Tag Archives: music

Johnny Cash

For a student with certain interests, e.g. the kid I had in mind when I put this together, this reading on the late, great Johnny Cash and its accompanying vocabulary-building and comprehension worksheet are high-interest materials.

If you find typos in these documents, I would appreciate a notification. And, as always, if you find this material useful in your practice, I would be grateful to hear what you think of it. I seek your peer review.

Fiddler on the Roof

Fiddler on the Roof: A stage musical (1964) and film (1971), with a book by Joseph Stein, score by Jerry Bock and lyrics by Sheldon Harnick. Set in pre-revolutionary Russia, and culminating in a pogrom, it relates the story of Tevye, a Jewish father (memorably played by Topol in the film), and his disapproval of the matrimonial choices made by his daughters. The musical is based on the Yiddish short story collection Tevye and His Daughters by the Russian-born US writer Sholom Aleichem (1859-1916). The significance of the title is obscure: it may be based on the proverbial expression meaning to ‘eat, drink and be merry,’ but it may be taken generally to signify a person who cheerfully makes the best of things, whatever the circumstances.”

Excerpted from: Crofton, Ian, ed. Brewer’s Curious Titles. London: Cassell, 2002.

Fran Lebowitz on Music

“There are two kinds of music—good music and bad music. Good music is music that I want to hear. Bad music is music I don’t want to hear.”

Fran Lebowitz

Excerpted from: Winokur, Jon, ed. The Big Curmudgeon. New York: Black Dog & Leventhal, 2007.

Abstruse (adj), Recondite (adj)

Good morning!

While I’m not sure it is necessarily a word high schoolers ought to know (although every time I qualify a blog post with those words, I find myself wondering if there is any word a high schooler doesn’t need to know), here nonetheless is a context clues worksheet on the adjective abstruse. It means, simply, “difficult to comprehend.”

If that doesn’t quite cover conceptually what you mean students to understand, then perhaps this worksheet on the adjective recondite will supply the needed depth of understanding. It means “hidden from sight, concealed,” “difficult or impossible for one of ordinary understanding or knowledge to comprehend,” and “of, relating to or dealing with something little known or obscure.”

Incidentally, I have always been impressed by the fact, and have tried to impress students with it as well, that the great rapper Guru (who died in 2010, I was sad to learn while writing this post_ managed to work recondite into his song “Jazz Thing” in reference to the late, great Thelonious Monk.

If you find typos in these documents, I would appreciate a notification. And, as always, if you find this material useful in your practice, I would be grateful to hear what you think of it. I seek your peer review.

Black Sabbath

In the early- to mid-1970s, they were all the rage among certain of my peers, but I mostly listened to Bob Dylan in those days. If you have students who are fans of heavy metal music, then this reading on Black Sabbath and the vocabulary-building and comprehension worksheet that accompanies it will be, I expect, of high interest to those students. After all, Ozzy Osbourne still occupies a relatively prominent place in the culture.

If you find typos in these documents, I would appreciate a notification. And, as always, if you find this material useful in your practice, I would be grateful to hear what you think of it. I seek your peer review.

The Comtu Trio at the Rockingham Meeting House, August 18, 2019

Elsewhere on this blog I have written about my good friend Walter Wallace, who serves as a docent at the Rockingham Meeting House in Rockingham, Vermont. Walter has arranged a series of concerts in the Meeting House. This Sunday, August 18th, the Comtu trio will perform a program of early American music arranged for trio, as well as selections from the classical repertoire, e.g. Vivaldi and Telemann.

The meeting house per se is worth a visit, and its warm, resonant acoustics make this event well worth attending. On this occasion, Karen Engdahl, the pianist of the Comtu Trio (and proprietor of the Springfield Piano Studio), will perform on the Meeting House’s Estey Reed Organ, manufactured in nearby Brattleboro.

If you happen to be in the Connecticut River Valley–or anywhere else in Vermont, for that matter, since everyplace here is near everything else–take Exit 6 off I-91 and travel west by northwest on State Route 103 for two miles toward Chester. The Meeting House is on Meeting House Road, and is clearly marked on 103 in both directions.

Noel Coward on an Earlier Post

“Extraordinary how potent cheap music is.”

Noel Coward

Excerpted from: Winokur, Jon, ed. The Big Curmudgeon. New York: Black Dog & Leventhal, 2007.