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Hump Day Zentangle® Challenge #9 – Listen to the Music Edition

by Suzanne Fluhr on August 14, 2019 · 3 comments

Hump Day Zentangle Challenge #9

There are certain things that seem to be hard-wired in human beings. Every culture has a myth of creation. We want to know where we come from, how we got here. And, every culture has music. Often, we combine the two. Not surprisingly, religiously inspired music is some of the most moving. Our search for meaning informs our music.

My parents believed  in music. Although money was tight, music was non-negotiable. I took recorder lessons from age 6 through high school. I was willing to take 2 buses and a trolley car to get home after lessons.

When I started high school, I wanted to learn to play the cello. My father told me to pick an instrument I could carry on the bus because he wasn’t inclined to ferry me and my cello all over the city.

recorder and oboe

In those days, the School District of Philadelphia would lend you an instrument and provide free Saturday lessons. I went to see the music teacher at the Philadelphia High School for Girls and told her I wanted to study the clarinet. She tried to talk me into the trumpet. As an all girls school, they always needed brass players. When I declined, she rummaged around in the instrument closet and pulled out a clarinet. It had a tag marked, “Throw Away”. She rummaged again and pulled out an oboe. I didn’t know much about the oboe, but it sort of looked like a clarinet, so I acquiesced.

It turns out that the fingering for the oboe is very similar to that of the recorder. At my first lesson, the teacher started by saying he hoped I wasn’t thin-skinned. Uh oh. Much to his surprise (and mine), I flew through the first book, but I sounded like a duck. It was not the rich toned duck represented by the oboe in Prokofiev’s Peter and the Wolf. To approximate those dulcet tones took many exhausting hours of practice. Because it is an instrument played with a double reed, you are blowing against pressure. Many times it made me feel dizzy and light headed.

Although I never became a professional level oboist, I played well enough that it helped me be admitted to a good school for university, Williams College. Williams College doesn’t provide scholarships for athletes nor musicians, but if the head of the music department lets it be known that the orchestra needs an oboist, all other things being equal, the oboe player (i.e. moi) will get the nod.

Last week, a friend happened to post on Facebook a painting she did which included the name of a Chopin etude. Ding. Ding. Ding. That gave me the idea for this week’s Hump Day Zentangle Challenge:

Hump Day Zentangle Challenge #9: The Intersection of Music and Art

The ancient Greek philosopher, Plato (428-7 to 348-7 B.C.E.) is reported to have said:

Music gives a soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination and life to everything.

Many practitioners of the Zentangle Method have similar feelings about meditative art. Thus, the two are prime candidates for synergy. For this week’s Hump Day Zentangle Challenge, let music inspire your composition. Here are some suggestions of ways to do that:

  1. Incorporate the name of a favorite song or musical composition into your tile. I chose Handel’s Messiah. I have attended the Philadelphia Orchestra’s performance of this moving  1741 oratorio for over 20 years. Some are surprised I don’t find that boring. To the contrary, each year’s performance is different, informed by the vision of that year’s conductor.

    Hump Day Zentangle Challenge #9, Music

    I did this “tile” in a little conference swag notebook commandeered from my husband. I used the tangle Printemps around the treble (G) clef. They both have the same swirly feel. Except for Flux and my tangle, Aloha, I’m not sure whether the other floral tangles have names. As indicated, the one at the bottom is CZT Margaret Bremner’s Skye, a knotted tangle that strains my focus, but with which I like to challenge myself.

  2.  Incorporate some lyrics from a song you likeI chose Simon and Garfunkle’s Sound of Silence. Paul Simon says he wrote the song simply as an expression of teenage feelings of alienation and angst. For me, today the song resonates as a desperate call for the establishment to hear the voices of the marginalized. Therefore, I find the version of Sound of Silence by the heavy metal band, Disturbed, the most riveting. It has been described as “Metal Goes Acoustic“. (Factoid: While growing increasingly insistent and “disturbed”, the lead singer’s voice is beautiful. Apparently, before taking a very different career path, he honed his vocal skills studying to be a Jewish cantor.)

    hump day zentangle challenge #9

    “…and the words of the prophets are written on the subway walls…” by Paul Simon, Sound of Silence. I used my “Go To” tangles, ‘Nzeppel, Sand Swirl and Paradox.

    3. Just include some musical notation in your tile.

Hump Day Zentangle Challenge #9

Hmm. Back to “Nzeppel and Paradox (see above for links). Also, Printemps, Tripoli, and Hollibaugh.

4. Use a musical note or a clef as your string.

5. Just listen to your favorite music while you freestyle tangle. Tell us why you picked the particular music you chose to listen to.

Please Share Your Hump Day Zentangle® Challenge Creations!

Please share your responses to this week’s challenge with us in the Hump Day Challenge Facebook Group and/or on your Instagram, Twitter  or Flickr feeds. Use the hashtag #hdchallenge9.

Note: The Hump Day Zentangle Challenge Facebook group is a “closed” group to discourage axe murderers. So, assuming you’re not an axe murderer, please just search for the name of the group in Facebook and submit a request to join. There are no pre-requisites to join the group — other than relatively good manners and the afore-mentioned not being an axe murderer. I can’t invite you to join unless we’re already FB friends, but if you request to join, I can add you to the group. Other group members can also admit you to the group.

There are other ways to share your work: We also have a Pinterest group board to share our Hump Day Challenge responses. Email me at if you’d like me to add you as a contributor to the Pinterest board or you can mention that in a comment with your Pinterest name below.

If you have your own blog and are posting your challenge responses there, leave the URL to your blog in a comment below so people can paste it into their browser and find your post. (PS: The first 2 times you comment, I will have to moderate the comment. After your first two comments on Boomeresque, your comments will appear without moderation.)

BTW, feel free to share your work for this or any challenge at any time—even next week, next month, next year, ad infinitum.

A note about Zentangle supplies: I am an Amazon affiliate which means I may earn a few cents if you do your Amazon shopping via links on this website. A few people have asked me for links to Zentangle supplies. At the end of this post there are links to supplies you may be interested in, including books, pens and colored pencils.

Does music have a place in your life? Did you ever or do you still play in instrument?

{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

Judy Engler Priddy August 14, 2019 at 9:26 pm

The real challenge will be to decide which song of the many I have loved. So many memories go along with each one. I hope I choose wisely. Looking forward to this one and to the choices of others.


Suzanne Fluhr August 15, 2019 at 3:14 am

You can always choose more than one. I did. 🙂


Nan September 5, 2019 at 11:30 pm

Loved this! I had forced piano lessons – still can’t read music but can play by ear – but meh. Singing, now – I came out of the womb harmonizing (smile, blame my mother for that line). Music surrounded me growing up – all my mom-side relatives played, sang and jitterbugged every time they had a reunion.

Your story was great! As usual. You took me back to high school –


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