Community Building and Social Justice through Music





Claire Chase (Department of Music)
Freshman Seminar 63O 4 credits (fall term)  Enrollment:  Limited to 12

Why do people come together to make new music? How does the act of making music build community and engender positive, even transformative, social change? How have musicians adapted and responded to the new realities of social distancing and remote collaboration in the era of COVID-19, and how have musical communities come together to fight for social justice during this time? How might societies of the future be impacted by these new modes of gathering, sounding, organizing and making music? And how might we as a musical community be of service to a suffering world? We will explore these questions in a hands-on, exploratory environment by becoming our own musical community as a class over the course of the semester. We will study graphic and open-form scores and varied types of musical notation (written and oral), and we will build our own musical instruments (electronic and acoustic). We will also invite members of our growing Harvard community to join us in music-making events in a variety of venues online and offline. Small group work as well as collaborations that extend beyond our unit will be explored. We will experiment with a wide range of pieces designed for musicians and non-musicians alike by composers such as Pauline Oliveros, Yoko Ono and Alvin Lucier, and we will learn about the intersection of music and community from guest lecturers in the fields of social justice, visual art, literature and integrated technologies.

Prerequisites: While no prior specific musical experience is required for the seminar or for our various community participants, what is required is curiosity, openness and enthusiasm about how and why music brings people together.


See also: Fall 2020