Is a college degree in music worth it? The case for flexibility in music education. 

Creating and playing music is an important part of life for many people. Often music is taught in universities and the instructors usually teach the way they were taught. This has created an academic culture around music and has slowly sapped the life out of university education. Music education is valuable but reaches its true potential when it is more flexible. 

We have done the opposite of democratizing music education and as a result, many outside observers feel uncomfortable participating. Instead of music being something entertaining and fun we have limited off to a smaller group of people competing for an ever-shrinking pool of resources. This is a major cause of the stagnation in music education. "I worry that today's university music major is more preoccupied with adaptation than adventure. Rather than understanding the pursuit of excellence as self-forming, I worry that the motivation to do something well arises out of a competition for scarce resources." (Allsup 2014, 72) No one ever seems to be good or correct enough. "This divide is often nurtured in our music classrooms, especially in higher education, causing practitioners to feel the undue the pressure of perfection and spectators to feel unwilling or unworthy to make their own music." (Pierce 2015, 2) Instead of our music appreciation courses being about creating and experiencing music they are just about the history of it. 

The way professors teach is how they were taught. Stagnation of teaching has caused compliance among professors. This has caused an academic culture around music that is used to gatekeep. Pierre Hadot said it best “One of the characteristics of the university is that it is made up of professors who train professors, or professionals training professionals.” (Hadot 1981, 270) Many musicians are pressed to follow a rigid model set before them. Instead of classes being experience and discussion-based, students often read out of a textbook. Instead of following their dreams students are encouraged to follow the crowd. This has caused music not to be considered an important endeavor. It is rendered useless or merely a hobby. What good is music if it is only practiced by a few?  Music is an important part of culture; it needs to be treated as such. 

This stagnation in music education hurts all musicians, but it does negatively impact some more than others. Students with learning disabilities are disadvantaged the most. "Students struggle to memorize isolated facts, remember details, and pay attention and they might have trouble processing written or verbal information...poor spelling and handwriting, and difficulties with expressive language." (Abramo 2015, 63) These students have a unique take on processing information because they see the world differently and make connections that their peers don't. Not only should we accommodate them on a base level, but we should also engage with them. "Twice-exceptional students often have strong task commitment for projects and ideas that are meaningful to them." (Abramo 2015, 63) We should understand where their interests lie and help them learn more. We need to understand our students for this to change, “Caring relationships in classrooms that include empathy can increase students' desire to learn.” (Laird 2015, 57) This will ensure their success and help them gain skills for the future. 

One way to fix our current predicament is to encourage change and challenge the status quo. Professors should be ever striving to create and experiment. The joy of creation should be something that inspires students to create without limits. Instead of a class being taught through a textbook students should actively apply ideas and experiment with them. Students should be encouraged to ponder the meaning of music and its purpose. The goal should be making their own work not just performing the works of others. There shouldn't be such rigid paths in degrees. Students that take music classes for beginners such as music appreciation should not be taught the history of music but the purpose of it. The course could experiment with different sounds and instruments. It could explore basic music theory, tone color, diverse music of other cultures, and other interests. Students should discuss the meaning of each work they look at and ponder its purpose. What can they create? What elements make them inspired? "Our schools and universities need teachers and researchers who are comfortable with incompleteness, artists who possess the courage to work among and across competing boundaries, and skilled practitioners who refuse the theory and practice divide." (Allsup 2014, 75) The same methods that we need to use to help students with disabilities are the same we need to use to shake up the music university industry. 

Music education is valuable but reaches its true potential when it is more flexible. There doesn't need to be a divide between different specialties within music. Helping those who need it most will help those who need it the least. Music is an important element of culture we need to take action to get people more involved in it. Creating and enjoying music should not be limited to the few, it is a fundamental part of humanity. 


Abramo, Joseph Michael. “Gifted Students with Disabilities: ‘Twice Exceptionality’ in the Music Classroom.” Music Educators Journal 101, no. 4 (2015): 62–69. 

Allsup, Randall Everett. “A Place for Music Education in the Humanities.” Music Educators Journal 100, no. 4 (2014): 71–75. 

Hadot, Pierre. Philosophy as a Way of Life (Maiden, MA: Blackwell Publishing,1995) 

Laird, Lynda. “Empathy in the Classroom: Can Music Bring Us More in Tune with One Another?” Music Educators Journal 101, no. 4 (2015): 56–61. 

Pierce, Deborah L. “Redefining Music Appreciation: Exploring the Power of Music.” College Music Symposium 55 (2015).

