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Music Through its Relationship to History with the use of Film, Video and the Specious Present

Sloan Edward Williams III

Contents of Curriculum Unit 98.01.10:

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Musicians have gained valuable information on how to perform or study music through examination of history. Bela Bartok in his speech given at a Harvard lecture series discussed at length the importance of understanding the concept of the “Specious Present.” In the 1940’s when Mr. Bartok spoke to his audience it took great academic precision to present the concept of the “Specious Present.” He did not have access to the many wondrous films and videos that within an instant make known and clear what the experience of the “Specious Present” is, the ability to imagine one’s self in detail in a different time period.

“Specious Present” bends space and time as that a human being may gain insight of experiences, events, and occurrences from different time periods. In bringing forth the past, there is always a danger of the abuse of history. For the aforementioned reason, I would like to develop a means for both teacher and student to become aware of the potential as well as to increase the teaching of history within the context of music in the classroom.

As a music teacher, one of my goals in the classroom is to create a means for each student to have the “Specious Present” experience. While all art forms contain elements of the “Specious Present” effect, film and video are by far the most natural medium to convey its portent to students. Through the combination of study of film, music and history together, the “Specious Present” experience becomes more than just an abstract concept that is talked about by artists, composers, and academicians. It becomes a visceral approach that students can learn and relate to all forms of study.

The evolution of this type of teaching strategy is based on my experiences in teaching academic skills through an interdisciplinary approach. While at first glance, presenting to students how math, music, history, and science can be learned together as a single activity might give the appearance of being time consuming for teachers and disorienting for students, experience has presented the opposite to be true.

When many disciplines are used in combination to teach a specific set of academic skills, students have the means to think creatively and critically about what they have learned. Too often students are afraid to think and learn for themselves. This is due to fear of not giving the right answers on tests or performing poorly on homework and class assignments. With the use of the interdisciplinary approach, students choose their personal paths of learning that relate to the subject being taught that best work for them as well as seeing and being exposed to the different ways people think about a single idea, concept or academic skill presented in the classroom setting.

The central theme or concept of “ Specious Present “ that binds all disciplines together in the development of this unit is to have students gain an understanding of different time periods as they relate to the present times of which they are aware, and how our personal views opinions can either obscure or provide insight as to understanding their past.

In terms of the use of films and books in this curriculum unit, students shall explore the “truth” that is presented in the pursuit of their understanding of musical history. As students in the classroom, the “Specious Present” of each composer , they will have an experience that becomes the timeless lesson of discovery. An example of this way of teaching might be best described in the following classroom experience. Students often think that when they hear the Classical composers piano music of that he played his pieces on a grand piano.

Just for fun, in your classroom, ask the question, did Mozart perform on a grand piano? Students that have seen the movie “Amadeus”, (which was taken from the play by Peter Shaffer and was turned into a film by Milos Forman), might have observed part of the answer. Students might respond “ no, he played on a spinet piano.” Some students might say, “ Mozart performed of his works on the harpsichord.” Some students might not have known about Mozart at all and might have thought “ oh yes, I saw Mozart perform on stage at Lincoln Center with the New Philharmonic. “ These are actual answers to this question asked in my classroom.

After describing this scenario, the teacher presents a film clip from the movie “Amadeus. “ Students shall be asked to keep a journal of all of what they see. ( In my class, students are allowed to write observations during the viewing ) . Students are also asked to watch for the type of instrument that Mozart plays in the film clip. In the film “Amadeus” , there is footage of one of Mozart’s Piano Concertos played on a Pianoforte and Orchestra No. 27 in B flat Major.

After showing this film clip and some additional discussion the teacher presents information that becomes the “Specious Present” to which this unit often refers. In Salzburg, at Mozart’s birth place, they have turned his house of birth into a museum. In that house, there is the Pianoforte that Mozart owned and sometimes performed concerts for the Court of the Archbishop of Salzburg. There is also a Harpsichord that Mozart owned along with his Violin and Viola on display at his house. The students that have seen this film clip have reached the escape velocity of their own opinions to discover the past as a vast, unexplored continuum of images and possibilities, which are different from what they might have assumed previously.

