Category: Music (Page 1 of 2)

The Big Band Performance Reflection

I didn’t think I would like jazz because I always thought of it as boring or soothing music and to be honest, I really thought I would fall asleep during the performance. I was so wrong because I really enjoyed the Big Band’s performance! Now, I have a completely different perception of Latin jazz.

My first impression of the conservatory was that the space was extremely small and didn’t really look that fancy. I didn’t expect the conservatory to be like an opera or something, but I did think it would be a lot grander than it actually was. However, the vibe of the overall performance made up for the fact that the performance took place in such a small setting.

What made the performance so enjoyable was that everyone on stage seemed to be having a lot of fun. I really liked the fun and casual atmosphere that the musicians and conductor created as they were playing. Much of the performance felt like it was spontaneous, but you could really see that the happy emotions of all the musicians were real. It was really cool how almost all of the musicians on stage got their own solo (Vaughn you were great), which isn’t seen a lot in other music performances. My favorite piece was the first one that was played (sorry I forgot the name). I couldn’t stop humming to it, kept tapping my feet, and really wanted to get up to dance! The second-to-last piece and Baby Jack were really great as well!

Carnegie Hall- Outside Arts Event

Opened in 1891, Carnegie Hall contributed as a major part of New York’s art history. Costing over $1 million dollars to build, this Hall is known throughout the world for the amazing performances it holds. Since we were unable to go there as a class, I decided to visit it on my own, and I ended up more than satisfied after the performance.

The first piece presented during the performance was one of Bach’s  most famous; Concerto for Two Violins. Starting off at a rapid pace, the music slowed down towards the middle, and was followed by an abrupt increase in pace as well as intensity towards the end. The piece following this one was the Concerto for Harpsichord and Orchestra. Unlike Bach’s piece, this one was more balanced in that throughout the whole duration, there were no increases in tempo or sound. After this, came Typecase Treasury, the most serious musical work in the performance. Not only was the pace fast, but the transition from each set of notes was also outlined in terms of sound. Then, came the Concerto for Cello and Orchestra. It started with a slow and calming pace, had a peak of abrupt music towards the end, but yet it managed to end the way it started, nice and peaceful. The last piece was Mozart’s Sinfonia concertante in E-flat Major. I found it to be the most exciting and amusing peace, since there were no low notes and it did not have any breaks.

Overall, I would say that I enjoyed going to this particular performance at Carnegie Hall and would definitely recommend it. And remember, if you want to know how to get to Carnegie Hall, the answer to that would be “practice”.

  • Benjamin K

All that Jazz

Jazz is pretty cool.

Walking into the conservatory, that was one thing I was sure of. I’m a fan of music, and music made mostly by instruments (so I guess, instrumentals) is particularly my favorite, because I can play a song while working and not be completely distracted by words. (Still, sometimes that doesn’t make a difference and I start humming, so as of late productivity ≠ music.) Jazz itself is also rather interesting. I associate a lot of it with the 1920s, which is coincidentally one of my favorite eras in American history. One of my closest friends (WHO GOT INTO STANFORD ON FRIDAY, THEREBY MAKING ME EXTREMELY, EXTREMELY PROUD) also plays in the jazz band at my high school, so it’s a type of music I’ve had a few listens to. Add this all together and I hope you’ve deduced that I was looking forward to the Brooklyn College performance, because I was.

And by golly (nobody says that, do they…), they did not disappoint. I’ll admit I was in a bad mood that night and a little antsy of sorts, so I feared that my frustration would deter me from enjoying the show. Fortunately, it did not. The band was extremely talented and many of the members managed to show off their skills, leaving me totally immersed in the melodies. Furthermore, I thought it was really great that the band had people of all different ages—not just Brooklyn College students. It showed me that this group was a bunch of people who really loved music and appreciated what they got to do. Lastly, I don’t think I had a favorite piece, per say (I liked them all), but I did find myself humming “Baby Jack” a few days later while searching my fridge for a late night snack. Rock on.


Thinkin Bout You (no, not actually, lol)

Unfortunately, due to a personal conflict, I was not able to make the Latin Jazz performance at BC. However, after reading my classmates’ reflections on the performance, it truly seems that I missed out! *sad face*

Anyways, in order to convey my thoughts about music, I thought the most appropriate thing to do would be to tell you about my favorite song, and why it is.

So, my favorite song is the cover of “Thinking Bout You”, originally by Frank Ocean, by Daniela Andrade. I’m not much of a follower of non-main stream artists (which is terrible, but I blame selective media coverage), but once I heard her voice…

I was very familiar with the original version by Frank Ocean, which is amazing, don’t get me wrong, But, with Andrade’s version, I could feel the emotion of the song in a way I didn’t before. Her vocalizations and the use of acoustics brought the song new meaning. It almost tore down the coarse impression of the song I had before, and mellowed it down.

