Teaching composition involves tightening a lot of nuts and bolts: technical chops, notational know-how, professional presentation. But music is first and foremost an art form, and teaching it effectively means approaching it from a variety of perspectives, as art is a many-splendored thing.
At least once a year, I like to confront the students with a perspective completely outside of our comfort zones. Music focuses on aural experience, so today in seminar we’re going visual. Guest Norman Coates is going to talk about his area of expertise: lighting design.
Some of our students – the ones who will go on to pursue paths intersecting with theater – will get some valuable insights into the technical challenges facing potential collaborators. Others, though, will get something I believe is just as valuable: a curveball coming at them from an angle they haven’t considered before.
Hopefully the experience will encourage them to adjust their stances and swing with more authority.