Reading Journal

Rocking the Daisies (South African Music Festival Review) 

As a music writer, and an enthusiast music lover, reading about the music festivals my university schedule and student budget will not allow me to attend gives me an opportunity to learn about how it was, while learning what a decent music festival review reads like. This article lends a hand with both, while instilling me the overwhelming desire to save and plan to hit South Africa’s biggest music festival next year!

Pitchfork – Uncovering How Streaming Is Changing the Sound of Pop

An article from a fantastic musical source on a very current technological game changer in the music world and how it actually changing the music itself. Crisp and brand spankingly current, it features analysis of songs released mere weeks ago, and how these songs and artists have been carefully crafted to capture the attention of the streaming generation from the opening seconds of the song. The minute details of each soundtrack, down to instrumentals, hooks, song length, title and album art are all analysed and quantified to pump out the most effective and impactful singles possible. Truly interesting to know how music production itself it manipulated to serve the supreme master that is streaming royalties.

Billboard – How Augmented Reality Will Let You Soundtrack Your Life

This article explores the uses and movements of rise in augmented reality and what it means for the ears of the 21st century. It tracks the release of Hearables, a variety of large tech brands adoptions of the ‘smart headphone’ which can and will ultimately allow those wearing them to not only channel out unwanted sounds while listening to music, but also to funnel, crank up, layer or infuse sounds around you in your life with the audio experience of your music. But it doesn’t stop there. These devices have the ability to track your movements, pace, habits and heart-rate to give you the best timed and tempoed song for your specific circumstances.

I love exploring how the music industry is changing and growing and this article keeps me on the cutting edge of music technology. But I mean… Black Mirror anyone?

The Food Rush – How Music Affects Out Perception of Taste 

I love it when juicy morsels like this just pop up onto my internet news feed waiting for me to quickly devour them. This article taught me something simple and effective which I did not know before. It expands on the effects of music on the tasting of food and how our senses interact to create our culinary and auditory culminating experience. The effects of volume, pitch and the actual sound our food makes can be complimented or ruined by the music played while we eat. So restaurants aren’t or shouldn’t just be playing background music for ambiance after all.

Mental Floss – 9 Ways to Enhance Your Music-Listening Experience

This article, although it may be useful to some people, serves as an example of just how empty and full of white noise some of these content producers are. First of all, I hate being given a list for EVERYTHING. As if there are only these 9 ways of doing anything. Secondly, the advice or so called information this article shares is quite simply my life demarcated into numbered tasks. “Listen more than once”? If you are a true music lover, you will have listened to every song far more than once, to comb through each sound and vibration piece by piece and savour the moment of each note. You don’t need a list to tell you how to fall in love with music. The music either speaks to you or it doesn’t.

New York Times – Is Music the Key to Success?

An opinion piece which skillfully interrogates the notion of the success and its connection to musical skill. Lipman explores the correlation between musical training and the resultant skills, discipline and other positive attributes which directly link to professional achievement. I enjoyed how each individual referenced were cited by their achievements as well as their instrument of training. Studies and statistics investigating music’s ability to  “reinforces your confidence in the ability to create” may be the reason behind this connection, but a number of alternative suggestions are posited in the article. Very interesting, crisp yet meaty, and well worth the read. Plus, maybe that will boost my chances of one day being successful? Worth a shot.

Daily Mail – Why listening to music is the key to good health

Exploring the ways in which our favourite hobby can be healthy for your body and mind, this article succinctly lists the various health benefits of listening to music. Benefits include relief of back pain, improvements in exercise performance and decreasing memory loss. I like how the article has neatly divided up the material and separated statement from research, reflecting a verified and well-researched piece.

Cultural Comment Piece in New Yorker – Reconsidering the Rock Groupie

A brilliant example of jam packed, referential journalism telling the complex story and purposes of the groupie culture between the 60s-80s. This article explores the sex scene of the music production industry and questions the empowerment or objectification of the multiple women behind the male rock stars.

NME Article about ‘Metamorphoses’ compilation

Anti-poverty organisation Global Citizen collaborates with Kanye West, Mumford & Sons and other big name artists to put fan lyrics submitted from across the globe. This article explores an interesting initiative which shows the brighter side of the corporate craving music industry, a side which recognises the help music can be to the masses and how it can share someone else’s story with the world in a way that touches the soul.