Of course, as does any other teenager, after hearing it for the first time, I immediately downloaded it onto my phone and listened to it until it hit my “Top 25 Listened To” in iTunes. However, while that is my favorite song for the lyrics, Andrade’s voice is truly one of a kind, and one to be appreciated.

But, more importantly, music does play a large role in my life, and perhaps one of the biggest. It doesn’t matter what I am doing – walking to school, doing the dishes, showering, eating, running, driving, sleeping, anything, I am always listening to music. Music is truly the score of my life and there isn’t a moment when I am out of it. It provides peace, excitement, and every emotion I could think of. Come to think of it, I can’t imagine my life without music.

And I don’t want to!

For those of you who are curious:

Thinkin’ Bout You (Original), Frank Ocean:

Thinkin Bout You, Daniela Andrade:



Big Band Reflection

For someone who listens to almost exclusively electronic and rock music, surprisingly, I very much enjoyed the Brooklyn College Big Band’s performance of Latin Jazz. One aspect of this music that particularly intrigued me was the synchronization of all of the instruments. Throughout the entire performance, each and every one of the instruments seemed to me to perform as one. Even during the solo improvisations it seemed that everyone was in impeccable harmony. While one player improvised their piece, the other instruments would back him/her up with a smooth undertone, adapting to the intricacies of the improvisation.

I could not help but watch the audience’s reaction throughout the performance. Every time I looked around I would see people dancing in their seats, snapping their fingers, or humming to the beat. Jazz seems to have an extraordinary emotional effect on people. I found myself smiling throughout the entirety of the performance.

Arturo O’Farril’s passionate and talented performance was amazing. He was constantly trying to get his musicians motivated and excited (and it worked extremely well!). I thought it was generous of Mr. O’Farril to let one of his friends conduct a piece that he composed. Furthermore, I was astonished by the new conductor’s ability to coordinate the group with no practice beforehand. Not only were the musicians improvising, but so was the conductor himself!

One final aspect of the performance that grabbed my attention was the setting. I enjoyed having a smaller audience seated close to musicians, as opposed to the other performances, such as the ballet, where we were a part of a huge audience seated very far from the performers. This up close and personal experience really allowed me to see the difficulty of playing such complex musical pieces as well as the dedication and fervor that the musicians played with.

Latin Jazz Reflection

Out of all the events that we have been to, I must say that the one that was way different than I imagined was the Latin Jazz concert. It was nothing like what I imagined. It still boggles my mind how the free style aspect of it works. The way you can jump in and do your own thing while still maintaining the groove of the unifying music must take a huge amount of talent. What I also really loved was how passionate and into the music everyone was. From the bouncing of their heads to the beat, to the smiles, to the eagerness on their face to do a solo, it was such a lively event. I think that gives it a certain advantage over a regular concert. It is much more engaging and the audience is pulled in by the jovial atmosphere. My favorite performance was “Baby Jack”. It was really funny when a solo would happen and that person would play in a high note to mimic the crying of a baby.

Another important aspect about this event that was different than the others was the clear difference in setting. The events such as the Opera and ballet were clearly high class and you can see and feel that right away upon entering the building. The room that the jazz concert took place in was nothing in comparison to those settings, but I think that actually benefitted the atmosphere that the music and performance seeks to illicit. It’s supposed to be close up, fun, non-pretentious, and engaging. The room it took place in complimented those aspects.

Latin Jazz: A Reflection

During last week’s Latin jazz performance, my expectations were immediately surpassed. The musicians turned out to be really great and the show was spectacular. However, I did not expect the room to be that small. On one hand, the sound was closer to the audience, and you were able to see the people paying the instruments, up close, but on the other hand, the sound was not able to spread out due to the bad acoustics in that room. Aware of the issue, curtains were placed around the walls, which only helped a little.

If I had to choose a favorite piece, it would be the first one. Not only was it always, should I say, exciting, but the rhythm which it brought about was also the best, [in my opinion]. Although the others were also good, I feel that they had some bland spots, where they either held a beat too long, or simply were not as exciting.

As a comment to Vaughn’s comment on Baby Jack in class the lecture before, I would have to agree. After hearing it, I did understand why it was “funny”. The saxophone really did sound like a babies cry, and that provided a great contribution to the whole point/theme of the piece (to demonstrate how quickly the mood of a baby can change).

As a minor  observation, I did notice that the instruments in latin jazz were grouped differently. Upon further thought, the reason to this was that the grouped instruments tended to play at the same time, and whenever Arthur O’Farrell did conduct, he signaled all of the musicians from that specific group. Aside from this, there were musicians on the side (not on stage) which I only noticed at the end when I started wondering where the sound of their instruments was coming from.