Once the “Specious Present” effect is introduced in to the classroom, other types of questions of similar kind can be used to teach music history. Such as: What kind of keyboard instrument did J.S. Bach play on ? Did he play on more than one type keyboard instrument? Did Mozart play on more than one type of keyboard instrument, if so, what were they ? Is J.S. Bach from the same musical time period as Mozart ? This might be a homework assignment given after the showing of a film clip .

In the following pages, the teaching of music through its relationship to history, combined with the use of film, video and the “Specious Present” as an “interdisciplinary approach” lends itself to the adaptation for all grades and needs. While this particular unit is designed primarily for High School students, I would encourage teachers of all grade levels to explore ways that this material can be adapted for their classroom . The strategies, goals and procedures to implement the above mentioned teaching method shall be covered in more detail later on in the unit.

I have attempted to address the needs of different grade levels as most teachers work with a variety of levels within a particular school setting. For example, a music teacher assigned to an elementary school might work with kindergarten through fifth grade. There might also be a class or two of students with special needs I have taught in the New Haven School system as a permanent substitute and I loved it. As permanent sub, I was given extra responsibilities such as bus duty, the extended day program, and the Metropolitan Opera’s “Create Your Own Opera Program” at Strong Elementary School. I have also been a substitute music teacher at both Nathan Hale Elementary School and at Katharine Brennan Elementary School.

I am currently teaching part-time at the New Haven Cooperative Arts and Humanities Magnet High School of the Performing Arts. I teach Chamber Music, ( where I have had Flute, Piano, and Cello Trio which has performed for audiences around the local region of the State of Connecticut and a special program done in cooperation in the arts with The Yale University School of Music. The Trio performed during that program for The Honorable Richard Riley, Secretary of the U.S. Department of Education visit on 3/19/98 ); General Music, which also had a performing ensemble component where all student of that class performed in a symphonic group, some for the fist time in front of a conductor; Music Theory, Instrumental Strings: violin, viola, cello, bass, guitar, electric bass and guitar, as well as introductory piano.

____I was also the Director for the Yale University February Vacation “Winter Music Camp” at Yale School of Music, where Coop students attended rehearsals, coachings, performances and other special classes at the Yale School of Music; I was also The Coordinator of the Teachers’ Institute Resource Center within Coop High School, which in its first year achieved exemplary status as a center.

I have been Viola soloist with the Hamden and Cheshire Symphony Orchestras. I was a member of the 92th Street “Y” Chamber Music Society. I also teach at Neighborhood Music School Violin, Viola, Piano, and Jazz Improvisation. The above mentioned experiences serve to demonstrate the use of an “interdisciplinary approach” within the context of a public school setting.

This Seminar is part four of the first curriculum unit “Teaching Academic Skills Through the Exploration of Music” from the Seminar “Film and Literature”. This unit has some direct relation to the fourth unit as it is involves the combination of both film and another discipline .

The Second unit is “ Seeing and Learning Astronomy and Cosmology Though the Lens of Music “ which was taken from the Seminar “Outstanding Problems in Contemporary Astronomy and Cosmology”. This unit’s main focus was on the relationship of teaching science, math and music together.

The Third unit is “ The Guide Through Culture to the Blues “ was developed from the Seminar “The Blues Impulse” . This seminar explored Afro-American History and its relationship to music.

The Seminar “ The Use and Abuse of History in Film and Video “ has provided me with exposure to ways of teaching history and music in a integrated way as to develop academic skills. All of the units can be used together or individually. Units can also be used as a guide for interdisciplinary team of teachers. The team approach might have benefits for both disciplines or what ever size team is assembled. Each teacher in the team might find that by working on a central concept together of each of their shared goals will be to the benefit of the students. As each teacher is reinforcing the same concept through differing disciplines.

