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What a Song Can Do: 12 Riffs on the Power of Music

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This compelling collection of stories explores the powerful impact that music has in our lives—especially in the lives of teens. Each story strikes a new note: Ron Koertge introduces us to the boys in the band—the marching band; Joseph Bruchac contributes a Native American boy with no rhythm whatsoever; Jennifer Armstrong writes about what was perhaps the first battle of t This compelling collection of stories explores the powerful impact that music has in our lives—especially in the lives of teens. Each story strikes a new note: Ron Koertge introduces us to the boys in the band—the marching band; Joseph Bruchac contributes a Native American boy with no rhythm whatsoever; Jennifer Armstrong writes about what was perhaps the first battle of the bands—during the American Civl War; and David Levithan offers up a love song that speaks powerfully to an unintended audience. But while each story is different, they combine into a harmonic song of praise—for the depths music can reach in us, and the power it has to bind us together. From the Hardcover edition.


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This compelling collection of stories explores the powerful impact that music has in our lives—especially in the lives of teens. Each story strikes a new note: Ron Koertge introduces us to the boys in the band—the marching band; Joseph Bruchac contributes a Native American boy with no rhythm whatsoever; Jennifer Armstrong writes about what was perhaps the first battle of t This compelling collection of stories explores the powerful impact that music has in our lives—especially in the lives of teens. Each story strikes a new note: Ron Koertge introduces us to the boys in the band—the marching band; Joseph Bruchac contributes a Native American boy with no rhythm whatsoever; Jennifer Armstrong writes about what was perhaps the first battle of the bands—during the American Civl War; and David Levithan offers up a love song that speaks powerfully to an unintended audience. But while each story is different, they combine into a harmonic song of praise—for the depths music can reach in us, and the power it has to bind us together. From the Hardcover edition.

30 review for What a Song Can Do: 12 Riffs on the Power of Music

  1. 4 out of 5

    Ashley Young

    What a Song Can Do is most definitely a well-put together book filled with twelve different perspectives on how music really can change the lives of so many people on this earth, and how music lies within every breathing moment of the lives of an enormous percentage of people. I loved reading the different mini stories that different "authors" in What a Song Can Do told because in each "mini-story", the different authors shared in diverse ways their story of how music has influenced their life. What a Song Can Do is most definitely a well-put together book filled with twelve different perspectives on how music really can change the lives of so many people on this earth, and how music lies within every breathing moment of the lives of an enormous percentage of people. I loved reading the different mini stories that different "authors" in What a Song Can Do told because in each "mini-story", the different authors shared in diverse ways their story of how music has influenced their life. Readers can learn a multitude of life lessons and develop an appreciation for music and people around them through the stories in this book by looking at others situations (dealing with music) and seeing them in a different fashion. What a Song Can Do certainly has the capability to change the lives of every reader that picks up this book, because of the greatness of the power of music it expresses through words to make our everyday lives enjoyable. Jennifer Armstrong truly has a talent for writing, arranging, and editing books, including What a Song Can Do and many others. This book is written very well in that each mini-story flowed right to the next in an upbeat rhythm, no matter the mood of the story just read or the story the reader is beginning to start. What I found to be extremely creative and empowering to the reader is that you can actually feel as if you were involved within one of the many great stories within this brilliant collection of stories. Jennifer Armstrong has a unique writing style that she takes advantage of to communicate powerful words. An interesting fact that readers will find is that no matter how much talent you have naturally or developed, everyone can still keep music in their lives. Music is an internationally known language and brings us all together, and Jennifer Armstrong used that idea and creatively constructed this wonderful piece of “artwork”. Jennifer Armstrong "composed" these 12 mini-stories into one book sending an overall message that I honestly believe affects everyone's life, most definitely in a positive way: you can discover a completely new life and perspective when you enter the musical world for the first time, and repeatedly. What can a song do? Read this wonderful piece of musically inspired and themed book to find out how music can really change a person’s life.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Ms W