Overall, I really appreciate the performance. As a musician of multiple instruments, I know how many hours of practice it must’ve taken to get each piece perfect. All of the musicians did a great job that night, and I will definitely look out for similar concerts at Brooklyn College.

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Latin Jazz Reflection – Jack

IMG_4378First off, I have to say I love music. I come from a very musical family (mom plays the drums, dad plays the keyboard, and two sisters that sing), so I guess music is in my genes. Last Thursday, when I was hearing the band play, I couldn’t help myself from tapping my foot to the beat. It was just a natural instinct. And Vaughn was right – I was barely able to keep myself in my seat.


I really liked the unique sound of some of the songs. For example, a few of the songs mixed jazz sounds with Latin rhythms. The mix worked perfectly, and it created a distinct sound that was different from what I’ve heard in the past. I also tried to identify the Latin sound that we discussed in class, and I do think it was the unique rhythm that truly gave it a Latin feel. The sound of the cowbell and other percussion instrument (not sure what it’s called) also contributed to the Latin vibe.


For some of the songs, I was thinking about the mood set by the song. For example, for “Baby Jack,” I was thinking about how the song reflected the laughter and cries of a baby using the sounds of different instruments. During one of the other songs (I forgot which one), the conductor set the mood by telling the audience to imagine they are walking on a street at night somewhere in Colombia while hearing a marching band come down the street toward them.


Overall, I think it was really a great experience. This trip reminded me how much I really love music, and it encouraged me to try out an instrument.

Big Band Reflection

I did like the performance. Although I thought it was a bit long, it wasn’t that bad. I didn’t want to fall asleep (I couldn’t even if I tried) so props to the band because I usually don’t like listening to just instrumental.

My favorite bits:

  • The older-guy with the long hair on the guitar rocking out on the left hand side.
  • The trumpet player with the blue-green shirt when he did that really amazing solo.
  • The guy with the silver looking saxophone solo.
  • The drum solo.
  • Solos, solos, solos.
  • The friendly banter during the show (it was informal but in this case it worked).
  • I could actually get through the aisle!!!!!!

Not so favorite bits:

  • One thing I didn’t like was the guy all the way on the corner right saxophone because he kept making this sharp, ugly sound (to me) and I wasn’t sure if he was just messing up or it was supposed to be like that, but either way I didn’t like it.
  • I couldn’t actually hear (or understand) the conductor when he spoke.

Also, I am not sure what song it was, but I know I have heard to before. It was the song with the french horn (?- I’m not one for naming uncommon-ish instruments) and I really liked it, it was my favorite.

Met Opera Reflection: Tosca



Last Thursday, we went to the Met Opera to watch the opera titled Tosca. I was really excited to see this opera especially after the class on Tuesday when we got a little bit of history of opera as well as a taste of the strength and passion of the opera singers. The opera was located in one of my favorite places in Manhattan: Lincoln Center. Just being in that area and feeling the excitement of the people around me was contagious. The inside of the opera house was honestly so beautiful (the chandeliers were my favorite part), and I didn’t mind the long intermissions at all because I got to look around the MET opera.

The story of Tosca was interesting and even thought I didn’t understand what the actors were saying, the singing and music kept me intrigued the whole time. I was really glad that we got a synopsis of the story on Tuesday because it definitely helped me figure out what was going on. The opera as a whole was a great experience. Here are a few moments that really stood out to me:

  1. The song in Act I where Tosca expresses her jealousy of Marcello’s blonde, blue eyed painting. I really liked this song because it was powerful and introduced the character of Tosca in a strong way. The fact that the writers made Tosca’s character extremely jealous made her more interesting and three dimensional. If she were just some woman who was deeply in love with her husband, her character would be like many others. Tosca’s jealousy also added to her fiery personality and made her a little bit irrational/bold which as a character trait explains her decision to stab Scarpio.
  2. The scene where Tosca stabs Scarpio. I thought the end of that song was extremely powerful and it made me happy to see Scarpio die by the hands of the woman he thought he had full control over.
  3. The bright light that came out of the torture room. Visually, I thought the bright light added an element of surprise to the stage. I also thought it was smart to leave what goes on behind the door to the view’s imagination.
  4. The end. Although I predicted that Tosca would die in the end, I still felt a sense of shock as the curtains closed because the end was so dramatic. I loved how Tosca jumped to her death instead of getting shot. I also really liked how the last few seconds of her jump were cut off and the curtains quickly closed after that.

Overall, I really enjoyed the entire production. I still can’t believe that the singers didn’t use microphones!

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