To accomplish the teaching of the above three disciplines mentioned above, I would start by having each student experience the development of language of film and music. Writing skills shall be addressed through documentation skills in the form of a journal. As a transition plan to support reading and writing skills the teacher using this unit might want to develop the lesson plan with an English teacher, who might be able to explore key concepts that are central to both disciplines.

Through class assignments and activities the teacher might want to have in mind key skills that each student will identify as being developed at the end of each session.

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Students gain both music and academic skills through this type of curriculum unit. Music skills can be acquired for basic musical symbols, notation and musical concepts. Music symbols such as the staff , treble and bass clefs and bar lines are fun to put into context of a film , literature or a game. Students also learn the notes of the staff when the treble clef is in use, what a time signature is ( like 4/4 3/4, and 6/8 ),along with very basic dynamics markings: Forte, Mezzoforte, and Piano. With the interdisciplinary approach, more abstract concepts such as (foreshadowing ) with music either by means of the same film clip or a series of short musical sections shown on film.

In teaching music in its relationship to history, I would like to use the following films; “Amadeus,” which focuses on the late Eighteenth Century. “Immortal Beloved,” a movie about Beethoven which focuses on the early Nineteenth Century made by Bernard Rose. “2001 A Space Odyssey” by Stanley Kubrick is a movie that uses both Johann and Richard Strauss and contemporary music of the mid twentieth Century composed by Ligeti Gyorgy. “Apollo 13” by William Broyles is a movie which deals with mid twentieth century events in science and the beginning of the space age. The Autobiography of Malcolm X as told to Alex Haley, which was the basis for Spike Lee’s film “Malcom X.” I also make reference the movie “West Side Story” , made in 1961 by Ernest Lehman, because it is based on Shakespeare’s play Romeo and Juliet, score written by Leonard Bernstein.

In addition to the above mentioned films, I will also use the following books; The Independent Film and Videomakers Guide, by Michael Wiese. The Beethoven Companion, Edited by Thomas K. Scherman and Louis Biancolli. Mozart Speaks; Views on Music, Musicians, and the World, by Robert Marshall.

The films and books listed above shall hopefully support students to explore the “truth” in terms of musical history.

In order to have students gain an experience that will guide them in their search of performance practices and the study of composers explored during this curriculum unit, they will need other sources that convey an understanding of different time periods as they relate to the present times, how our personal views can either obscure or provide insight as to understanding the past.

With regards to high school students understanding the unique challenges met through the study of music history, teachers might ask them the following questions: what is the impact of our present day access to records, tapes , video tapes, LP’s, CD’s, T.V., radio, computer music programs, sheet music, and the printing press of present day musicians and composers?

How does the fact that we do not have a personal recording of J.S. Bach playing the clavichord with his own compositions impact our ability to get a historical account of how his music should be played

Does “music notation” provide an accurate means of hearing music from differing time periods where we do not have recordings of composers playing their music ?
Is it possible that a performer could play or perform a work of music just as well or better than the composer of his or her own music ?
In order to track differing cultures, their changing background and their inter-relationship to each other over time, one might ask the question, how does musical forms develop over time ?
What is the role of folk songs and music compositions ? Does each nationality have its’ own music form ? Do composers borrow from other nationalities ? What impact does media and advanced technologies have on musicians and their audiences ?
The format for each lesson to be presented in them following way:


The goal of the introduction is to prepare the students for the procedure and contents of each unit. The Introduction might briefly present the movie, book , or materials needed in order to start work on each lesson. The introduction will also give the approximate length of each lesson. Some lessons may only take one class while other lessons may take a week to two weeks to complete. This shall be explained in detail later.

Goal for each lesson:

Each section will have a central goal and possibly a set of sub goals. The goals presented in this unit are not carved in stone. Teachers can use this section in order to define his or her own needs as it relates to their class. The format is what’s important. If you are team teaching, this section can be useful in terms of organizing your lesson plans

The Objective for each lesson:

The objective for each lesson shall include the teaching strategies for each section. The objective will relate to the goal in terms of how each goal shall be either approached or met.

