School of The Rock


Thinking About Music

Comedian Martin Mull once said “Writing about music is like dancing about architecture.”*    But it tells at least part of the story.  And sometimes you have to spell out exactly what you mean, especially when you’re discussing topics like music that include aesthetics, religious traditions, and cultural standards that not every one may share exactly. 

This is a place for some of our articles about music and culture.  We have separated out the topics that related more to music and faith, or music and faith and culture, to make them easier to find.  

We’re not claiming that these are the only possible views on these subjects - just our views at the time we wrote the articles.  Like our “Things to Think About” articles, they are mostly meant to stimulate thought and discussion.  We seriously want to hear from you, and we hope you’ll enter into the discussion. While we’re starting out we have room to share your responses in the “reader response” section of the article, as long as it’s printable, coherent, and from a real person (Although we will withhold your name from the page if you ask us to).

The articles we’ve had a chance to post so far are:

  • Musician or Wannabe? - Proposes that “the artists with the greatest chance of success, and the greatest potential for real ‘sticking power’ when they achieve it are those who combine their talent and dreams with a continuous drive to learn and improve. Read more
  • How to Give Guitar Lessons - a Humorous Look - Meet with at least one parent. Explain that you teach guitar, not just a single style or handful of songs but the instrument itself. You want to give the student the tools to continue to grow as a musician long after the lessons are over or his or her tastes in music change. Note that the parent seems to think that's a good idea. Read more.
  • Are You a "Brand Bigot"? - What do musicianship and name brand instruments have to do with each other? If you remove prejudice and bragging rights from the equation, not as much as you might think. 
  • Horns I Have Known - an admittedly subjective look back at saxophones I’ve owned and learned from over the years.
  • A Brief History of Contemporary Christian Music - What was Jesus Music, and how did it lay the foundation for today’s “Contemporary Christian” and “Worship” music?
  • What was the Folk Revival? - What we call “Folk Music” today is really the product of a mid-century movement in which middle-class white American youths learned, adopted, and promoted the musical traditions of otherwise underappreciated classes and subcultures.  Don’t feel like that’s an insult, though - the Folk Revival influenced every kind of music being created in North America today.  Plus a parallel movement in the UK called “Skiffle” directly influenced the Beatles and other “British Invasion” bands.  This article is actually on, one of our “sister sites.”

When we started out, these articles were on the “Things to Think About” page, but we broke this section out so we’d have room to add more articles, as well as links to other articles we thought were worth a look. 

Discussion Forum:  We are also starting a discussion group on our forum page for topics related to these articles.  At the moment it’s a little thin, but you can still click here to check it out.

Other Resources:

Here are two more articles from the, site that may also be of interest to some of you.

Another “sister site” Family Christmas Online has a new article about playing saxophone for a Salvation Army kettle in December, 2013:

For a look at what else Paul race has been up to, check out:


* Apparently Elvis Costello quoted Mull, and other folks quoted Costello, and now that quote has been attributed to every notable musician this side of Scott Joplin.  In fact, this is an example of why writing about music is so tricky - because what everybody “knows” might not actually be true.

All material, illustrations, and content of this web site are copyrighted (c) 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017 by Paul D. Race. All rights reserved.
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Paul Race playing a banjo. Click to go to Paul's music home page.A Note from Paul: Whatever else you get out of our pages, I hope you enjoy your music and figure out how to make enjoyable music for those around you as well.

And please stay in touch!

    - Paul Race Click to see Paul's music page on Facebook Click to see Paul's music blog page Click to see Paul's music home page Click to see Paul's YouTube Channel. Click to contact Paul through this page. Click to learn about our Momma Don't Low Newsletter.

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