Father and Son: How Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart was Shaped by His Father. 

Hey guys I had to do a major project in college. I decided to write about how Leopold Mozart shaped his son. The prospectus will be attached at the end so you guys could see what I did. :) I hope you guys enjoy!

Father and Son: How Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart was Shaped by His Father. 

Zelena Hull 

            Most people only know about Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and not his father Leopold. Wolfgang was born in 1756 and he was the seventh child of Leopold Mozart. That is only a small part of the saga of his life. Often his father gets glazed over. When people talk about Mozart, we most certainly are only speaking of Wolfgang. He is thought of as the great one, or the miracle child composer. It is often alluded to that his talent came into being miraculously. Even the great Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart had to be taught how to play and write music. It is a gift, but not one that developed in a vacuum. We do not often ask who was the parent of this amazing composer. But people fail to realize that Leopold laid the foundation for his son’s greatness. Leopold had a gift for the arts just like his famous son. It was passed down not only through blood, but work and dedication. Leopold on his own was a gifted musican and a perfect teacher for Wolfgang. He wanted the best for his children and tried to help them along on their musical journey. No doubt that his life influenced him to be this way. Understanding Leopold is critical for understanding how Wolfgang developed. Without his father Wolfgang’s abilities, he would not have shined through at such a young age. “Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart came of a family belonging originally to the artisan class.”[1] The fact that he had time and resources dedicated to him allowed him to learn and play from an early age. He actually started to play the harpsichord at age three. “The boy’s early talent for music was remarkable. At three he was picking out chords on the harpsichord, at four playing short pieces, at five composing.”[2] That would not have been possible without his father. Soon after Mozart started composing and sharing his gift with the world. How did Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s father impact his son? 

            Why is understanding Leopold and his parenting so important for understanding Wolfgang? Leopold had great aspirations for his son and he gave Wolfgang the tools he needed to succeed. Leopold’s life convinced him to help his children towards a musical career. He was born 1719 as the son of a book binder and he had no famous composers in his family. Leopold got an education in philosophy and law while still pursuing his music. He evidently loved music most of all because soon after graduating he fully embraced his music and started to make a living with it. Leopold’s prowess should not be taken lightly. His gift for music was remarkable and he was a genius in his own right. “Leopold Mozart, the father of Wolfgang Amadeus, was not a member of a renowned family of musicians. He can, however, by no means be placed on the same modest level as Johann Beethoven or Jakob Brahms.” [3] A major difference between Leopold and his son is that he naturally kept aiming for a higher and higher positions in life. Leopold worked well under authority because of his drive and the fact that his potential employers were all in authoritative positions in life, he adjusted early. He was impulsive, but in a different way than his son. If there was an opportunity, he would take it. Leopold had a vibrant career before he had children. He wrote Opus 1, which were six Trio Sonatas for two violins and a bass. His works are in the league of their own when comparing them to other composers from famous musican/composer families. After Leopold had published this music, he got accepted as a musician for Count Thun at Salzburg. He was the fourth violinist in the church and eventually worked his way up to second violinist. He also worked as a teacher of violin to the choirboys and eventually became vice-conductor. He got adept to teaching children because of his career and this helped him teach his own offspring. Leopold Mozart was not born into a family of privilege but created it for his son. Leopold through the years gained connections and built his own reputation. This furthers the point that his son’s fame did come to the detriment of his own. He wanted the best for his children and because his aspirations for them he was able to get them far beyond than they would have been able to on their own. Not to mention that he taught them because he loved them. He gave up his own career for them. His journey is not too different to musicians’ parents who try to help their children make it in the music industry. Leopold was a great composer and had he not had children or given so much time to them he would be the Mozart that we would remember. Some believe that his son’s fame took away from his own. “Leopold Mozart's genius-son, far from helping his father towards fame, deprived him of it. Leopold Mozart's achievements, remarkable though they were in themselves, could not but fade completely beside the brilliant figure of his son.”[4] But Wolfgang did not just take away from Leopold’s fame, Wolfgang took away his father’s career. It was evident that Leopold would have gone to great places had he chosen a different path than putting his all into his children. In the end it was his choice and his life. I do not believe that he would have had it any other way. 

