Syllabi can be accessed by clicking on the blue titles of courses.
A video of a class session is linked here and under MUS294.
I regularly teach the following courses.
MUS490: Popular Music and Meaning in the Classroom
MUS485C: Music Capstone: Philosophies of Music
This is an interdisciplinary course that introduces students to the analysis of music and music experiences as historically and culturally situated phenomena. The course materials are drawn from the disciplines of psychology, neuroscience, musicology, history, ethnomusicology, philosophy, cultural studies, and media studies.
Many of us have aspirations to expand our digital music libraries and listen to more varied types of music as we go about our daily activities. Unfortunately, we often find ourselves in musical ruts; we repeatedly choose the same playlists for walking to class, exercising, studying, etc. And despite the fact that we have such easy access to so much music, it can sometimes feel difficult to navigate. This course is meant to break us out of our music listening routines. We will do this by deepening and broadening our music listening experiences: we will deepen our everyday music listening experiences by exploring what it is that makes them meaningful to us, and we will broaden our music listening experiences by exploring the virtually infinite types of music that are accessible to us through internet technologies. The music that we will listen to varies across time-period as well as place of origin. We will listen to folk musics, art musics, and popular musics and engage in discussions of how music becomes classified as such. We will develop skills to help us engage with music that is unfamiliar to us, learning to describe the musical sounds that we hear and relate those sounds to their contexts and functions. In doing so, we will gain an understanding of music - its sounds, its contexts, and its meanings.
A video of a class session is linked here: Elvis Presley: Image, Movies, Television
This course provides an introduction to the birth and development of rock within the United States during the middle of the 20th century. Throughout the course, we will examine such musical genres as rhythm and blues, country western, and mainstream popular music as they existed prior to the birth of rock ‘n’ roll, the golden age of rock ‘n’ roll in the 1950’s, the British Invasion in the 1960’s, and the diversification of rock in the decades that followed.
The course is taught from an interdisciplinary perspective, exploring the following inter-related themes: 1) image and identity, 2) the sacred and the profane, 3) race, 4) class, 5) gender, 6) economics, 7) politics, and 8) technology. We will discuss these themes in terms of their relationship to the sounds of the music and the contexts within which the sounds were created. Thus, the materials used throughout the course are drawn from such disciplines as musicology, ethnomusicology, sociology, cultural studies, and, of course, history.
A specific goal of this course is to develop your ability to analyze rock music (and popular music, more generally) as an aesthetic phenomenon and as a cultural phenomenon. As such, the course activities are designed so that, by the end, you will be able to engage in informed discussions about the coherence and legitimacy of identifying rock music as a distinct musical genre.
This course provides an introduction to the study of popular music, focusing on the development of popular music in the United States from 1970 to today. Over the course of the semester, we will examine such popular musical genres as rock, country, dance/electronic, hip hop, and reggae, among others. As part of this examination, we will situate the music within a variety of social contexts, identifying possible musical meanings in light of those contexts. We will also explore how the concept of 'genre' has been used within the domain of popular music during this period and how it might be changing as a result of recent technologies.
This course is taught from an interdisciplinary perspective such that popular music is considered a worthy topic of study not only as a cultural phenomenon but also as an aesthetic phenomenon. Materials used throughout the course are drawn from the disciplines of musicology, ethnomusicology, sociology, cultural studies, and history. No background in music is necessary to take this course.
I have also taught these courses.
MUS 4930 Music and Meaning in an iPod World