Advice on Studying Fine Arts

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AGoodMan
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Advice on Studying Fine Arts

Post by AGoodMan » Wed Jul 01, 2015 5:03 pm

Hi guys,

As someone who entered quiz bowl relatively late (sophomore year), I have learned much from the community over the past two years.
As many of you know, my team is not the strongest; we've had our better years, and right now most of my team doesn't seem motivated to study...
With one of my seniors graduating this year, we do not have a fine arts player anymore.
What would be an effective way to study fine arts? I have a very basic knowledge at best.
I already use Quinterest, but if there are any other resources I can also go to, that would be great.
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Re: Advice on Studying Fine Arts

Post by The Lutes of Dependency » Wed Jul 01, 2015 6:23 pm

(Note: this is from the perspective of a specialist who focuses more on music than vis art)

First of all: Welcome to the forums.

You can start by memorizing titles. In all parts of the art distribution that may get you pretty far. For music, knowing stuff about music theory (such as chord structure, rhythm, musical forms, etc.) can get you some early buzzes. Reading program notes is also very useful. As for visual art (which I'm not as knowledgeable about), looking at the paintings/sculptures/whatever combined with packet study (or Quinterest) may help you get an Idea of what to look for in those works.

This thread has been moved from its original place in "Illinois Comparisons and Discussions" --Mgmt.
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Re: Advice on Studying Fine Arts

Post by at your pleasure » Wed Jul 01, 2015 7:09 pm

For high school, a good textbook should honestly cover most of your starting bases-Gardner's Art through the Ages or Janson's History of Art are both pretty standard. If you want more detailed studies of specific topics, the Pelican History of Art* or Oxford History of Art series is probably going to cover anything you'd be interested in in more or less the most depth you'll need for high school quizbowl purposes, and is written by excellent specialists in the relevant fields to boot.

*Note that the older volumes in this series tend to be a bit outdated; be a bit careful if it's more than c. 30/40 years old.
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Re: Advice on Studying Fine Arts

Post by Adventure Temple Trail » Wed Jul 01, 2015 9:29 pm

Does your study plan also involve music / auditory arts rather than just visual art?
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Re: Advice on Studying Fine Arts

Post by AGoodMan » Wed Jul 01, 2015 10:26 pm

Yes, both. So paintings, sculpture, operas, engravings, musicals, symphonies, jazz, etc. The whole nine yards.
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Re: Advice on Studying Fine Arts

Post by vinteuil » Wed Jul 01, 2015 11:42 pm

Definitely recommend Harold Schonberg's Lives of the Great Composers for a comprehensive, extremely fun/readable (if flawed) account of "music history," including a lot of quizbowl clues (for opera as well).

(I got two copies as Bar Mitzvah presents...despite having one. Guess it must be popular.)
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Re: Advice on Studying Fine Arts

Post by Guile Island » Thu Jul 02, 2015 5:08 am

Since there are very few operas that are askable in high school quizbowl, it's not too hard to find plot summaries on the web that would be helpful. Listening to famous arias is a good way to make these clues a bit more memorable and isn't a huge time commitment. For Jazz, assuming your school has a jazz band, you might find it worthwhile to check out one of their concerts and get a program: when I was in high school, the jazz band I was in played a bunch of tunes by quizbowl mainstays that still get me points to this day. The Ken Burns documentary is also pretty good.
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Re: Advice on Studying Fine Arts

Post by acrosby1861 » Fri Jul 03, 2015 2:00 pm

Listening to the famous stuff is also useful for some of the other more widely asked songs, not just operas. It's a pain, to be honest, but if you keep hearing / seeing / reading about the characteristics of famous works (like the motif in Beethoven's Fifth, or the chords in Tristan and Isolde), Youtube would be good to get an idea of what the characteristics sound like. It's helped me to some extent.

