Music

The Music Third program is structured to integrate theory and practice. Students select a combination of component courses that together constitute one full course (called a Music Third). A minimal Music Third includes four components:

  1. Individual instruction (instrumental performance, composition, or voice), the central area of study around which the rest of the program is planned
  2. Theory and/or history (see requirements below)
  3. A performance ensemble (see area requirements below);
  4. Concert attendance/Music Tuesdays Requirement (see below)

The student, in consultation with the faculty, plans the music program best-suited to individual needs and interests. Advanced students may, with faculty consent, elect to take music as two-thirds of their course of study.

The music program also offers lectures, seminars, and individual components as stand-alone credits. Students may elect to take a lecture or seminar as part of their overall Music Third (as a component) but do not have to be part of a Music Third to take any of these courses (see descriptions below).

Components as Part of a Music Third

The following components are offered as part of a full Music Third:

Individual Instruction

A limited number of lessons are available for one credit to intermediate or advanced students who do not wish to take a full Music Third.

Individual instruction is arranged by audition with the following members of the music faculty and affiliate artists:

  • Composition—Paul Kerekes, Patrick Muchmore, John Yannelli
  • Guitar (acoustic), Banjo, and Mandolin—William Anderson
  • Guitar (jazz/blues)—Glenn Alexander
  • Bass (jazz/blues)—Bill Moring
  • Piano—Martin Goldray (S), Paul Kerekes, Bari Mort, TBA
  • Piano (jazz)—Billy Lester
  • Organ—Martin Goldray
  • Voice—Kirsten Brown, Mary Phillips, Thomas Young
  • Flute—Roberta Michel
  • Oboe—Stuart Breczinski
  • Clarinet—Benjamin Fingland
  • Saxophone—John Isley
  • Bassoon—James Jeter
  • Trumpet—Christopher Anderson
  • Trombone—Jen Baker
  • Euphonium—Mark Brochinsky
  • Percussion (drum set)—Matt Wilson
  • Percussion (mallet)—Ian Antonio
  • Harp—Mia Theodoratus
  • Violin—Ragga Petursdottir, Richard Rood
  • Viola—Junah Chung
  • Violoncello—An-Lin Bardin
  • Contrabass—Mark Helias

The director of the music program will arrange all instrumental study with the affiliate-artist faculty members who teach off campus. In all cases, individual instruction involves consultation with members of the faculty and the director of the music program. Instructors for instruments not listed above will also be arranged.

Lessons and Auditions

Beginning lessons are offered only in voice and piano. A limited number of beginning acoustic guitar lessons are offered based on prior musical experience. All other instrumentalists are expected to demonstrate a level of proficiency on their instruments. In general, the music faculty encourages students to prepare two excerpts from two contrasting works that demonstrate the student's musical background and technical abilities. Auditions for instruments and voice, which are held at the beginning of the first week of classes, are for placement purposes only.

Vocal Auditions, Placement, and Juries

The voice faculty encourages students to prepare two contrasting works that demonstrate the student’s musical background and innate vocal skills. Vocal auditions enable the faculty to place the singer in the class most appropriate for his or her current level of vocal production. Students will be placed in either an individual voice lesson (two half-hour lessons per week) or in Studio Class (there are four different studio classes, as well as the seminar Self Discovery Through Singing). Voice juries at the end of the year evaluate each student’s progress.

Piano Auditions and Placement

The piano faculty encourages students to prepare two contrasting works that demonstrate the student’s musical background and keyboard technique. Piano auditions enable the faculty to place the student with the appropriate teacher in either an individual piano lesson or in the Keyboard Lab, given his or her current level of preparation.

Acoustic and Jazz Guitar Auditions and Placement

The guitar faculty encourages students to prepare two contrasting works that demonstrate the student’s musical background, guitar technique, and—for jazz and blues—improvisational ability. Guitar auditions enable the faculty to place the guitarist with the appropriate teacher in either an individual guitar lesson or in Guitar Class. 

Composition Lessons

The student who is interested in individual instruction in composition must demonstrate an appropriate background.

Music 2023-2024 Courses

First-Year Studies: Music and Technology

FYS—Year | 10 credits

This course will explore the effects that advancements in technology have had, and are having, on music. We will study the development of musical instruments, the recording studio, the advent of computers and synthesizers, as well as the impact that these areas have on contemporary music. Some of the topics to be covered will include the following: basic elements and fundamentals of music; principles of acoustics as related to music and electronics; an overview of Western and non-Western music such as traditional, classical, jazz, rock, and pop, as well as music for other media such as dance, film, and theatre. Some other questions to be considered are: How are composers and performers inspired by new developments in instrument making and technology? How has technology changed the course of music for the listener? What effect does technology have on music education? Students will select conference projects based on their particular interests and from a variety of perspectives, including but not limited to world history, musical genre, specific periods of music history, types of instruments, and developments in technology. Course work will include listening assignments, electronic and recording-studio demonstrations, guest lectures, and concert attendance. No previous musical training is necessary. Students will meet in one-on-one conferences for the first six weeks and then biweekly thereafter.

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Advanced Theory

Advanced Theory: Compositional Tools and Techniques

Component—

This course will be an introduction to a wide array of compositional languages, primarily within a notated context. We will talk about a wide variety of harmonic palettes, including some examples of microtonality à la Ben Johnston and Alois Hába. We will explore various serial procedures, such as the “classical” serialism of Schoenberg and Webern and the rotational ideas of Ruth Crawford Seeger and Stravinsky. We’ll discuss various methods for guiding improvisation, including the “diamond clef” compositions of Anthony Braxton. Rhythmic and metric ideas will be introduced, including asymmetric time signatures, metric modulation as pioneered by Elliott Carter, and rhythmic serialism as in the work of Milton Babbitt and Olivier Messiaen. We’ll talk about the potential uses of rhythmic and harmonic symmetry as, for example, in the chord progressions of John Coltrane’s Giant Steps. You will learn about these both through score study and through your own small compositional projects. As we jump from topic to topic, I will also have you practice increasingly complex notational miniprojects and will introduce you to the rudiments of orchestration for keyboards, strings, woodwinds, brass, and percussion. At the end of the year, you will have broad range of musical languages with which to express your own personal voice and will have had considerable practice in communicating those ideas effectively.

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Classes for Beginning Students

Guitar Class

Component—

This course is for beginning students in either acoustic or electric guitar.

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Keyboard Lab

Component—

This course is designed to accommodate beginning piano students who take Keyboard Lab as the core of their Music Third. This instruction takes place in a group setting, with eight keyboard stations and one master station. Students will be introduced to elementary keyboard technique and simple piano pieces.

