Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Ten Most Important Studies for a Young Person (Items 2 and 3)

Dear Stevie,

As I said in my last post, you asked me to suggest some important works for you to study in this, your first year out of school. You have studied hard already, through high school, college, grad school, and of course all those athletic trials. Now you are free. Free not to "NOT study," but free to study what you choose.

I was very touched that you asked me what I thought would be good for you to study. And I have been thinking alot about what I wanted to recommend. I am working on a list of ten suggestions in no particular order.

One. Read your Bible as a disciplined regular practice. See last post!

Two. America in the King Years, An historical trilogy studying the period between 1954 and 1968.

The introduction to the third volumne of Taylor Branch's Pulitzer prize winning study of America in the King years begins with these words.

"Non-violence is an orphan among democratic ideas. It has nearly vanished from public discourse even though the most basic element of free government, the vote, has no other meaning. Every ballot is a piece of non-violence signifying hard won consent to raise politics above fire power and bloody conquest. . . But the whole architecture of representative democracy springs from the handiwork of non-violence."

Your heart is already filled with the kinds of thinking about issues of justice that make me proud. This history will just fill in some important information that will help you understand our world, what it was, what it is, and what it should become in relation to class and race. The books center around Martin Luther King, Jr. but really cover all the main action of the Civil Rights Era.

Three. Get a solid foundation for understanding classical music. I have used a metaphor at times which has been offensive for some people. And I may be all wrong. The metaphor is this. Popular music is like eating McDonald's hamburgers. Everybody likes them. They are easy to get. They are cheap. Classical music is like a fine steak. They aren't always available, and when they are, they are expensive. The taste is more refined, but oh so much better than a Big Mac. And it is true that not everybody likes classical music, but my opinion is that it is lack of education and understanding that blocks their appreciation. I would hate to see you miss the depth and delight of classical music.

Here is where you should start, as I said in a post, some time ago, the lectures of Robert Greenberg, entitled, How to Listen to and Understand Great Music. This is about 40 hours of listening, so it is a large undertaking. I did it while driving to and fro to work. and it is done best in chunks. Listen to lectures, which include large portions of great musical works as samples, then check out some CDs from the library that are from the periods he is teaching about and listen to them. The Greenberg Lectures are pretty standard fare at public library audio sections.

OK. That is three. Enough for now. I will post again soon.


MOM aka brd

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