Hello kindred spirit,
I understand. I get it. I was THERE. Actually though, I entered my time here with a huge drive to study exactly those things - jazz and composition. But I also had my interest in sculpture to fulfill. And there we have the intimidating question facing those who approach Bennington: how do I take all my “things” to make an education?
Well, you’ve already given the answer! Exploration. In my freshman year I took a variety of classes in music, visual art, and all the things in between. In the music department, I’ve moved through classes in improvisation, composition, history, and personal lessons, as well as collaborations with dance and theater. Music faculty (and all faculty, in fact) encourage study across the disciplines and within. Students are challenged to engage broadly, from classical theory to the avant garde and beyond into new questions. Take a peek at our current music curriculum and see for yourself!
^ Jennings earlier today ^
xo Sam ‘16
On a lovely fall day last term, Jeremy, Tommy and I went up to Jennings to take some pics. Let us know if there’s a specific space that you want to see if these don’t suffice.
Recently I got a scholarship to take a class at the Old Town School of Music, and when my new teacher asked who began my “recovery” from classical violin, I was not surprised at all when he said “Oh yes, I know John”
Ezra posted about musical theater at Bennington in 2012! That seems like so long ago! He didn’t even know how good those productions would be (and they were really good).
Despite the post’s age, I think it’s still totally valid today in that musical theater at Bennington is mostly student driven. Bennington is not a conservatory, there is no strictly defined musical theater program. This creates opportunities for completely original content that a wide variety of people can participate in. Students here find myriads of different ways to combine music, theater and dance resulting in really unique productions. Each student is allowed to find their own voice and aesthetic within these disciplines, instead of mimicking already established forms.
Start by listening to this Sharon Van Etten song because she just makes everything okay and really understands what it’s like:
No. Stop reading and listen to the music. I knew you were going to just play it in the background and then keep reading. But don’t do that. Listen to the music.
Okay, anyway: just hang tight. You’re still eligible for merit aid; and the good news is, we give merit aid out to people. Like actually. And because we get to know you as a person and not a number (from your tour, interview, portfolio, paper, essays, etc.) the aid decision isn’t based on arbitrary data like SAT scores. There is no use in worrying about the price — in my opinion — until you know what it will be for you. Make the call then.
Contemplating all the work we’ve encountered here at Bennington - in and out of the classroom - we decided to compile some of the work that gave us pause.
Alan suggests Craftsmanship by Virginia Woolf
Virginia Woolf articulates an enormous amount about the complexities of language (which is of particular interest to me), but rather than explaining solely through reason, she demonstrates by simply writing beautifully.
Carlos’s pick Slowness by Todd Williams and Billie Tsien
This photo is glorious, infuriating and thoroughly thought-provoking.
Sarah says Sergi Eisenstein’s Methods of Montage is a must read.
Eisenstein explains the effect of visual association on narrative. Its the most intuitive, human, process but hearing it articulated so clearly is earth shattering. Total inception.
Jeremy tells y’all to listen to Copland’s Piano Variations.
Just listen to it.
Jeremy would also suggest you all come visit Bennington, go to our library, and ask for Sarah Matusek’s devised theater piece Nome de Guerre.
She’s a brilliant theater artist that graduated Bennington College last year. Student work is alive and well here! :-)
Ananda suggests Gish Jen’s short story Birthmates
The story really exemplifies the concept of re-structuring short fiction in a way which centers the story on the character within the setting, not the setting surrounding the character. By delving into the human motivation of the main character, Jen conveys a story which is both resonant and compelling.
The Monday Afternoon Crew