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Studio Class

Component—

This is a beginning course in basic vocal technique. Each student’s vocal needs are met within the structure and content of the class.

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Components for Individual Credit

Individual Instruction: Lessons

— | 1 credit

See list above for Instruments or Composition.

Chamber Music/Performance Ensemble

— | 1 credit

See list under Performance Ensembles.

Music Theory

— | 2 credits

See list under Music Theory components.

Music History

— | 2 credits

See list under Music History components.

Music Technology

— | 2 credits

See description under Music Technology Courses.

Concert Attendance/Music Tuesdays Requirement

Music Tuesdays

Component stand-alone—

The music faculty wants students to have access to a variety of musical experiences; therefore, all Music Thirds are required to attend all Music Tuesday events and three music department-sponsored concerts on campus per semester, including concerts (the required number varies from semester to semester) presented by music faculty and outside professionals that are part of the Concert Series. Music Tuesdays consist of various programs, including student/faculty town meetings, concert presentations, guest artists’ lectures and performances, master classes, and collaborations with other departments and performing-arts programs. Meetings, which take place in Reisinger Concert Hall on selected Tuesdays from 1:30-3:00 p.m., are open to the community. The schedule will be announced each semester.

Lectures and Seminars

Music and (Almost) Everything All at Once

Open, Lecture—Fall | 5 credits

Awhile ago, I went to a visual-arts museum that had its collection displayed in an unusual fashion. Instead of grouping art in rooms according to genre, chronology, nationality, or particular artists, the art was arranged by intriguing concepts. A room might contain an O’Keeffe painting, a centuries-old Indigenous piece from Australia, a Rodin sculpture, and a poem that were, in some way, connected by a fascinating idea. I want to recapitulate something like this experience. Every class will begin with some concept from mathematics, poetry, philosophy, astronomy, and more; then, we’ll gradually explore music that engages with that concept in some way. The musical examples each week will span centuries and cultures—one week might have an avant-grade piano sonata by Boulez, a 1980’s art-rock song by Laurie Anderson, and a Kendrick Lamar album; the next week might have an ancient Sumerian song, a piece by Debussy, and a work from the Indian Carnatic tradition. Gradually, more and more connections between the seemingly disparate topics will be revealed. So, okay, it isn’t everything exactly—and it’s more like “across the semester” rather than “all at once”—but, by the end, you will know a whole lot more across a wide range of disciplines. And, most importantly, we’ll listen to a metric ton of fantastic music.

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Punk

Open, Large Lecture—Spring | 5 credits

This course will examine punk rock as a musical style and as a vehicle for cultural opposition. We will investigate the musical, cultural, and political conditions that gave birth to the genre in the 1970s and trace its continuing evolution through the early 2000s—in dialogue with and opposition to other musical genres, such as progressive rock, heavy metal, ska, and reggae. We will begin with the influence of minimalism on “proto-punk” artists like the Velvet Underground and Patti Smith, which will provide a foundation for seeing how minimalism—as well as modernism, atonality, and electronic music—continue to resonate in punk and rock music. We will examine the intellectual background of early UK punk, with readings by Guy Debord and the Situationist International, and look at the theories of Gramsci and Foucault on the question of institutional power structures and the possibility of resistance to them. To deepen our understanding of punk style and the culture of opposition, there will also be readings by Theodor Adorno, Mikhail Bakhtin, Roland Barthes, Antonin Artaud, William S. Burroughs, Kathy Acker, Julia Kristeva, and others. We will trace the splintering of punk into various sub-genres and the challenges of negotiating the music industry while remaining “authentic” in a commercialized culture. Another major focus will be the Riot Grrrl bands of the 1990s as a catalyst for third-wave feminism. Given the DIY aesthetic at the heart of punk and in addition to listening to, analyzing, and reading about the music, students who want to incorporate creative work will be given the opportunity to work with musicians and write some punk songs. In light of the abundant documentary film footage relating to punk culture, the course will include a film viewing every other week.

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Music, Structure, and Power: Theories of Musical Meaning

Open, Lecture—Fall | 5 credits

How do we listen to unfamiliar music? What ideas, principles, and ideologies influence how we hear? What do the sounds of music tell us about society? This course explores the practice of music theory and the search for musical meaning, with examples from around the world. We will describe unfamiliar music and then understand it by using various approaches to translate its meaning. Course themes include musical and cultural differences, the relativism of musical perception, structuralist approaches to music theory, the politics of representation, decolonizing music history, and others. Course units will draw from varied ethnographic case studies from ethnomusicology and anthropology and may include examples from India, Indonesia, China, East Africa, West Africa, the Caribbean, and North America. Participation in the Balinese Gamelan music ensemble is strongly encouraged. No prior experience in music is necessary.

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Sounding Voices and Voicing Sound: Musical and Sonic Interventions of Climate Justice

Open, Seminar—Spring | 5 credits

How do human voices express our basic, most fundamental needs and desires? How do our voices also provoke immediate feelings and responses? And how do voices become ideologies—such as having or silencing a voice—that then shape the meanings of our voices? In this seminar, we will use these questions to forge a productive path toward better understanding the role of the human voice in climate justice. We will begin the course with canonical sources that link music with social justice. Then, we will engage recent research from sound studies, voice studies, media studies, vocal anthropology, ecomusicology, and ethnomusicology that reorients the voice and its sonic elements as a dynamically agentive and transformative force intertwined with history and culture. And then, we will apply our new understanding of the voice to better describe, analyze, and interpret vocal art that enables us to hear a new relationship with our environment. Throughout the semester, we will index a range of approaches, themes, and persuasive strategies of these activist, vocal interventions addressing climate change in order to articulate and clarify the role of music and sound in climate justice. Class topics and themes may include the speech-song continuum, phonetic variation and prosody, Bollywood playback singing, indigeneity and vocality, vocal mimesis, Tuvan throat singing, multivocality, vocal constructions of place and the environment, and others. No prior experience in music is necessary. This course will fully participate in the spring 2024 Sarah Lawrence Interdisciplinary Collaborative on the Environment (SLICE) Mellon course cluster, with a focus on environmental and climate justice and a strong involvement with local organizations. The semester will include two interludes during which students will engage in collaborative projects across disciplines and in partnership with students from Bronx Community College. Students will have the opportunity to develop field-based conference projects.

