Reflective Presentation

Music 1 ~ Stylistic Techniques- Ms Suncica Lazic, Student ID: Suncica516098

A reflective presentation or evaluation. This will be an opportunity to reflect on your learning experiences as a whole. It can take the form of a presentation, short video, or a written piece, and should be no longer than 6 minutes or 750 words. 

Reflective Presentation

It would have been nice to record a video of my Reflective Presentation for you, but I get quite flustered on camera and I don’t think I would be able to articulate the below points as clearly.

The challenge of the Stylistic Techniques course has been twofold. The main challenge for me to overcome, which I am still in the process of doing, is the psychological one.

In my tutor’s formative feedback on Assignment One the following question was posed to me: Although you do not need to answer the following question, it might be worth at least ruminating on; do you perceive there being any differences between the restrictions that are self-imposed (as is the case with Stravinsky), and that are imposed by stylistic convention (as is the case with species counterpoint)?’

I have come to ask myself this question repeatedly during the Stylistic Technique course and have often found myself surprised by the answer.

At the outset of the course I would have confidently proclaimed that there is no difference between self-imposed restrictions and ones imposed by stylistic conventions. I did not expect to struggle with complying with stylistic conventions and compositional techniques of the different eras we have explored. On the contrary, I relished the creative challenge.

However, it turned out to be exceedingly difficult for me to stick to rules I did not entirely understand and even harder to stick to conventions I disliked or found boring. I have been told by past teachers that many composers initially struggle to find their ‘own voice’. I am the reverse of this, I struggle to hide or erase my own idiosyncratic stylistic choices.

I did not fully appreciate the extent of my reluctance to change my approach. I engaged in various little ‘acts of rebellion’ and kept writing music which was more my ‘version’ of the style than the actual style itself.

This psychological aspect of my behaviour was not clear to me in the beginning and it wasn’t until the end of the course that I began to grasp just how rigid I am when it comes changing my own style of composition. I have come to know myself a little bit better in the process.

The Second challenge has been more practical in nature and easier for me to tackle. It is only a matter of time before I fill the remaining gaps in my knowledge when it comes to music notation and analytical skills. Both my analytical skills and listening ability have improved enormously this year and after the final assignment I feel that I have a relatively firm grasp on the topic.

On occasion I have needed a bit of extra help from my tutor who very kindly suggested a few Skype sessions. These were very instructive and eye-opening. I found it easier to learn face to face than from the written text and I think the course would greatly benefit from a few added video tutorials. I appreciate that we as students are responsible for our own learning and development, but a bit more guidance would go a long way. The extra-curricular zoom lectures organised by the music tutors have been worth their weight in gold in this respect.   

My notation skills still leave plenty to be desired, but it is a huge improvement for someone who was an absolute beginner at the start of the course. The simulation of a ‘real life’ situation, along with Carla Rees’ supervision and editing really helped advance my knowledge during the extracurricular composition project for Carla’s flute workshop. I have since come a very long way, even though I still get confused with the rhythmical aspect of notation and still make mistakes in this respect. I am sure that with enough repetition and practice this will eventually sink in and become second nature.

Overall, what this year has shown me is that much of my theoretical understanding of the concepts and the music theory we have learned has yet to bear fruit and be applied to my own compositions. All this newly acquired information and knowledge has yet to take root in how I write music.

Sunny Lazic