U2 And The Cranberries Visit This Woman In Her Musical Hallucinations

In 2004, strange things started happening to IUP professor Dr. Annah Hill — specifically, strange things with her hearing.

Musical hallucinations

“I felt like I was hearing things, but I knew I was missing things,” Hill said. “At first whenever it started happening, it did freak me out. Because I thought, ‘Oh my gosh, I’m going crazy and I’m hearing things that people aren’t hearing.'”

For example, she would hear a doorbell that didn’t ring, or a microwave beeping when that wasn’t the case. And for someone who at the time was earning a master’s degree in deaf education from the University of Pittsburgh, this was serendipitous.

“I thank God every day,” she said about the coincidence. (She’s now a professor of Disability Services and certified educator of the deaf).

Music was one of the sounds that crept into Hill’s hearing — “sensations” and “hallucinations” are two words she used for these occurrences.

The following year, in 2005, she was officially diagnosed with unilateral hearing loss. By 2008, she had hearing loss in both ears, and the sensation of hearing music was even more prominent.

The songs that come and go through her mind are regulars, like folks at a local bar. The most common songs are The Cranberries’ “Zombies,” which she said is one of the more annoying songs, and U2’s “Sweetest Thing,” about which she says, “That’s one that I can handle.”

“If it’s a tune which is more like Metallica…it just drives me crazy and I get very stressed out,” she explained. “But if it’s a tune more like a kid’s song that I’m hearing…then it’s different. I don’t mind it.”

This phantom music usually comes with stress or the migraines she often gets; that head pain, when it’s very bad, sometimes is accompanied by flashing lights.

“It’s almost like the flashing is connected to the beat of the tune,” Hill said. “It’s almost like strobe lights that are connected to the music.”

But her phantom music can be a good distraction from the pain, she said.

Musical hallucinations

“Sometimes it does get me off the idea of trying to get rid of the headache and the migraine…I’ve tried medicine, I’ve tried sleeping, I’ve tried teas, I’ve tried everything. And just nothing seemed to work.”

She also said the music tends to visit her when she’s driving in the car alone.

“It usually is when I’m not with people,” she said. “It’s usually when I’m by myself. I have three girls and my husband at home, and it usually doesn’t occur whenever they are there.”

Despite all of her experiences, some professionals don’t believe Hill actually hears music.

“Some of the audiologists I’ve been to chalk it up to just my tinnitus making me think about the songs and not really hearing the song,” she said.

Nowadays, though, the music isn’t as prominent as it once was, and her migraines are less frequent. Hill said she’s not certain if those two things are connected.

Whether or not the tinnitus or the migraines have something to do with the sensations, she’s not faking it.

“I know I’m hearing music somehow,” she said.


Originally published in Musicateur

Music Piracy Persists While Big Brother In Background

Amanda C. Wade, 20, a sophomore economics major at Indiana University of Pennsylvania, admits to being a pirate.

“I play music on my computer every day that was downloaded illegally,” she wrote in an April 25 email interview.

She has no credit card or PayPal account, she said. So she uses illegal methods to get music for free – for example, by using file converters and media players that go between multiple computers.

“I would feel bad charging, essentially, my parents for music purchases that I could easily get illegally,” she continued in the email interview. “And not cost them more money on top of books and tuition and groceries.

RELATED: Hard-Earned Money For My Hard-Earned Songs

Wade is among the nearly two-thirds of IUP students who said in responses to an April 18 email survey that they illegally download copyrighted music and other media, as defined by U.S. copyright law. Nearly one-third of respondents said they download digital media illegally “multiple times a week.”

Illegal downloading of music is widespread on the IUP campus, said Zachary J. Stiegler, Ph.D., communications media professor at IUP and the faculty adviser for WIUP-FM.

“I would assume that the vast majority of students engage in some level of music piracy,” Stiegler said in a March 26 interview in his office.

No IUP department polices music piracy. But according to William S. “Bill” Balint, the campus’ chief information officer in the Information Technology Department, the university monitors its computer networks in two ways:

  • It watches the volume of activity on IUP networks. If the network gets sluggish, the department looks into the problem.

Rarely do students tattle on each other about illegal music or video downloading and sharing, Balint said.

If a student is suspected of illegally using music on an IUP network, the university will disable the student’s network access, according to IUP’s File Sharing FAQ webpage. To regain access, the student must sign a promise not to share files illegally on an IUP network and pay a $30 fine. The student also could face university judicial sanctions.

“Typically, you’re talking an RIAA take-down-notice scenario,” Balint said in an April 4 interview in his office.

In 2009, the department received 190 notices of DMCA copyright violations, according to the department’s records. In 2012, the department received 32, an 83 percent drop. (See sidebar, below.)

RELATED: Are You Selling Out By Not Selling Your Music?

Pundits attribute the precipitous decline to a variety of reasons ranging from technology to policy. Balint attributed the decline to improvements in tools and security procedures that can match sophisticated copyright violators.

“There was a time in the original Napster days where it was a complete free-for-all,” he said.

But his department is not trying to police IUP networks, Balint said.

“Our job is not to be the Big Brother of piracy,” he said.

THAT JOB belongs to the RIAA. In 2007, the music-industry association brought a nationally reported lawsuit against a student who it said committed music piracy.

A few RIAA member companies, including Sony BMG Music Entertainment and other major record labels, accused Joel Tenenbaum of illegally downloading 30 songs in 2007.

At the time of the alleged offense, Tenenbaum was an undergraduate at Goucher College. He has since earned a Ph.D. from Boston University. The case started with Tenenbaum “defending my actions as a teenager,” he said in a May 22, 2012, interview with Southern California Public Radio.

The corporations accused Tenenbaum of illegally downloading and sharing thousands of songs from 1999 to at least 2007, according to documents from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit.

This is a common story for the RIAA. It has sued thousands of university students for alleged illegal file-sharing and downloading. Between January 2004 and October 2007, RIAA companies filed at least 30,000 lawsuits, according to the Electronic Frontier Foundation.

In 2007, IUP received four subpoenas, according to the university.

However, most of the RIAA lawsuits were defaulted or settled out of court, sometimes for as little as $3,000 and as much as $11,000, according to the EFF.

In July 2009, a Massachusetts jury found  Tenenbaum’s actions “willful” and penalized him $22,500 per song, for a total of $675,000 to be awarded to the plaintiffs, according to court documents.

AT IUP, Wade isn’t fazed by the potential for such penalties.

“Of course I’m not afraid of getting caught!” Wade said in the interview. “If anyone was going to be caught and made an example of, I would expect it to be the webmasters of those servers, the ones who get advertising revenue and process thousands of songs a day.”

To date, Wade guessed, she’s downloaded hundreds of songs on her laptop.

“Maybe 1,000,” she said. “Not more than 10,000.”

However, Wade added, she downloads only “big-name artists” on “big-name labels.”

Psy and Skrillex and Kesha don’t need my money,” Wade said. “They’re rich enough already.”

RELATED: Bieber vs. White Hinterland


Originally published by The Hawk Eye

Just do it? Or get a degree?

College or not? is a question many ask. Some choose to go, at home others stay. Some prefer trade school, others Subway. Many do better without classes and lectures. And many do fine with their degrees in line.

Learning with humble excitement is right, I think, not judging yourself with the degrees you have or judging another for his lack of them. Whether you jump right off or build your wings at the top*, neither make a man a bird.

RELATED: Why It’s Important To Learn Something New On A Regular Basis

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“Jump off the cliff and build your wings on the way down,” Ray Bradbury*