Music

There are several ways students can participate in the music program.

  1. The Music Third program is structured to integrate theory and practice. Students select a combination of component courses that together constitute one full 10-credit course of MUSC 4499. A Music Third program includes each of the four following areas, explained in detail in this portion of the catalogue:
    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
    3. A performance ensemble
    4. Concert attendance/Music Tuesdays requirement (see below)
    5. A music program best-suited to individual needs and interests, planned by the student in consultation with the faculty
  2. Advanced students, with faculty consent, may elect to take a Music Two-Thirds program (MUSC 4998), which consists of two-thirds of their courses in music. Students permitted to take MUSC 4998 complete a total of two of each of the above four areas.
  3. The music program offers seminars, lectures, and individual components. Students may take these courses either as part of their Music Third as a component (MUSC 5000-level) or independently as another discipline requirement for credit (e.g., MUHS 3000-level).
  4. Students who do not wish to take an entire Music Third program may take Music Components for Credit (MUSC 4400) for up to three credits. A various number of component courses can comprise each of the following options: MUSC 4400 (1) for one credit, MUSC 4400 (2) for two credits, or MUSC 4400 (3) for three credits.

A maximum total of 50 credits is permitted in music.

Overview of Types of Music Instruction

The director of the music program will arrange all instrumental study with the affiliate-artist faculty, 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 below 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 their musical background and technical abilities. Auditions for all 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 the student’s current level of vocal production. Students will be placed in either an individual voice lesson (two half-hour lessons per week) or in a Studio Class. 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 Courses

The following 5000-level courses may be taken as components that comprise a Music Third (MUSC 4499) or Music Two Thirds (MUSC 4998) program or for individual credit as MUSC 4400 (up to three credits). Eligible students may take a maximum of two types of courses (e.g., Music History for two credits and Individual Instruction for one music credit within creative arts).

The types of music courses listed below refer to the four areas of the music program explained on the prior page.

Music 2024-2025 Courses

Classes for Beginning Students

Studio Class (Voice)

Component

MUSC 5335

Note: Placement audition is required.

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

Faculty

Guitar Class

Component

MUSC 5375

Note: Faculty recommendation is required.

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

Faculty

Keyboard Lab

Component

MUSC 5382

Note: Placement is arranged by the piano faculty.

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.

Faculty

Components for Individual Credit

Individual Instruction: Lessons

Component—Year | 1 credit

Note: Limited to intermediate or advanced students.

Courses listed below are yearlong.

MUSC 5002 - Composition

Paul Kerekes, Patrick Muchmore, John Yannelli

MUSC 5010 - Harpsichord

Carsten Schmidt

MUSC 5013 - Piano

Martin Goldray, Paul Kerekes, Barbara Mort-Zieff, Carsten Schmidt

MUSC 5019 - Piano (Jazz)

William I. Lester

MUSC 5020 - Voice

Kirsten Brown, Mary Phillips, Thomas Young

MUSC 5030 - Flute

Roberta Michel

MUSC 5034 - Trumpet

Christopher Anderson

MUSC 5035 - Clarinet

Benjamin Fingland

MUSC 5036 - Trombone

Jen Baker

MUSC 5038 - Saxophone

John Isley

MUSC 5039 - Bassoon

James Jeter

MUSC 5040 - Oboe

Stuart Breczinski

MUSC 5043- Organ

Martin Goldray

MUSC 5044 - Euphonium

Mark Brochinsky

MUSC 5050 - Violin

Ragnhildur Petursdottir, Richard Rood

MUSC 5052 - Viola

Junah Chung

MUSC 5055 - Violoncello

Helen An-Lin Bardin

MUSC 5057 - Harp

Amelia Theodoratus

MUSC 5058 - Contrabass

Mark Helias

MUSC 5071 - Acoustic Guitar

William K. Anderson

MUSC 5072 - Guitar (Jazz/Blues)

Glenn Alexander

MUSC 5073 - Electric Bass (Jazz/Blues)

Bill Moring

MUSC 5075 - Banjo

William K. Anderson

MUSC 5078 - Mandolin

William K. Anderson

MUSC 5080 - Percussion (Drum Set)

Matthew E. Wilson

MUSC 5080 - Percussion (Mallet)

Ian Antonio

Concert Attendance/Music Tuesdays

Music Tuesdays

Component stand-alone

Note: The schedule will be announced each semester.