Vocabulary List:

Each lesson should have a vocabulary list of both musical, historical, and academic terms. I have found that vocabulary lists help to map out, draw out , define, identify, or clarify the context of and abstract idea or concept presented in more than one discipline. For example, if you wanted to introduce the concept of theme, one could use the film “Star Wars” by George Lukas, with the following word list: Theme, Leitmotif, Plot, Film Plot, and Character.

Materials Needed for each class or lesson

This section shall include the equipment or other things that a teacher might need to teach a particular lesson. In some cases this might be just a CD player, or a combination of VCR, CD, and book information .

Summary and Evaluation:

The summary and evaluation shall be accomplished through the use of a student journal. Each student shall keep a journal of progress to be used both during class for some homework assignments. This is the section where students develop the concept of “theme” while viewing the introduction of the film clip of “Star Wars”.

Students could develop any number of academic skills from any form of discipline, such as, their powers of observation as in the study of science. If the subject taught in your class room is math, use a film clip for students to gain a historical perspective on how math was used in the past and how it might be used in the future.

Ask the question, shall we discover a new form of math in the next ten to one hundred years, if so, what might this new form of math look like or accomplish ? The study of music, math, language, history, social studies, and science together might spark the imagination of the students in ways that just the study and evaluation of each subject in isolation with a class discussion alone might not.

The process of analysis and critical thinking skills grow in the fertile ground of the student’s journal. The end of the class might be a good time to have students complete this very important part of the lesson. This section can also be the homework segment where learning continues beyond the classroom.

While the imaginations of the students you teach might be sparked, and their world view expanded through the process of all the other sections listed above, without use of this section, those skills such as the ability to read with comprehension, to think, analyze, and process information critically and express ones personal view and discoveries in writing might go undeveloped .



The first section of this unit shall focus upon the concept of “Specious Present” and how it relates to the study of music, history, and its’ function in film and video. Please note that the duration of this lesson is in part due to the age group and level of the students that you are teaching.

Each lesson should be adapted to the needs of each type of class that you are teaching. For example, if you are teaching a kindergarten class, each section should be simplified and broken into smaller units of shorter duration.

The student journal section (Summary and Evaluation) might contain a section for drawing the movies segment shown in class. The Vocabulary list might contain basic concepts i.e. Time Line, Prehistoric Man, Latin root of the word “Pre” and the stem “Historic”, and “History”; or Film Score, Movie, Sound Recording. The Goal of the lesson might be to have students make a sound track of their own with drums, sticks, whistles, and the classroom piano. The objective might be to have students learn basic notation such as quarter rests and quarter notes. Each student can write an film score using just drum beats and drum rests. the score might look like :

Score for Film “2001”:

Drums: Fast drumming no meter for 7 seconds when the tiger enters the movie.

Piano: Piano rests until the drums stop .

Drums: Fast drumming no meter when the prehistoric man throws the stick in the air as the stick comes down the drums get softer and fade out to nothing as it stick turns into a space ship.

Piano: Piano rests while the drums play; as the drums get softer the piano becomes louder and plays in the meter of a Waltz 3/4 time.

High School Students one might do the following:

The materials used are a VCR, possibly a CD player if you want to extend the lesson for a longer period of time. The Film “2001 a Space Odyssey”, made in 1968, based on Arthur C. Clark’s book 2001 a Space Odyssey, the Screen Play Written By Both Stanley Kubrick and Arthur C. Clark. (For those of you who are not musicians, you could use the sound track from the movie “2001” for extended concentration on this film clip ).

One might also use the film “Apollo 13” made in 1995, written by William Broyles to be used as an example of the recent past or present reenactment of the 1970’s space mission to the moon. The addition of this film might be useful for levels Fifth through Eight grade. The Film Score was written by James Horner who won an Academy Award for “Best Score

The class is first presented with a film clip from “2001 a Space Odyssey”.