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Iraqi Maqam Ensemble

Open, Seminar—Fall | 2 credits

The methodology of Iraqi Maqam is based on oral transmission. Normally, the master teaches a student or group of students by singing the phrases, and the students attempt to imitate all of the details of the master’s performance. By teaching orally, as opposed to written representation of the music, the students integrate the melodies and eventually create their own interpretations and variations of each phrase. Hamid Al-Saadi has replicated this type of format in his Iraqi Maqam classes at Sarah Lawrence College. Every week, he chooses a Maqam on which to focus. He gives the students the poetry and sings the phrases, teaching students the intricacies of each melodic phrase as well as the overall structure of the composition. Al-Saadi is assisted by oud player and vocalist George Ziadeh, who translates the poetry and Hamid’s instructions from Arabic to English while analyzing the musical material to facilitate the students’ understanding of the music and poetry. During the semester, students are exposed to a variety of Maqam compositions in addition to Iraqi folk songs and rhythms. Depending on their ambition, some of the students are even able to memorize and sing one or more maqams, which they will have a chance to demonstrate during the recital at the end of the semester. This class represents a rare opportunity for students to engage with an ancient musical language through the encounter with a seasoned master.

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Iraqi Maqam Ensemble

Open, Seminar—Spring | 2 credits

The methodology of Iraqi Maqam is based on oral transmission. Normally, the master teaches a student or group of students by singing the phrases, and the students attempt to imitate all of the details of the master’s performance. By teaching orally, as opposed to written representation of the music, the students integrate the melodies and eventually create their own interpretations and variations of each phrase. Hamid Al-Saadi has replicated this type of format in his Iraqi Maqam classes at Sarah Lawrence College. Every week, he chooses a Maqam on which to focus. He gives the students the poetry and sings the phrases, teaching students the intricacies of each melodic phrase as well as the overall structure of the composition. Al-Saadi is assisted by oud player and vocalist George Ziadeh, who translates the poetry and Hamid’s instructions from Arabic to English while analyzing the musical material to facilitate the students’ understanding of the music and poetry. During the semester, students are exposed to a variety of Maqam compositions in addition to Iraqi folk songs and rhythms. Depending on their ambition, some of the students are even able to memorize and sing one or more maqams, which they will have a chance to demonstrate during the recital at the end of the semester. This class represents a rare opportunity for students to engage with an ancient musical language through the encounter with a seasoned master.

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Master Classes and Workshops

Master Class

Component—

Master Class is a series of concerts, instrumental and vocal seminars, and lecture demonstrations pertaining to music history, world music, improvisation, jazz, composition, and music technology. Master classes take place on Wednesdays, from 12:30-1:30 p.m., in either Reisinger Concert Hall or Marshall Field House Room 1. Master classes are taught by music faculty and guest artists. The classes are open to the College community.

Music Workshops and Open Concerts

Component—

Music workshops present an opportunity for students to perform, in an informal, supportive environment, the music that they have been studying. Participants will present a prepared piece and receive constructive feedback from the instructor and from other students. Along with the specifics of each performance, class discussion may include general performance issues—such as dealing with anxiety, stage presence, and other related topics. Each term will consist of three workshops, culminating at the end of each semester in an open concert that is a more formal recital. The entire College community is welcome and encouraged to participate.

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Music History Classes

Survey of Western Music

Component—

This course is a chronological survey of Western music from the Middle Ages to the present. We will explore the cyclical nature of music that mirrors philosophical and theoretical ideas established in Ancient Greece and how that cycle most notably reappears every 300 years: the Ars nova of the 14th century, Le nuove musiche of the 17th century, and the New Music of the 20th century and beyond. The course involves reading, listening, and class discussions that focus on significant compositions of the Western musical tradition, the evolution of form, questions of aesthetics, and historical perspective. There will be occasional quizzes during the fall term; short, written summary papers or class presentations are required in the spring.

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Jazz History

Component—

Jazz music of all styles and periods will be listened to, analyzed, and discussed. Emphasis will be placed on instrumental styles and performance techniques that have evolved in the performance of jazz. Skills in listening to and enjoying some of the finer points of the music will be enhanced by the study of elements such as form, phrasing, instrumentation, instrumental technique, and style. Special emphasis will be placed on the development of modern jazz and its relationship to older styles. Some topics: Jelly Roll Morton, King Oliver, Louis Armstrong, roots and development of the Big Band sound, Fletcher Henderson, Count Basie, Duke Ellington, lineage of pianists, horn players, evolution of the rhythm section, Art Tatum, Bud Powell, Bill Evans, Thelonius Monk, Miles Davis, John Coltrane, Charlie Parker, bebop, cool jazz, jazz of the ’60s and ’70s, fusion and jazz rock, jazz of the ’80s, and modern trends. The crossover of jazz into other styles of modern music, such as rock and R&B, will be discussed, as will the influence that modern concert music and world music has had on jazz styles.

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Music and (Almost) Everything All at Once

Component—Fall

See course description under Lectures and Seminars.

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Punk

Component—Spring

See course description under Lectures and Seminars.

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Music, Structure, and Power: Theories of Musical Meaning

Component—Fall

See course description under Lectures and Seminars.

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Sounding Voices and Voicing Sound: Musical and Sonic Interventions of Climate Justice

Component—Spring

See course description under Lectures and Seminars.

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Music Technology Courses: Studio for Electronic Music and Experimental Sound

EMS I: Introduction to Electronic Music and Music Technology

Component—

Prerequisite: permission of the instructor

The Sarah Lawrence Electronic Music Studio is a state-of-the art facility dedicated to the instruction and development of electronic music composition. The studio contains the latest in digital audio hardware and software for synthesis, recording, and signal processing, along with a full complement of vintage analog synthesizers and tape machines. Beginning students will start with an introduction to the equipment, basic acoustics, and principles of studio recording; signal processing; and a historical overview of the medium. Once students have acquired a certain level of proficiency with the equipment and material—usually by the second semester—the focus will be on preparing compositions that will be heard in concerts of electronic music, student composers’ concerts, music workshops, and open concerts.

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EMS II: Recording, Mixing, and Mastering Electronic Music

Component—

Prerequisite: permission of the instructor

This course will focus on creating electronic music, primarily using software-based digital audio workstations. Materials covered will include MIDI, ProTools, Digital Performer, Logic, Reason, Ableton Live, MaxMsp, Traction, and elements of Sibelius and Finale (as connected to media scoring). Class assignments will focus on composing individual works and/or creating music and designing sound for various media, such as film, dance, and interactive performance art. Students in this course may also choose to evolve collaborative projects with students from those other areas. Projects will be presented in class for discussion and critique.