            Besides his drive for his children to succeed, he still had a passion for music. Leopold wanted his children to succeed and since he had experience in music, he helped them through that avenue. He felt like it was his personal duty to his children to teach them and help them. It is a very natural thing for a parent to do whatever they can for their children.  Even though he gave up his own personal aspirations, he projected them on to his children. He wanted them to get great positions as court musicians or/and composers. Back then that was really the steadiest and best paying job that a musican could have. Leopold wanted to help his children create a stable life and income. Leopold taught his children everything he could and was the sole provider of their education. Leopold started his children’s education early. This is evident by the fact that Wolfgang started to play the harpsicord at age three. Soon after he started playing the harpsicord Wolfgang Mozart would play songs that his father wrote for him. They were kept in this little journal/ book. Leopold also taught his children how to play the violin. He had a preference for the violin because he was primarily a violinist. Once Leopold taught his children everything that he could, he focused on their careers. He took his children across Europe to perform. The family wrote many letters during this time. They performed for many possible future employers. The Mozart’s went to Germany, Brussels, Paris, London, Holland, and returned to Salzburg. All of this was possible because Leopold had connections from his work. Later in life Wolfgang felt like his father shaped every creative decision that he ever made. He felt stifled under Leopold. When he was younger this was not a problem to him. We truly will never know the extent of how much of Wolfgang’s work up to that point was really his father’s. If Wolfgang truly was smothered to the extent that he said he was, then it would prove the prowess of his father even more. Wolfgang felt controlled, but Leopold’s composing influence significantly helped Wolfgang. His father’s tutelage created a backbone for other works he would create. He is very much his father’s creation. He is an extension of Leopold, although he would never admit that. 

            Leopold’ efforts shaped more of Mozart than just his musical prowess. Leopold’s parenting shaped his son’s personality and image. “His parents were to be congratulated for knowing "so well how to unite and nurture in you the moral and the natural man. "His father, Leopold Mozart, was regarded as God's surrogate in this matter, guiding the development of his son.”[5] Wolfgang was a child prodigy, and his reputation is due to his father’s efforts to showcase his son’s talent. Wolfgang was seen as a genius and an anomaly. He was a soft and sensitive child who listened to his father. Since He was exposed to so much music as a child, he synthesized many different elements and styles into one. “Austrian composer, son of Leopold Mozart. His style essentially represents a synthesis of many different elements, which coalesced in his Viennese years, from 1781 on, into an idiom now regarded as a peak of Viennese Classicism.”[6] A lot of Wolfgang’s style came from his father directly or indirectly. Traveling across Europe helped develop him. Wolfgang was not nearly as successful in his adult life; many people could only see Wolfgang the child prodigy not the composer. Possibly fame at such a young age might have taken a toll on young Wolfgang. His father tried to help his son, but Wolfgang had become prideful as he grew older. Like his father Wolfgang had his own aspirations. He was impulsive and followed his heart. But the fundamental difference between them was that Leopold was never born privileged and Wolfgang was. This difference in how their lives played out led to stark contrast between them. Wolfgang respected his father, but he disagreed with him early into his adult life. Wolfgang worked for the Prince-Archbishop of Salzburg. Wolfgang felt confined by his position, although in his father’s eyes it would have been the end goal or at least an amazing job to have. Even though this was an amazing opportunity, Wolfgang sought independence and wanted to forge his own path. He could not resist his own desires, to his peril. Wolfgang due to pride felt like he was a servant under the Prince. He felt like his father was breathing down his neck and the church would not get off his back. Wolfgang felt like his music was confined and he could not express himself. Wolfgang left going to Vienna. He left his father in Salzburg and their relationship was never the same. “Leopold understood that this once devotedly obedient son had realized his independence and sought maturation in Vienna.”[7] Wolfgang felt like none of those over him could see his personal “enlightenment. His father, instead of a teacher, was an overseer in Wolfgang’s eyes. He could never truly escape his father’s influence no matter how much he wanted to. After he left, his life was not nearly as successful as it could have been. The absolute worst thing that could be taken from Wolfgang’s observations is that his father was overbearing and even then, Wolfgang’s grievances where with the church and the prince mostly. His father approving and tweaking his creative decisions where minor compared to the major stresses of authority he endured. His father did have to raise seven other children. It is amazing that he was able to do what he did for Wolfgang. There is something to be said about the differences between how son and father handled the stress of being under authority. Leopold strived believing he was creating a stable life for him and his family. His son did not. Wolfgang could only see that his creative decisions were made by people other than him. Wolfgang was very close to being a spoiled brat. His father got him the post so he could have a stable income. Leopold did possibly force his son into a box that he did not feel comfortable in, but I believe that Wolfgang should have talked it out with his father. Him leaving without telling his father and sending a letter afterwards was a bit crass. Wolfgang was most likely babied as a child, especially since he was so sensitive and sweet. After being praised as a child genius he probably developed an ego. It is evident in his wording of how the prince and church could not see his personal enlightenment. 