Explain to the Class that they are about to encounter the experience of learning music and history together with the help of a special tool or device that is used in both film and video called “Specious Present”. Also explain before that experience can be understood for the purposes of the this class that it is vital that procedure, map or system be shown first. Pass out an outline of each section.

Goal for lesson:
The Objective for lesson:
Vocabulary List
Materials Needed for each class or lesson
Summary and Evaluation:
As you explain each section for your class have them write down what they will need to know and the purpose of each section . For example, you might say that for materials needed for each class or lesson: to bring pencils, pens, vocabulary lists, homework assignments and journals each day.

In the Objective section you might break down each days activities such as, Sept. 7, class room activity film clip, home work student journal on 2001. Sept 9 , Class room activity, vocabulary words, class discussion of use of film score, or for homework write in journal your favorite music film score clip , tell why; Sept, 11, Vocabulary list test and journals due for review, and so on

After the showing of the film clip of “2001” and class discussion, you might want to take a day for the discussion of the use of film and how it portrays prehistoric human beings. (Please note that human beings don’t have a form or style of music for prehistoric times, so Kubrick uses modern music. ) You could plan a day’s class on the subject of Richard Strauss, Johann Strauss and romanticism. Also note that Kubrick uses this style for his presentation of the our future in space, why ?

The film clip used should consist of the beginning of the film up to the point where the space station is shown, docked with the space shuttle.

Goals for this lesson:

1 . to have students understand to concept of “Specious Present”.
2. to have students understand the idea that history, music and most art or academic subjects can be put on a time line into eras or periods such as Renaissance, Baroque, and so on. If you are reading this Unit either on the year 2001 or beyond, the concept should still be the same with a few minor adjustments.
3. to have students understand how the film score in “2001” was divided up into three main sections representing a particular time period(s):
I (the presentation of eternity) , music from the romantic era Richard Strauss
II ( the presentation of Pre-Historic Man), with use of modern music of Gyorgy Ligeti
III ( the presentation of the birth of humans’ ability to think and the transitional change from that point of our past to our future in space ), done with the use of the Romantic music of Johann Strauss [ The Blue Danube ].
4. to have students become familiar with new vocabulary words and how to study them in context of each lesson
5. have students develop observation skills through the use of their journals.
The Objective for this lesson:

1. to have the film clip presented in three sections
a. the introduction music segment with music from Richard Strauss [Also Sprach Zurathustra] (timeless or eternal)
b. the prehistoric segment with the use of music from Ligeti’s composition ( represents the past )
c. the bone that changes into a space ship and the music of Johann Strauss
( represents the future )
Note that the Richard Strauss’s [Also Sprach Zurathustra] music returns at the moment that the prehistoric man turns bones into a tool.

2. to have students understand that this film was made in 1968.
a. questions to present students might be; Were there any computers in 1968, if so, did they look like the ones in the film ?
b. we are approaching the year 2001, Does the film accurately present our present times , and if so, What items are or are not on track in the movie ?
c. ask students; If they even for a small moment felt like they were in the prehistoric times with the Cave People ? What details in the film helped you feel that way ?
ask students , Did Mr. Kubrick ever see space , were there pictures of space and
planets for him to use, if not, how did he come up with the pictures of space and are they close to actual pictures of space that we have today ?
e. What events took place in 1969 that relate to space and the moon ?
f. Were there any other events taking place in the year 1969 in the USA that relate to this film ?
3. to have students use their journals both in class and for homework
Vocabulary List:

