Star Wars Episode 7: The Music Awakens!

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A new Star Wars score by the one and only John Williams is a big deal. For fans of John Williams, there is no bigger deal as for many fans and musicians, it was his first Star Wars score that ignited their passion for music. A new Star Wars score is certainly a big deal for me for that very reason – I’m a huge Williams fan and somewhat of an amateur musician. I began jotting down some thoughts on John Williams’ new score for Star Wars: The Force Awakens, but quickly found myself detouring into some reflections on anticipating and experiencing this and previous Star Wars scores.  Continue reading “Star Wars Episode 7: The Music Awakens!”

John Williams & The Philosopher’s Prisoner of Secrets

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John Williams beginning work on Steven Spielberg’s adaption of Roald Dahl’s The BFG at the end of 2015 provided incentive to revisit his previous scores for films also based on popular and magical British children’s books. While Hook (1991) could also be included in that subset, Williams’ Harry Potter scores are the scores I have in mind for this post. Continue reading “John Williams & The Philosopher’s Prisoner of Secrets”

Musical Memories 1: John Williams

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The recent release of John Williams seventh Star Wars score for Star Wars: The Force Awakens (2015) coincided with me having some extra free time and the desire to write more here on my strange WordPress. That convergence of planets resulted in me reflecting on both my early memories of music and the subsequent formation of my musical tastes which largely involve a penchant for instrumental music. John Williams’ music in general, and in particular his score for the first Star Wars film (1977), played an important role in the formation of those musical tastes, and his music continues to this day to be a regular and cherished part of most days.
Continue reading “Musical Memories 1: John Williams”

Top 10 Favourite Scores for War Films

I put together this list last year for one of my classes in which students created their own Word Press blog and wrote about two of their passions. The idea being to encourage students to write by asking them to write about the things that interest them the most. I wrote this as a guide to give students an idea of what I expected from one task, which was to create one top 10 list related to one of their passions or two top 5 lists related to both passions. While thinking about new content to add here, I remembered I have quite a few posts on that class blog that I could happily place here with a few changes, tweaks, and updates. For this post, I made a few edits, I added a lot of addition links (I like links), I included a reference to a Hitler-praising cult leader, and I fine-tuned how the videos appear  as I prefer smaller sized videos that take up less real estate. I also corrected one typo which thankfully none of my students noticed. There are probably more, but that’s life.

Continue reading “Top 10 Favourite Scores for War Films”

2015 Reading Diary Part 1!

January to July

January through July of 2015 was quite a hectic period for me – the story of my life. I was extra busy with work – both during the spring semester and during the vacation months of January, February, and July with extra classes and projects – and I also managed to fit in a trip home during January. As I looked back on those months from a reading perspective, I had a sense that I didn’t read all that much. Certainly, not as many books as I should read. I remember in particular one month-long stretch towards the end of the spring semester in which I hardly touched my beloved Kindle. It still went everywhere with me, but it didn’t come out to play at all. Continue reading “2015 Reading Diary Part 1!”

English Music Club Official Promotional Video!

A last-minute desperate attempt to entice students to join my music club worked last year for the spring 2015 semester:

One year later (March 2016) I hope it works again. Running this club has I think been the highlight of my time at SMU to date. It’s a wonderful opportunity to share my love of music with students. Last semester we performed “I’m Yours” by Jason Mranz. Great song, but our version was terrible. We had a lot of fun, but the result isn’t something I can share 😉

The Book Thief by John Williams

Here I am playing a theme from John Williams‘ latest score for The Book Thief (2013) when, and you’re not going to believe this, a real book thief breaks into my apartment and steals all my books. It was my own fault. I should have played something else.

The Blue & The Grey (A Duet for Two Peters)

This mournful piece from John Williams’ score for Lincoln (2012) sounds better sans guitar. Unfortunately, something went wrong with the recording as the guitar should sound much, much, much, and much nicer. One day, I’ll revisit this piece and improve the performance, sound, and colour (more blues and greys). Until then, you will have to make do with this: