DAILY TOPIC SUBJECT – MUSIC! – Marilyn Armstrong

Daily Topic Subject – The Beauty of Great Music

There was a time in my life when I was “all music all the time.” I completed a music major in college (piano) with a minor in “what am I really going to be when I grow up?” I knew I wasn’t a good enough pianist to perform professionally, added to which I have stage fright so bad I get petrified. I can talk on a stage — even with a camera running — but not perform. Especially, not play the piano. My teacher had to pretend to make tea so I would perform for her.

If my minimal talent was barely sufficient, my stage fright was paralytic … but she was warmly encouraging. She felt I had talent. I don’t think she really understood that my hands are really small and I had a terrible time with ‘big hand’ music … I think she kept expecting me to grow. I started taking lessons when I was 4, so I suppose she never got used to my having actually grown up.

If she didn’t turn me into a professional musician, she did teach me to love music. So I read music, though I can’t play anymore so it’s a moot point.

And I can always tell if someone is off-key. Including me.

Q1] How important is music in your life?

Moderately, but I don’t like music playing all the time. If music is on, I want to actually listen to it. I don’t like it as background noise.

Q2] What is most and least favorite types of music?

Most favorite is classical except when it’s bluegrass, country, or 1960s rock. Yeah, I know. Call me eclectic.

Least would be either hip-hop or rap. Rap may be art, but it isn’t music. Hip-hop to me is just noise.

Q3] Do you own a music collection or do you simply listen to whatever on whatever?

We own CDs. Like, a lot of them. I just got a new CD player since when we got a newer car, we lost the CD player too.

Q4] Are you a singer, a hummer or a whistler?

I used to sing. Broke my voice many years ago. I hum quietly and can’t whistle.

PQ5] Show through links your five best songs?

I really can’t do that. Music for me is entirely changeable, literally minute by minute. I  DO like everything. Well, up through the late 1970s. After that, it got weird.

Q6] Have you ever been to an outdoor concert?

Yes. My two favorites were”Men At Work” and Ray Charles in the natural arena below the walls of Jerusalem’s Old City.

PQ7] Do you ever go out to listen to music live? When was the last time you went to a concert/gig?

We used to. Not recently, though. Last time was the 2015 Boston Pops Christmas Concert.

Q8] Do you sometimes feel like dancing when you hear music? Under what circumstances do you dance?

Yes, but I don’t. I can’t. I really can’t.

Q9] When do you listen to music?

In the morning while I try to sort out the morass of email in my inbox.

Q10] If you answered yes to Questions 6 & 7 – who did you go and see?

Men At Work, Ray Charles, and The Boston Pops (Christmas Concert)

Q11] Is there a song that makes you emotional?

All songs make me emotional. That’s why I don’t listen to it all the time.

PQ12] Do you feel that you have a special connection with some types of music? Which types?

Piano music that I used to play. I still see the notes in my head.

Another one I like playing

Q13]  Have you ever tried singing in a karaoke bar? What was the experience like?


Q14] Do you listen to music when writing? If so which?

No. When I write, I write.

PQ15] Have you ever gone to see a musical? What was it, provide link please.

We went to see the revived “Show Boat” on Broadway … like 15 years ago? Don’t have a link, sorry.

Q16] Do you know the lyrics to all the songs you like?

Some, not all.

Q17] When you are listening to music – are you listening just to the music itself or the lyrics too?

Both. Also, it depends on whether or not there ARE any lyrics. A lot of music is just music. No lyrics.

Q18] Do you listen to music when you go cycling/jogging or when you’re working out at the gym? [or any other physical activity]

We used to listen while driving, but when we sold our car, it took away the CD player. Maybe I’ll learn to like the radio.

Q19] Many operas are in French, Italian or German. If you listen to opera, do you understand the libretto (text) or are you happy to get the gist (main idea)?

I really hate opera, especially soprano solos. I like operettas, however. Gilbert & Sullivan does it for me.

PQ20] Are you deleting any questions, if so which ones?


Q21] Do you enjoy watching music videos? What sort of music videos do you enjoy most?

Very occasionally and it depends on my mood. Last time it was an old Dolly Parton show from way back, also starring a young Linda Ronstadt.

