Top 5 Electric Guitar Versions of Songs That Need to Happen

The face you get when you give a classical pianist an electric guitar

I’ve discovered that playing Taylor Swift’s “Bad Blood” on the heavy metal setting of my electric guitar is not only awesome, but super cathartic.  As a result, I’ve been thinking about other songs I could crank Continue reading “Top 5 Electric Guitar Versions of Songs That Need to Happen”

Books, Classical Music Stories, Music

High Schoolers Tackle The Great Gatsby With Classical Music

photo_16696_0This week I had the amazing opportunity to visit a high school English class and do a combined literary and musical activity with them.  They had recently finished reading F. Scott Fitzgerald’s “The Great Gatsby” for class, so I brought in a piece for them to explore in relation to that book.

The piece I chose to play was the first movement of Ligeti’s Cello Sonata (Dialogo).  Before I played it, we made a list on the board of many of the characters from the book.  Then I simply told the students to imagine the music as a sort of movie score as they listened–who might the characters be? What might they be doing?

After playing the music all the way through  (it’s about 4 minutes long), I asked them for reactions.  It started out a little slow, but then things really got rolling.  One student broke the ice by saying he imagined the first chords to be the green light pulsing at the end of Daisy’s dock and that what followed was Gatsby watching that light and thinking about her.  Other students actually said they had the same idea.

Here are some other characters and events some of the students imagined:

  1. Gatsby asking Nick to swim in his pool followed by Gatsby’s death and Nick’s reaction to it all at the funeral.
  2. Wilson finding out about Gatsby’s supposed hand in his wife’s death and preparing the gun that would kill him.
  3. Gatsby and Daisy meeting for the first time at Nick’s house.
  4. Daisy reading Gatsby’s letter after it was too late to take him back.

It was really amazing to hear all of their creative ideas! We barely scratched the surface of this 4 minute piece in the 30 minutes I had with them.

One question I only somewhat rhetorically asked them was how people could imagine such different things in Continue reading “High Schoolers Tackle The Great Gatsby With Classical Music”

Classical Music Stories

Classical Music Stories: The Great Gatsby


Daisy is driving Gatsby away from town after the fight.  She sees her life shattering around her as she frantically rushes home.

There are a few temporarily happier sections, perhaps showing Gatsby’s (or even Daisy’s) unyielding optimism that it will all turn out right in the end, but even these are constantly moving and frantic.

 And of course, after the music ends, we know what happens next…


Do you hear this story, too, or do you hear something different? And what was your favorite part?

Songs For Every Book

Songs For Every Book: The Great Gatsby (and One Direction)

Please don’t unfollow me.

But One Direction’s Fireproof = Jay Gatsby about Daisy in F. Scott Fitzgerald’s novel.

“It’s been so long, it’s been so long, maybe we’re fireproof
Cause nobody saves me, baby, the way you do.

I think I’m gonna win this time,
Riding on the wind and I won’t give up.”


Top 8 Things From Books That I Wish Were Real


1) Being able to hire a hero (J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Hobbit)

2) Perpetual tea time (Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland)

3) Amateur sleuths choosing you as their companion (Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes)

4) Mysterious strangers who have only one name (Emily Brontë’s Wuthering Heights) Continue reading “Top 8 Things From Books That I Wish Were Real”