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 presented by music faculty and outside professionals that are part of the Concert Series. (The required number of concerts varies from semester to semester.). Music Tuesdays consist of various programs, including student/faculty town meetings, concert presentations, guest-artist 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.

Lectures and Seminars

First-Year Studies: Western Music: Aesthetics, Techniques, Social Contexts

FYS—Year | 10 credits

MUSC 1026

This FYS seminar will examine the various genres of music that have pervaded cultural life in the West, focusing on classical music, folk, rock, and punk. The first semester will begin with the foundations of classical aesthetics in ancient Greece and continue with the study of landmarks of classical music through the Medieval, Renaissance, Baroque, and Classical periods. The spring semester will begin with 19th-century romanticism and continue with the development of 20th-century modernism, the rise of mass media and technology, the splitting of culture into high and low, the rock & roll revolution, and the more recent attempts at bridging the gap between high culture and popular cultures. The students in this seminar will have weekly conferences through October Study Days and then biweekly conferences for the rest of the school year.

Faculty

Cross-Cultural Listening

Open, Lecture—Fall | 5 credits

MUSC 2034

Note: This course may be counted for either humanities or social science distribution credit. This course may also be taken as a semester-long component.

This course will explore the relationship between listening, music, and sound across different cultural and historical contexts. Recent scholarship on listening and sound has revealed how listening plays a crucial role in the formulation of theories about music, and we will study how various ideas about listening inform contemporary understandings of music and sound. Drawing from research from the field of sound studies, cultural theory, and ethnographic case studies from ethnomusicology and anthropology, we will understand key concepts of listening with specific musical and sonic examples. Course units may include technologies of listening, listening as an impetus for empathy and to stimulate political action, strategies for listening to cultural and musical difference, and music and sound as tools for torture and healing. Individual class sessions may include sound technologies such as the phonograph, the MP3, the recording studio, and AI; soundscapes; music therapy; and the listening contexts of individual genres such as South African pop, Buddhist chant, Arabic maqamat, lofi hip hop, Muzak, and EDM. Participation in either African Classics or the Balinese Gamelan Chandra Buana is strongly encouraged. No prior experience in music is necessary.

Faculty

Music and (Almost) Everything All at Once

Open, Lecture—Fall | 5 credits

MUSC 2040

A while ago I went to a visual arts museum, and they had their 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, and then we’ll gradually explore different music that engages with that concept in some way. The musical examples every week will span centuries and cultures—one week might have an avant-grade piano sonata by Boulez, a 1980s 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, ok, it isn’t everything exactly—and it’s more like “across the course of two semesters” rather than “all at once”—but you will know a whole lot more across a wide range of disciplines by the end. And, most importantly, we’ll listen to a metric ton of fantastic music.

Faculty

Words and Music

Open, Lecture—Fall | 3 credits

MUSC 2071

Note: This course may be counted as either humanities or music credit. This course may also be taken as a component.

In this course, we will examine and try to understand the magic that happens when words and music combine in song. Song will be defined broadly. Most of our repertoire will be drawn from Western music history, and the range of compositions will be extraordinary: from the chants of Hildegard von Bingen to the often esoteric and intricate motets of the Ars Nova; from the late Renaissance madrigals to early and romantic opera; and from the art songs of Schubert and Debussy to experimental contemporary works. There may also be some in-class performances. Participants will be responsible for regular listening and reading assignments, listening exams, and group presentations. There will be no conferences, but we will have regular individual and group consultations to help prepare presentations and papers. This class may be taken as either a three-credit course or as a music program component. For those students taken it for three credits, there will be a number of shorter paper assignments.

Faculty

Punk

Open, Lecture—Spring | 5 credits

MUSC 2014

Note: This course may be counted as either humanities or music credit. This course may also be taken as a component.

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 subgenres 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.

Faculty

Sounding Creativity: Musical Improvisation

Open, Seminar—Spring | 5 credits

MUSC 3033

Note: This course may be counted as either humanities or social science credit. This course may also be taken as a semester-long component.

