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Posts tagged ‘#CClasses’

Romantic composers and conductors: #CClasses

Join us this week as we talk to a composer, conductor, and then listen to what notable Romantic composers and conductors had to say about thier experiences in the 1800s. This is our last official session in this semester’s Connecting Classes project. I say official, because this session where we tweet our notes is part of a research project that focuses on three session, so the project will end, but the methods… Well, we will keep using them as we continue to learn and meet as a class throughout the semester.

This week you are invited to listen in with us this Friday and tweet comments, notes, and questions. We will be listening live at 10:30 am GMT, and I very much hope that will be the start of an ongoing conversation. Whether you join in with the live discussion, or you listen later, share your thoughts on Twitter by using the hashtags #MUL316 and #cclasses .

I have prepared three audio files (~18 min in total):

  • We begin by examining a conductor’s approach to Romantic music and the orchestra in an interview with conductor Christopher Slater (4 min 35)

  • And move to a compilation about the Romantic composers on conducting and approaching the music.¬†You will see that I have used as many actual quotes as I could, and these are represented by other voices. ūüôā (8 min 47)

  • To an interview with composer and conductor Adam Swayne about his own approach to the score and conducting as a composer. (4 min 43)

I would like to thank the many volunteers who read the words of composers and their friends to help make the audio more engaging and easier to follow. References used to source quotes in the second audio file are listed below…

5528712669_0e0f77d1c5_zImage above, CC BY-NC by James Savage, Featured image CC BY-NC by Penn State

  • Bamberger, C. (Ed.). (1965).¬†The conductor’s art. McGraw-Hill.
  • Biba, O. (1979). Schubert’s Position in Viennese Musical Life.¬†19th-century Music,¬†3(2), 106-113.
  • Komorn, M., & Strunk, W. O. (1933). Brahms, Choral Conductor.¬†The Musical Quarterly,¬†19(2), 151-157.
  • Neue Zeitschrift f√ľr Musik 10:47 (1839)
  • Wagner, R. (1887).¬†On conducting. W. Reeves.
  • Walker, A. (1987).¬†Franz Liszt: The Weimar Years, 1848-1861. Cornell University Press.

Romanticism: It’s happening! #CClasses

This is session two of three in this round of the Connecting Classes project. What’s happening here is a different sort of teaching where actually you control the pace, and how and when you pause, reflect, and interact with both the content and with others. For this class, we have core lectures like many classes, but we do various things alongside this project as well. I record/archive all my lectures so that students can look back for a particular reference or find a bit of analysis that they might have missed or not quite taken in during the class. We use of an interactive reading list, so they can click straight through to the university’s subscription material and have the references I’ve used at their fingertips. This Connecting Classes project is one more way to engage, and for me it is possibly the most fun.

The idea (for those of you not in the room) is that we, who are in the room will all be listening and commenting on the three interviews below. We will use our own devices to listen. That means the room will look odd to a passer-by. They might peep in and see a room full of silent people with headphones on who are tapping into computers or their phones. I promise we are all on task! As we listen, we take notes and all our comments, ideas, questions, are typed and shared as Tweets. The tiny detail that makes this useful and a pedagogical tool is that we TAG our notes with both the project hashtag and the class hashtag:

#CClasses #MUL316

The beauty is that you (who could be across the world) are also welcome to join in when and where ever you can. The value of using Twitter is that anyone can join in, and with the tags, we can add your comments to our group notes.¬†The live event is happening today, 4 Nov. 2016 at 11 am GMT, so you will see lots of activity then…

Let’s get to it!

Today we are listening to three interview with professional musicians on the topic of Romantic Music. They total 30 mins, and I suggest you give yourself an hour to listen and comment. If you can look on Twitter for the hashtag #MUL316 you will see other people’s comments too and maybe you can reply to someone – you may have the answer they are looking for! Enjoy!