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EMS III: Studio Composition and Music Technology

Component—

Prerequisite: successful completion of EMS I and EMS II or equivalent, at or beyond the Advanced Theory level, and permission of the instructor

Students work on individual projects involving aspects of music technology—including, but not limited to, works for electro-acoustic instruments (live and/or prerecorded), works involving interactive performance media, laptop ensembles, Disklavier, and improvised or through-composed works. Projects will be presented in class for discussion and critique.

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Other Classes and Ensembles

Acoustic Beatles

Component—Fall

For singers and/or guitarists, this ensemble will take on any Beatles songs that work with acoustic guitar. Singers and guitarists at any level are welcome, as are singers who play some guitar and guitarists who sing.

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Folk and Folk Rock

Component—Spring

This ensemble will cover the US folk-rock music movement from Guthrie through the hippies, including union songs and protest songs. Singers and guitarists at any level are welcome, as are singers who play some guitar and guitarists who sing.

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Chamber Music

Component—

Various chamber groups—from quartets or quintets to violin and piano duos—are formed each year, depending on the number and variety of qualified instrumentalists who apply. There are weekly coaching sessions. At the end of the semester, groups will have an opportunity to perform in a chamber music concert.

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Experimental Music Improvisation

Component—

This is an experimental performing ensemble that explores a variety of musical styles and techniques, including free improvisation, improvisational conducting, and various other chance-based methods. The ensemble is open to all instruments (acoustic and electric), voice, electronic synthesizers, and laptop computers. Students must be able to demonstrate a level of proficiency on their chosen instrument. Composer-performers, dancers, and actors are also welcome. Performance opportunities will include concerts and collaboration with other programs, such as dance, theatre, film, and performance art, as well as community outreach.

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Guitar Ensemble

Component—

This class offers informal performance opportunities on a weekly basis as a way of exploring guitar solo, duo, and ensemble repertoire. The course will seek to improve sight-reading abilities and foster a thorough knowledge of the guitar literature.

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Saxophone Ensemble

Component—

In this course, saxophone students will prepare material arranged specifically for saxophone emsemble, drawing from all genres of music: classical, jazz, and contemporary styles. The course will stress instrumental technique, as well as ensemble and performance rehearsal methods and approaches. There will be at least one public performance per term.

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Senior Recital

Component—Spring

This component offers students the opportunity to share the results of their sustained work in performance study with the broader College community. During the semester of their recital, students will receive additional coaching by their principal teachers.

Iraqi Maqam Ensemble

Open, Component—Fall | 2 credits

See course description under Lectures and Seminars.

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Iraqi Maqam Ensemble

Open, Component—Spring | 2 credits

See course description under Lectures and Seminars.

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Performance Ensembles and Classes

The Blues Ensemble

Component—

This performance ensemble is geared toward learning and performing various traditional, as well as hybrid, styles of blues music. The blues, like jazz, is a purely American art form. Students will learn and investigate Delta Blues—performing songs by Robert Johnson, Charlie Patton, Skip James, and others—as well as Texas Country Blues by originators such as Blind Lemon Jefferson and Chicago Blues, beginning with Big Bill Broonzy and moving up through Howlin’ Wolf and Buddy Guy. Students will also learn songs and stylings by Muddy Waters, Albert King, and B. B. King and learn how they influenced modern blues men such as Johnny Winter and Stevie Ray Vaughn and pioneer rockers such as Jeff Beck, Eric Clapton, Jimmy Page, and Jimi Hendrix.

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Jazz Colloquium

Component—

This ensemble will meet weekly to rehearse and perform a wide variety of modern jazz music and other related styles. Repertoire in the past has included works by composers Thelonius Monk, Duke Ellington, Miles Davis, and Herbie Hancock, as well as some rock, Motown, and blues. All instruments are welcome.

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Jazz Performance and Improvisation Workshop

Component—

This class is intended for all instrumentalists and will provide a “hands-on” study of topics relating to the performance of jazz music. The class will meet as an ensemble, but the focus will not be on rehearsing repertoire and giving concerts. Instead, students will focus on improving jazz playing by applying the topic at hand directly to instruments—and immediate feedback on the performance will be given. The workshop environment will allow students to experiment with new techniques as they develop their sound. Topics include jazz chord/scale theory; extensions of traditional tonal harmony; altered chords; modes; scales; improvising on chord changes; analyzing a chord progression or tune; analysis of form; performance and style study, including swing, Latin, jazz-rock, and ballade styles; and ensemble technique. The format can be adapted to varying instrumentation and levels of proficiency.

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Jazz Vocal Ensemble

Component—

No longer do vocalists need to share valuable time with those wanting to focus primarily on instrumental jazz and vice versa. This ensemble will be dedicated to providing a performance-oriented environment for the aspiring jazz vocalist. We will mostly concentrate on picking material from the standard jazz repertoire. Vocalists will get an opportunity to work on arrangements, interpretation, delivery, phrasing, and intonation in a realistic situation with a live rhythm section and soloists. Vocalists will learn how to work with, give direction to, and get what they need from the rhythm section. The course will provide an environment for vocalists to learn to hear forms and changes and also to work on vocal improvisation, if they so choose. This will not only give students an opportunity to work on singing solo or lead vocals but also to work with other vocalists in singing backup or harmony vocals for and with each other. And it will serve as a great opportunity for instrumentalists to learn the true art of accompanying the jazz vocalist, which will prove to be a valuable experience in preparing for a career as a professional musician.

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Theory and Composition Program

Theory I: Materials of Music

Component—

In this course, we will study elements of music such as pitch, rhythm, intensity, and timbre. We will see how they combine in various musical structures and how those structures communicate. Studies will include notation and ear training, as well as theoretical exercises, rudimentary analyses, and the study of repertoire from various eras of Western music. This course is a prerequisite to Theory II: Basic Tonal Theory and Composition and the Advanced Theory sequence.

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Theory II: Basic Tonal Theory and Composition

Component—

As a skill-building course in the language of tonal music, this course covers diatonic harmony and voice leading, elementary counterpoint, and simple forms. Students will develop an understanding through part writing, analysis, composition, and aural skills.

 

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Advanced Tonal Theory and Analysis

Component—

If you’re wondering what class is essentially “Theory III,” it’s this one. We’ll begin with a review of diatonic harmony and voice leading, but then we’ll jump into the world of chromatic harmony. We’ll discuss sequences, as well as techniques for modulation, before moving into an in-depth discussion of many different formal structures such as fugue, through-composed songs, and sonata form. The year will end with a discussion of extensions of the tonal idea ,such as basic jazz chords and neo-tonality. Composers discussed will include the usual suspects from the common-practice Baroque, Classical and, especially, Romantic eras but also will extend to more recent examples, such as Debussy, Ravel, Davis, Coltrane, Talma, Price, and Glass.