            Leopold shaped his son in many ways. He taught his son how to play and compose music. Leopold shaped his son’s early personality. He gave his son the opportunity for an amazing career. Wolfgang as he got older no longer saw eye to eye with his father. His childhood fragility gave way to pride. Wolfgang felt like his father was not a guiding hand, but his father was a hinderance to his creative freedom. Without Leopold there would be no Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. Leopold’s choices helped Wolfgang get into the public consciousness. Wolfgang himself couldn’t stay there. Leopold was the fundamental driving force in Wolfgang’s career and he truly wanted Wolfgang to succeed. Leopold was willing to do anything and everything to help his son succeed. Wolfgang destroyed the life that Leopold created for him. 

[1] Otto Jahn, Life of Mozart (London: Novello, Ewer, 1882), 3. 

[2] Encyclopedia Britannica, "Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart," accessed August 20, 2020,        

                [3] Geiringer, Karl, “Leopold Mozart,” The Musical Times 78, no. 1131 (1937): 401. 

[4] Geiringer, Karl, “Leopold Mozart,” The Musical Times 78, no. 1131 (1937): 401. 

[5] Solomon, Maynard, "Mozart: The Myth of the Eternal Child," 19th-Century Music 15, no. 2 (1991): 96 

[6] Grove Music Online, "Mozart, (Johann Chrysostom) Wolfgang Amadeus," accessed August 20, 2020,                       9781561592630-e-6002278233. 

[7] Thomas McPharlin Ford, "Between Aufklärung and Sturm und Drang: Leopold and Wolfgang Mozart's View of the                 Word." (PhD diss, University of Adelaide, 2010.), 2.

Annotated Bibliography/Prospectus 

Zelena Hull 

Leopold’s influence on his son Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. 

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart was born in 1756.  He was the seventh child born in his family and his father happened to a composer, Leopold Mozart.  Because of Leopold’s background in music it inspired him to teach his children and have others do so as well.   Leopold would give his children pieces of music to play at a very young age.  Mozart started to play the harpsichord at age three.  Soon after he started composing and sharing his gift with the world.  Mozart as a child loved and admired his father.  Leopold had great aspirations for his son and gave his son the tools and knowledge to follow through. How did Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s father affect his son musically in the early years? 

Anderson, Emily. The Letters of Mozart and His Family. 4th ed. London, England: Macmillan     Reference Limited, 1997. 

This source is a catalog of Mozart’s and his family’s letters to each other.  The letters are arranged by date and managed in sections.  The first letter is actually Mozart’s father writing someone called Lorenz.  He immediately brought up his son and how he played for the bishop.  The book is basically a catalog for the letters of the Mozart family.  There are footnotes for the reader       to understand context and what certain words mean. 

Eisen, Cliff, and Stanley Sadie. "Mozart, (Johann Chrysostom) Wolfgang Amadeus." Grove Music Online. 2001; Accessed 20 Aug. 2020.    

This source goes offers broad strokes and some detail about Mozart’s entire life.  The work talks some about Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s family.  I will primarily use section one of the article “Ancestry and early childhood”.  The section starts with the baptism of Mozart and then ends with the family going back to Salzburg. 

Ford, Thomas McPharlin. "Between Aufklärung and Sturm und Drang: Leopold and Wolfgang Mozart's View of the Word." PhD diss, University of Adelaide, 2010. 

This source goes over the entirety of Leopold’s and Wolfgang’s relationship and world views. I will use information from chapters 1 and 3 mostly. Chapter 1 goes over Leopold Mozart and how he was shaped. It starts off with his early life and ends with the birth of Wolfgang. Chapter 3 starts off with Mozart's birth and ends with Mozart's 1777 trip to Paris. I will mostly use the later parts of chapter 1 and the earlier parts of chapter 3. The entire thesis is about the world views of both the Leopold and Wolfgang Mozart. This thesis also talks about the progression and regression of their relationship. 

Geiringer, Karl. "Leopold Mozart." The Musical Times 78, no. 1131 (1937): 401-04. 

This article starts off with saying that Mozart’s fame took away from his father’s. It goes into a basic introduction into his life. The article says during his last twenty years he stagnated. It talks about how when he wrote “Violin School” the he reached his zenith. The article goes into a basic overview about Leopold’s church compositions. It continues on with some of Leopold’s impact on his son and how their relationship got strained and cold over time. 

