When Music Becomes a Visual Art
Teaching and motivating students to develop an abiding appreciation of classical music is a glorious yet challenging task. Observation in the general elective music appreciation classes, one-on-one private instrumental lessons, and concert halls reveals a recent tendency that students and current generation rely heavily on the visual effects to determine the value of the music or as the factor to maintain their attention during their listening and learning experience. Performers with more dramatic physical movements on the stage than those without are considered “more musical." Music accompanied by images and motions from video clips seems to be easier for students to comprehend. This paper will hence examine the potential problems when music exists through and as a visual art, followed by the discussion of the possible remedies for the problems by transforming this current trend into a stepping stone to elevate students' experience in music appreciation. All the resolutions are to direct students' attention to the visual aspect as the aid for a better comprehension of music, not as the musical core. They include: Teachers may use a performer's physical gestures to point out pacing, phrasing, and emotional articulation embedded within the compositional structure; combination of sonic presentation with film clips and slide shows can be introduced in the classroom to entice students into exploring social, cultural, and political elements behind any piece of music; furthermore, coexistence of music and visual arts brings to light an interdisciplinary approach that will deepen students’love of multiple art forms and enable the establishment of well-rounded art supporters.
Keywords: Classical Music, Teaching, Visual Art, Interdisciplinary Approach
Dr. Ting-Lan Chen
Assistant Professor, Department of Music and Performing Arts, University of Nebraska