Well, we have reached the end of a long and sometimes strenuous semester. Altogether, I think that this course was one of the best courses I’ve taken if I consider the academic progress I have made as a researcher and a writer. I also discovered a new appreciation for Bach; before, I wasn’t into his music as much. But now, I actually have found that I like Bach, especially his Passions, and that I will not cringe anymore when I hear his name. His music was pretty to me before, but now I know that there’s far more to it than meets the eye. Also, from investigating the music of the Anabaptists, I was able to learn more about my family’s ancestors, and that also proved to be a rewarding experience.
This class involved a lot of things I knew how to do. I knew how to read articles, how to come to class with a question or two (though if I actually asked them was a different story), and how to cite things in Chicago style.
However, I didn’t know how to critically engage in discussion and conversation with people about delicate topics. This I learned from our agreement to regard everyone in discussions with respect and understanding. Our discussions made me think, frustrated me at times, and altogether helped me to become a better discussant and become a better listener.
I also had no idea how to even begin to make a podcast. Through learning and submitting assignments in this medium, my technologically challenged self was able to learn a new skill that I hopefully can use with my students when I become a professor (hopefully – a lot of luck will be involved). I’m glad that I was able to learn this new skill and look at my work not only in a classroom perspective but in a real-world perspective as well.
And now that we’ve talked about the skills I’ve learned, I can talk about Bach! I honestly just didn’t really care for him before. I respected him as a musical genius, but his music just wasn’t my cup of tea. But, we were able to listen to a lot of his music, especially music with more dissonance, and I found myself enjoying that music the most, actually. His music just seemed too perfect to me before, but now I see that he also produced music that showed his beliefs and feelings. The Magnificat and the Passions also really pleased me and helped me to discover that Bach isn’t so bad. He’s actually pretty cool. I was hoping to discover a new appreciation for him; that was one of my goals for the semester, so I’m glad I could do that.
Finally, researching the music of the Anabaptists really was a highlight for me this semester. I opted to write the long research paper instead of creating a third podcast because I found the topic so interesting and had so much more to talk about! My family is Baptist, and since they descended from the Anabaptists, it was nice to learn more about the religion 500 years ago that shaped my own religion today. It helped me better understand why my church works the way it does, and it helped me to appreciate the music of my ancestors more. I’m really grateful that I was able to research them and learn more about them. I was especially excited to learn about their respect towards women and their lack of notated music – things I never would have thought to think about! This class helped me critically engage with my family’s religious history.
Altogether, it was a really organized, helpful class that challenged me but taught me much more than I anticipated.