    MsW: Easy read to flip back and forth through, stories like these swirl in my head quite often, I've been drawn to music for as long as I can remember. I might have to write a few riffs of my own some day...my Gramma teaching me piano notes by cutting the sides of a shoe box, writing the scale and sticking it in behind the keys; super fun afternoons in her spare room singing church hymns and gospel standards at the top of my lungs in tune with the guitars and piano played by uncles and Gramma an MsW: Easy read to flip back and forth through, stories like these swirl in my head quite often, I've been drawn to music for as long as I can remember. I might have to write a few riffs of my own some day...my Gramma teaching me piano notes by cutting the sides of a shoe box, writing the scale and sticking it in behind the keys; super fun afternoons in her spare room singing church hymns and gospel standards at the top of my lungs in tune with the guitars and piano played by uncles and Gramma and Grampa; in 5th grade, wanting to be in band so badly that I showed up to that class one day sure that the only instrument we could afford would get me a seat, but being heartlessly told by the director that no, a recorder was not a band instrument; getting my first guitar, with plastic strings, but a guitar! I played it continuously until I got distracted by sports, but to this day wonder where it might've taken me if I'd stuck with it; getting my first record player, a red plastic case with a manual arm-my most memorable 45's were Bad Moon Risin', A-B-C, and Stop in the Name of Love...I still have them, and just might have to put 'em on the platter again real soon :)

  3. 5 out of 5

    Riley

    i loved it, it was very inspiring to any musician, wanna be, or to anyone who just plain loves music. like me:)

  4. 5 out of 5

    Brittany

    Also read this while lying on a bunk bed in South Carolina, but it was a different bed than the one I read Amalee on. I loved the first chapter the most, but the rest was awesome, though I didn't like the indian story as much as the others even though I forget what they were. Also read this while lying on a bunk bed in South Carolina, but it was a different bed than the one I read Amalee on. I loved the first chapter the most, but the rest was awesome, though I didn't like the indian story as much as the others even though I forget what they were.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Janette Grimshaw

    I'd give this between a 3 and a 4; it depends on the story since I liked some stories more than others. Ones I might consider using in class would be. . . --Riffs --Piano Obsession --The Audition --Tangled Notes in Watermelon --The Gypsy's Violin --New Town I'd give this between a 3 and a 4; it depends on the story since I liked some stories more than others. Ones I might consider using in class would be. . . --Riffs --Piano Obsession --The Audition --Tangled Notes in Watermelon --The Gypsy's Violin --New Town

  6. 5 out of 5

    Dayna Smith

    Twelve short stories all relating to the power of music in the lives of teenagers. These charming stories are written by such amazing authors as Ron Koertge, David Levithan, James Bruchac, and of course, the editor herself. A magnificent collection of stories.

  7. 5 out of 5

    kinsey

    I'm still reading this book right now but it seems pretty good so far. It's pretty interesting. I'm still reading this book right now but it seems pretty good so far. It's pretty interesting.

  8. 5 out of 5

    MsDanaE

    Putting into words what music does for us is a difficult thing to do. The authors in this book of short stories do a unique job at trying to find words to describe music.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Rachel

    I loved the collaboration of stories. My two very favourites were Tangled Notes in Watermelon(so cute), and Ballad of a Prodigy.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Emily Bailey

  11. 4 out of 5

    Anne Kerley

    The article on synesthesia basically describes my life. Enjoyed this compilation.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Diana

  13. 5 out of 5

    Carey

  14. 4 out of 5

    Sara

  15. 5 out of 5

    Aine

  16. 4 out of 5

    Sara

  17. 4 out of 5

    Kaitlin Kline

  18. 5 out of 5

    Natasha LeAnn

  19. 4 out of 5

    Rinnah

  20. 4 out of 5

    Alyssa

  21. 5 out of 5

    Laura

  22. 4 out of 5

    Ashley K

  23. 4 out of 5

    Natalie

  24. 4 out of 5

    Jennifer Lee

  25. 4 out of 5

    Brooke Leone

  26. 5 out of 5

    Ash

  27. 4 out of 5

    Sarah Johansson

  28. 5 out of 5

    Sara

  29. 4 out of 5

    Rachel

  30. 4 out of 5

    Hannah

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