Through the use of online tools, Professor Hamessley lectured and fostered discussion on nine films to Hamilton College Alumni, both online and face-to-face.
With the seismic cultural shifts of the last fifty years, films have become the primary way in which most people first encounter art music, including both the historical classical composers as well as both 20th- and 21st-century composers writing specifically for film (e.g., Copland, Shostakovich, Prokofiev, John Corigliano, Phillip Glass, Tan Dun). Film scores have likewise become a major creative focus for many major composers, made all the more attractive because of the broad exposure they provide. And the film score itself does a great deal to interpret the nuance of a movie scene. Indeed, music in a film not only shapes our understanding of character, situation, time, and place but it also allows us to experience the emotional impact of the narrative.
An article about this experience was published for the Hamilton News site and can be found here: http://www.hamilton.edu/news/story/music-in-american-film-advances-idea-of-lifelong-learning
Online Music in American Film Feedback - Created Spring, 2013
Our approach will primarily be from a humanist, critical, and historical perspective. We will examine the ways that music in film operates on a variety of levels, beginning with the silent film and moving through films of the Golden Era in Hollywood up to the early 60s. As Claudia Gorbman (Unheard Melodies, 1987) writes, “When we shed a tear during a pregnant moment in a film . . . instead of scoffing at its excess, music often is present, a catalyst in the suspension of judgment”
This course involved the following:
Out of 25 registered online students, 15 attended regularly. Eight live participants also attended. Online students consistently participated in the classs through voice via the telephone bridge and text online chat. As the course progressed, students became more comfortable using text chat and many conversations were conducted via this tool.
Feedback from the students who participated was overwhelmingly positive. Some students reported hearing an echo when they used the voice bridge which may explain why text chat became the more popular communication tool. See student artifacts for quotes from students.