Today I went back to the Music department of the university that I graduated from in September to give a seminar about Wizard Rock to a group of final year students.
The title of the paper is “The Internet’s Influence in Shaping a Musical Movement” and it goes into the various ways that Wizard Rock has utilized modern online facilities to get to where it is today.
What I didn’t get to talk about, and what doesn’t have anything to do with the title, is how much I have learned through Wizard Rock. I was born the daughter of a Music teacher and grew up playing instruments, singing and listening to every kind of music but I do believe that I have learned more about music as a result of Wizard Rock than I did during my time studying for a degree in Music. Not kidding.
With my band Romilda Vane and the Chocolate Cauldrons (RVatCC), I wanted to write songs but I didn’t know how to. So I just hit out a few notes and tried and tried until I manage to etch out a song. Then I wanted to record so I found out where do download a program, plugged in my mic and again, tried until I could do it.
When I started RVatCC I couldn’t play piano. Pianos scared me. They were a scary reminder of terrifying lessons when I was a child. Recording made me use the piano and forced me to understand chords. Soon I was playing shows in the UK and USA and I had written an album.
About two years ago I began taking theory lessons because I wanted to understand what I was playing and why some things worked and some things didn’t. Now I’ve reached a pretty high standard of music theory, something I probably wouldn’t have bothered to do without the Wizard motivation.
Not only did Wizard Rock remove my fear of the piano but after coming back from Terminus, a Harry Potter conference in Chicago and going on tour on the east coast of the USA for the second time, I picked up my guitar and learned to play it over the last three months.
Finally I’ve bought a macbook and a midi keyboard and I have to figure out how these work, so the learning continues.
I never had a reason to play music before but now I want to do it all the time. I feel so lucky that so many of my friends are now musicians and songwriters and all I want to do is immerse myself in that world.
One more thing that all this experience has taught me is that when I teach kids about music, I will never neglect the theory. I will try to get them interested in the music and have fun. Practice doesn’t have to be a chore and it’s never too late to learn.
Turn to the Music:
Well, it has to be something piano-y and by me. 🙂 ‘Break This Spell‘ by Romilda Vane and the Chocolate Cauldrons
(photo by Squib Girl, 2008)