Hello. Chris Stefanile here. Welcome to my class blog for Ethnomusicology. Let me tell you a bit about myself. I’m a 33-year-old musician and audio-engineering student from Seattle, Washington. I love the Pacific Northwest and will do my best to remain here for the rest of my life. This being said, one of my favorite activities is travel. I love being exposed to, and immersed into cultures completely different than that of my own little corner of the world. This, in part, is where my excitement for this class comes into play. I love the idea of traveling the world with the cultural study of music as the goal— and I hope to literally be doing this at some point in my life!— but the Northwest, and Puget Sound in particular, will always be my home, and it also plays a huge role in who I have become as a person, and where my background in music lies.
Music plays a huge role in my day-to-day life. I suppose I don’t know anyone who does not feel this way! When I reflect on the gneiss of my passion, my mind naturally goes to the music I was exposed to as a child. I was fortunate enough to have parents who found a little rock outfit from Liverpool called The Beatles to be a completely amazing group. My mother, Peggy, is even lucky enough to be able to say that she saw the band live. She’s even got the ticket stub to prove it (it was a whopping $3.50!)
To this day I credit the music of The Beatles— and my early and frequent exposure to their music— as what literally formed the musical and artistic parts of my brain. I feel extremely fortunate that this was the case for one reason: diversity. While rooted in American R&B, The Beatles constantly were reinventing themselves and pushing their music in new directions— often with non-western influences. I believe that my brain still dissects and tries to makes sense of new music based on the original connections that we’re made as a child while being exposed to The Beatles.
As I got older, I began to develop my own musical tastes, which were tied closely to the cultural and musical renaissance Seattle experienced in the 1990’s. I feel extremely lucky to have grown up where I did, when I did. In an odd way, as I got older, the dissonant qualities of ‘Seattle sound’ led me into Jazz, which is where my heart currently and will always lie.
Above all else, I love diversity in music. I love the endorphins that are released in my brain when I hear something for the first time that is totally unique to my frame of reference. Music, after all, is the ultimate drug!
I encounter and use music in nearly every aspect of my life, personally, professionally, and most importantly, as the core of my livelihood. As a student engineer, I dissect music and sounds in a very methodical and liner way. As a musician, I push myself artistically and spiritually playing guitar in a local band, High Ceiling (video below). My professional life also currently reflects my school studies (I work at a small recording studio in Seattle, Soundhouse), but also tends to blend the line between artistic and more methodical thinking. I take great joy from music in all circumstances, but I increasingly find that I will ‘burn out’ on music and sound— and too much music (particularly at louder volumes) will actually become tortuous to me. For me, a balance of sound and silence seems to be an important key to my happiness.
I hope this gives you a little insight on my personal experiences with music, and hopefully it will help frame my blog-posts throughout this quarter. Thanks so much for reading!