Art: A language Without Words

Heinrich Koch, a composer and theorist from the 1700’s, wrote that he taught students to write music similar to writing sentences. You begin with a subject and a predicate to construct the sentence. Then, you group the sentences to form a paragraph. Just as you are able to write descriptive sentences and create a story, art is a language without words.

Remember the songs you listened to in high school? And now you hear them on the oldies station, depending how long ago that was for you. It stirs up some sort of emotion that is usually undergirded with a story. What about the photographic images of a shuttle launch, or even the apollo lunar rover? You can hear the voices of the astronauts in your mind, yet there is no sound from the image. Dance of all genres is an expressive language. The dancing wilis from the ballet Giselle articulate a powerful message, especially men, with a language constructed of music and choreography.

Art has the ability to communicate without words, yet speak with great description to tell an amazing story.

astronaut, art, apollo

December 1972
Apollo 17, Astronaut Eugene Cernan

Art: A Project of Communication


One of my favorite artists and humanitarians, Jeremy Cowart, teamed up with Exile International  to communicate the stories of the  children who were impacted by the atrocities of Uganda and the Democratic Republic of Congo. The video below is a multi media presentation using Jeremy’s talents as a graphic designer, photographer, and videographer to share the vision  of such an extraordinary mission.

Painting a Future of Peace with Former Child Soldiers

Tea with my professor

A cozy office. A baby grand piano. Books. Evidence of world travel.

This was the scene I walked into this week. An appointment with my music history professor led me into another place in time. A place overflowing with written information in the form of books, paperwork, music, and news. Yet, there were unseen shelves filled stories of travel, intrigue, and adventure. An offer for a cup of tea led to the uncovering of what appeared to be a wooden box from China filled with teas from around the world. My selection, jasmine tea, was hand delivered from China. This set the mood for an hour of questions concerning coursework, advice for my journey, accounts of meetings and dinner with a famous composer, and more. The enveloping experience washed over me with such delight that I assured my professor I would return to her with more questions and I hope, more stories.

The Influence of Music

After sitting through another class on Music in Film, the first thought that came to me was just how fortunate I was to have a class that focuses on music and its importance in film and that I get to watch clips of great films. My second thought was the creative minds that collaborate to paint texture, color, and timbre into a visual piece of art through music are powerful. The emotions triggered through a single instrument captivate me. I have always felt the impending doom in a film when I hear the low brass or strings dominate the scene and the camera pan out to what will be an unexpected entrance of something evil. Most may not recognize it immediately, but the goose bumps on their arms says something completely different.

This is the power of music. John Williams and Howard Shore know this all too well. Their film scores include Star Wars, Schindler’s List, Lord of the Rings, and Harry Potter, just to name a few. Try watching any of these films with the sounds muted and you will quickly realize the importance of the music and the mood and emotion it creates. The influence of music goes beyond our imagination, captivating and evoking a response that will change us and our culture.


A New Role for a New/Old Student

The reality is, I am much older than my classmates. In fact, some may say someone’s mother came to class today; the truth is – she did. My journey has led me to return to college after a thirty-year hiatus. After completed my Associate in Arts degree, I applied to a few colleges, one of them being Rollins College. Rollins offered me the opportunity to design a degree within a liberal arts curriculum that would give me the platform to do what I have been doing previously – promote the arts.

Promoting the arts has been my passion since my involvement at a young age. Life has given me the occasions to experience the arts as a participant, volunteer, and supporter.  Rollins is now giving me the tools to further my endeavors through its classes, professors, and community.

My first encounter with a professor was to inquire about the self-design degree. Dr. John Sinclair, head of the Music Department, agreed to speak with me about my plans for the proposed degree.  We meet in the summer before the semester even began and he listened to the story of my journey and how I came to Rollins. His assistant sat in on the meeting and shared her personal experience at Rollins as a non-traditional student.  Our conversation included the pros and cons of designing a degree, working through the process; engaging professors to work with me on my proposal, and potential senior projects that are a requirement for the degree. As I listened to their advice, I became excited about my time ahead at Rollins and what I have to look forward to in my journey. Their encouragement throughout the discussion showed me that my time at Rollins would not be a solo flight, but an expedition complete with a navigation team to help guide me.

After meeting with Dr. Sinclair, I took a look at the notes I had written during our time together and began to formulate a plan for designing and completing my degree. I made a list of the departments I was interested in and the people I would need to connect with about my proposed degree. As I began to communicate with professors from the various departments, it was obvious they wanted to hear my ideas and help in any way they could. Their experience and advice were delivered with the intention of equipping a student with the tools not only for the immediate gratification but also for success in a career and life.

My proposal is still being written and I continue to seek advice during my time at Rollins and for the future. Guidance has continued through a variety of professors, some through their coursework and others outside of the classroom. My goal is to secure approval for my self-designed degree and complete it in the two years I have remaining at Rollins. I would like to be thought of as a student who desires excellence in all things. This will be an attainable goal for a mom studying at an excellent school.