MUS202 music appreciation
MUS240 music of the americas
MUS250 world music
MUS115 art, music & ideas
TAKING NOTES DURING A PIECE OF MUSIC
(In class, not at a concert!)
Note identifying information: performer, composer, title, genre, culture, etc.
Note your reaction: love, hate, like, dislike, boring, exciting, the mood it creates for you (peaceful, happy, sad, disgusted, resentful, awe-struck, etc.) initially one thing changing to another, etc. WE REMEMBER EMOTIONS MORE READILY THAN PLAIN FACTS.
Note the point being made in the lecture or the text. Why is this music example being presented? Why is this particular example a good or bad example of the point being illustrated? Of all the possible choices to demonstrate this point, why this particular one?
Describe the music in your own terms, as you would describe it to a friend who shares your taste in music. That friend is actually you in a couple of weeks, when you review your notes.
Use ANYTHING that you might associate with the selection – it reminds you of your aunt’s voice, a movie, the sound of your car starting on a cold day, WHATEVER. Fragments of lyrics can be very helpful, too.
Describe the music in the technical terms being explained by the professor or textbook author with that example.
As in all note taking, write down IDEAS, not just words. Writing down just “1865” or “heterophony” is useless more than 24 hours after the class. You won’t remember the associated idea. Write down the event, definition, significance, and so on. Or note some action for your future self to do: “heterophony – look up in glossary in textbook.”
We learn by forgetting – we are not computers recording everything that happens to us. All the little details of the day are washed away by sleep. What remains is what we have learned. We forget what is not reinforced by emotion and repetition, and we remember what we care about. Take notes in order to strengthen those recollections, to collect again the thoughts that might be washed away.
rev. Nov 2005
music composition web page