Classical Music Stories Tutorial: What to Do When the Music Changes


On this blog you’ll often find Classical Music Stories, a series that connects music to your favorite books and characters through storytelling. Of course, the purpose of the series isn’t to force one particular way of hearing the music, but instead to spark ideas on how to hear your own stories in music.

But how do you do that? Continue reading “Classical Music Stories Tutorial: What to Do When the Music Changes”

Books, Music

The Who’s Tommy: A Rock Opera (As Experienced by an Assistant Director)


Last week Northwestern University saw its last performance of a concert production of The Who’s Tommy and I was fortunate enough to be able to serve as the assistant director for the incredible Geoff Button. For those of you unfamiliar with the show, the rock band The Who released a concept album in 1969 called “Tommy” which was later made into a musical (or rock opera if you will). It’s a story about a young boy (Tommy) who witnesses the murder of his mother’s lover by his parents after his father returns unexpectedly from war. Although his mother turns him away from the fight he sees everything through a mirror, and when Continue reading “The Who’s Tommy: A Rock Opera (As Experienced by an Assistant Director)”

Books, Music

The Irony of Portraying “Stillness” in Books (and Classical Music)

Monet Esquisse d'ensemble.jpg
“Woman with a Parasol” by Monet, courtesy of the National Gallery of Art, Washington

Portraying stillness or inactivity is a pretty bizarre paradox in books and music when you stop to think about it because the only way to show stillness is to have movement! After all, what options do authors have of showing that a character is still? They Continue reading “The Irony of Portraying “Stillness” in Books (and Classical Music)”

Books, Music

If Authors Told You How to Read Their Books…As Inspired by Music

Apples authors orders.jpg

I read an article about a piece of music the other day where each section started with a direction, like “to be whispered like an incantation.” Not being the sharpest knife in the drawer, it took me a while to figure out what these directions actually were. Continue reading “If Authors Told You How to Read Their Books…As Inspired by Music”


What If Books Used “Easter Eggs?”


What if books had hidden “Easter eggs” like in the movies?

Sometimes in movies the viewer will find hidden or bonus information that only someone who has seen all of the other related movies would understand. For example, in Disney’s Aladdin, when Jasmine’s father is Continue reading “What If Books Used “Easter Eggs?””

Books, The Other Stuff

5 (More) Literary Mashups That Totally Need to Happen


When I stumbled across a post I made a while back called  Top 5 Literary Mash-Ups That Totally Need to Happen I thought…why not? So without further ado, here are five more that should also definitely happen: Continue reading “5 (More) Literary Mashups That Totally Need to Happen”

Books, Music

The Weirdness of Time in Classical Music (And Books, Too)

Time is what you might call capricious. It can crawl at an agonizing pace or it can pass in the blink of an eye. It can steal an hour of your sleep in the spring or graciously bestow it in the fall. If you’re the Mad Hatter and tried to murder it, it can even freeze. And of course memories and hopes allow you to dwell in the past and future, respectively. Continue reading “The Weirdness of Time in Classical Music (And Books, Too)”

Music, The Other Stuff

Looking for the Author’s Meaning (Or How I Pranked My Creative Writing Class)


What happens when a book, song, or piece of art is given a title that has seemingly nothing to do with the work itself? Or when something inside the work just doesn’t seem to align with the rest of it?

Apparently, our brains naturally try to connect the dots. We’ll Continue reading “Looking for the Author’s Meaning (Or How I Pranked My Creative Writing Class)”