  • 25961d_6941cf070a1542ae927abe640afaa362-jpg_srz_325_257_85_22_0-50_1-20_0Our first musician is Katherine Schultz, a cellist from Portland, Oregon. She speaks to us about practising and approaching this music in the following 10 mins. of audio.

  • 2bii-j-plowright-photo-2-reduced-for-web-page1Next Jonathan Plowright, concert pianist and Head of Keyboard at the University of Chichester, speaks about understanding and context within this music. He himself is preparing to record the complete piano music of Brahms:

  • 0lb7vgkcFinally we hear from a vocalist. So much of the great Romantic music literature is for voice. Mezzo-soprano and Head of Voice at the University of Chichester, Susan Legg¬†(@susanlegg) takes us through the first song in a song cycle Frauenliebe und-leben by Schumann, identifying key features and explaining how the voice and piano work together with the words. She finishes the interview by performing the song. Beautiful!

I am hugely grateful to our musicians for allowing me to interview them, and for their willingness to share their expertise and knowledge with us.

Please keep listening and adding comments. This is meant to be a catalyst for further discussions and is by no means limited to the 11am time slot. If you tag them #CClasses and #MUL36 I will be able to find them and add them to the story! (I will share that via this website, so the public can see)


Join us next week as we hear from composers and conductors on their views about having their music performed and performing the music of others (relating of course to Romantic composers!). I am telling you the topic in case anyone would like to do some prep homework and come up with a spectacular reference to the views of a known or unknown Romantic composer on this topic for our discussion next time!


Featured image CC BY-NC by Smackfu

Romanticism comes to life with #cclasses

I am genuinely very very excited¬†for this Friday’s session in my Romanticism lecture. Really. In it we’re joined by three distinguished guests who each bring Romantic music to life through their experience, understanding, and advice. Three perspectives by hugely respected professionals. wow.

It will all make sense on Friday.

For now, just mark your calendar for Friday 4 Nov. 11am GMT. Whether you are a performing musician or not – this is something that especially musicians, but anyone interested in learning, connection, and personal perspective will find fascinating.

Join us on Friday as we listen to

  • Portland-based cellist Katherine Schultz take us through aspects of preparation and practising.
  • UK concert pianist Jonathan Plowright discusses interpretation.
  • UK mezzo soprano Susan Legg¬†takes us on an in-depth exploration of the first song of Schubert’s¬†Frauenliebe und-leben, and finishes her interview with a glorious impromptu performance of the song.

They each bring the topics we have been studying to life. I interviewed them all –¬†Today I conducted the final interview and am in the process of uploading the audio to (now) all ready for Friday’s session.

If you cannot join us exactly at 11 am (for example if you live in America and you might be sleeping!), it is perfectly ok to listen later and still join in our twitter conversation. Just tag your tweet with #CClasses and #MUL316 . People will tweet back and I genuinely look forward to the conversation unfolding.

I created this content because of the research project Connecting Classes, but it has become much more a way of learning and teaching for me than a ‘project’. The other day it dawned on me just what is possible with this Connecting Classes project. As a common theme in all connecting classes session, there is some sort of pre-recorded content that the live class focuses on during the session. They engage with it and tweet their notes. (We will be using the project tag #CClasses and our class tag #MUL316 ) In the original version by Jonathan Worth, he used audio content, but others have used video, and I don’t see why a text couldn’t be used – these things are made to be sprouted, riffed on, and remixed. Last semester, I created my own content (with the help of the students) and we used the pre-recorded aspect of the project as a springboard for what we were studying, to focus discussions and to lead us to external connections and resources, but also to connect to our individual interests.

That connection is key in my view.

Take our class for example. In this historical period, Romanticism, there is SO much variation and such a sheer volume of music. One composer wrote 600 songs and another wrote an opera that literally takes close to 24 hours to perform. As a teacher I¬†know it is important to study a topic and all around the topic. How important it is to understand the application of the topic, and digest the topic, and then put that knowledge to use – but sometimes it all takes years to realise and internalise, and it can be hard going as an undergraduate. Sometimes, just sometimes, (just saying), studying the music of bygone times¬†is not the most thrilling aspect of a young performer’s education….


and oh my goodness, this does!!!