This seminar will focus on the widely practiced creative process of musical improvisation. Using footage of live performances, reading and listening assignments, and class discussions, we will learn to hear and understand improvisation as an array of specific choices as musicians from different backgrounds progress through their performances. We will question how personal expression and cultural context shape creativity, which will reveal improvisation as an intrinsic form of adaptation that is essential to artistic expression, communication, and survival. Using a cross-cultural perspective, we will examine the similarities and differences of musical improvisation around the world, exploring themes such as freedom, community, free will, determinism, social justice, ethnicity, race, nationalism, class, gender, and sexuality. Using ethnomusicology’s interdisciplinary approach to learning about music and culture, this seminar will draw from anthropology, linguistics, social theory, sociology, psychology, and artists’ personal accounts. Class topics may include music in Turkey, Egypt, West Africa, India, Cantonese opera, 20th-century experimental art music, improvised singing games in Nepal, free improvisation, international and American jazz, and turn tabling and DJing. Participation in the Faso Foli, SLC’s African percussion ensemble, is strongly encouraged. No prior experience in music is necessary.

Faculty

Jazz History/The Blues and Beyond

Open, Seminar—Year | 2 credits

MUSC 3162

Note: This is one of the music history component courses required for all Advanced Theory students. It is a two-semester course; however, it is possible to enter in the second semester. This course is also available as a two-credit, stand-alone, yearlong class.

Out of one of the worst atrocities of humanity, we were gifted with the extraordinary music that would become known as the blues. In this class, we will explore and analyze the origins of the blues, the uniqueness of this great American art form, and how it is related to jazz but takes a completely different path—ultimately leading us to rock ‘n’ roll and all forms of popular music. We will dissect the unique components of the blues, which defied conventional music theory as we knew it, made it different from any music that came before it, and out of which rock ‘n’ roll was born. Through listening to and analyzing these early developments, from African drumming pieces to field hollers, work songs, spirituals, early country blues, Delta blues, urban blues, and Chicago electric blues, we will discover the African culture and musical concepts that survived and how they are the foundation of every part of popular music—be it jazz, Afro-Cuban, Caribbean, country, rock ‘n’ roll, soul, gospel, funk, rhythm & blues, hip hop, rap, Brazilian, and on and on. We will study the unique African contributions of music in form, rhythm, melody, tone, and timbre that has now permeated all styles of music. Without this incredible, invaluable, unique contribution, our music today would be very different—and there would have been no Louis Armstrong, Miles Davis, Elvis Presley, Buddy Holly, Chuck Berry, Ray Charles, Bob Dylan, James Brown, The Beatles, Led Zeppelin, Rolling Stones, Jimmy Hendrix, Eric Clapton, Dusty Springfield, Aretha Franklin, Diana Ross & The Supremes, Otis Redding, Sam Cooke, Elvis Costello, Stevie Wonder, Prince, Kendrick Lamar, Beyonce, and on and on and on...right up to every new artist today.

Faculty

The Beatles

Open, Seminar—Fall | 3 credits

MUSC 3164

Note: This course may also be taken as a component. The course may be counted as either humanities or music credit. 

The impact of The Beatles has been immeasurable. In their seven years as a recording band, they explored and enlarged every aspect of songwriting technique—producing one musical milestone after the next. This class will trace the development of The Beatles chronologically through their 12 original English albums and the singles that were released alongside them. We will focus on the ways The Beatles used harmony, phrase structure, rhythm, structural ambiguity, and sonority in continuously innovative ways. We will also look at some of the musical styles and cultural phenomena that The Beatles assimilated and transformed—from early rock ‘n’ roll, Motown, and the Goon Show to 1960s counterculture—and explore how The Beatles, in turn, influenced music and culture in the 1960s. There will also be guest-led discussions by other members of the music faculty on the following topics: The Beatles and the evolution of studio recording, the use of electronic music techniques (Yannelli), Norwegian Wood and the great sitar explosion (Higgins), electric guitar techniques (Alexander), and acoustic guitar techniques (Anderson).

Faculty

Survey of Western Music

Open, Seminar—Year | 2 credits

MUSC 3210

Note: This component is required for all students taking Theory II: Basic Tonal Theory and Composition and is also open to students who have completed the theory sequence. The course is also available as a two-credit, stand-alone, yearlong class.

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.

