MUSC225 Final Blog Post

April 27th, 2012

Migration, Ethnicity, and Interactions between the United States and Hispanic Caribbean Popular Culture

Ángel G. Quintero Rivera and Mariana Ortega Breña

Latin American Perspectives , Vol. 34, No. 1, The Crisis of U.S. Hegemony in the Twenty-First Century (Jan., 2007), pp. 83-93

Published by: Sage Publications, Inc.

Article Stable URL:


Migration and Worldview in Salsa Music

Angel G. Quintero-Rivera and Roberto Márquez

Latin American Music Review / Revista de Música Latinoamericana , Vol. 24, No. 2 (Autumn – Winter, 2003), pp. 210-232

Published by: University of Texas Press

Article Stable URL:

The relationship between Latin America and the United States is a very interesting one. Latin America trades many different cultural assets with the U.S. including food, cultural terms, and music. The mambo, salsa, tango, and bolero are all very popular among both worlds, causing a correlation between the two. When research began, the focus was primarily on the division between the two worlds, but as I got further into research I noticed that the two are extremely similar. For example, even though salsa music originated from the United States, it is very prominent in Latin America.

“The overarching concept of ‘Latin’ music that began developing during the time of the boleros and trios was strengthened when, in the 1950’s, the U.S. Latino communities adopted the “big band” format previously used in swing and jazz” (Breña 86). After World War II, small communities were formed all over the country, especially in cities, such as New York City. When these divisions happened in celebration, each group had their signature type of music. The Latino communities looked toward previous American influence like jazz music. They put a twist on it to create what we now know as salsa.

When Latinos moved back south to countries such as Belize, Panama, Cuba, and Puerto Rico, they brought music back with them. This music would transform their culture and make Latin America a signature location for fun and vacation. The dichotomy of Latin America and the U.S. that once existed was gone. “Among the various musical movements in the Caribbean, salsa has perhaps most consciously sought to erase lines of division between the future and the past, between innovation and tradition, within the Caribbean dialectic of continuity and rupture” (Márquez 219)

The first example that I have of salsa music is entitled “Amor Para Ti.” This piece has a distinct salsa rhythm that makes people want to dance. The percussion holds the rhythm, while the vocalist and other instruments play the melody. The piano is a signature instrument, because it plays a repeated phrase for the entirety of the song. The song starts with a brassy timbre and vocals that welcome the percussion. At 0:45 the cowbell starts playing on the beat, with accents. The vocalists sing the same notes causing a homophonic texture.

Another infamous performer in Latin America is Ruben Blades. My favorite song of his is “Camaleon.” It seems that percussion leads the music with setting the tempo. The piano does not seem as a separate instrument in the piece. Rather, it sounds like a part of the percussion ensemble with setting the background melody that parallels the percussion section. Around 1:11, antiphony occurs with the main singer and backup singers. With abrupt pauses, tempo changes, and a brassy timbre, this song stands out amongst other salsa music.

Ruben Blades was a frontrunner with another song called “Boogaloo Salvi.” The boogaloo song is “a blend of Latin music, principally mambo, with black American rhythm and blues” (Márquez  222). This is a great example of how other cultures combine through the art of music and portray new and refreshing themes. This particular song also has a very brassy timbre, which is common in a majority of salsa music. “Boogaloo Salvi,” however, is driven by the high hat and the drums, more than the trumpets and other brass instruments. It was a very interesting combination of instruments with the percussion at a much higher volume. It was very intriguing with the ornamented pitches and sudden changes in volume, too.

As well as salsa, other developments besides came about around this time period. “…youths who had experienced immigrant life in New York and then moved to the public housing projects of San Juan and Panama began recording underground versions of Spanish-language rap.” (Márquez  89) The whole immigration boom that was occurring in the States was also occurring in Latin America. We were constantly trading with one another through culture shifts. The immigrant life changed everything, including how we view music today. I am so thankful that feel-good salsa music is in both locations of the Americas, so that we can enjoy people’s company through the art of music and dance.

Blog 2

March 7th, 2012

Find another example of a work song tradition, outside of the United States, and compare it and contrast it with the Ghanaian example.


The Ghanaian post office work song was very interesting. The way that the man used rhythm and beat in order to work at an efficient manner was really cool to listen to. The video, on the other hand was a different experience, because we were actually able to witness the man work along with the rhythm that helped set his pace.

Americans used to use work songs all the time during slavery. The beat kept slaves working in the cotton fields, building railroad tracks, and transporting goods from one location to another. At first, I thought work songs were an American custom, but the more and more I researched, the more I realized that work song are popular in almost every culture. Regardless if they are to mandate labor, or just a tune to hum along to during a task, work songs drive labor in a positive manner. Work songs are not just aids to an occupation, but can be somewhat of a distraction from the labor.

In the Chinese SiChuan Province, on the Yangtze River, Boat trackers are responsible for pulling boats upstream and downstream. The chant came about in order to motivate the Chinese workers to work harder and move the heavy boats upstream, through the curvy, twisty waterways. “The special geological conditions contributed to the emergence of the Sichuan Boatmen’s Chant” (Folk Art). These Chinese families created two separate chants, one for downstream and one to sing for moving upstream. The downstream chant is slow and flowing. The upstream chant include sail-streaming and oar pulling, which is a faster chant.

The clip that I found for the Chinese SiChuan Province is called, “A Work Song of Boat Trackers in the SiChuan Province.” Antiphony runs throughout the entire song, with a woman leading the chant. No instruments are used, but voices dominate the piece. A improvised beginning of the soloist starts the song, with the rest of the boat trackers humming with raised voices and singing only two different pitches. About every thirty seconds, the female soloist uses dialogue to either give direction or to speak the ways of the SiChuan Province. The group responds in grunts. Her spoken words are sharp and forceful. At 2:15, the lead singer finishes her dialogue and starts yelling a vocable, or unintelligible words and phrases. Within two seconds the rest of the clan follows her lead in the song, providing antiphony.

Immediately the song begins to change with her commands at 2:25. The timbre, or an individual musical sound, becomes shriller and the tempo picks up. I believe that this begins to be an example of how these people pull the boats upstream. At 4:02, the crowd creates a faster beat grunting and creating the meter. The lead female starts improvising and using more vocables to enhance the chant. I believe that every grunt signifies the oar going into the water as the group tries to pull the boat upstream. At 4:37, there is a harsh timbre with the shrills of guidance and excitement. In order for this process to be a success, the group must work cohesively and quickly to ensure a fair product for their labor. Without work songs, the group would not be in sync, and therefore the group would fail at moving the boat through the rapids and sharp turns in the water.

Blog Post 1

February 13th, 2012

How has time in a foreign country changed your perspective on a certain music culture?

For the past two years, I have traveled to Kampala, Uganda over Winter Break. Learning more about African music has really got me intrigued to learn more about not only music, but why cultures listen to certain music styles, and how that shapes their society. Contrary to assumption, Kampala is a very urban city. While there are still problems with electricity and running water, the city of Kampala still captures people’s hearts. Music, along with national pride, really culminates this society.

Radio and Weasel are a popular rap group in Uganda, as well as many other countries in Africa. Their music is very catchy and popular. Along with Akon, Jay-Z, and Chameleone, Radio and Weasel have chart-topping hits in Kampala. They began writing music in 2007, with their first popular song called “Nakudata” and have been writing music ever since.

One of their most popular songs is “Sweet Lady.”  It is paced at a moderately slow tempo, with a “dance-like” backbeat. The percussion is playing constant duple meters in the background throughout the entire song. At 2:20 the timbre of Radio and Weasel’s voices are very soft, smooth, and nasally. Timbre refers to the character of individual musical sound. The harmony of this part brings together the relationship between melody and chords. The soft harmony brings a sort of comfort to the song, rather than just a beat that would play in the clubs in Uganda.

Around 3:15 antiphonic vocal texture begins as the Ugandan woman responds to the Radio and Weasel repeating, “I am your lady. I’ll give you my number” with the same type of timbre a minute before. Thirty five seconds after, at 3:50, a harsh voice comes in, creating a sharp and bright timbre for the singer.

General traits of African music are polyrhythm, antiphony, improvisation, and cultural ties to a ceremony. While Radio and Weasel follow some of the same general traits, they also compare a lot with western culture, in that they follow the same structure. For example, the structure of the song is chorus, verse, chorus, verse, chorus, bridge, and then chorus. Radio and Weasel do not serve as a musical group to perform at ceremonies. Rather, they serve to entertain at clubs and concerts. This music is primarily for dance, but not ceremonial dance. Worlds of Music, by Titon say, “one vital function of African music is to mold separate individuals into a group” (69).

