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Musical expression is similar to telling a story. In both a story and a piece of music, there is an overall message to convey. If there are several people telling the story, each person might play a different character. In several people are playing a piece each instrument or part may express a different character. The message in a story is expressed by organizing words into coherent sentences. In music notes are arranged to form phrases that can be compared to sentences. Each phrase expresses a musical idea but also relates to other phrases. These phrases are joined into larger sections that relate much like a paragraph. Each large section is part of the entire piece but can tell contrasting parts of the overall story.
Music is more than playing individual notes, rhythms, and articulations. All of the elements of music must be combined to express or say something with heartfelt inflections. If not, it can be as boring as listening to a story told in a monotone voice!
See handout below for full list of musical expression questions and remember, this is applicable to ALL music, not just the oboe!