Jahn, Otto. Life of Mozart. 3 vols. London: Novello, Ewer, 1882. 

This source covers a large portion of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s life starting with his childhood.  I will primarily use Chapter 1 for the paper.  It covers Mozart’s childhood in detail.  It also bit of his father’s childhood and gives some inkling about both of their characters. 

Mozart, Wolfgang Amadeus. The Letters of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1769-1791). Translated by Grace Wallace. 2 vol. New York: Hurd and Houghton, 1866. 

This source has a catalog of Mozart’s letters.  The letters are arranged by date.  This source also has an author that gives more information about Mozart, his upbringing and father in pages three through six.  The author then continues on with the letters.  Between the letters the author explains relationships and events to the reader to understand the context of the letters.  I will search for different pieces in the book that talk about Leopold and his son’s relationship. 

Sadie, Stanley. “Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart - The Central Viennese Period.” Encyclopedia Britannica, Encyclopedia Britannica, inc., 23 2020, Accessed 20 Aug. 2020. 

This covers some of the basics about Mozart’s and his father’s life. I will use information from the “Introduction and Quick Facts” and the “Early Life and Works” section. The article describes aspects about Mozart’s personality and how musically gifted he was. At three years old he started playing the harpsichord. It then starts to go into some of his compositions. 

Solomon, Maynard. "Mozart: The Myth of the Eternal Child." 19th-Century Music 15, no. 2 (1991): 95-106. 

This article goes over the perception’s others had of Mozart as a child. It has flowery descriptions of Mozart’s abilities. It says that Mozart was talented, but he also was a bit of a trickster. When sight reading a piece, he would make up certain parts if what was written was too hard for him. His father went on in the article about how much he loved Mozart and how perfect Mozart was. Leopold suspected that his child might not even make it to adulthood. Apparently, Mozart was very ill looking. The article goes on about how as Mozart aged; they only immortalized the younger childhood version of himself. Mozart’s gifts also benefited his father’s reputation.

American Roots music by Zelena Hull 

The first music that I started listening to when I was eight was rock & roll. A lot of the stuff I listened to where British invasion bands such as the Rolling Stones. I did listen to a lot of American and German bands as well. Most of the music I listened to from rock & roll is from 3rd wave musicians. This blog is going to be about some things in American rock & roll and it's roots. I’ve taken American Popular music so I know some of the starting off material off the top of my head. I will be covering the 1st wave of artists and start of rock & roll.  

                 Rock & roll came from rhythm and blues. R&R actually used to be a euphemism (for something I will not discuss here). Disk jockey Alan Freed was the first one to use the term Rock and Roll for this new music.  American Rock & roll had a myriad of influences ranging from western music to the Boogie Woogie. This style emerged from the 1950’s because of all the political changes brought because of WW2. America during this time had became a superpower. During this time teens had more disposable income because the economy was doing well. Teens also had a lot of free time because of suburban life and child labor laws. Teens had become a more powerful market and were a vastly different one from their parents. Since teens purchased a lot of music, music started to be tailored to their tastes because of demand. Rock & roll used new electric guitars, drums, piano (sometimes), bass, and amplification. The distorted sound of the guitar added to the rebellious nature of the music. The vocal style is dependent upon the artists influences. I've seen a bluesy style or country style added in. The songs usually had belting and tended to have very little melisma. The songs tended to be easy for people to sing along to, that's what made them so popular in the first place. Teens contributed a lot of rock & roll’s rise, but not all of it. During WW2 a lot of the jazz bands had to break up and rhythm and blues arrived as a speed up version of the blues. Radio was a big contributor to how Rock & roll got widespread. They say that Chuck Berry was a blues singer that tried to write a country song, but it became something else entirely and that's how rock was invented. It's a lot more complicated than that.  Chuck Berry discovered what made the rock and roll market tick for young teens. His songs often covered topics that teens were concerned and identified with. He was part of the first wave of American Artists on the rock & roll scene along with Little Richard. Little Richard arrived on the scene around the same time as Chuck Berry. Fitting that both of its prime architects were into other genres of music previously. Little Richard was into Gospel and ironically he called himself the true architect of rock and roll, but later on down the line returned to gospel. We can’t talk about rock and roll without Elvis Presley. He and Billy Haley were the two white front runners of rock & roll. Elvis covered blues songs and did his share of rockabilly outside of rock & roll. In the early years there was a lot of bleed over from the two on the white artist’s side. Elvis eventually would become considered the King of rock and roll. During the time rock & roll came into being there was a deep racial barrier within the united states. This barrier made it hard for artists of different races to collaborate. There was some leeway for musicians because of the art form however. There were quite a few mixed bands. Although there was a fair bit of representation for African Americans and whites in rock & roll you can see the racial barrier by what they were inspired by. The whites took from what they knew and artists like Chuck Berry and little Richard took from their musical backgrounds. This is what makes rock & roll so interesting. There is so much variety in the influences because of the racial barrier and the newness of the art form. It’s interesting to see that rock & roll was influenced by so much and later went on to influence other genres itself. It served as a touch point between different genres. The subject matter was certainty rock & roll. Cars, girls, and whatever teens were into at the time. There is some debate on whether “Rocket 88” by Jackie Brenston was actually the first Rock & roll song. It’s usally said that that’s the first song and Chuck Berry is the first artist. There were other artists such as Buddy Holly and the Crickets who started to blow up in popularity slightly after them. His music in particular was influenced by Elvis. Sadly, Buddy Holly died in a plane crash during his rise to fame. Around the same time of the plan crash Elvis was drafted, Chuck Berry was arrested on violation of the Mann act, Little Richard returned to gospel, and the Payola scandal took place. This all marked the end of the first wave of rock & roll. The Payola scandal shaped the industry for years to come. This scandal tried to demonize rock & roll by saying no deejay would every play this barbarous music unless they were paid to do so. This practice was not illegal, but they were still investigated for antitrust charges. A philistine government, unable to understand what rock & roll offered the youth decided to investigate on distaste alone. Rock & roll has always been the music of rebellion. 

