You're viewing an archive of CAT+FD projects from 1997-2018.

Another FaCTS Mellon Project

Sing a Song!

by Dr. John E. Ware

Prospectus: Recently, in an effort to make the University Chorus a class that was more appealing to non-majors, I added a course requirement of a short essay on some aspect of the chorus repertoire or experience. I believed that the essay would put the majors and non-majors on the same level in that non-majors don't have the benefit of private vocal study and the study of music theory. While I did not require documentation, the students were asked to come up with an original topic related to the music, or the text, or any creative/scholarly impetus that they got from the course. Unfortunately, I was not only shocked at the quality of the writing but I was more disappointed that very few students could come up with original ideas that could be presented on paper and supported to any small degree. The freshmen in the course were the most terrified and traumatized by the failing grade that I had to give their essays. As music ensembles have all academic levels cross-registered for one course, I was also shocked that most upper-classmen performed on the same level of thinking and writing about music as did the freshmen. This FaCTS project will address the scholarly and creative aspect of the use of words in the discipline of music.


Project Description - Three times a week during the 30 minute period of 4:45 - 5:15 MWF members of the University Chorus — including the freshmen members, will participate in a seminar on writing and thinking about the scholarly and creative aspect of the use of words in the discipline of music. These seminars will be led by me (John Ware) but will include guest presentations from within the music department, the university, visiting artists/scholars, media presentations, and other related resources. The foundation of the seminars will be the examination of topics found in two texts:

1. Wingell, Richard J. Writing about Music: And Introductory Guide. New Jersey: Prentice Hall, 1997

2. Goleman, Daniel, Paul Kaufman, and Michael Ray. The Creative Spirit (Companion to the PBS Television Series). New York: Dutton Books-The Penguin Group, 1992.

Referenced but not Required:
Miller, Philip (Compiler). The Ring of Words: A Anthology of Song Texts. New York: W. W. Norton & Company, Inc., 1973.

Sessions, Roger. Questions about Music. New York: W.W. Norton & company, Inc., 1971

The culmination of this project will be the essays or creative projects which must be completed and graded as a portion of the final chorus grade. Discussions, questions and answers from seminar events will be undertaken on blackboard. Finally, students will keep a weekly journal of concepts presented in the seminars and the journal will serve is a repository or ideas that might lead to essay topics or a new music text.

Start date: Thursday, April 28, 2011
Finish date: Saturday, April 28, 2012