As a student it can be difficult to study the music of an instrument you do not play, read, and analyse, and somehow have it inspire and move you. I want to be inspired and I want my students to be inspired. Textbooks aren’t always the most inspirational, but people and stories, now I love them. Please don’t get me wrong – I am not skimping on the content one bit, and I am a big advocate of research, journal articles, and primary source information. In fact the short interviews that we will listen to Friday morning will supplement and point to further resources and inspire people to make connections. Perhaps it will lead listeners to have an ‘a-ha’ moment of really find meaning in the detail and the process….

Mark your diary. This Friday, 11 am. I will post the content here and will tweet the links. I promise you are in for a treat. You will find beauty, simplicity, and wonderful musical insight.

I am very grateful for the generosity of my guests.


 image CC BY-NC-SA by philHendley

Featured imageCC-BY by Alan Kuruz

Reflecting on CClasses: We learn differently

It’s 3:15 am and I couldn’t sleep because I was thinking about and reflecting on how we learn and what we want to get out of our learning. I am thinking about my Romanticism class that is taking part in the Connecting Classes project. What do we want… Perhaps that is the greatest starting point – to want to get something out of it.¬†In my teaching, in my life, I admit to starting from my own perspective (I suppose in psychology terms each person’s perspective is the ultimate starting point) and then I work out to see how I can understand an experience and best shape it for my fellow learners. What can I use to supplement or enhance? How can it be relevant to that person’s driving passions in music? How can we engage in learning together? How can we amplify each other’s experience? Read more

#CClasses: Connecting classes & connecting composers

This semester my students and I are taking part in a research project led by Jonathan Worth at the Open Lab at Newcastle University. It is a project that makes use of creative, innovative, and practical pedagogical tools – right at our fingertips (more literally than you know!). It’s based on using Twitter as a ‘hub’. There are may ways of engaging with content and gathering information, and one of the biggest challenges today is to find common ground, or I should say a common platform. Some people use Slack, some Facebook, some Twitter, Pinterest, Google+, Evernote, -I have even heard of some people who like to write things down on paper. The point is that there are many ways to gather thoughts and information, and having many people with individual ways can be brilliant as it means that you can choose what suits you best. However, there are times when finding unity is useful.

This project sets out to do just that: provide a space for engagement, inquiry, reflection, and comment. Twitter is useful in that comments are in real time, they are short and sweet, and they can be identified with a hashtag. That means I (or anyone) could collect the tweets about a certain subject, or with a certain hashtag.

We are exploring using this method of ‘group-sourcing’ our thoughts and research on a topic in relation to musical composers in the 1800’s – during what is known as the Romantic Period. In a parallel to the possible ways of taking notes, I realised there was a similar scattering of material about composers.

When does this happen? Our first #CClasses session is Friday 21 October at 10 am.

Let me explain how it works:

I am fascinated by the interconnectedness of composers. In this period in history, seemingly more so than in the previous century, people have both access to music and listening. This was due to printing of music and to the rise in popularity of the piano as an instrument. When you begin to look at even a few of the most commonly discussed composers like Schumann, Chopin, Liszt, Schubert, Berlioz, Brahms… (and the list does go on) the connections between them are astounding. People heard one another’s works. They played one another’s works. They¬†copied one another’s works. Wouldn’t it be great if there was a resource where some of the interpersonal connections were mapped out?

Yes, yes it would be! I found just that sort of resource for composers of the 1900s. screen-shot-2016-10-20-at-19-21-12

It’s HERE. Go ahead and click through. There are two or three clicks, and then you come to the ‘composer wheel’. (screen shot –>) As an interactive, at your fingertips type of resource, it is a great idea and so useful. If you wanted to take any of these connections further, they could definitely be researched. What a great starting point!I know there could be any number of different¬†types of connection created here, and a very critical person could ask for more or question why these were chosen, but I love it!