Specious Present: is a term that in this class means an event that bends space and time as that a human being may gain insight of experiences, events and occurrences from different time periods.
Eternal: the quality of time without beginning or end .
Time Line: is a list of historical events which are placed according to the time, place, and date that they took place. Such events are then sometimes placed into what are called eras or periods.
Romantic Music Era: is a period of music events that took place during 1825-1900. Both Richard Strauss and Johann Strauss composed music in this period of time. If you feel comfortable with music terms you could add basic music concepts such as , Major Key, Minor Key, Three Note Triads, Major and Minor Triads, Chromaticism, and Meter
Theme: is a main idea or central thought expressed in music, art, or film.
The Waltz: is a dance that was very popular in the Romantic Music Era which is in a very fast 3/4 time felt in one. The first beat is the strong beat 1. The 2nd and 3rd beat are weaker beats. Count 1,2,3,1,2,3,1,2,3, then say just one in the time span of the three beats.
Film Score: is the music written by a composer especially a film. It is the music one hears while the film is in progress.
Monolith: A large block of stone used in architecture or sculpture.
Symbol: something that represents something else by association, especially a material object used to represent something that is invisible.
Materials Needed for each class or lesson:

VCR , ( CD if you are going to break this unit up into smaller units ). Students should have journals to write in each day. The Sound Score of “2001”, and The Film “2001”.

Note: if you are teaching 5th Grade - 8th Grade you might consider the use of “Apollo 13”.

Use the film clip where the tank blows apart in space with Tom Hank’s Famous Line “ Houston we have a problem “. The questions to ask might include:

1. Did this event really happen, if so, did the film clip make it look real?
2. When was this film made ? have students find out for homework.
3. How does this film clip relate to the year 2001, computers, etc. ?
Summary and Evaluation:

Each lesson unit and/or class should end with the summary and evaluation of what was presented in class or segment. A student journal is one way that might be a process useful to bring together ideas or concepts presented. A journal might look like the following example:

Student Journal of Lesson One: “2001” Film Clip and “Apollo 13”

Today’s Homework Assignment :
What I Learned About History Today:
This section can have more detailed information as the teacher sees fit. Another possibility is to have each section of the journal relate to each discipline such as , What I Learned About Music in Today’s Class or What I Learned About Science Today. Good documentation skills grow out of students developing good observation skills and listening skills. This type of process also helps students to summarize and evaluate their own learning

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This lesson shall explore the how film can represent historical events of the past. Through this section students will see a film clip of “Amadeus” (made in 1984 from the play by Shaffer) and “Immortal Beloved” (made in 1994 by Bernard Rose).

Note: Since the movie Immortal Beloved is rated (R) use caution in showing just the film clip presented in this unit. As a teacher, you might decide not to use this segment in your teaching.

This lesson should take from as long as a single class period to three days depending on the type of class setting and scope of what you are setting out to accomplish. This lesson can also have two sections from Mozart Speaks; views on Music, Musicians, and the world, by Robert Marshall and The Beethoven Companion edited by Thomas K. Scherman and Louis Biancolli.

Goal for lesson:

The goal of this lesson is to have students:
1. understand how film can present history as fact.
2. to have students question what they see on film, is this fact or fiction ?
3. to have students find different sources of the a historical facts .
4. to have students identify Mozart’s and Beethoven’s musical style on film.
5. to have students learn about the musical period of the late 18th century
Note: In the Classical Period, ( 1750-1825 ) there were musical forms that were created such as modern concerto, the standard opera, rondo form sonata form, the string quartet, the modern symphony , and theme and variations. The modern piano was developed from the piano-forte. The piano forte was a modern development of the harpsichord and the clavichord which J.S.Bach played his inventions on.

6. to have students learn about the musical period of the early 19th century
Note: Beethoven was a composer who was and the end of the Classical period and the beginning of the Romantic period (1825-1900

The Objective for lesson:

Explain to the class that they are going to view three film clips from the film about Mozart “Amadeus” and one film clip about Beethoven “Immortal Beloved”.