Faculty

Music and Sound for Film

Open, Seminar—Spring | 3 credits

MUSC 3107

This class will explore the ways in which music and sound serve the dramatic intent of a film. As co-inhabitants of the aural spectrum, a film’s score and sound design are increasingly called upon to interact. Working in one of these areas now implies an understanding of the other. This class will cover: spotting music/sound with a director; choosing musical themes that correspond to the dramatic needs of a film; using sound design to highlight facets of the world and its characters; conceptualizing the soundworld of a film; and designing the music and sound so that they occupy different, complementary spaces. The marriage of sound and music has deep roots in the history of cinema, and special attention will be paid to great works of the past. There will be weekly listening assignments to survey the history of film music and to explore current trends. Technical topics covered will include: intro to ProTools and an overview of basic mixing, concepts in music editing, use of effects such as compression, eq, reverb and filters, file organization, management, and workflow. Students will work on sound design and/or scoring concepts using video clips that I provide or, better yet, using works from their fellow students in the film department.

Faculty

Recording and Editing Sound for Film and Media

Open, Large seminar—Fall | 2 credits

MUSC 3108

This course introduces techniques for recording and editing sound for film and media. Through a hands-on approach using recording equipment and Pro Tools, students will explore creating and mixing sound design and effects, Foley, and dialogue/ADR for film and other media. Studio work will be supplemented with readings on fundamentals of acoustics and media theory, as well as recommended films.

Faculty

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 are an opportunity for students to perform music that they have been studying in an informal, supportive environment. In this class, participants will present a prepared piece and receive constructive feedback from the instructor and 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 in an open concert that is a more formal recital at the end of each semester. The entire SLC community is welcome and encouraged to participate.

Faculty

Music History Courses

Survey of Western Music

Component—Year

MUSC 5210

Note: This component is required for all students taking Theory II: Basic Tonal Theory and Composition and is also open to students who have completed the theory sequence. The course is also available as a two-credit, stand-alone, yearlong class.

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.

Faculty

Music and (almost) Everything All at Once

Component—Fall

MUSC 5229

Note: This course may be counted as humanities credit as MUHS 2040 or music component as MUSC 5276. 

A while ago I went to a visual arts museum, and they had their 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, and then we’ll gradually explore different music that engages with that concept in some way. The musical examples every week will span centuries and cultures—one week might have an avant-grade piano sonata by Boulez, a 1980s 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, ok, it isn’t everything exactly—and it’s more like “across the course of two semesters” rather than “all at once”—but you will know a whole lot more across a wide range of disciplines by the end. And, most importantly, we’ll listen to a metric ton of fantastic music. 

Jazz History/The Blues and Beyond

Component—Year

MUSC 5250

Note: This is one of the music history component courses required for all Advanced Theory students. It is a two-semester course; however, it is possible to enter in the second semester. This course is also available as a two-credit, stand-alone, yearlong class.

Out of one of the worst atrocities of humanity, we were gifted with the extraordinary music that would become known as the blues. In this class, we will explore and analyze the origins of the blues, the uniqueness of this great American art form, and how it is related to jazz but takes a completely different path—ultimately leading us to rock ‘n’ roll and all forms of popular music. We will dissect the unique components of the blues, which defied conventional music theory as we knew it, made it different from any music that came before it, and out of which rock ‘n’ roll was born. Through listening to and analyzing these early developments, from African drumming pieces to field hollers, work songs, spirituals, early country blues, Delta blues, urban blues, and Chicago electric blues, we will discover the African culture and musical concepts that survived and how they are the foundation of every part of popular music—be it jazz, Afro-Cuban, Caribbean, country, rock ‘n’ roll, soul, gospel, funk, rhythm & blues, hip hop, rap, Brazilian, and on and on. We will study the unique African contributions of music in form, rhythm, melody, tone, and timbre that has now permeated all styles of music. Without this incredible, invaluable, unique contribution, our music today would be very different—and there would have been no Louis Armstrong, Miles Davis, Elvis Presley, Buddy Holly, Chuck Berry, Ray Charles, Bob Dylan, James Brown, The Beatles, Led Zeppelin, Rolling Stones, Jimmy Hendrix, Eric Clapton, Dusty Springfield, Aretha Franklin, Diana Ross & The Supremes, Otis Redding, Sam Cooke, Elvis Costello, Stevie Wonder, Prince, Kendrick Lamar, Beyonce, and on and on and on...right up to every new artist today.

Faculty

Words and Music

Component—Fall

MUSC 5229

Note: This course may be counted as humanities credit (MUHS 2071) or music component (MUSC 5229). 

