miércoles, 10 de diciembre de 2014

Talking point: Music

This week's talking point is music. Before getting together with the members of your conversation group, go over the questions below, so that ideas flow more easily when you meet up with your friends and you can work out vocabulary problems beforehand.
  • What kind of music do you like the best/least? Why?
  • Do you prefer Spanish music or from other countries?
  • Which decade of pop music do you prefer?
  • Who is the greatest musician in the world, living or dead?
  • When did you last dance and what was the music?
  • Can you play a musical instrument?
  • Which do you prefer –music from the 21st century, the 20th century or before that?
  • When did you last listen to live music?
  • Have you ever sung karaoke? When? Did you like it?
  • Do you prefer classical music, traditional music or singer-song writers?
  • What good/bad things does music bring to us? 
  • Do you know anyone who is addicted to music?
  • Why are classical music and opera so esteemed if so few people like them?
To illustrate the point, watch Alicia Keys' interview for Time magazine, where she talks about her career and the way she learnt to love music.

I’m Gilbert Cruz for Time.com and we’re here with Grammy award-winning artist, Alicia Keys. Alicia, thank you for being with us today.
My pleasure.
Our first question is from Courtney Jones, who is from Houston, Texas. Courtney asks, ‘What’s one song that still hast the ability to move you when you sing it?’
Every song has the ability to move me when I am sing it, which is something I’m very grateful for, because the songs that I write, they are very personal and they are very like emotional and I can understand them, you know, I can understand them even if the time has passed already, I can understand it. I have to say I’d probably say ‘Falling’ is the song for me. Obviously I’ve sung it a lot, but there’s a magic about that song that is just unbelievable (…) and the way it signifies the beginning of, you know, kind of my career and my life as I know it in this world. It’s like, you know, it gives chills every time (…).
Our next question is: Do you think it’s important for inner-city children to be exposed to classical music? When were you first exposed to classical music?
Wow, I do think it’s important to hear all kinds of music, you know. When I was introduced to classical music I was, I guess, you know, six or seven, which was because I wanted to study piano so badly and when we found the teacher that would help to teach me, who lived in my building, she taught classical music. So I didn’t… I wasn’t exactly looking for classical music but it found me and I found that it really opened me up to become, you know, just more… understand things even better.
Our next question: I’m amazed with how effortlessly you play the piano while singing. Who is your favourite pianist and why?
I love Nina Simone. She's definitely one of my favorites. I love here very, very much. So she's, she's probably my, my favorite (...). I love that she's a very, extremely creative, powerful, don't hold her tongue back for anyone woman who sits at the piano and will play you underneath the table. She will play anyone under the table (...).
Our next question is from Ahmo Mehmedovi. Because so many of your songs are about female empowerment, do you consider yourself to be a role model to young women?
I do. I do. I think that we all are, you know, role models to each other and have that ability to affect someone in a positive way. And I think that that, that's more my goal is to affect people in a, in a positive way, in a way that can possibly take their thoughts and, and turn them into something that could really fuel them and I find that I really wanna give people ah, something powerful and empowering and possible to think about and live for 'cause I think we see all the other stuff way too often.
Last two questions: What or who inspired you to start playing piano?
I'm not sure exactly how it happened. All I know is that I had this incredible fascination with pianos and when I would pass them I would wanna play them and I would wanna learn how to play them and if I heard people who could play I'd wanna learn how ya play like them and how could I get this music? How could I make it sound like that? It was like this feeling that just made me wanna learn. And thank God for me I had a, a supporter, a mother who was OK with that, you know, who could've probably said, please go to school leave me alone. But she said OK if that's doing that to you then let's see what we can figure out. So, I'm really grateful for that.
Our last question is about the Keep the Child Alive Foundation.
Good because if you didn't ask me I was gonna tell you.
Well, can you tell us some of the, some of the, sort of more moving things that you've seen in, in all the years you've worked with this foundation?
I sat down with this women named Mama Carol and she is mother to I would say now over a thousand children who have lost their parents or at least one parent or most of them both from, due to aids and she is now their, you know, caretaker, their advice giver, their person they can go to, to ask for help. And so I, I sat with these kids in Soweto and we just sat in a circle on the floor and I just listened to them and we spoke and it was, you know, the sun was up and then the sun was down and it was just so beautiful to hear how through all that they have experienced which would break any spirit, any strong spirit could possibly be broken by that. They are still so motivated and ready to change the world and want people to understand them and how they are humans and, you know, emotional young people but still that they're not gonna wait for anyone to come get 'em or save 'em or help 'em. They're gonna figure it out and they're gonna make it and they're gonna take care of their brothers and sisters and they're gonna make sure they're OK. And, you know, that type of strength and that type of determination that makes me very proud because it shows me what's possible. And it's possible when we just put our effort towards it.
Alicia, thank you very much for talking to us.
Thanks a lot. I really appreciate it.