Prior to arriving at Longwood when I filled in the questionnaire for what classes I would be put in, I was very excited to take a course on music as it is one of my biggest passions. While I prepared for class, I thought that being in Music Appreciation would mean that we would learn to read music, understand what we are hearing based on technical terms, and learn to interpret music as we explore the musicians of different ages and genres.
This class is all that I expected and more as we delved in to the topic of music and its role in both movies and politics. I had never realized how much music effected us as we watch the big screen, or even in political promotion videos. The instrument playing or the tone or tempo of the music can set the mood; it can enhance the happiness of a scene or enhance the feeling of the malicious intent brought on my the villain.
What truly made this an honors experience was how we learned it. Of course we read the assigned books and worked hard to learn terminology of music and famous composers and to successfully be able to remember the melody of numerous compositions. But Dr. Swanson made us completely grasp the concepts from the pages of our books through taking us to see them in person.
We attended an opera, ‘Rigoletto’, where while we may not have been able to understand the language used in the performance we were able to read the body movements and facial expressions and register their emotions and the mood through the music being played. In addition to this, we watched our instructor conduct at a symphony, and each were expected to attend five concerts of our own accord where we had to analyze the music being played.
In fact, see below where I have provided an example of the extensive work that a group of my peers and myself worked to analyze the music within the movie titled ‘Thirteen Days”. We found that music occurs all through out movies. Many different melodies play, and may accompany certain patterns in the movie or even provide a theme for a specific character. However, moments without music, which are actually sometimes rare, have a meaning, too.
After taking this class I see, or rather hear, so much more; I can recognize when music affects my mood, or how it effects my opinion of characters as I watch movies.