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Friday, Sept. 4

September 4, 2015
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Songwriting: Today we watched the first half-hour of this Secrets of New York episode about Tin Pan Alley. (It begins about seven minutes in.) Even though it’s about Tin Pan Alley — named for the sound of all those pianos pounding out songwriters’ would-be hits of the day — it’s also a pretty good overview of how popular music and songwriting evolved.

I made a messy, grossly reductive timeline to fill in some of the gaps in the documentary:

IMG_20150904_103141288

The most important shift happens in 1963-64, when The Beatles and Bob Dylan usher in the era of the singer-songwriter. (Remember, the big stars previously — Crosby, Sinatra, Elvis, etc. — didn’t write their own material. Professional songwriters, like those from Tin Pan Alley and the Brill Building — did that.)

For next week: bring in a song you like. Be able to play it (via YouTube, your phone, whatever) and explain what it is you like. Hopefully you will be able to talk about the lyrics, either as something you like or at least something the song succeeds in spite of.

Critical Reading:

Less Miserables: Began watching 1776. When we’re finished (probably early next Friday), I will be asking you to answer three questions in written form (which you will turn in):

  1. What is it that seems to make characters break into song? (This could be multiple answers.)
  2. Give an elevator pitch for this musical.
  3. If I told you we were cutting this musical down to half an hour, what would you keep? Think four or five characters, and four or five songs.

Critical Reading: Today we talked about Mary Had A Little Lamb – nice interpretations!

We went on to talk about choices in terms of content, language and structure, and how looking at these choices can help us to support our interpretation of a work. We looked at two examples in class:
Critical Reading 9.4.15 – Wall St Infographic Handout
Critical Reading 9.4.15 – Restaurant Menu Handout
We talked about what choices went into these examples and what the effects are.

Two additional assignments were handed out:
– For next Friday, please read this restaurant review: Critical Reading 9.4.15 – Restaurant Review Handout. Write a short (informal) analytical paper looking at the choices made in this piece and the effect they have on you, the reader, and then go on to further interpret the piece. What is going on here? What does it do? What does it mean?
– For Friday, Sept. 18, read the excerpt from Saussure as outlined here: Critical Reading 9.4.15 – Saussure Assignment Sheet.

Less Miserables: began watching 1776. When we’re finished (probably next Friday), I will be asking you to answer three questions in written form (which you will turn in):

  1. What is it that seems to make characters break into song? (This could be multiple answers.)
  2. Give an elevator pitch for this musical.
  3. If I told you we were cutting this musical down to half an hour, what would you keep? Think four or five characters, and four or five songs.

BatCat: Weekly reports. Everyone should now have access to the first handful of submissions on Submittable. Again, let me know if there are any issues or anything that should be immediately taken off the list (email, please).

We are confirmed for Saturday, September 12 (Beaver County Bookfest). It’s from 9 – 5; check your calendars.

7th Grade: Wrote haiku!

Survey: Combined: Today we played Draw/Write/Draw and talked about imagery and how to write description that isn’t terrible (hopefully :)). See you all next week! Please see previous posts for any questions about what we did in Poetry and Fiction this week.

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