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Advanced Theory: 20th-Century Theoretical Approaches: Post-Tonal and Rock Music

Component—

This course will be an examination of various theoretical approaches to music of the 20th century, including post-tonal, serial, textural, minimalist, and pop/rock music. Our primary text will be Joseph Straus’s Introduction to Post-Tonal Theory, but we will also explore other relevant texts—including scores and recordings of the works themselves. This course will include study of the music of Schoenberg, Webern, Pink Floyd, Ligeti, Bartók, Reich, Radiohead, Nine Inch Nails, Corigliano, and Del Tredici, among others.

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Advanced Theory: Jazz Theory and Harmony

Component—

Students in this course will study the building blocks and concepts of jazz theory, harmony, and rhythm. This will include the study of the standard modes and scales, as well as the use of melodic and harmonic minor scales and their respective modals systems. The course will include the study and application of diminished and augmented scales and their role in harmonic progression, particularly the diminished chord as a parental structure. In-depth study will be given to harmony and harmonic progression through analysis and memorization of triads, extensions, and alterations, as well as substitute chords, re-harmonization, and back cycling. We will look at polytonality and the superposition of various hybrid chords over different bass tones and other harmonic structures. We will study and apply all of the above to their characteristic and stylistic genres, including bebop, modal, free, and progressive jazz. The study of rhythm, which is possibly the single most important aspect of jazz, will be a primary focus, as well. We will also use composition as a way to absorb and truly understand the concepts discussed.

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Jazz Arranging and Orchestration

Component—

In this course, students will focus on the basics of arranging and orchestrating for small to medium-size ensembles. Offered in partnership with the Jazz Colloquium ensemble, students will write for the instrumentation of the ensemble and will have the opportunity to hear their arrangements performed by Jazz Colloquium. This course introduces students to the techniques of arranging and orchestration for two-horn, three-horn, and four-horn jazz ensembles. Students will study the classic repertoire of small to medium-size jazz groups and create small ensemble arrangements in various styles. Materials for study will be drawn from throughout the history of jazz and contemporary/commercial arranging practices.

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Vocal Studies

Vocal Chamber Ensemble

Component— | 10 credits

This ensemble focuses on repertoire from all periods of classical music that is especially suited for a group of this size. Although the pieces studied will be of major composers, there will be a special emphasis placed on music from underrepresented composers. The repertoire will be both accompanied and a cappella. There will be a winter and spring concert.

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Jazz Vocal Seminar

Component—Spring

This course is an exploration of the relationship of melody, harmony, rhythm, text, and style and how those elements can be combined and manipulated to create meaning and beauty. A significant level of vocal development will be expected and required.

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World Music Ensembles

Gamelan Angklung Chandra Buana

Component—Fall

A gamelan angklung is a bronze orchestra that includes four-toned metallophones, gongs, drums, and flutes. Rhythmic patterns played upon the instruments interlock and combine to form large structures of great complexity and beauty. The gamelan angklung that we will play was specially handcrafted in Bali for the College and was named Chandra Buana, or “Moon Earth,” at its dedication on April 16, 2000, in Reisinger Concert Hall. Any interested student may join; no previous experience with music is necessary.

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African Classics of the Postcolonial Era

Component—Fall

From highlife and jújù in Nigeria, to soukous and makossa in Congo and Cameroon, to the sounds of Manding music in Guinea and “Swinging Addis” in Ethiopia, the decades following World War II saw an explosion of musical creativity that blossomed across sub-Saharan Africa. Syncretic styles merging African aesthetics with European, Caribbean, and American influences and instruments resulted in vibrant new musical genres that harken back to traditional African sources while exploring bold and original musical forms. As European powers formally withdrew from their former colonies, newly inspired African musicians took advantage of broadened artistic resources and created vital, contemporary musical expressions. This performance course will explore a wide range of African musical styles that emerged in the second half of the 20th century. We will undertake a broad musical history, considering prominent groups and individual musicians during this time period, and will perform tightly structured arrangements of some of their most effective and influential pieces There will be some opportunities for genre-appropriate improvisation and soloing. A wide range of instruments will be welcome, including strings, horns, guitars, keyboards, drums, and various percussion instruments. Basic facility on one’s musical instrument is expected, but prior experience with African musical aesthetics is not assumed or required.

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West African Percussion Ensemble Faso Foli

Component—Spring

Faso Foli is the name of our West African performance ensemble. Faso foli is a Malinke phrase that translates loosely as “playing to my father’s home.” In this class, we will develop the ability to play expressive melodies and intricate polyrhythms in a group context, as we recreate the celebrated musical legacy of the West African Mandé Empire. These traditions have been kept alive and vital through creative interpretation and innovation in Africa, the United States, and other parts of the world. Correspondingly, our repertoire will reflect a wide range of expressive practices, both ancient in origin and dynamic in contemporary performance. The instruments we play—balafons, dun dun drums, and djembe hand drums—were constructed for the College in 2006, handcrafted by master builders in Guinea. Relevant instrumental techniques will be taught in the class, and no previous experience with African musical practice is assumed. Any interested student may join.

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Music for Dancers

Component—Spring

This component will provide students with the opportunity to play a full array of percussion instruments from around the globe: African djembes, Brazilian zurdos, Argentinian bombo, Peruvian cajon and quijada, Indian tabla, traditional traps, and more. Students will also be able to program and execute electronic drums such as the Wavedrum and Handsonic. The focus will be prevalent toward enhancing a dancer's full knowledge of music but also will expand the vocabulary for choreographers, actors, and composers, as well. The component will grant students the tools needed to fully immerse themselves in the understanding of the relation of music, dance, and the performing arts. Students will expand their knowledge of terminology and execution and will be able to learn the basic rudiments of notation. We will analyze the interaction of music from both intellectual and cultural points of view. We will learn how to scan musical scores with various degrees of complexity and explore the diverse rhythmic styles that have developed through time and through different geographical and social conditions. Classes will consist of group playing. All instruments will be provided and available for practice.