Note: The four film clips are:

when Antonio Salieri is talking with the priest; “Have you heard this tune, it is one of mine” ? ;
when Mozart is talking to The Archbishop of Salzburg about his opera The Marriage of Figaro
when Mozart is conducting is opera The Marriage of Figaro and a court messenger stops the rehearsal and starts ripping out pages of music score.
the Beethoven film clip is where he is at the grand piano and can not hear the sounds made by it, so he starts to bang on the keys.
For homework assign pages 352-354 in Marshall’s book Mozart Speaks by Robert Marshall and pages 484 - 486 from The Beethoven’s Companion, by Thomas K. Scherman and Louis Biancolli.

After viewing the film clips, have a group discussion with the class:

Note: the amount of film clips shown per class can be divided into shorter segments if desired, i.e. show either one or two clips followed by a group discussion.
What kind of keyboard instrument did Mozart play on ?
Did Salieri kill Mozart ? If so, how, and Why ?
Does the film clip give you any factual information; how do you know what is fact or fiction?
Did this really happen to Beethoven ? , if you do think so, how do you know this to be so?
5. Was Beethoven deaf ? , Does the film give you any facts to support your opinion ?
Vocabulary List:

Romantic Music Era: was a Western music period of time from 1825 ń 1900
Classical Music Era: was a Western music period of time from 1750 - 1825.
Point Of View: is a person’s opinion about a event, thing, or object. This concept is used in film as well as in creative writing.
Observation: the act or state of seeing something
Tempo: The rate of speed of a rhythm. Such as markings might indicate a fast rate of speed music, a moderate pace, or a slow pace of a musical piece or composition.
Materials Needed for each class or lesson:

VCR, CD, and Marshall’s book Mozart Speaks and The Beethoven Companion, by Thomas K. Scherman and Louis Biancolli.

Summary and Evaluation:

Have students log their observations in their journals along with the homework 3assignment given in the Introduction section.

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The third lesson shall look at the film and music score of “Malcolm X” (made in 1992 by Spike Lee based on The Autobiography of Malcolm X as told to Alex Haley) . “ In this lesson there are two film clips.

Note: The two film clips are as follows: 1. Start will young Malcolm (Little) X in Boston and end with the dance floor in New York City; 2. The second clip starts almost at the end of the film where Malcolm X is at the hotel and it ends with the dance floor sequence.

The class will look at how Spike Lee shows the passage of time from Malcolm X’s early to late life. The Class will also observe the film score by Terence Blanchard.

Note: the beginning music score sounds very much like Blood on the Fields by Wynton Marsalis. Even the album cover is close to the first sight of the American flag as it burns into an “X”. This section might take one to two class periods.

Goal for lesson:

1. for the class to understand how film creates the passage of time i.e. “Specious Present”
2. to find reading material about Malcolm X on their own, the facts about him film should be either supported or challenged.
3. to understand the use of the film music score in the two film clips shown in this lesson.
The Objective for lesson:

Explain to the class that they shall be seeing two segments of film from the movie of “Malcolm X”. Have the class look for the following items:
What type of music is being used, have students write down what they observe in their journals?
How does the film clips show the passage of time, have students write down their observations in their journals?
Have a class discussion about how Mr. Lee portrayed Malcom X on film.
Vocabulary List:

Have students make their own list for homework and have them present their findings in the next day.
Materials Needed for each class or lesson:

VCR, see film in introduction.
Summary and Evaluation:

Have students take journal home and find other books or films about the life of Malcolm “X”.
Note: You might assign students to see “West Side Story “ (made in 1961 by Ernest Lehman; music score by Leonard Bernstein and S. Sondheim) based on the play of Shakespeare Romeo and Juliet. Through film and music scores, students should explore the “truth” in terms of Musical and factual history. As students discover the use of “Specious Present”, they will discern from potential facts and from film fiction presented as facts.

