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A group of Music FSP students posing in front of the Thames River

As Dartmouth's Foreign Study Programs (FSP) focus on the appeal and practical/cultural education that comes from living in a new place, the academic classes take as much advantage of the location as they can. My FSP is no exception! Like any foreign study program, the classes I take are set by Dartmouth and have to do with the subject at hand.

MUS 71: History of Music in England

Meeting on Tuesday and Thursday afternoons, this class is an extensive look at the history of music, as well as its social, economic, political, and cultural impact in England. My professor is Dr. Meinhart, who teaches music history at the Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance in Greenwich. With a deeper focus on the social and political landscape of England at the time of certain musical practices and entertainment, we discuss how England's expansive colonialism, royal rituals, and religion influenced the music of England's past, and the music of other cultures affected by England's reach. It's been an interesting journey so far, but I'm also excited to get into modern music later in the class!

an image of the ceiling of the Painted Hall in Greenwich, London
This week, we accompanied our professor to Greenwich and got to visit the Painted Hall in the Old Royal Naval College.

MUS 70: Perspectives in Music Performance

This class is taught by the Dartmouth professor who directs our FSP, Professor Kui Dong. Before the FSP began, she compiled a plethora of concerts, exhibitions, and operas to attend so that we students could explore the vibrant music scene of London. And there's a lot of them; as of my writing this blog, we've attended sixteen concerts in four weeks! After we attend these concerts in the evenings, we discuss them in class on Tuesday and Thursday mornings. During classes each week, we discuss the quality of the performance, the aspects of the performers or performance space that may have contributed to our reception of the performance, and, of course, the music that was presented. I've been training my ear, understanding how to listen to live music, and knowing what to listen for. We've still got many concerts to attend, and I'm excited to see what more lies in wait! In addition to these discussions, this class also has a collaboration component, in which the students can collaborate in small groups to perform a piece of music, whether it be a duet, chamber music group, or a composition. We'll be presenting these at the end of the term, and although there's a lot more work to be done for my duets (I'll be doing a piano duet as well as a composition for piano and trombone—so far), I'm looking forward to stretching myself in ways I haven't been able to before.

An image of a notebook with notes written on it about music performances in front of some concert programs
Here's a page of my notes while watching a concert to get ready to discuss it in class!

MUS 87: Special Studies in Music Abroad

And, of course, no music-based study program is complete without individual lessons. For the third class, students have one-on-one weekly lessons with a professional London-based musician in the craft of the student's preference. From electronic songwriting to Celtic singing to straight-up classical instrumentalists, there is a huge variety of what students are studying! My one-on-one lessons are for classical piano, as I've been taking individual piano lessons at Dartmouth since my first year. My teacher is a pianist who has much experience in teaching, and I've been enjoying exploring piano in a more relaxed manner and improving my performance through new perspectives that only a new teacher can give. At the end of the term, there will be a class-wide recital to share what everyone has been doing, and I am very excited to see what everyone has learned!

And those are my classes! Although it seems less work-heavy than a typical Dartmouth term on campus, these classes along with the concert-attending, day-trip traveling, and self-exploring result in a term that hasn't had a dull moment yet, and I doubt it will.

To end with, here are a couple of photos from my adventures through the UK these past few weeks!

An image of the English countryside
An image of the south coast of England off the Seven Sisters Cliffs
This is the southern coast of England off the Seven Sisters Cliffs!
A stormy view of the London skyline

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