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What Are Your Best Thing You Learned From This Course?

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Learning and practicing how to see musicals through the lens of the time period in which they were madr and released. 

Gaining the history of musicals background to apply to film analysis.

Becoming aware of what to look for to identify different approaches of Directors.

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I'm noticing the sets and costuming more--looking at the entire production as a unified work.

Also, I'm thinking more about the sound.

I love musicals, so I had watched many of these before, and I was an English major, so I'm trained to look at things like books and movies with a critical, analytical eye. But even with that background, I'm noticing many things I haven't before. With literature, this kind of thing can hurt the experience of reading--It's hard to turn of that analytical approach. (When I want to unwind with a book, I read things like sci-fi and mystery series instead of "serious" fiction. That way I can turn off the critic.) However, I've found that the insights I've gained here have enhanced my experience watching musicals, and I'm sure that will carry over into other genres as well.

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The use of sound, staging, more attention to director' individual style, how the music is used - what may be the intended message.

Great course. So worth the time.

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There are a LOT of people in the world who know a LOT about musicals! I am not among them. ?

Thanks for sharing!

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I watched the Music Man earlier today for the gazillionth time. Near the end of the Shapoopi number the dancing is shot from above for a kaleidoscope effect. While I've seen this done many, many times, now I know the origins of that method of filming.

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Thanks for this great topic. I would offer that the best thing I learned is that films including musicals despite the era of their storyline are a product of their cultural and technological times. That they address and foresee to varying degrees cultural issues and the collective zeitgeist of the people and of that moment in history in which they are presented. I do not mean the term, zeitgeist as a form of fashion or modern trend but rather as an overarching spirit or mood of the period, and thereby film as a form of intangible force that acts as a change agent to the times. 

So I will never forget now to watch all films with an eye to the culture and the challenges and "mood" of the country around the time of production.

A huge, thank you to Dr. Ament, Dr. Edwards,  Dr. Gehring, Gary Rydstrom, TCM, Ball State and all those behind the scenes who made this course possible. And to my fellow students who taught me so much about musicals and challenged me to think in new directions, thank you all.

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I have thoroughly enjoyed this course. I have learned so much. The thing that I have noticed most (that I didn't pay attention to prior to the course) was how some of the musicals matched and/or addressed what was going on culturally at the time the movie was made - regardless of the time the movie might have been set. In the past, I had only paid attention to the era that the movie itself was addressed, not matching it with what was going on when the movie was actually made. For example, Cabaret being set at the beginning of Nazism and what was going on culturally in the early 1970s in the USA. It's been a pleasure to reminiscence while watching many of these musicals. I grew up watching a lot of them. They've brought back some wonderful memories. I'm looking forward to the next course. My sincere thanks to Vanessa Ament, Gary Rydstrom, Richard Edwards, and Wes Gehring for sharing their insight, experience, and expertise. I also thank the other course participants for their comments, which have broadened my understanding of this genre. Wishing everyone a very happy summer.

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       I think the biggest revelation has been to look at the collective evolution of the musical through the historical and cultural eras the instructors have defined. While I was quite familiar with many of the individual musicals that we have studied, I have never really studied the common themes in the musicals of a given era or the different themes that motivated musicals of different eras. Before this course, I would determine the era of a musical by who was in the cast; now I can pinpoint it through the cultural themes that we have learned. Coming into the course, I knew a lot about musicals; now I know a lot about the musical genre.

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I learned so much I don't know where to start.

The most important overall concept, though, is to place the films in their cultural and technological context.  This has not only helped me appreciate even more films that I love, but has encouraged me to watch films I would never have taken the time to see before and to actually enjoy them.

Thanks for a fantastic course.

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I learned to "see" more when I watch a film. I always "saw" the cast, costume and sets, now I also "see" the subtleties of light, small background items, and staging. There is so much more to any movie than the stars and director, and this course really brought that more sharply into focus.

I also discovered that I still have a passion for learning, and I am really looking forward to taking more courses in the future.

Thank you Dr. Ament, TCM, and everyone else involved in putting together this course. It was a wonderful way to spend 4 weeks (especially while house-bound/recovering from surgery).

See you at the movies!

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Reposting this from another similar topic:

It may not be the single most interesting thing I've come away with from taking this course, but it's certainly something that's surprised me. 

I'm astounded at the myriad of opinions on not only what constitutes a musical but the choices of films that so many consider musicals.

Goes to show that we can all learn a thing or three about each other and about a subject by exchanging and discussing ideas and thoughts. 

No. I take back what I wrote in my first sentence. It IS the single most interesting thing I've come away with from taking this course and participating in these forum discussions on it. :)


 

 
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I have really enjoyed this course, thank you! I have taught art and history and learned that

having the subject in context of the times in which they were made is very important to understanding,

and this  applies to musicals.  Thanks again!!

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The best thing I learned from this class was learning to look at movie musicals critically rather than just watching them.

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