Sometimes it can be hard to write about this class. But this difficulty doesn’t come from a lack of words or ideas. It comes more so from an overabundance of words and ideas as well as the reality that nothing I can write will be able to make anyone else truly understand and appreciate how good this class is and how meaningful it has been to me. This class is pretty much the exact class that I have wanted and needed for the past three years.

One of the most valuable activities we did in this class was the group song assignment. It was very open ended. We just had to record and put together a song before the final friday of the class. It could be an original song, a cover, literally anything. Honestly, this assignment was the biggest source of stress for me. Am I talented enough to add something worthwhile to this project? Can I keep up with all these incredibly artistic people I’m surrounded by? It turns out I wasn’t the only one asking these questions. In fact, I think everyone in the class felt this way to some degree. 

By the time friday came around those fears were not so present in my mind and as it turns out, the song that we created was actually a really interesting sonic journey which very clearly had each of our musical histories baked into its very fiber. Is it a perfectly polished song? No. Does it have some funky sounds? Yes. Is that a problem? No. Does it capture our shared story as a class? Absolutely. The song probably isn’t a success by most definitions of the word. But it wasn’t ever really meant to be a success. It was meant to be expressive and it was meant to mean something to those of us who created it. When I hear it, it embodies the shared experience of being in MU228, an experience which pushes boundaries, creates connections, and is built on a foundation of support and admiration for one another. 

At the end of the day, the project taught us that there is a lot of violence done when the elitist system tells people that they must be THE BEST and that they must fit a certain definition of talent or else they shouldn’t even try. This is part of the beauty of this class. It is not only intensely personal, it also constantly connects back to the world surrounding us and situates music and the music industry as things which can allow for rebellion and change while also being able to be used to oppress.

As I sit down to start working on my final project for class, many of these realizations are prominent in my mind. I want to try to write a song as part of my final project because I know that it will express a truth of my life, and even if I am not the most technically advanced singer or guitarist I know it’ll be great. I want to write a short story even though I have never written one before for fear of writing a story that ends up being total garbage. I want to, and must, try to examine the ways that my personal musical history is tied to systems of rebellion as well as to systems of oppression. We as humans live artistic lives. We walk to our own rhythms, think in beautiful convoluted circles, and experience every intense emotion that every great renowned artist has ever felt. This class is starting to help me be less fearful to express that art and to live more authentically.  

In the interest of expressing openly without fear of being judged based on a strict idea of talent, here is a video I recorded several months ago. It is a flamenco style called Alegrias, and my rendering is far from perfect. But contrary to what the conservatories say, flamenco is not an artform that should be perfect. It should be expressive.

So I want this final blog post to be a thank you. Thank you to Professor Carrizo for putting together this amazing class and for making it the best version of itself it could possibly be. Thank you to all our guests who joined class and immediately fit right in, adding their voices and experiences to the web of ideas we have been spinning in class. And thank you to my classmates, whose kindness, openness, and thoughtfulness made this class truly special. I can’t recommend it enough!

Published by Robert

Hello! I'm Robert Wehner-Ortega and I'm currently a junior Anthropology major at CC. I was born and raised in Colorado in a Spanish household, and this mix of identities is a huge factor in making me the person I am today. I'm many things, but generally when I tell people that I'm a poetry loving, Dnd playing, music enthusiast they can get a pretty good idea of who I am. :)