Research and Reflections

Looking back on this course, I think I will remember and appreciate the research and writing process. I really enjoyed learning to evaluate sources and investigating topics about which I had little background. In the past, I have sometimes had trouble coming up with an arguable thesis, and the writing I’ve done in this class has helped me feel more confident in this respect. I also had never had to change papers into podcasts, and I found the podcast part of the class to be an educational experience. While I secretly hope I won’t have to make too many more podcasts in the future, I feel happy to know that I can if asked.

I think another specific take-away from this class for me will be the research I am doing on my last paper. I am currently writing this paper about a Bach cantata, and I wish I had written this paper earlier in the semester. It is forcing me to think critically about the Bach and Luther articles we read for class. Since my first two research topics involved non-Lutheran, non-Bach traditions, I felt like class discussions didn’t have a lot in common with my research. Now that I’m researching a Bach cantata, I am finding so many connections! I am excited for this paper to help solidify in my mind some of the topics we have covered in class conversations.

Nevertheless, getting to choose my own topics motivated me to want to do extensive research, and reading articles from a variety of traditions inspired me to seek out music I previously didn’t even know existed. I highly valued the time I spent researching the shofar and Sacred Harp singing, and I loved reading articles such as those about the Suyá and Sufi traditions. For this reason, I wish we had spent a little more time exploring non-Christian, non-Western traditions (although I do realize that “Music and Religion” is a huge topic, so it would be impossible to include everything).

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