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First-Year Studies in Dance

FYS—Year

Students will enroll in a combination of component classes in dance, including an academic study in dance, improvisation, and a selection of movement practice classes at the appropriate level and with various instructors throughout the week. Together, these studies will make up the First-Year Studies in Dance. (Please refer to the component class descriptions.) The Improvisation course, taught by John Jasperse in the fall, is a required component for all FYS in Dance students. This course will include other students at the College and the entire FYS cohort; it is the heart of FYS in Dance. Here, we will explore making dance, starting with real-time composition in improvisation and progressing through the year to create short pieces of choreography in the spring. Students will be dancing in the studio every day. Throughout the fall semester, we’ll meet occasionally in sessions that bring us into exchanges with other creative arts-based FYS cohorts. Students will also meet in individual conferences with John Jasperse each week throughout the fall semester and in biweekly conferences in the spring semester to develop individual conference projects based on their particular interests and the materials explored in their classes.

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Movement Studio Practice

Component—Year

These classes will emphasize the steady development of movement skills, energy use, strength, and articulation relevant to each teacher's technical and aesthetic orientations. Instructors will change at either the end of each semester or midway through the semester, allowing students to experience present-day dance practice across diverse styles and cultural lineages. At all levels, attention will be given to sharpening each student’s awareness of time and energy and training rhythmically, precisely, and according to sound anatomical principles. Degrees of complexity in movement patterns will vary within the leveled class structure. All students will investigate sensory experience and the various demands of performance.

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Ballet

Component—Year

Ballet students at all levels will be guided toward creative and expressive freedom in their dancing, enhancing the qualities of ease, grace, musicality, and symmetry that define this form. We will explore alignment, with an emphasis on anatomical principles; we will cultivate awareness of how to enlist the appropriate neuromuscular effort for efficient movement; and we will coordinate all aspects of body, mind, and spirit, integrating them harmoniously.

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West African Dance

Component—Spring

This course will use physical embodiment as a mode of learning about and understanding various West African cultures. In addition to physical practice, supplementary study materials will be used to explore the breadth, diversity, history, and technique of dances found in West Africa. Traditional and social/contemporary dances from countries such as Guinea, Senegal, Mali, Ghana, and the Ivory Coast will be explored. Participation in end-of-semester or year-end showings will provide students with the opportunity to apply studies in a performative context.

Hip-Hop

Component—Fall

In this open-level course, teaching and facilitating the practice of hip-hop/urban dance technique and performance, the class will examine the theory, technique, and vocabulary of hip-hop dance. The course will facilitate the student’s development and ability to execute and perform hip-hop/urban dance steps.

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Live Time-Based Art

Component—Year

In this class, graduates and upper-class undergraduates with a special interest and experience in the creation of time-based artworks that include live performance will design and direct individual projects. Students and faculty will meet weekly to view works-in-progress and discuss relevant artistic and practical problems, both in class on Tuesday evenings and in conferences taking place on Thursday afternoons. Attributes of the work across multiple disciplines of artistic endeavor will be discussed as integral and interdependent elements in the work. Participation in mentored, critical-response feedback sessions with your peers is a key aspect of the course. The engagement with the medium of time in live performance, the constraints of presentation of the works, both in works-in-progress and in a shared program of events, and the need to respect the classroom and presentation space of the dance studio will be the constraints imposed on the students’ artistic proposals. Students working within any number of live performance traditions are as welcome in this course as those seeking to transgress orthodox conventions. While all of the works will engage in some way with embodied action, student proposals need not fall neatly into a traditional notion of what constitutes dance. The cultivation of open discourse across traditional disciplinary artistic boundaries, both in the process of developing the works and in the context of presentation to the public, is a central goal of the course. The faculty members leading this course have roots in dance practice but also have practiced expansive definitions of dance within their own creative work. This course will culminate in performances of the works toward the end of the semester in a shared program with all enrolled students and within the context of winter and spring time-based art events. Performances of the works will take place in the Bessie Schönberg Dance Theatre or elsewhere on campus in the case of site-specific work.

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Performance Project

Component—Year

Performance Project is a component in which a visiting artist or company is invited to create a work with students or to set an existing piece of choreography. The works are performed for the College community at the end of the semester.

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Anatomy

Component—Year

Throughout the year, we will use movement as a powerful vehicle for experiencing, in detail, our profoundly adaptable musculoskeletal anatomy. In the fall semester, students will learn sections of Irene Dowd’s Spirals, a comprehensive warm-up/cool-down for dancing that coordinates all joints and muscles through their fullest range of motion, facilitating study of the musculoskeletal system. In addition to movement practice, drawings are made as part of each week’s lecture (drawing materials provided); problem-solving activities are incorporated throughout the semester. Several short readings and responses will provide opportunities for students to engage primary texts in the field of functional anatomy. In the spring semester, a weekly lecture with definitions, palpation of bony landmarks, and accompanying movement-based activities will support an in-depth understanding of each anatomical component. Development and refinement of technical training, as well as addressing injury prevention and rehabilitation, are central to this semester’s work. Students will be expected to show critical-thinking skills around the concepts presented in class through discussion and written reflection. New perspectives and skills developed in this course will benefit technical development for dancers and movers, as well as provide inspiration in the process of movement invention and composition.

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Yoga

Component—Spring

This yoga class is designed with the interests of dancers and theatre students in mind. Various categories of postures will be practiced, with attention to alignment, breath awareness, strength, and flexibility. The physical practice includes seated and standing poses, twists, forward bends and backbends, traditional yogic breathing practices, and short meditations. Emphasis is placed on mindfulness and presence. This approach allows the student to gain tools for reducing stress and addressing unsupportive habits to carry into other aspects of their lives. Attention will be given to the chakra system as a means and metaphor for postural, movement, and character choices. The instructor has a background in dance and object theatre, in addition to various somatically-based practices that she draws upon for designing the classes to meet the individual needs of the class members.

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Music and Identity: “Listening” to Race, Gender, and Sexuality

Open, Small Lecture—Fall

Often defined as “the universal language,” music has long held a reputation for its ability to cross borders, both literal and figurative. Until the 20th century, however, little attention had been given to the ways in which judgments of “good” versus “bad” music were influenced by perceptions of race, gender, sexuality, and other categories of identity. Why, for instance, has Western classical music’s sensibility made it an ideal candidate for “all” cultures around the world, while other traditions remain localized to specific communities or dismissed altogether as “lesser”? In this course, we will begin by understanding the ways in which music shapes our world, as well as how music can be shaped by subjectivities and biases. Through case studies of classical, hip-hop, country, punk, K-pop, reggaeton, and other genres, we will examine the ways in which issues of identity in music impact both musicians and audiences. We will read texts from musicology and ethnomusicology, gender and women’s studies, and ethnic studies as examples of how scholars from multiple disciplines write and engage with themes of race, gender, and sexuality in conversation with music. The semester will culminate in the presentation of an interdisciplinary final project that explores themes of music and identity alongside the student’s own interests.