Categories: Music, Photography, Q & A, questions

Tags: , , ,

7 replies

  1. Didn’t know you were a DIre Straits fan..?

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Love this post. Not a musician and, unlike my “baby” brother, I can’t carry a tune (except in the shower)

    – I dislike rap, hip-hop and their ilk.

    – I love the old show tunes and “standards” from the 30’s-50’s.

    I like classic rock. Chuck Berry, Elvis, The Everly Bros, Buddy Holly, The Platters (into doo-wop here), Sam Cooke,

    I really like country — The Man In Black, Merle Haggard, Loretta Lynn, Linda Ronstadt (blind love), Dolly Parton, Loretta Lynn, Willie Nelson and so many more.

    R&B — Aretha, James Brown, Janis (??), Billie Holiday, Sarah Vaughn, “Mr. B”, Ella, etc, etc.

    Jazz/R &B — Peggy Lee, Miles Davis, “Pops” Armstrong, Coltrane, Sonny Rollins, Mel Torme, Sarah Vaughn, Etta James, etc ad nauseum.

    Standards — Sinatra, Nat Cole, Bennett, Day, Crosby, and the rest of the ’78 gang from my yoot.

    Show tunes — “Oklahoma”, “Carousel”, “My Fair Lady”, “Brigadoon”, “Camelot”, “Cabaret”, “Showboat”, “Porgy and Bess” and, yes,”The Sound of Music”. Plus so many,many more.

    Folk Music — any day or night — Baez, Collins, Emmy Lou, Judy, Belafonte, Leon Bibb, Odetta, Miriam Makeba, The Simon Sisters, Ronstadt (again, the flame burns brighter), The Kingston Trio, Chad Mitchell, Tim McIntire (underappreciated and gone too soon. Watch “Jeremiah Johnson” again and appreciate Tim’s music and voice). So many, many more.

    I wanna hear Baez singing “Maid of Constant Sorrow”, “Blue” and “Barbara Allen ” among others.

    I wanna hear Collins sing “Send In The Clowns” and “Amazing Grace”.

    I wanna hear Sinatra sing “September of My Years” and “Yesterday, when the world was Young”

    I wanna hear Nat Cole sing “Autumn Leaves”, “Smile”, “Mona Lisa” and “I Love You For Sentimental Reasons”

    I wanna hear Walter Houston speak/sing “September Song”

    and…I wanna hear Doris Say sing to me “When I Fall In Love”.

    Epilogue: I did one Kareoke gig and sang “My Heroes Have Always Been Cowboys” — no calls for an encore.

    – 30 –


    • Mostly, we share our taste in music. I like the standards, but not as much as you do … but I think that’s an age difference … you know, what we grew up with. I grew up all Rogers & Hammerstein all the time with a heavy background of Bach, Beethoven, with Chopin for dessert. Then along came the Beatles and the Doors and the Stones … and oh my, wasn’t that something else! Most of the newer stuff isn’t particularly unique or interesting. We were born into a bubble of bursting modern music and that doesn’t happen to everyone. It will no doubt reoccur, but I don’t think in our lifetime. You need the right combination of performers and a world ready to hear them.


  3. Fascinating! I had heard you ‘say’ you played piano and it sounds like you were maybe a lot better than you gave yourself credit for. I get that whole stage fright thing…I LOVE acting, but get me out there and I just freeze. Deer in the headlights.. it’s horrible. Makes one wonder how some really famous people got/get through that…I’ve heard Barbra Streisand has the same problem. But you’d never know, would you? ‘Course I’ve never seen her ‘live’ or anything..


    • I was a pretty good pianist. But between “pretty good” and REALLY good lies a gigantic gap. I was good enough to be entertaining at home and for friends, when I could convince myself to play, but never good enough for real performance. I think maybe on a different instrument, I might have been better. The piano was too big for me.


  4. My musical tastes are so scatterbrained that I’d have trouble identifying what my favorite types of music are or what my favorite songs were. I can’t think of a single genre I don’t like at least a little of the selection from, nor one where I like pretty much everything in it. Whatever that app is that is supposed to put together playlists for you based on the music you listen to would have a very difficult time pinning me down…


    • Me too. I grew up on classical, because I played it, and show music because my mother loved it. I learned to like other stuff because it was the 1960s and music was amazing! It will probably never be that amazing again, but while it lasted, it was something else.


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