In this course, we will examine and try to understand the magic that happens when words and music combine in song. Song will be defined broadly. Most of our repertoire will be drawn from Western music history, and the range of compositions will be extraordinary: from the chants of Hildegard von Bingen to the often esoteric and intricate motets of the Ars Nova, from the late Renaissance madrigals to early and romantic opera, and from the art songs of Schubert and Debussy to experimental contemporary works. There also may be some in-class performances. Participants will be responsible for regular listening and reading assignments, listening exams, and group presentations. There will be no conferences, but we will have regular individual and group consultations to help prepare presentations and papers. For the three credit lecture, there will be a number of shorter paper assignments. 

Faculty

The Beatles

Component—Fall

MUSC 5254

Note: This course may be counted as humanities credit (MUHS 3164) or music component (MUSC 5254). 

The impact of The Beatles has been immeasurable. In their seven years as a recording band, they explored and enlarged every aspect of songwriting technique, producing one musical milestone after the next. This class will trace the development of The Beatles chronologically through their 12 original English albums and the singles that were released alongside them. We will focus on the ways The Beatles used harmony, phrase structure, rhythm, structural ambiguity, and sonority in continuously innovative ways. We will also look at some of the of musical styles and cultural phenomena that The Beatles assimilated and transformed—from early rock & roll, Motown and the Goon Show to 1960s counterculture—and explore how The Beatles, in turn, influenced music and culture in the 1960s. There will also be guest-led discussions by other members of the music faculty on the following topics: The Beatles and the evolution of studio recording, the use of electronic music techniques (Yannelli), Norwegian Wood and the great sitar explosion (Higgins), electric guitar techniques (Alexander), and acoustic guitar techniques (Anderson). 

Faculty

Cross-Cultural Listening

Component—Fall

MUSC 5271

Note: This course may be counted for either humanities or social science credit as MUHS 2034 or music component as MUSC 5271.

This course will explore the relationship of listening, music, and sound across different cultural and historical contexts. Recent scholarship on listening and sound has revealed how listening plays a crucial role in the formulation of theories about music, and we will study how various ideas about listening inform contemporary understandings of music and sound. Drawing from research from the field of sound studies, cultural theory, and ethnographic case studies from ethnomusicology and anthropology, we will understand key concepts of listening with specific musical and sonic examples. Course units may include technologies of listening, listening as an impetus for empathy and to stimulate political action, strategies for listening to cultural and musical difference, and music and sound as tools for torture and healing. Individual class sessions may include sound technologies such as the phonograph, the MP3, the recording studio, and AI; soundscapes; music therapy; and the listening contexts of individual genres, such as South African pop, Buddhist chant, Arabic maqamat, lofi hip hop, muzak, and EDM. Participation in either African Classics or the Balinese Gamelan Chandra Buana is strongly encouraged. No prior music experience is necessary.

Faculty

Sounding Creativity: Musical Improvisation

Component—Spring

MUSC 5275

Note: This course may be counted as either humanities or social science credit. This course may also be taken as a semester-long component.

This seminar will focus on the widely practiced creative process of musical improvisation. Using footage of live performances, reading and listening assignments, and class discussions, we will learn to hear and understand improvisation as an array of specific choices as musicians from different backgrounds progress through their performances. We will question how personal expression and cultural context shape creativity, which will reveal improvisation as an intrinsic form of adaptation that is essential to artistic expression, communication, and survival. Using a cross-cultural perspective, we will examine the similarities and differences of musical improvisation around the world, exploring themes such as freedom, community, free will, determinism, social justice, ethnicity, race, nationalism, class, gender, and sexuality. Using ethnomusicology’s interdisciplinary approach to learning about music and culture, this seminar will draw from anthropology, linguistics, social theory, sociology, psychology, and artists’ personal accounts. Class topics may include music in Turkey, Egypt, West Africa, India, Cantonese opera, 20th-century experimental art music, improvised singing games in Nepal, free improvisation, international and American jazz, and turn tabling and DJing. Participation in the Faso Foli, SLC’s African percussion ensemble, is strongly encouraged. No prior experience in music is necessary.

Faculty

Punk

Component—Spring

MUSC 5278

Note: This course may be counted as humanities credit (MUHS 2014) or music component (MUSC 5278). 