Through Radio and Weasel and many other musical groups that I listened to in Kampala, I learned that stereotypes are not always true. African music is most of the time used as work songs, for ceremonies, or celebrations, but other times African music can just be for the primary use of having fun. I believe that most Americans think of African music as a call-and-response choir, but it is so much more than that with different layers and textures to every piece of music. Going to Africa and experiencing Uganda first hand was more than just learning about the music, it was learning about emotions and the reasons Africans sing and dance the way they do. Uganda truly centers around music in order to understand one another.

Titon, Jeff Todd. “Africa/Ewe, Mande, Dagbanba, Shona, BaAka.” Worlds of Music: An Introduction to the Music of the World’s Peoples. New York: Schirmer, 1984. Print.

MUSC 225-What is Music?

January 23rd, 2012

Music to me crosses borders. Where ever I have traveled, familiar songs come on the radio. Similar beats are tapped on knees; whistling and humming end in laughter. Music translates when language cannot. Maybe music is not universal, but it definitely brings people together from all different backgrounds.

I truly have a heart for traveling, and specifically in third world countries. Over winter break, I visited Kampala, Uganda. One of the first songs I heard there was “Waka waka” by Shakira. Not only is that song played in America, but it is in English and Spanish. Sometimes language holds people back from forming relationships, but when that song came on, everyone started to sing along. It was beautiful and proved that music has no set boundary.

I believe that music should be simple. Sometimes I get frustrated with music that tries to complicate a process, to make a song sound “better” such as a remix of somesort. Music should be original and carefree, not commercialized. Music is a true way to understand people, and therefore, the art form should be respected and honored.

Blog Post 4 (11/11)

November 11th, 2011

1) What is working well? What problems are you having? How well will the lesson actually teach the skills you are actually working on?

I think my group works really well to collaborate ideas and past experiences in order to create a multi-faceted lesson plan. The three of us all have different school backgrounds, so pulling in prior knowledge of how our teachers used to explain English and other subjects really helped our unit develop. I believe that our lesson plan, over all, is working really well. It is challenging, because I feel like we do not have enough time in class, but working a bit outside of class is helping our group succeed. Our unit is very complex, which makes our lesson very applicable to our “sixth graders.” We are pulling in a lot of information about different subjects in order to teach them how to better their work.

2) What are you learning about how to write lesson plans and about how to create effective grammar lessons?

I have gained a lot from this experience, thus far. Lesson plans are very challenging. In the future when I create lesson plans, I now know that I will need to be completely focused and ready to plan. I tend to multitask a lot, but with lesson planning, you cannot multitask very much. The  more focused I am when creating one, the more beneficial the lesson plan. This process has taught me very quickly that a teacher must be very dedicated and passionate with their lesson, or else the students will not retain any information. I have grown attached to this unit, and plan on applying it to my future teaching, due to the time and energy I spent on planning.

3) Include a first draft of the annotation and reference list you will use for Part 6.

My group really wanted to focus on suboordinating conjunctions. We believe that suppordinating conjunctiosn can really strengthen a students work. It also helps vary sentence structure and sentence beginnings. We looked at Chapter 5 in Teaching Grammar that discusses how to effectively teach subordinating conjunctions to improve a students writing. We really enjoyed the human sentence activity.

Benjamin, A., & Berger, J. (2010). Chapter five: Links: Conjunctions and prepositions. Teaching grammar (pp. 71-76). Larchmont, NY: Eye On Education.

Sentences: 11/4/2011

November 4th, 2011


Jim, my little brother, drove me crazy yesterday.

Adverbial Clause:

Although I was angry at Sarah, I realized that she was right.

Adjectival Clause:

The girl that was sobbing in the library was stressed about her test.

Participial Phrase:

Breathing deeply, the yoga instructor demonstrated a more advanced position.

Tammy Pawloski’s lecture on “Important Work: Teaching Children in Poverty” was an incredible experience. Pawloski continues to work and study at Francis Marion University where she shares how poverty can affect the brain. Low birth weight, premature birth, and a mulititude of disabilities multiply when a mother does not have access to proper medical care and lives in poverty. Yet, schools can make a difference in that child’s life. Pawloski said that there is a two to one advantage of environment over genetics. By this, she means that even if disease, poverty, and other genetic factors are present, they can be changed or altered by the environment. It is up to the school system to do this for every child in need.