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Shakespeare and the Semiotics of Performance

Open, Lecture—Year

The performance of a play is a complex cultural event that involves far more than the literary text upon which it is grounded. First, there is the theatre itself—a building of a certain shape and utility within a certain neighborhood of a certain city. On stage, we have actors and their training, gesture, staging, music, dance, costumes, possibly scenery and lighting. Offstage, we have the audience, its makeup, and its reactions; the people who run the theatre and the reasons why they do it; and finally the social milieu in which the theatre exists. In this course, we study all of these elements as a system of signs that convey meaning (semiotics)—a world of meaning whose lifespan is a few hours but whose significances are ageless. The plays of Shakespeare are our texts. Reconstructing the performances of those plays in the England of Elizabeth I and James I is our starting place. Seeing how those plays have been approached and re-envisioned over the centuries is our journey. Tracing their elusive meanings—from within Shakespeare’s Wooden O to their adaptation in contemporary film—is our work.

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Interrogating God: Tragedy and Divinity

Sophomore and Above, Seminar—Fall

The Greek gods attended the performances at the ancient theatre of Dionysos, which both recognized and challenged their participation in human affairs. The immediacy of divine presence enabled a civic body, the city, to enter into conversation with a cosmic one—a conversation whose subject was a shared story about the nature of experience and its possible significance: tragedy. Divinity is less congenial about playgoing in later periods but seems to have lent tragedy both a power to be reborn and a determination to address the universe even as Christianity, the Enlightenment, Romanticism, and the Industrial Age reimagine it. In this course, we shall read essential Western texts in which the constant of human suffering is confronted and the gods are called into question even as they shift their shape. Among our authors are Aeschylus, Shakespeare, Goethe, Byron, Ibsen, Beckett, Susan Glaspell, and August Wilson.

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Wilde and Shaw

Sophomore and Above, Seminar—Spring

Toward the end of the 19th century, Oscar Wilde stated repeatedly that he was “an Irishman”—and, therefore, beyond good and evil as defined by gentlemanly codes—while George Bernard Shaw deemed nationalistic allegiances absurd and prophetically, given the wars of the 20th century, lethal. In their stances, we can begin to see how the complexities and paradoxes of Irish identity—ethnic marginalization, religious zeal (secularized), linguistic play, knowing laughter—informed their ultimate self-definition as citizens of the world and thereby enabled them to fashion distinctively challenging art. It is also no exaggeration to say that each left the English language not as he found it. Wilde’s life was short, and we shall read a good deal of his oeuvre: his fairy tales, his plays, his novel, much of his poetry, many of his essays. Shaw’s life was long, and we shall focus on his plays written before World War I, along with two brilliantly painful postwar works: Heartbreak House and Saint Joan. And, in both, we shall see how revolution can come disguised in conventional forms, as both playwrights transform drawing-room comedy into political commentary whose implications have yet to be resolved.

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Perspectives on the Creative Process

Intermediate, Seminar—Fall

The creative process is paradoxical. It involves freedom and spontaneity yet requires expertise and hard work. The creative process is self-expressive yet tends to unfold most easily when the creator forgets about self. The creative process brings joy yet is fraught with fear, frustration, and even terror.The creative process is its own reward yet depends on social support and encouragement. In this class, we look at how various thinkers conceptualize the creative process—chiefly in the arts but in other domains, as well. We see how various psychological theorists describe the process, its source, its motivation, its roots in a particular domain or skill, its cultural context, and its developmental history in the life of the individual. Among the thinkers that we will consider are Freud, Jung, Arnheim, Franklin, and Gardner. Different theorists emphasize different aspects of the process. In particular, we see how some thinkers emphasize persistent work and expert knowledge as essential features, while others emphasize the need for the psychic freedom to “let it happen” and speculate on what emerges when the creative person “lets go.” Still others identify cultural context or biological factors as critical. To concretize theoretical approaches, we look at how various ideas can contribute to understanding specific creative people and their work. In particular, we will consider works written by or about Picasso, Woolf, Welty, Darwin, and some contemporary artists and writers. Though creativity is most frequently explored in individuals, we also consider group improvisation in music and theatre. Some past conference projects have involved interviewing people engaged in creative work. Others consisted of library studies centering on the life and work of a particular creative person. And some students chose to do fieldwork at the Early Childhood Center and focus on an aspect of creative activity in young children.

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Social Movements and Powerful Art: Aesthetics of Authority and Resistance

Open, Seminar—Spring

Using US-based artist Sarah Sze’s remark, “Great protests are great art works,” as its inspiration, this seminar explores the relationship between art, collective ideas, and social change within the context of social movements. We begin by discussing the relationship between aesthetics and the social sciences, focusing on a sociological notion of art as a collective and inherently social process. Our study includes the work of social theorists Antonio Gramsci, Pierre Bourdieu, and Theodor Adorno, whose works not only illuminate how public culture communicates collective ideas but also how the latter is imbricated with existing power structures and social hierarchies. These critical frameworks will help us investigate the modern art world, exploring how artistic institutions and movements are sites that both perpetuate and resist authoritative ideologies. In the second half of the semester, students will use these frameworks to explore the role of culture and art within collective social movements. We will investigate several questions, including: What defines a social movement and what social conditions produce social movements? How are art and aesthetics used within social movements to communicate ideas and strengthen communities? In what ways do movements deploy art as a form of social resistance or authority? Our discussions will particularly attend to grassroots movements within historically marginalized communities. Throughout the semester, students will also learn about the benefits of visual methodologies and how social scholars use them to understand collective culture and social change. For conference, students will select a specific social movement, exploring how art is deployed within the movement for collective resistance or control. Possible topics include (but are not limited to) critical analysis of an artistic institution, comparative analysis of how different contexts of resistance deploy shared artistic mediums, or the use of art within a given movement over time. While class discussions will primarily focus on the United States, students are also invited to explore the relationship between art and social movements in other social locations.