So what am I proposing for this session?


just for Romantic composers. Here’s a short 3 min snippet of me explaining what I’m proposing:

I love the connections, inspiration, links between art, music, literature, friendship, and countries. Let’s make a map of composers.

Our own composer wheel.

You provide the tweets about the connections:

WHO: composers

WHAT: type of music

WHERE: cities/countries

STYLE: dances? nationalism?


(for those who wrote songs)

There could be any number of topics. Feel free to suggest composers, topics, links

Please tweet any contributions and tag it all #MUL316 and #CClasses

I look forward to you joining us tomorrow at 10am for the online discussion as we spin our topics in our live class at the University of Chichester. You are ALL invited to join in. Tweet at ANY time Рif you can join us live at 10am UK time, FAB. Any other time will do too!

Featured image CC BY by¬†Pedro Ribeiro Sim√Ķes¬†and on his flickr page, he shares (from Wikipedia):

Fado (translated as destiny or fate) is a music genre which can be traced from the 1820s in Portugal, but probably with much earlier origins. In popular belief, Fado is a form of music characterized by mournful tunes and lyrics, often about the sea or the life of the poor. However, in reality Fado is simply a form of song which can be about anything, but must follow a certain structure.

The music is usually linked to the Portuguese word saudade (that has no match in English but it could be understood as nostalgia felt while missing someone), a word describing a sentiment. Another similar English translation can be to pine for something or someone.

Some enthusiasts claim that Fado’s origins are a mixture of African slave rhythms with the traditional music of Portuguese sailors and Arabic influence. ….

…maybe we should start there, with our first contribution via this photographer.

#CClasses #MUL316 …and look out for our next two sessions in the coming weeks where we listen to and discuss views of performers and then composers.

Looking back and moving forward

Last week I held the last of three sessions for the Connected Classes project. They wove themselves into one of my university modules and became the content. The students in my class were studying one-to-one teaching in music, and they all had taught a student of their own throughout this term. Our usual ending sessions had to do with looking at the wider picture, troubleshooting, and reflecting on the experiences over the term and and so we used (and expanded) those ideas to engage with them as part of our #cclasses sessions.

We had one of the librarians visit us and watch what was going on. She wanted to see me teach, but I told her this would be like no other session she had ever seen, I probably wouldn’t even seem like the teacher! I invited her to bring her headphones and join in. She did listen, but didn’t tweet – instead she made notes, and I asked her permission to share some of her notes with you. So here you have an observer’s account of what went on… Read more

What makes you tick? Musical inspiration

This is the last of our three sessions for the Connected Classes project and this week the class decided to celebrate moments/people/events that were pivotal in their musical development.

I set about gathering these moments (anonymously) from anyone and everyone, and it was funny (odd) to be met with such varied reactions. I had everything from blank faced looks to nervous laughter at the idea that I was interested in what made them musically tick. Read more

Respectfully yours… from the parents

Last week we heard from the parents in our #IVTchat and it was certainly interesting. I’m not going to soliloquise about it here. The good thing was that it made us think and we had a full discussion afterwards. I sometimes feel my head spin as I could (and did) contribute as teacher, parent, and learner. All I will say here is that life is a complicated cocktail, and with the right ingredients it can be completely magic.¬†Just being aware that there is always more to the picture than we can see is a first step – and understanding that the impact of a teacher can be so very valuable – either to instigate and then reinforce the positive support from home, or to be a source of support where there is less to be found outside the lesson. There was so much to think about! It made us reflect on our own experience and perhaps look at the wider picture of lessons in a slightly different way. Read more

Your musical moment … a call for contributions

What makes you tick, musically?

(2 min read) Was there a moment, an experience, perhaps a person or meeting that really inspired you – that’s what this is about.¬† Read more

IVTChat 2 Hey Daddy-O! (Talking to parents)

If anyone is joining us for the first time, this session is part of the Connecting Classes project and it is designed to augment conversations between students, and across the wider profession and community. For this reason, you should all feel most welcome to join in! Read more