I didn’t get English. It was boring, way over my head, and useless. Why do I need to learn how to diagram sentences? When do you use that as an adult? It was pretty much a waste of time. Some stuff was cool like short stories but grammar and writing could just leave me alone. Until one day, when I got brave enough to ask my English teacher to do an assignment on my own terms:
The entire class was currently reading a self-assigned book on which we would eventually have to do a book report. I hated writing multiple pages of fluff just to get a certain word count. I could get very creative and use a thesaurus to help extend, elongate, aggrandize, amplify, augment, beef up, boost, broaden, carry on, continue, crane, develop, dilate, drag one’s feet, drag out, draw, draw out, elongate, enhance, enlarge, and expand my word count and vocabulary.
On one fateful day, our summation proposals were due. We had to write what our book report was going to be about and get it approved. I started writing furiously once I got to class but then I had an idea. After I wrote my proposal, I dared to risk asking my English teacher for a concession. I asked for a different format of book report altogether.
The next day the teacher handed out our proposals with her approval except for one…mine. She called me to her desk and ask if I could really do a book report like I proposed. I said I thought I could and it would be a fun way to do it. So she granted my request and I was able to do the book report my way. I didn’t have to write a single word. Well, ok, I had to but I didn’t have to write my whole report.
I proposed that I would make a narrative of my book and use music to guide my “reader” (listener) through my narrative. Here is how I did it:
1. Made outline and script of narratives for each scene in the book
2. Listened through almost 10 Classical CD’s to find songs that would fit each scene’s narratives.
3. Recorded my spoken narrative onto tape scene by scene
4. Recorded from CD to tape the song that goes, like a soundtrack, with the narrative.
5. For each scene, repeat steps 3 and 4
6. At the end of the tape, a spoken conclusion.
My narratives explained the story line and then told the listener what was happening in the story when they heard different elements in the music. When I was finished, I spend many more hours than I would have writing a report but I had more fun. I ended up handing in about 75 minutes worth of songs and scene narratives.