a player speaking with my music and also as a speaker, making me more comfortable speaking to larger groups. Continuing into high school, and into a larger ensemble, made it even easier to get comfortable in front of bigger and better groups. It has made me personally a better communicator. We always got singled out if we messed something out, so we could fix it, which made us strive to be the best. In

each ensemble we had regular concerts and performances, putting new people in front of us, giving us the challenge to strive to communicate to different people, and in different places. My writing has been affected by ensembles in a major way. When I play music and I make a mistake I mark it to fix the mistake. This is the same with writing. When I miss a note multiple times, I circle it. If I am having trouble with fingerings, I write the fingering below the note. There are a lot of other marks that I will use in my music. Marking my music has taught me how to better edit any papers, and to not be afraid to mark all over it. I can comfortably edit my paper and make any marks, and still read and change my writing; this is a really good skill that I have learned from musical ensemble. If the director changes anything it gets marked in, if a note is wrong it gets marked in, there are many reasons to mark in sheet music. With music teachers that can look at your grades, talk to their colleagues, and not give you the chair, or part you want, because of grades, you strive to do your best in academic performance. If you got bad grades you would have some major consequences in the band room. From getting kicked out of extracurricular ensembles, such as jazz ensemble and marching band, to being moved down a chair in your section. There is nothing a musician hates worse than being put lower than someone you can out play. Since my actions in the classroom would reflect on the ensemble, I concentrated my efforts on academia. Growing up in one band program also affected my vocabulary. I grew as a musician with many of the same people, in the same area. This made our vocabulary very similar, a lot of words and phrases were used that we could understand, but people

outside the program, and outside the community could not. If someone told me to push to the end of a note, I would know to have a steady stream of air with a little increase toward the end. Also I learned many important musical terms that are derived from other languages that most musically challenged Americans would not understand. Words like legato, crescendo, and andante may hold no meaning to people but in the music world they mean a lot. This changed the way I speak to other musicians. Knowing these words meant that I could have conversations using these terms to describe different things that happened in music. I have said in the past: I hate reading. That is a complete and total lie. I love to read. I dont normally read books, or magazines, I read music. I love to read and play along with music. All the emotion in books and screen plays is in musical scores as well. A slow connected piece is going to be sad and possibly end happy, a fast separated piece, is going to be exciting, or even scary. A movement in music can tell you all you need to know about a person who falls madly in love with another, or how an empire was stricken down, by an army of rebels. A sheet of music is just like a book, just in another language. Everyone has a different style of reading, and musical reading is the one that intrigues me the most. While in class or during adjudication, we were constantly having to read new music we had never seen before. Our task was to read it and play it immediately, having almost no time to prepare. With a little more than a quick once over, we had to comprehend and play the piece almost instantly. This made me a better and faster reader, having to comprehend what I read in a second, and do it as fast as the director goes. I found that when I would go to my other classes that I would be able to

understand stories better and faster, putting me ahead of many of my classmates. The most important skill that this has taught me is looking forward a few words while I am reading so that I do not get stuck on a word, and slow down. While reading music, if you get stuck or hesitate on a note even for a split second, you get behind the rest of the band, and you might make someone else mess up. It is extremely important to be a good reader when playing music. Musical ensemble has affected my literary skills in many ways, skills that otherwise, I may have never learned. If I wouldnt have started playing music my life, and literacy, would be way different. Im extremely grateful that music is a part of who I am. Music is not always the first thing you think of when you think of literature, but to me it has been one of the most influential forms in this wide world of literary works.