Here is an outline of the major periods, eras and musical forms and style (Western European musical history that might be helpful. They are as follows:

A.D. 600-850 Early Middle Age
850-1150 Romanesque #
1150-1300 Early Gothic St. Martial Ars antiqua
1300-1450 Late Gothic Areas novahBurgundian school
1450-1600 Renaissance Flemish school Venetian school Roman school beginnings
1600-1750 Baroque Nuove musiche Roman school Bologna school Neopolitian school Rococo 1750-1825 Classical Mannheim school Berlin school Viennese classic
1825-1900 Romantic Nationalism
1900-present Twentieth century Expressionism Neoclassicism Serial techniques Musique concreteElectronic music Minimalism

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Student’s Bibliography

Findings, Fifty Years of Meditations On Music, by Leonard Bernstein, 1973, Anchor Books.

This book also givens one the view of Mr. Bernstein’s musical life in his own words.

On The Side of My People, a Religious Life of Malcolm X, by Louis A. DeCaro, Jr. NYU Press J. This book also is a good source of information on Malcolm X.

A History of Western Music, Donald Jay Grout, Third Edition with Claude V. Palisca, 1980, Norton. This is a very important resource for any student that in learning more about music history in Western Europe.

Mozart Speaks, views on Music, Musicians, and the World, Robert. Marshall, Schirmer Books. This book is helpful with understanding how Mozart might feel or I express his thoughts in his own words as opposed to how he is portrayed in the movies.

The Beethoven Companion, Edited by Thomas K. Scherman and Louis Biancolli, 1972, Doubleday. This is a important book the details the many events of Beethoven’s Life.

Eyes On The Prize, America’s Civil Rights Years, 1954 - $1965, by Juan Williams, Viking. This book might give some background into other events taking place, during Malcolm X’s life in the Civil Rights Movement. Malcolm X is also mentioned in this book.

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Teacher’s Bibliography and Filmography

Findings, Fifty Years of Meditations On Music, by Leonard Bernstein, 1973, Anchor Books this book, students will quickly discover that Mr. Bernstein can express his thoughts and ideas very well in the written form.

On The Side of My People, a Religious Life of Malcolm, by (Louis A. DeCaro, Jr. NYU Press This book gives students another source of information on Malcolm X. This book might be used in conjunction with Spike Lee’s movie.

A History of Western Music, Donald Jay Grout, Third Edition (with Claude V. Palisca, 1980, Norton. This book is a great resource for music teachers and musicians for finding information on dates of musical time periods, the life and musical styles created by composer and other musicians.

Mozart Speaks, Views on Music, Musicians, and the World, Robert L. Marshall, Schirmer Books. For teachers, his is a good source for contrasting how Mozart is presented on film. It also gives historical information that can be used in the classroom.

The Beethoven Companion, Edited by Thomas K. Scherman and (Louis Biancolli, 1972, Doubleday. This book is a good source of information on Beethoven’s life and music for teachers.

Eyes On te Prize, America’s Civil Rights Years, 1954 ń 1965 Juan Williams, Viking. This book is the companion of the six part PBS television series. This is useful for written text in the classroom.

The Cotton Club, by Francis Ford Coppola, 1984, Film Score by John Barry. This movie gives a view of Harlem back in its hay day.

From Mow to Mozart, Isaac Stern, 1984, Columbia. This movie covers Mr. Isaac Stern’s travels to the far East. A great view of traditional. Eastern musical instruments and sounds.

The Many Lives of Quincy Jones, Listen Up, 1994 Fox This is an excellent movie on Mr. Quincy Jones. This movie also has wonderful interviews with some of the greatest names of American Jazz Music.

The Sound of Music, 1965, Ernest Lehmen, Music Rodgers and Hammerstein, Fox This is a movie that can be used as a portrayal of factual events of the Van Trapp Family.

Yankee Doodle Dandy, life of American composrr George M. Cohan, 1942, This movie has artistic merrits as well as historical information on the life of G. M. Cohan. What has Hollywood presented vs. the actual events of his life might have taken place?

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Contents of 1998 Volume I | Directory of Volumes | Index | Yale-New Haven Teachers Institute

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