Academic Art Essay Rhetoric

“Music is all about the words, but there’s something about the rhythm, the instruments, that conveys the sense that it’s happiness, or it’s hope. You can tell a story, just as you can with a novel, with a painting.It’s not just you that’s experiencing it, it’s your whole audience.“I think that being an effective speaker is sort of essential for most careers that people take, certainly many of the careers that people in Harvard are interested in in particular.

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“We practice the craft of gauging an audience, which is artistic.” Though the music of the words may very well define spoken rhetoric as an art, students and faculty also note rhetoric’s practicality and pre-professional purposes. Scanlon ’18, a previous student of Expos 40, sees spoken rhetoric as almost universally useful.And a couple of my research articles look at the technique that composers use to create beautiful pieces of classical music, and the techniques that leaders use to create memorable moments,” he said.“So my central argument is that we ought not just consider the words that speakers use, but the music they use to coat those words.” In some contexts, such as spoken word poetry, rhetoric is essential to the art form itself. Boyland ’17 is a member of Speak Out Loud, a spoken word poetry group on campus, and also performs on his own.“As human beings, we’re hardwired to be social creatures,” Mc Carthy said, “We seek to be understood.” Amanda N.Dias-Jayasinghe ’17, who took Expos 40 last fall, sees the connection between public speaking and the deeper messages that music conveys.One such course, on offer at all three schools, is “The Arts of Communication.” Timothy P. Cohen, who holds a faculty appointment at the Harvard Extension School, where he teaches “Oral Communication In the Workplace,” splits spoken rhetoric into two components.Mc Carthy ’93, an Adjunct Lecturer on public policy at the Kennedy School, teaches six sections of the course this semester. “On a basic level, there’s what you say and how you say it.In fact, over 200 students get turned away from the class each semester. “We have between 250 and 300 students each semester who want to apply, who do apply.But we can only choose five sections, no more than 70 or 80 people.” Students who have taken the class see its value as part of the undergraduate education, but are split on the issue of whether such a rhetoric class should be required.In 1995, Jay Heinrichs published a piece in Harvard Magazine titled “How Harvard Destroyed Rhetoric.” The article criticized Harvard’s undergraduate curriculum, which “doesn’t offer a single course in which oratorical theory and practice are taught together.” Today, such a course exists—Expository Writing 40: “Public Speaking Practicum,” though it’s the only spoken rhetoric class in the undergraduate curriculum. Granderson ’18, who designed his own concentration, Rhetoric, had to commute to MIT last year to take his introductory rhetoric class because Harvard didn’t offer one.Even at a liberal arts college with a broad range of course offerings, the place of studying rhetoric in the undergraduate education remains uncertain.


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