Pawloski continued to passionately share stories from her life to adopting an impoverished child to raising him up to be a successful baseball player. Using her first hand experience and studying children in poverty for some time, she created eight strategies for teachers of children in poverty. The first and most important strategy she mentioned was to develop high quality relationships with your students. If you don’t build a relationship, they won’t trust you. This is a way to build status. By building quality relationships, you give children hope. Kids need that reassurance when working on a project or playing nicely to continue that behavior. If we just criticize or students, they will only know what is wromg and not what is right in the classroom setting. When a teacher compliments a student, it improves chemicals in the brain; bad chemicals leave and good chemicals come in. Through changing chemicals in the brain, it increases mood, persistence, confidence, and better results. When looking at classroom management, nine out of ten success stories point to relationships!

Second, is health. Teachers, schools, school systems, and the community need to combine together to fight poverty and bad nutrition. Pawloski recomended using Brain Gym books to help perform small excersizes during class time to keep students active and participating.  Family Partnerships also turn into a healthy students. Many parents fear a parent teacher conference, because they just want to make sure that the teacher knows their child, likes their child, and know how the student compares to others in the class. When parents agree with the teacher, it makes it a lot easier to help the child succeed. Next, Pawloski suggested to align classroom instruction with required tests and standards. She believes that instruction and access produce standards and indicators of student success.

Tammy Pawloski is also a strong candidate for motivating the unmotivated. If teachers let the unmotivated slide by, they will never be successful. When coming from an underpriviledged home, students think that they are not as good as the “rich kids,” so they become unmotivated. It is our job as teachers to motivate these children to succeed, because they have just as much of a chance than other students. To further push this academically, Pawloski said to build academic background knowledge. Vocabulary used in the classroom is a huge motivator for students. When standardized tests come out, students will be less worried about reading comprhensions, because they know what “big words” mean. Vocabulary is the backbone to background knowledge.

Even though her presentation was cut short, I thoroughly enjoyed it. Rather than being a boring powerpoint presenation, she made us dance, shout out answers, had us engaged, and really helped each person in the room really absorb and grasp the information. Pawloski was a great speaker to address the President with, through the Fall series of the Sankofa

Blog Post 3: Part B (10/17)

October 17th, 2011

Test Two Review

Punctuation Vocabulary:

Colons: use only after an independent clause and announces that an example is soon to follow

Semicolon: connects two independent clauses that are related and does not use a coordinating conjunction and also replaces commas when in a complicated series

Parentheses: are used to enclose extra information and indicate words of less importance to the sentence

Brackets: used in direct quotes to show that words are added/can also be used within parenthesis

Ellipsis Points: 3 points to show that word are omitted within the quote/when it is at the end of a sentence, a fourth point should be added

Apostrophe: indicates contractions when words have letters missing, indicates possession, and when describing letters or symbols

Italics: used when naming ships, space ships, and art work, books, plays, CDs, magazines/used when referring to letters within a word/also used with foreign words

Quotation Marks: used with direct quotes, titles of songs, poems, articles, and dialog


  • L: Commas to separate items in a list (the series comma)
  • I: Commas to set off introductions (the introductory elements commas before the subject; the direct address)
  • E: Commas to set off extra information (the nonrestrictire elements comma pair; the appositive comma pair)
  • S: Commas to set off side-by-side sentences when coordinating conjunction is also used (the compound sentence comma)

Important Definitions:

Nominals: perform all the functions of nouns and pronouns

Appositives: optional use, used to rename nominals, comes right after a nominal in a sentence, commas are used with them regarding modifiers

Gerunds: look like present participles but act as nominals

Phrase: words that do not have a subject or a verb (ex: with his big fat mouth)

Clause: words that must have a subject AND verb (ex: he yelled at us with his big fat mouth)

Prepostition: a structure class word that begins at a prepositional phrase, which can function adjectively or adverbially (about, before, under)

Phrasal Verb: a verb consisting of a verb plus a particle (looked up, making out)

Independent Clause: a group of words with a subject and a verb that can stand alone as a sentence

Dependent Clause: a group of words with a subject and a verb that cannot stand alone

