Monday, November 23, 2015

Music Monday: Music and Learning

Today's music calls for a longer introduction.

See, in Anne McCaffrey's Dragonriders series, the Harpers of Pern are, among other things, the teachers of children and keepers of culture. Being harpers, they teach through music.

As a child of the '80's, I grew up with Sesame Street and Schoolhouse Rock, programs that used music as a tool to teach anything from grammar, to math, to civics and socialization. I know that there have been many catchy tunes that I would find myself singing over the course of my life, many different lyrics I've learned.  When an uncle showed me pictures from his time in Austria, I recognized Eidelweiss from the "Sound of Music" song.

And once, some years ago, a young friend posted about taking an engineering exam that required calculating / knowing the number of minutes in a year. Where I would have had to do the math (60*24*365), she knew 525,600 minutes from "Seasons of Love."

From that perspective, I've long considered music to be an essential part of education. We've collected many different songs to play for my child, in the hopes that they would help him remember things and make connections.

In recent years, as a fan of some pop culture television, I've discovered Tumblr as a place where fans communicate and share. Having read much of Joseph Campbell's writing, I often gravitate towards meta-analysis of story, color, light, plot, metaphor. Over the course of conversations, I've been learning a little bit more about theater and film techniques.

In one post, somebody else brought up Wilhelm, a particular iconic scream that has been used in many, many different movies. I knew it was important to movie-making, but I hadn't had the chance to look up what it sounded like. Last night, my husband was watching "Raiders of the Lost Ark," and suddenly says "There's Wilhelm."

It turns out there's a novelty song. And if you want to remember the Wilhelm scream and its history, this song is a good starting point: