What is the course about?
This term’s book is:
- The Time of our Singing
- Author: Richard Powers
- Publisher: Heinemann
The Time of Our Singing is Powers’ eighth novel and explores race in mid-20th century America (onwards) through a family steeped in classical music, and singing in particular.
What will we cover?
- The plot and main themes of this novel: what does it mean to grow up in a ‘musical’ family?
- Race, cultural representation and [outmoded] cultural assumptions in classical music
- A singer’s training: choral backgrounds, university, music conservatoire etc.
- Critical reception of the book (reviews etc…)
- The function of music biography, and this book in particular
- Our personal perceptions of this work.
What will I achieve?
By the end of this course you should be able to...
- discuss one or two themes in the book with confidence
- voice opinions with fellow music enthusiasts
- discuss related works (films inspired by the book, or other similar books).
What level is the course and do I need any particular skills?
- This book club meeting is suitable for absolute beginners. You don’t need to know lots about music to join in. However, we do ask that you read the book (or as much of it as possible) so that you can join in the discussions.
How will I be taught, and will there be any work outside the class?
The single session will comprise combinations of mini-lecture, question-and-answer, guided listening, video and much discussion. The tutor may lead on topics (perhaps discussing a work mentioned in more detail) which the book club students will then discuss. At all times you are encouraged to present your own opinions and knowledge to the group and join in thoughtful and respectful discussion.
You may wish to enjoy extra reading after this class and suggestions will be listed on google classroom afterwards.
Are there any other costs? Is there anything I need to bring?
Please bring your copy of the chosen book to the session so that you can refer to it during discussions.
You may wish to bring a pen/pencil and a folder to keep notes. You may also wish to purchase some of the other music books or recordings discussed in class, links to these materials will be available online after the session.
When I've finished, what course can I do next?
Music history book club is scheduled towards the end of each term.
To find out more about music history classes and to read our year-long selection of courses, please see the blog post Music history: your guide to the 2019/20 programme which lists our full programme of classes ordered by term, and by day of the week. You may then click on each title to read the full course outline.