                In summary, rock & roll has always been a melting pot of different genres and crossovers many times. The artists that composed the first era had different backgrounds and influences. Because of this these artists often did other genres outside of rock & roll. Elvis and Billy did rockabilly which is a mash between rock & roll and country/western. Little Richard did gospel and Chuck Berry did blues. Rock & roll came from the culmination of all American music coming together to make something new that appealed to the younger generation. This music was created because of the increased participation in the market by teens and young adults in buying music. Rock & Roll is the culmination of all American music that came before it’s time and continues to influence genres it once was influenced by. 

Lambert, Louise. “How Did Rock & Roll Music Begin?” Our Pastimes, 15 Sept. 2017, Retrieved January 24, 2021, from 

Ch. 3: Rock is Born! (n.d.). Retrieved January 24, 2021, from 

Ch. 9: Payola – Rock 'n' Roll's First Scandal. (n.d.). Retrieved January 24, 2021, from


Hi guys, I did this as a paper for one of my classes last semester. I hope you guys like it. All together the project was 3,212 words and took me 3 months to complete. 

            Executive Summary 

            Voice activated assistants are a new product with untapped potential.  This paper will address ways that a company can take advantage of this potential new medium for advertising.  The objectives for this company are exploring how, when, and why people use voice assistants.  The approach that will be taken will be descriptive research, because we are trying to identify characteristics of product usage. The approach when asking questions and accessing information will be qualitative. Most people tend to use the voice assistants for their most basic functions. Often, they use the devices for music or basic web browsing functions. Consumers are starting to use voice assistants to control appliances and other electronics. The three major themes I can take away from my research on social media are: uses of the voice assistants, wants from consumers, and when consumers use the devices. Some of the basic results say that consumers want voice assistants to be improved. Consumers have privacy concerns that their voice assistants are listening in on conversations. Other consumers feel that companies can improve the experience for voice assistants for people that are disabled or multilingual. Overall consumers like the quality of life improvements that voice assistants provide. 



            Since 2011 companies like Google, Apple, and Amazon have been competing in the voice assistant market. This industry is currently coming to fruition and continuing to grow. Competition is tight because consumers are looking for the next smart speaker all the time. Since these devices are priced at an affordable price competition is much fiercer than in most other device markets. Many other companies are trying to create their own voice assistants. An example of the ever-increasing competition in this space is Samsung creating their own voice assistant called “Bixbi” for the Galaxy S9. I personally use all three of the major voice assistants (Alexa, Suri, and Google). Amazon is constantly working on increasing the intelligence of the AI for Alexa. There is even a system for the consumer to directly train and talk to Alexa’s AI. The command for this is “Alexa let’s talk”. Companies are continuing to improve the capabilities of these devices. 

            Voice assistants more than ever are becoming more advanced and more integral to consumer lives. These assistants started out with basic functions such as internet search and playing music. Now these devices can control the lights, appliances, temperature, and more. Voice assistants are being integrated into more and more services. Consumers want to be able to do more with these devices. The companies that create voice assistants offer combability between the device and other services. Alexa is paired with Spotify so that any user with a Spotify premium account can listen to music ad free. Google makes the devices have a seamless transition between the in-home voice assistant and the phone version of the assistant. 

            Although most of the voice assistants themselves are affordable many of their accessories are seen as unneeded. Many of the voiced activated assistant controllable devices are usally bought if the consumer really needs an upgrade. I noticed many of these people do not use the extended functions of these devices just because they do not have the money to buy all the compatible systems. The light switches that can be controlled by the voice activated assistants for example can be more expensive than a normal light switch. There is a chance that consumers could accidently buy an ad on that was only compatible with one voice assistant and not another. The use of the voice assistant depends on the wealth of the consumer and the needs currently in their home. Customers like the idea of a device that can be a one stop shop for controlling all their devices. 

            From my knowledge no other company has advertised on the voice assistant platform. There are some voice assistants with a screen such as the assistants intergraded into phones. Companies are starting to add screens to some voice assistants. From what I can tell consumers prefer screenless voice assistants (excluding phone assistants and interfaces). Many companies also have given the ability for the voice assistant to have a visual interface in the consumer’s phone. Consumers seem to like the fact that they can control the voice assistant from their phone. I see new features added to the interface for Alexa’s echo dot and Google’s voice assistant often. 

            The competition in this market is cut-throat. Companies are in a constant rush to get a new feature or product out. These companies are trying to make it easier and easier to add these devices to consumer lives. Consumers have their own opinions on how voice assistants should work and how intelligent they should be. Consumers can easily buy a different voice assistant if they want to “upgrade”. These companies are trying to juggle what they think they should do internally. Advertising in this space would be limited at first because companies want the consumers to have a seamless experience. 

          Collection and Thematic Analysis of Social Media Examples 

            People seem to usally use the voice assistants primarily for listening to music. Consumers appreciate other functions of the devices, but they tend to gravitate toward playing music. Alexa seems to be used most commonly for listening to music. Suri is often used for the weather and other phone-oriented actions. Suri is associated more with tasks than the other voice activated devices. The Google assistant is used largely for music, basic searches, accessing Google services, and the news. Although consumers appreciate the additions to these devices over the years, consumers in the wider market are not using a lot of the functions that they paid for. This is not necessarily a problem. It is easier to advertise on web-based functions. Playing ads between songs on these devices might be one way for companies to integrate advertising.  Amazon (especially) creates a lot of ads showing the various functions for Alexa outside of playing music and internet browsing. I learned from scrolling on twitter that voice assistants are also used on social media to help the disabled. These voice assistants are used differently than other’s like Alexa. I have seen many reviews on various platforms such as Twitter, You-tube, Instagram, and Facebook that have an overall positive outlook. There are debates on which voice assistant is better. 

            There are some problems with voice assistants and how they are received by consumers. Some of the voice assistants (especially Alexa) have trouble with some of the internet browsing functions. Alexa often refers to Amazon reviews instead of going onto the actual internet. Consumers are always on the hunt for a smarter device to help them with everyday tasks. There are also privacy concerns about these devices on the consumer end. The microphones on these devices are on all the time unless you manually turn them off. Even though with most voice assistant’s privacy is one button away, the function is forgettable. A lot of the concerns I’ve noticed stream from the Amazon Alexa. Some people have just spoken about getting something and then it turns up in the recommended shopping list on Amazon. Some consumers think this is efficient, but others get a little spooked. Consumers are looking for greater privacy and are wanting smarter devices. Sometimes both do not go hand and hand. The three major themes I can take away from my research on social media are: uses of the voice assistants, wants from consumers, and when consumers use the devices. 

            I watched multiple different video reviews of some voice assistants on You-Tube for my analysis. One of the videos was of the Google Nest Home mini. This video talked about the product and features of the product. The narrator made sure to note how to turn the microphone off on the voice assistant. He still mentioned that the sound quality was better than the earlier Google voice assistants. He wanted better sound quality from the speaker. The narrator also mentioned that you can hook up the Nest mini to different speaker systems. This gives us an idea of what he wants as a consumer. A video like this gives greater insight to one major feature consumers would like: better sound quality. This video shows customer wants. 

            The second video showed the narrator changing the lights using his device. He talked about other things with the voice assistant. The major takeaway from the video however was the quality of life improvements that the Alexa helped with. This video was an excellent example of when consumers use these devices. 

