A Midsummer Night's Soundtrack
My freshman high school English class read Romeo and Juliet. Each student had to make a final project of our choice. My final project for that unit was to compose a piano solo theme for the play. And my friend Sean Braunhausen (Sean, if you ever read this, get in touch!), who was also musically inclined, made a soundtrack of different pieces that were not composed with Shakespeare in mind, but nevertheless captured the personalities of the characters.
If/when I ever teach a “Music and Shakespeare” class, one of the first assignments will be to create a similar soundtrack. Though it's a relatively low-level task, it forces you to think about character motivations and identities, and how those traits might be portrayed musically.
Here is my soundtrack for A Midsummer Nights Dream, with one piece of music per major character:
A workshop for developing thoughts on William Shakespeare's writings.