Newman plays for Cinema Studies classes

By Catherine Wang

Grammy and Academy Award-winning artist Randy Newman (Erik ’88, John ’96, Patrick ’10 and Alice ’11) taught three Cinema Studies classes Monday April 25. He taught both Cinema Studies I sections’ double period classes, one of which met during first and second period and the other which met during seventh and eighth period.

Newman’s classes were open to the entire school community. He met with Directed Studies students during fifth period.

Cinema Studies teacher Ted Walch, who is a friend of Newman, began each of the double period classes by showing clips from the films “Chinatown,” “Footlight Parade” and “Wuthering Heights.”

After each clip, Newman commented on each film’s music.

“Normally when you watch movies, you think about the directors,” Cinema Studies student Jamie Ember ’12 said. “But when watching the clips with him, I started to listen to the music and realize how important the music is for the movie.”

Walch then showed the class clips of films Newman wrote music for, and Newman spoke about his song-writing experiences.

“While we learn that music is important, we don’t spend that much time on it,” Cinema Studies student Halle Levitt ‘12 said. “It was interesting to hear the music side from someone who has such a big influence and has done such amazing things in that world.”

Walch showed clips from “The Natural,” which Newman called “melodrama at its finest.”

“I went to places I wouldn’t normally go,” he said. “In a song I would never use six trumpets and eight horns but there it was and it was successful.”

Newman spoke about writing for six Disney-Pixar films (“Monsters, Inc.,” “A Bug’s Life,” “The Princess and the Frog,” “Toy Story,” “Toy Story 2” and “Toy Story 3”) after Walch showed clips from “Toy Story 2.”

“Those are the best pictures I’ve done, in my opinion, the best quality,” he said of the Pixar films he wrote for. “It’s adult emotion in all of them.”

He finished the class playing the piano and singing “You’ve Got a Friend in Me,” “I Love L.A.” and “Short People.”

“It was really amazing to hear the person who wrote the music perform it himself,” Levitt said. “Especially to hear ‘You’ve Got a Friend in Me,’ music I’ve grown up with.”

“[Newman] really makes a connection with you,” Ember said, “He’s really funny and really adorable. He’s a really amazing teacher, and he makes you want to keep listening.”

 

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