Ted-Ed – How Playing an Instrument Benefits Your Brain

Ted-Ed takes a look at the neurological intricacies of music’s effect on the brain and how making music of our own stimulates brain function. Well animated, informative and interesting enough to grab the attention of the digital attention span, I found this little video entertaining and informative.

Link to full video here

TeenVogue – Best Musical Soundtracks Slideshow

First of all, I love the gallery format of this slideshow. It combines the effects of imagery and text in a very visually gratifying way. This is a listicle I can get on board with. Simple and able to back up their picks, this list gives some of the best and beltable songs to come out of Broadway. And I’m grateful for it, not only for the creative way in which it is presented but also because it is fostering the youths’ interest in theatre music and how emotive and memorable it can be and a musical genre in its own right.

10 great indie-classical artists to discover

Classic FM is one of my favourite sources to keep me in touch with the classical music scene and I could not help exploring this article as indie is another one of my great loves. The idea of successfully infusing these two beautiful styles of music gives me hope for the music industry. The article highlighted some great names while emulating a nuance of writing about music which I find hard to fault.

Chicago Tribune – Electronic dance music has its spring awakening

Some people argue that news and journalism about current events and life is just a tiny blimp before it becomes outdated and useless information. But I’ve chosen to include this article from 2012 as an example of how writing like this can serve as a time capsule, as a historical progression pinpoint. This article suggests that EDM (or Electronic dance music) is on the rise and how it’s progression is on the tail of mainstream pop music. As hindsight is in perfect 20/20 vision, this piece’s projections have come true. Over recent years, pop music has developed a largely more electronic tinge to its sound, as it is forced to compete with the gaining popularity of EDM production and its still-growing popularity.

Music and Memory Study

A study of the effects of personalised music playlists has shown a decrease in need for anti-anxiety and psychotic medication and an improvement on the general relationship between medication and dementia patients. This article provided a general overview of how the study worked, what it consisted of and the effects experienced through its implementation.

Writing the Hits – Two heads are better than one…or are they?

A recent article published through BBC News explores the modern trend of collaboration when it comes to the writing of the chart toppers. As much as the music produced these days are so brand and personally connected to each artist, behind the radio curtain, a number of unrelated songwriters huddle together churning out the songs we blast through our speakers and pay top dime to attend artist concerts for. The article, “How many writers does a hit song need?” is a sharp and snappy read which covers artists across major genre fields as well as the songwriters working for them and how this new collaberation trend is affecting the music industry.

The Joy of Learning to Play an Instrument Later in Life – Wall Street Journal

A thoroughly enjoyable article from the great Wall Street journal on the topic of learning an instrument later on in life. Reading this helped me with a shining example of how to make a simple story shine. And the story itself is truly inspirational. As a musician in my earlier youth who has since lost the time to create music, the idea of picking up an instrument at any point in your life’s journey appeals to my sense of hope that music may not be completely gone for me yet.

Music and Learning: Intergrating Music in the Classroom by Chris Boyd Brewer

A hands on, practical guide to the benefits and implementation of music as a tool of learning within a classroom environment. This article clearly displays thorough knowledge and real research into the effects of music on the learning ability of the psyche. A reputable article produced by the reputable university of John Hopkins School of Education.

Splashy Fen Music Festival Review 

South African’s Friendliest music festival hit Underberg again this fall and it was spectacular! Having attended the festival myself, this article serves as an interesting narrative to compare to my own experience of it. It also taught be the value of a writer’s perspective on an event and how endless different things can be highlighted or downplayed, depending on the person who is experiencing it.

Variety’s article on Music Streaming Services

This article offers succinct and insightful information on the news worthy topic of streaming services within the music industry. Written in a clear, concise manner, the article effectively reported on the revenue increases within the streaming services fields. The use of inforgraphics and graphs are also an effective visual through which information is passed on. Overall, very informative.

This Is Your Brain On Music by Daniel J. Levitin


How Music Works by John Powell

These two books make the science of music easily accessible to the lowly commoner. It’s clear that both authors thoroughly researched these books. And yet the scientific specificity of each explanation or concept isn’t excessive. While Levitin focuses on the science of how music is created and consumed, Powell takes more of a personal reflection on how music effects the emotional response of those who experience it. I appreciated the focus of their writing styles and how they both skillfully and methodically broke down the exceptionally complex concept of the musical experience to something easily digestible.