Also, I don't think joining quiz bowl in sophomore year isn't that late because I didn't officially start doing quiz bowl until my sophomore year too. Maybe it's because nobody at my school really wanted to form a team until about ten people or so started one in September of last year. But yeah. Better late than never, I guess.
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Re: Advice on Studying Fine Arts

Post by AGoodMan » Fri Jul 03, 2015 2:15 pm

acrosby1861 wrote:Also, I don't think joining quiz bowl in sophomore year isn't that late because I didn't officially start doing quiz bowl until my sophomore year too. Maybe it's because nobody at my school really wanted to form a team until about ten people or so started one in September of last year. But yeah. Better late than never, I guess.
Really? It seems like everyone from where around (Chicagoland) seems to have played in junior high or at least freshman year.
Anyway, thank you for the advice.
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Re: Advice on Studying Fine Arts

Post by Deviant Insider » Fri Jul 03, 2015 2:23 pm

randomguy1997 wrote:
acrosby1861 wrote:Also, I don't think joining quiz bowl in sophomore year isn't that late because I didn't officially start doing quiz bowl until my sophomore year too. Maybe it's because nobody at my school really wanted to form a team until about ten people or so started one in September of last year. But yeah. Better late than never, I guess.
Really? It seems like everyone from where around (Chicagoland) seems to have played in junior high or at least freshman year.
Anyway, thank you for the advice.
That actually differs a lot from team to team. A lot of the students I coached at New Trier joined the team as sophomores.
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Re: Advice on Studying Fine Arts

Post by Captain Sinico » Fri Jul 03, 2015 2:34 pm

I didn't start playing until junior year - it doesn't matter all that much as long as you'll put the work in.
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Re: Advice on Studying Fine Arts

Post by Periplus of the Erythraean Sea » Sat Jul 04, 2015 7:08 pm

I guess I don't have much experience with regards to high school arts questions since I didn't really start paying attention to arts questions until this year (my junior year of college) and knew very little about arts in high school. In a few months, though, I managed to go from getting almost nothing before near the end of the question to getting a reasonable number of early music and painting powers at the last tournament I played. The advice I have mainly applies to getting questions early.

The thing that distinguishes the arts from most other subjects, to me, is the greater importance of the need to distinguish between memorable details and generic elements common throughout a genre. You really want to have some background knowledge on movements, time periods, and definitions of terms before you dive too deep into the fine arts, especially since a lot of these things are common subjects of tossups and bonus parts.

A lot of visual arts is pretty straightforward - the ability to recognize details unique to specific works of visual art - and looking at the works themselves is a pretty good way to get this. Knowing names of works and what details of the work they refer to is a good start and will probably get you most of the way to being a strong arts player at the high school level. Beyond that, understanding the unique techniques, biographies, and quirks of each artist, critical reactions, and symbolism of specific details and motifs is important to getting points at higher levels of difficulty. This can be especially important for medieval and Renaissance-era European art, where countless versions of certain religious scenes are the bread and butter of artists' subjects.

I'd place a big emphasis on reading articles from websites in order to get better at music questions (some of my favorites are the guides to various pieces that the LA Philharmonic produces, such as this guide to Brahms' 1st symphony). Listening to music without reading some sort of guide or article about the piece in question isn't going to help you very much in quizbowl unless you have years of musical training and can instantly recognize what's going on in a piece from hearing it. Even if you do have this kind of training, you won't learn about other peoples' reactions or what a particular motif is meant to represent without some independent reading, and those clues are the bread and butter of quizbowl tossups. Especially for a layman like myself, this also has the pleasant side effect of enhancing your ability to appreciate classical music (if you choose to listen to it as well as read about it, which is definitely a Good Idea) beyond hearing nice melodies.
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Re: Advice on Studying Fine Arts

Post by acrosby1861 » Sun Jul 05, 2015 1:13 pm

randomguy1997 wrote: Really? It seems like everyone from where around (Chicagoland) seems to have played in junior high or at least freshman year.
Anyway, thank you for the advice.
It seems that way in SoCal too. But I've seen one or two people start playing late in their high school career and get really good really fast. Sometimes when kids start in junior high or freshman year and keep going for a while, the amount of experience they have can be a little intimidating.
Captain Sinico wrote:I didn't start playing until junior year - it doesn't matter all that much as long as you'll put the work in.
And most of my teammates were either juniors or seniors when they started quiz bowl. Putting in the work helps with bridging the gap between you and other players, especially if they have more experience or something.
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Re: Advice on Studying Fine Arts

Post by johntait1 » Mon Jul 06, 2015 11:31 am

I'd recommend taking AP Art History if its offered at your school. It not only exposed me to pretty much all the art tossed up at the high school level, but actually made me genuinely interested in art. I used to not care about art at all, but now I love looking at or reading about art just for fun. Personally I feel that studying is a lot more effective when you're enjoying it, but maybe that's just me.
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