Faculty

Social Movements and Powerful Art: Aesthetics of Authority and Resistance

Open, Seminar—Spring

Using US-based artist Sarah Sze’s remark, “Great protests are great art works,” as its inspiration, this seminar explores the relationship between art, collective ideas, and social change within the context of social movements. We begin by discussing the relationship between aesthetics and the social sciences, focusing on a sociological notion of art as a collective and inherently social process. Our study includes the work of social theorists Antonio Gramsci, Pierre Bourdieu, and Theodor Adorno, whose works not only illuminate how public culture communicates collective ideas but also how the latter is imbricated with existing power structures and social hierarchies. These critical frameworks will help us investigate the modern art world, exploring how artistic institutions and movements are sites that both perpetuate and resist authoritative ideologies. In the second half of the semester, students will use these frameworks to explore the role of culture and art within collective social movements. We will investigate several questions, including: What defines a social movement and what social conditions produce social movements? How are art and aesthetics used within social movements to communicate ideas and strengthen communities? In what ways do movements deploy art as a form of social resistance or authority? Our discussions will particularly attend to grassroots movements within historically marginalized communities. Throughout the semester, students will also learn about the benefits of visual methodologies and how social scholars use them to understand collective culture and social change. For conference, students will select a specific social movement, exploring how art is deployed within the movement for collective resistance or control. Possible topics include (but are not limited to) critical analysis of an artistic institution, comparative analysis of how different contexts of resistance deploy shared artistic mediums, or the use of art within a given movement over time. While class discussions will primarily focus on the United States, students are also invited to explore the relationship between art and social movements in other social locations.

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Senior Studio

Advanced, Seminar—Year

This course is intended for seniors interested in pursuing their own art-making practice more deeply and for a prolonged period of time. Students will maintain their own studio spaces and will be expected to work independently and creatively and to challenge themselves and their peers to explore new ways of thinking and making. The course will incorporate prompts that encourage students to make art across disciplines and will culminate in a solo gallery exhibition during the spring semester, accompanied by a printed book that documents the exhibition. We will have regular critiques with visiting artists and our faculty, discuss readings and myriad artists, take trips to galleries and artist’s studios, and participate in the Visual Arts Lecture Series. Your art-making practice will be supplemented with other aspects of presenting your work—writing an artist statement, writing exhibition proposals, interviewing artists, and documenting your art—along with a series of professional-practices workshops. This is an immersive studio course meant for disciplined art students interested in making work in an interdisciplinary environment. 

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Visual Arts Fundamentals: Materials and Play

Open, Seminar—Fall

This class is open to all students of any experience level, including those currently enrolled in a creative arts FYS, and serves as an introduction to fundamental areas of the visual arts, including drawing, painting, printmaking, sculpture, photography, collage, and related mixed-media processes. We’ll discuss these mediums through image presentations, videos, and a gallery/museum visit. Students will then make art in each of those areas via open-ended prompts, experimenting with new materials, processes, techniques, and ideas. Materials will be provided, and you’ll be encouraged to discover through play. Emphasis will focus on developing your creative imagination and building visual literacy. This class culminates in an end-of-semester exhibition.

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Visual and Studio Arts Fundamentals: Our Eight Senses

Open, Seminar—Spring

This class is open to all students of any experience level, including those currently enrolled in a creative arts FYS, and serves as an introduction to fundamental areas of the visual arts via the human senses. Roughly every two weeks, you will be given an open-ended prompt based on select senses (vision, hearing, smell, taste, touch, balance, temperature, proprioception) from which you will be asked to experiment with materials and follow your ideas in new directions. Our artwork will cross disciplines, combining elements of drawing, painting, printmaking, sculpture, sound art, digital collage, and all areas in between. We’ll discuss each prompt through image presentations, videos, and a gallery/museum visit. Materials will be provided, and you’ll be encouraged to follow your ideas and intuition across mediums. Emphasis will focus on developing your creative imagination and building visual literacy. This class culminates in an end-of-semester exhibition.

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New Genres: Graphic Novel

Open, Concept—Spring

This course explores the graphic novel as a creative medium, from the intricacies of page layout to panel-to-panel transitions, text-to-image relationships, time mapping, and other innovations of the form. Designed for both beginning and advanced creators from all disciplines, students may work on creative projects or written analysis—but everyone will try the visual form. You will need a notebook, journal, or sketchbook of some sort for ongoing short assignments. Artists surveyed include Auster, Barry, Bechtel, Kuper, Madden, McCloud, Pekar, Ware, and others. No prior drawing experience is necessary.

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Painting Pop

Open, Concept—Fall

In this experimental studio class, we will explore how to digest, appropriate, reconfigure, and rewrite popular media using mostly, but not limited to, painting, drawing, and collage and open to video, animation, sculpture, and performance. We will examine how artists operate as consumers, catalysts, motors, and destroyers of TV, film, music, social media, and advertisement. Slideshows, readings, and presentations will exemplify the tight relationship between art and popular media throughout history and contemporary art and will serve as inspiration for students to create their own works. Students will be encouraged to deconstruct their own spectacles of adoration and critique and celebrate images that are impactful to them. We will promote generative group conversations, studio time, experimentation, collaboration, creativity, and improvisation.

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Forms and Fictions

Open, Seminar—Spring

Whatever short form you are interested in— episode, story, reflection, memoir, essay, tale—you will find in this course, both for reading and writing. We will talk about how different forms open the door to different takes on experience and how content or change can become more or less accessible in different forms. We will write 100-word pieces each week to learn to edit ourselves and to search through our minds for what’s there. We will practice pacing, dialogue, scene, portraiture. We will discuss what our favored forms say about our lives and the people in them. We will be writing and reading short pieces all semester, then editing, redrafting, and arranging them for conference work.

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Words and Pictures

Open, Seminar—Spring

This is a course with writing at its center and other arts—mainly, but not exclusively, visual—around it. We will read all kinds of narratives, children’s books, folk tales, fairy tales, graphic novels...and try our hand at many of them. Class reading will include everything from ancient Egyptian love poems to contemporary Latin American literature. For conference work, students have created graphic novels, animations, quilts, a scientifically accurate fantasy involving bugs, rock operas, items of clothing with text attached, nonfiction narratives, and dystopian fictions with pictures. There will be weekly assignments that involve making something. This course is especially suited to students with an interest in another art or a body of knowledge that they’d like to make accessible to nonspecialists.

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Creative Nonfiction

Intermediate/Advanced, Seminar—Fall

This is a course for creative writers who are interested in exploring nonfiction as an art form. We will focus on reading and interpreting outside work—essays, articles, and journalism by some of our best writers—in order to understand what good nonfiction is and how it is created. During the first part of the semester, writing will be comprised mostly of exercises and short pieces aimed at putting into practice what is being illuminated in the readings; in the second half of the semester, students will create longer, formal essays to be presented in workshop.

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