The Rules
I was preparing a lesson recently for a student about tonal harmony, tonal progressions, an counterpoint. I hadn't been over those materials since undergrad, but I enjoyed revisiting the old rules. The book on Tonal Harmony offers diagrams that show viable progressions, complete with arrows that display alternatives for certain chords. Everything appears so...restricted...so controlled. Or at least, disciplined. It makes me wonder if in a century, when students examine ways in which popular music of the early 2000s was composed, there'll be similar diagrams that show (and simplify) what we may think are artistic nuances in today's music, but which may actually be explained with simple flow charts that future students will study and comment, "My goodness, how controlled. Where is the freedom?"

A man was bleeding from the head at the gym today. He was exercising on one of those pully-type weight machines, where the person stands up straight and pulls down on a steel handle, which pulls a chord over a pully and lifts the weights. He lost his grip, or something went wrong, and the handle shot up to his forehead. Blood dripped off of his temple and stained the floor. He simply put his palm to his head to stop the bleeding and walked to the restroom. I ran to the front to tell the staff, because I thought it looked serious. He was bleeding from the head, come on.

I'm teaching composition to a few of my students. That is probably my favorite subject to teach, because I get to serve mostly as a guide and let the students do the work. The work is important; it doesn't matter if the work is good or bad, it just needs to be finished, so the students can improve. Improvement is the goal, not perfection. Is there such a thing? Certainly not in music.

There's a YouTube clip of Richard Bona performing a duo with Bobby McFerrin. A good friend of mine once described the music they made as, "the sounds of angels singing."