Greetings from a student of music
My name is Sheldon Kessel. I do music. I don't identify myself as a composer, musician, songwriter, engineer, producer , musicologist, or educator, though I am involved in all these pursuits. If I were to identify myself as any one thing, however, it would be that I am a student. Above all I am interested in learning, exploring, and making discoveries. My interest in writing this blog stems from an intellectual breakthrough I had as an undergraduate music composition student in the late 1990s studying under Henry Gwiazda. It occurred to me that public perception of musical creation was based nearly entirely on a popular music model and that anything outside that model was not only misunderstood, but largely ignored and dismissed. Dr. Gwiazda introduced me to a world of musical creation that, until then, I was unaware of. He got me thinking about the significance of differing personal concepts of the thing called music and the ways in which those personal concepts are shaped by culture. These ideas of musical conception and perception have been floating in my head for many years, which brings me to why I am blogging. I am here to discuss ways of conceptualizing music. My theory is that the big questions of music begin with genre. From genre, deeper questions of traditional musicology naturally follow. I am interested in the ways we all think about music - from children and consumers, to musical professionals. As such, I definitely encourage feedback. I fully expect some of my posts to incite controversy, but I believe that all discussion is valuable - even heated discussion. So please, feel free to comment!