            The third video I watched was about the features of Alexa. At one point in the video the narrator says “She does much more than just play music.” He spoke about how seamless set up was for the device. He shows you how to generally pair up devices using the Alexa app on the smart phone, that is integrated with the speaker. This video showed uses of the Alexa voice assistant. 

            I found a Facebook post that perfectly conveys the wants about privacy that consumers want. It talks about how voice assistants snoop and they share an article about a gadget that helps keep the voice assistant from listening all the time. There are posts sprinkled throughout social media that address customer wants for better privacy on these devices. 

            I found a string of different tweets all addressing the use of voice assistants for people that have disabilities so that they can use social media. This certain tweet was addressing people not to use certain fonts because the voice assistant cannot recognize them properly. This helps us  understand what consumers use voices assistants for on social media. Consumers use voice assistants on social media when they need to understand something in someone’s bio or cannot read it for themselves. 

            Another tweet I saw addressed some wants on the consumer end. They wanted voice assistants to have better understanding of slang terms. This tweet also addressed that they wanted the voice assistants to be multi-lingual. 

            I watched another You-Tube video. This video was about the different uses of the Google home devices. Some of the uses were more common knowledge and some of them were not. This video also helps the consumer understand how integrated the Google system can be. 


Social media examples 

Tech Spurt, Google Nest Mini (2019) | Setup & Review. YouTube, October 17, 2019. Retrieved   from 

Babbling Boolean, Amazon Echo Dot (2nd Gen) Review. YouTube, July 24, 2017.  Retrieved       from 

Recombu, How to Setup and Use Alexa. YouTube, Dec 20, 2018. Retrieved from    

Practical Insecurity, “I remain skeptical of the possibility of shielding privacy at all from these     devices. Nevertheless, there are some interesting things here...” Facebook, August 26,         2019. Retrieved from 

Olya (@REMSKISSY), “please take out the fonts from ur display name or/and bio. disabled        people have to use voice assistants and they can’t read fancy fonts, so be kind and         respectful…” Twitter, September 21, 2020. Retrieved from 

Slang Labs (@SlangLabs), “Trying to reach out to the Next Billion Users? Seeing a lot of new     users from tier 2 & tier 3 cities? Voice Assistants can help to get things done in an app            for them. Pro Tip: Don't forget to make these voice assistants multilingual.” Twitter September 25, 2020. Retrieved from    

6 Months Later Reviews, Google Home Devices: Top 6 Features. YouTube December 24, 2017. 

            Retrieved from

Just a Cinderella Story - New EP Released 

New Music out January 2020.  Recorded in the heart of America’s Country Music Nashville Tennessee, this album has one of a kind sound experience. Players on the instrumentals include players who worked with some of Music’s greatest talent. Keyboard was handled by Mike Schrimpf who has worked with Conway Twitty, Loretta Lynn, George Jones, and more. Steel Guitar compliments were performed by one of Nashville’s most requested players and a pioneer in steel guitar production Mr. Steve Hinson. Drums, Guitar, Bass, and Banjo were handled by Grammy players and some members of the in house band of the Grand Ole Opry. Final Production was handled between KLP Recording Studios and Platinum Z Records.


Zelena’s New EP “In Love With You” Released 

On June 14th 2019, Zelena’s newest EP titled “In Love With You” goes on sale worldwide distributed to over 100 countries internationally.  I am so excited.  Until then we are asking if you can pre-order the album at Amazon or Itunes as they report pre-sales on music charts like Billboard.  One of the easiest ways to hit the music charts is on music release.


Why is it important to chart?  When music is released by emerging artists like me and it has charted it shows the people who make decisions in the music business how serious and dedicated the artist is.  It helps me when it comes to booking gigs, radio play consideration, getting onto streaming playlists, and access to interviews.    I cannot thank you enough for your help!  Please select one of the two vendors below to purchase the song pre-release.


Flashback : Zelena singing the Star Bangled Banner for Governor Jeb Bush 

In 2015 we were at a charity event cooking turkeys for the homeless two days before thanksgiving with NASCAR Driver Red Bordner.  In the evening after leaving the event we went to the Beacon Drive Inn in Spartanburg, S.C.  At the event someone recognized Zelena and the next thing one of the owners of the Beacon came up to Zelena as she was eating and asked her if she would perform the National Anthem for Presidential candidate Jeb Bush.  Zelena said yes and literally 3 minutes later she was singing.  In the pictures I was able to grab, Zelena is seen speaking to Governor Bush afterward.