As much as I’ll always cherish the memories of learning how to use scary-sounding voice distorters in the DiSCO, being part of an impromptu music major flash mob at the music library printer every morning that a paper was due, and of course getting our professor’s infant to smile at me eleven times in one eighty-minute class period, I think what I’ll appreciate most looking back on this semester (other than the baby smiling thing, because that really was a true highlight) is the research. That surprises me, because it wasn’t the aspect of class I was most looking forward to, never having tackled such a formidable volume of writing or self-directed research before, and although I love writing I’ve never found it as fulfilling or meaningful to write research papers as to engage in discussion with other people.
So, this discovery – that research can be exciting and meaningful and rewarding, even when I’m up way too late trying to compile the stacks and stacks of thoughts in my brain into one coherent argument – was very unexpected, and a great learning opportunity for me. I feel like I’ve learned a lot about how to read sources with a critical eye, make arguments using reliable support, and consider academic topics from many multi-layered perspectives. I will strive to carry that simultaneous critical mindset and well-rounded flexibility forward as I embark on all my journeys of music education, including student teaching next fall. As someone who wants to use a wide range of multicultural music respectfully in the classroom and work with a diverse array of students, I believe that duality will be vital in selecting really good repertoire from authentic sources and teaching it in sensitive, eye-opening ways.
Although I wish we could have spent more time on non-European music (for example, doing the extensive research for my second research project all about “Wade in the Water” was fascinating), I also get that “Music and Religion” really is a huge topic, and we can only cover so much in three and a half months. So, here’s to the illuminating, intriguing, and highly eclectic podcasts, readings, and class discussions of Music 345A: Music and Religion. I leave you with this thought-provoking quote from Martin Luther: “Peace if possible, truth at all costs.”