What is the course about?
The ‘Freed Unit’ at MGM had the task of producing big-budget profitable film musicals. Writers, stars, and the production team created a make-believe world set at the time of the changeover from silent films to ‘The Talkies’, showing the real-life fate of some who could not make the transition - more recently explored in ‘The Artist’. The involvement of Gene Kelly and newcomer Debbie Reynolds ensured (eventual) long-lasting success. We look at the background of creation and filming, and then sit back to study and enjoy the singing and dancing.
What will we cover?
- The background to the making of the film, and its subsequent success
- The musical styles of the numbers
- Some of the numbers and scenes in detail.
What will I achieve?
By the end of this course you should be able to...
- Understand the efforts of the creative team involved in making the film
- Understand the content of individual numbers and their effect
- Evaluate the reasons for the film’s continuing popularity.
What level is the course and do I need any particular skills?
This is a beginners’ course. No prior knowledge of music or film is assumed or expected.
How will I be taught, and will there be any work outside the class?
You will be taught using a range of techniques including short lectures, slide shows and discussions, practical demonstrations on the piano and guided listening sessions. Courses use a variety of materials including YouTube clips. Links to these are given on handouts so that further exploration may take place between classes if you wish.
Occasional short preparation tasks, such as listening to a piece or reading a review, may be set from time to time. Listening and reading outside class is encouraged and, once enrolled, further online resources will be available via Google Classroom.
Are there any other costs? Is there anything I need to bring?
Please bring a notebook and pen.
You may wish to buy some of the music or books recommended in class.
When I've finished, what course can I do next?
City Lit offers a wide range of music history classes, as well as related courses in history, art history and philosophy.
In the summer term Pauline will teach MD506 Music for film: a history, and MD999 Opera Studies 3: Operas in Production, as well as and MR008 Arts management: an introduction, along with other music history and appreciation courses.
If you enjoy learning about music you may like to consider our wide range of instrumental classes including piano classes taught in our digital piano suite. All beginners classes are suitable for those who don’t yet read music notation but are keen to learn.
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.