Music Suggestions from the Experts

Everyone loves music.  Some prefer wider ranges than others and people argue over which genre or musician is better, but we all still love music itself.

Sometimes our tastes change though, and we are always on the prowl for new bands, musicians, and music in general to listen to. With final exams not too far off, maybe some want some new music to help them relax and de-stress, or to listen to outside as spring weather approaches.

I’ve asked members of our own music department here at McDaniel to share their favorite music with you so you can enjoy the things the people who teach this stuff love.

Senior Lecturer Kyle Engler suggests that “for mind-expanding fun,” Schoenberg’s “Verklaerte Nacht,” or “Transfigured Night” as translated into English, for eight strings is the way to go.  It’s a long piece of chamber music, and “requires about 20 minutes of silence to enjoy.”

For partying, Ms. Engler enjoys anything by Django Rheinhardt or any of the Tangos of Astor Piazzolla, or “Gypsy Kings is fun party music.”

Eric Byrd, also a lecturer and member of The Eric Byrd Trio, has many recommendations for different situations and environments.

For “driving with the windows down,” Byrd suggests anything from the band Earth Wind & Fire.  If dancing, Michael Jackson, J5 or The Jacksons; he advises, “Don’t overlook ‘Enjoy Yourself,’ ‘Dancing Machine’ or ‘Shake Your Body Down to the Ground.’”

For playing air guitar, and I whole-heartedly agree, Led Zeppelin is what you want, “especially CDs 1-4 or the tracks Kashmir, ‘The Lemon Song.’”  Mr. Byrd also recommends that, “When you want to get reflective as the sun starts to set, James Taylor’s ‘One Man Band’ or Maxwell’s ‘Black Summer’s Night.’”  He suggests “Looking for You” by Kirk Franklin for when you’re debating whether or not to go to church, although he admits that “your church won’t sound like that, but it’s nice to dream.”

Mr. Byrd goes on to say that, “When it’s 2 a.m., you’re still buzzed, but you’re tired of dancing and want to move into phase 3 of the evening to chill,” Miles Davis’ “Kind of Blue” or Melody Gardot’s “My One and Only Thrill” are what you should be looking for. And following up on that, “when it’s 3 a.m. and you’re ‘not alone,’” anything by Marvin Gaye is perfect, especially “Let’s Get it On,” “After the Dance,” and “I Want You.”

Hopefully some of these recommendations are what you’re looking for if you want to find new material. While some genres may not quite be your thing, there might be something in here just for you.  These are some suggestions from the people who pretty much make careers out of music, so enjoy some music from the experts.