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After reading the MMM #1 Article: “Do You Practice The 5 Habits Of A Balanced Life?”, reflect upon the article’s five habits of a balanced, symphonic life: diversity, space, pace, common purpose and a plan.  In which of the above ways does the model of a symphony orchestra most resonate with you?  Which of these five habits most applies to your life?  How so?  Which of these five habits least applies to your life?  How so?  Describe and analyze the parallels that you can draw between your life and all five habits.

Next, discuss the significance of music and its role in your life.  How do areas of your life interact like a symphony orchestra?  How has music shaped your identity and in what ways is music representative of your personality or soul?  What styles or genres of music speak to you the most?

Lastly, choose a piece of music that you identify with and are familiar with and listen to it again with fresh ears. This time, actively participate in your listening experience by seeking new meaning from the piece.  For example, if you normally listen to the lyrics then pay close attention to the melody; or if you normally listen to rhythmic elements then pay close attention to the musical form, and so on.  What piece of music did you analyze?  Why did you choose this piece?  What does this piece mean to you?  Once you focused on a different aspect of the piece, did you discover something new about it?  If so, what did you discover?  Did this change your perception of the piece in any way, for the positive or for the negative?  If so, why and how was your perception changed?  Does this piece represent the five habits of a balanced symphonic life to you?  Why?  Why not?  Share your discoveries and analysis.

The following critical listening categories will help guide your listening experience: sound (pitch, dynamics, energy), rhythmic elements (tempo, meter, groove/feel/flow/mood), melody (melodic types, melodic architecture, melodic theme, note duration, major/minor tonality), harmony (chords, consonance, dissonance, texture, arrangements), timbre (quality of sound, vocal timbres, instrumental timbres, instrumentation), content (lyrics, language, cultural significance, dialect, subject matter), form (musical structure), genre (style) and technology (effects, computer influence).

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