Compound Sentence: a sentence consisting of two or more independent clauses that uses a conjunction

Complex Sentence: a sentence consisting of one independent and one dependent clause

Affix: prefixes and suffixes

Conjunction: a structure class word that connects two or more words, phrases, or clauses

Coordinating Conjunction: a conjunction that connects two words, phrases, or clauses (FANBOYS words)

Correlative Conjunction: operates in pairs (either or/neither nor)

Subordinating Conjunction: a conjunction that introduces a subordinate clause (AAAWWUBBIS words)

Relative Pronoun: pronouns used to introduce relative clauses (who, whom, whose, that, which)

Comma Splice: two independent clauses joined by a comma incorrectly

Run-on sentence: two independent clauses with no punctuation

Fragment: a group of words that have punctuation as if it were a sentence, but is not

Conjunctive Adverb: can move within own clause (ex: however, therefore, moreover)

Form class words: nouns, verbs, adjectives, and adverbs (look at endings, can take affixes)

Structure class words: determiners, axillaries, qualifiers, prepositions, particles, conjunctions, pronouns (can’t be added on to, no affixes)

Embedding Grammar Steps:

1) Scope and Sequence: using a grammar calendar to track progress and teaching schedule for the year

2) Recursive Learning: after a unit is completed, the student builds on previous knowledge

3) Scaffolding: Going from participating in group work to working individually

4) Visuals and Manipulatives: adhering to visual and kinesthetic learners (using objects and pictures to teach a unit)

5) Application Within the Writing Process: using the grammar lesson previously taught and incorporating it into the students work

6) Authentic Literature: when a teacher incorporates literature into the grammar lesson

Sentence Patterns:

Type 1- subject+intransitive action verb

Type 2- subect+transitive action verb+direct object

Type 3- subject+linking verb+subject compliment

Since the last reflective blog post, I have realized that I did not know about grammar as much as I had thought. Taking English 382 has really taught me different terms, strategies, and rules that one must go by, in order to be grammatically sound. The past few weeks have been really eye-opening. Benjamin and Berger have taught me many ways to teach my future students about grammar.

In my other courses, I am learning about the right and wrong ways to teach, too. A lot of the information is similar! Learning cool ways to approach a topic rather than being a boring teacher is one of my greatest fears. In Chapter 6 of Teaching Grammar, Benjamin and Berger suggest many neat activities that I would love to try in my classroom. For example, the Picture Game is when the teacher cuts out pictures and gives one to each group of three students. Then, “Have one student in each group write a sentence below the picture to begin the story, using the grammar variation you are teaching” (2010, 91). After the student finishes writing their sentence, they pass the picture to their partner, so that he or she can add another sentence to continue their story. The picture gets passed around the group until a story is created. This exercise can really help engrain knowledge into student’s minds. It not only helps them with group work, but it helps them with critical thinking skills and the application of new knowledge.

The information I have learned over the past couple of weeks is pretty new to me. I knew how to apply some of the grammatical rules to my writing, but did not know why I did so. It just sounds right, so I left it alone. Benjamin and Oliva state, “Words shirt easily from one part of speech to another” in Engaging Grammar (2007, 107).  This can be confusing to me at times, too. Through practice, I am improving. Now, I am beginning to reflect on my own writing; I am more conscious of how and what I write about.

My biggest struggle right now is the vocabulary. I understand how to use the words or how to edit sentences. But, I have a hard time recalling what a certain word represents. Once I really study the vocabulary, I will be more confident, but at times it can be overwhelming.

I can’t wait to start new material next week and learn other ways to teach grammar, so that I can be a better first year teacher. Sometimes it worries me that I will be teaching a class in two years, but then I reflect on my education thus far at Longwood, and realize that the classes I am taking will be really useful.

Hansel and Gretel’s father who smelled of fish sticks had an affair with a fat and hungry lady.  [When Hansel and Gretel found out, they told their mother.] <complex> Then, their mother, who was enraged with jealousy, told the woman’s wealthy husband, named Greg. [When Greg found out the news, he decided to divorce his obese wife.] <complex> [Meanwhile, Hansel and Gretel’s mother, Julia, was walking in the woods when suddenly a bear ferociously attacked her; sadly, she died.] <compound>  Their dad then married the fat lady he’d had an affair with last month.