When I first signed up for this class, I had no idea what to expect, but I do admit that I was pleasantly surprised at the results that were achieved. The first week, our professor gave us an assignment that dealt with pictures and our perspectives on them. Well, I really had no idea what he meant or what he expected. After struggling to come up with a sane and descriptive response, I said “this isn’t what I thought this class was about”. To my surprise and delight, I passed my first assignment. At that point I decided maybe “I’m on to something here”. Well week after week the Perception keys were assigned, Discussion Forums occurred and Application assignments were completed. Nevertheless through it all, it became a learning experience; a chance to think “outside of the box”, to become an Art critic and really take a look at art. I will be the first to admit that I was amazed at the information that I learned. But the most energizing part of this class was my chance to visit all four corners of the world and even meet (figuratively speaking) many great artists. I’ve been to Paris to visit Monet, I was introduced to the Spanish Civil War, visited Great Salt Lake Utah and New York City, and amazingly I went back and visited slaves. Another thing I realized was that I was a “diamond in the rough” (so to speak) when it came to art; but by the end of my class, I had developed into a “beautiful gem”.
There were so many disciplines of the arts to choose from until it was mind-boggling. But given my background and personality, hands down it was music; and to be specific the genre (Jazz). During my earlier years, I found I have always enjoyed varieties of music but somehow over the years my choices of music have dwindled. I’m not sure if it is my maturity level or perhaps the type of music that influenced my choices. They were: Spirituals, Rhythm and Blues, some Hip Hop, Pop, and Classical. However, as I stated, over the years that list has dwindled. I still enjoy Spirituals (since that is a part of my culture and heritage), but very seldom Rhythm and Blues, and some Classical. Jazz seems to have permeated my “soul” and has been for many years.
Descriptive criticism - My original plan was to focus on Jazz however, I wanted to venture “outside of the box” and include Blues and Negro spirituals. First question is: why has Jazz been around and why is it so popular? My response is I feel Jazz, Blues and Negro spirituals not only originate from the same background but they all have an emotional story to tell.
I shall touch briefly on literature that was prevalent in slavery times that influenced Negro spirituals. One story that was written was Uncle Tom’s Cabin – Harriett Beecher Stowe (1852). Although Ms. Stowe was white, this book was about her insights of slaves and their treatment. Long before slaves were freed in 1865, spirituals were part of their everyday lives. They sang these songs not only for survival but for their religious faith in...