Ms. Russell’s Happiness Report for Saturday, September 2

This week, I began teaching at one of the many schools that I will be singing and dancing in this school year. I teach about 450 students at this elementary school (Kindergarten through 4th grade + after-school chorus) (the only students I don’t teach are 5th graders who aren’t in my chorus), and the job at this school also carries the bulk of my teaching hours. For the past couple months, I was honestly really nervous to go back, having not taught much at all since last May. But for some wonderful reason, I gained a surge of positivity last weekend, in addition to a massive stream of creative ideas, and ended up having an amazing first week back! Here are some of the highlights… 🙂

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Recognize Weakness but Focus on Strength

When I woke up this morning, I had received an email from a former student’s parent. My student, who we will call William, was one of my best pupils in my music theory classes. He was in my class the very first semester that I ever taught, and continued to take my classes until the highest level that I currently teach. I was very sad to see him go this past spring, but was glad that he had passed my class and would be achieving even greater heights.

Well, to my surprise, William’s mom emailed me to ask if I could teach him private piano lessons. I had a few initial thoughts. First, I was ecstatic at the idea of being able to teach him again. But shortly thereafter, I was filled with self-doubt…

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Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild / A Comprehensive Musical Geek-Out

Gorgeous featured image “Breath of the Wild” by Xelgot

Rightfully hailed by many as possibly the best game so far in the entire series, Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild broke so many LoZ norms in just about every way, while still incorporating many of its characteristic charms. Getting nauseous from all the rotations and astoundingly inventive mechanics in each of the four Divine Beasts, cooking up enough Dubious Food and Hearty Simmered Fruit to feed an army, and crying like a baby at each Champion reunion cut scene… I spent over 150 hours of my life playing this game—UNABASHEDLY—and now I would love to share my thoughts about one of the norm-breaking-yet-still-charming aspects of this wonderful game: the soundtrack.

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DTA.08 – BF & FF:BE / Field Themes, Best-Of

For the final installment of the series, we are going to be looking at two “field themes” from Brave Frontier and Final Fantasy: Brave Exvius. I initially surmised that field themes were exclusive to FF:BE because BF does not include any exploration maps. However, I have come to the conclusion that in BF, although the pre-boss battle stages do contain enemies that you must defeat, the atmosphere–created by the music–is more similar to a field theme (music that fits the climate/terrain/environmental features), without the usual characteristics of a battle theme (up-tempo, fast-moving chords, strong bass line).

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DTA.07 – BF & FF:BE / Tranquil Town Themes

In a previous article, we discussed one major gameplay mechanic in Final Fantasy: Brave Exvius which is not present in Brave Frontier, which is the exploration ability. In that article, we looked at the Imperial Capital’s music within each game. In today’s article, we will be looking at the peaceful themes found in the villages/towns. In Brave Frontier, “The Village” (which should really be called “The Town“, since in the game it’s called a Town, not Village X’D) is the music for the place where you go to craft different kinds of items, and collect materials. In FF:BE, there are various villages/towns which you can travel to and explore in, but for the sake of similarity, we will be looking at the “Peaceful Village” theme, rather than any of the other town themes.

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DTA.06 – BF & FF:BE / Monumental Boss Battles

In most JRPG-style games, there comes a time when you are faced with a different kind of boss. These bosses aren’t final bosses, but they’re not insignificant, either. In Brave Frontier, you have the Fallen Gods (among others), and in Final Fantasy: Brave Exvius, you have the Veritas (also among others). In these mobile games, there may or may not even be a final boss, so these monumental boss battles are the fights that carry the most meaning to the story. And of course, these battles have their own special music!

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DTA.05 – BF & FF:BE / Imperial Capitals – Randall & Grandshelt

A pretty huge difference in terms of game mechanics between Brave Frontier and Final Fantasy: Brave Exvius is that in FF:BE, you are able to move your character around in exploration maps as well as through towns, cities, and villages. One such traversable area in FF:BE is the Royal Capital Grandshelt, which shares a musical theme with the Arena. “The Imperial Capital” is a dark, looming track, with dramatic chimes, suspenseful strings, and a touch of hope near the end. Brave Frontier also happens to have an Imperial Capital, called Randall, whose musical theme is much more melodious, emotional, and tranquil. The main differences between these tracks lie in tonality, harmonic complexity, and register focus.

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