This course will examine punk rock as a musical style and as a vehicle for cultural opposition. We will examine 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 sometimes in 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 such as Velvet Underground and Patti Smith, which will provide a foundation for seeing how minimalism—as well as modernism, atonality, and electronic music—continued to resonate in punk and rock music generally. We will examine the intellectual background of early UK punk with readings by Guy Debord and 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 Adorno, Bakhtin, Barthes, Antonin Artaud, William 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 and remaining “authentic” in a commercialized culture. Another major focus will be the Riot Grrrl bands of the 1990s as the catalyst for third-wave feminism. Given the DIY aesthetic at the heart of punk—in addition to listening to, analyzing, and reading about the music—students who want to get creative will be given the opportunity to work with musicians and write some punk songs. In light of the large amount of valuable documentary film footage relating to punk culture, the course will include a film viewing every other week. 

Faculty

Music Technology Courses: Studio for Electronic Music and Experimental Sound

EMS I: Introduction to Electronic Music and Music Technology

Component—Year

MUSC 5174

Prerequisite: permission of the instructor

Note: This course is also available as a two-credit, stand-alone, yearlong class.

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.

Faculty

EMS II: Recording, Mixing, and Mastering Electronic Music

Component—Year

MUSC 5181

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.

Faculty

EMS III: Studio Composition and Music Technology

Component—Year

MUSC 5173

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

Note: Class size is limited.

Students will 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

Saxophone Ensemble

Component—Fall

MUSC 5308

In this course, saxophone students will prepare material arranged specifically for saxophone emsemble and 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.

Faculty

Acoustic Beatles

Component—Fall

MUSC 5381

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.

Faculty

Experimental Music Improvisation

Component—Year

MUSC 5369

Note: Audition required. Class size is limited.

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.

Faculty

Chamber Music

Component—Year

MUSC 5370

Note: This component will be taught by Ms. Mort and members of the affiliate faculty.

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. Groups will have an opportunity to perform at the end of each semester in a chamber music concert.

Faculty

Folk and Folk Rock

Component—Spring

MUSC 5379

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.

Faculty

Senior Recital

Component—Spring

MUSC 5390

Note: Audition required. Concert Attendance/Music Tuesdays component required.

This component offers students the opportunity to share with the larger College community the results of their sustained work in performance study. During the semester of their recital, students will receive additional coachings by their principal teachers (instructor varies by instrument).

Performance Ensembles and Classes

The Blues Ensemble

Component—Year

MUSC 5310

Note: Audition required.

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—Year

MUSC 5313

Note: Audition required.

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.

Faculty

Jazz Performance and Improvisation Workshop

Component—Year

MUSC 5314

Note: Audition required.

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.

Faculty

Jazz Vocal Ensemble

Component—Year

MUSC 5315

Note: Audition required.

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. They will learn how to work with, give direction to, and get what they need from the rhythm section. The ensemble will provide an environment to learn to hear forms and changes and also to work on vocal improvisation, if students so choose. This course 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. It will also 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—Year

MUSC 5105

Note: This course is a prerequisite for Theory II: Basic Tonal Theory and Composition and the Advanced Theory sequence.

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 will meet twice each week (two 90-minute sessions).

Faculty

Theory II: Basic Tonal Theory and Composition

Component—Year

MUSC 5110

Prerequisite: Theory I: Materials of Music and Survey of Western Music (for students who have not had a similar history course)

Note: This Theory II course is a prerequisite to any Advanced Theory course.

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. 

Faculty

Advanced Theory: Jazz Theory and Harmony

Component—Year

MUSC 5125

Prerequisite: Theory II: Basic Tonal Theory and Composition

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

Component—Year

MUSC 5130

Prerequisite: Theory II: Basic Tonal Theory and Composition

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.

Faculty

Advanced Theory: Advanced Tonal Theory and Analysis

Component—Year

MUSC 5134

Prerequisite: Theory II: Basic Tonal Theory and Composition

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.

Faculty

Advanced Theory: Jazz Arranging and Orchestration

Component—Spring

MUSC 5139

In this course, students will focus on the basics of arranging and orchestrating for small to medium sized 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 sized 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.

Faculty

Vocal Studies

Chamber Choir

Component—Year

MUSC 5305

Note: Audition required.

This ensemble, which is open to the entire Sarah Lawrence community, 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, a special emphasis will be placed on music from underrepresented composers. The repertoire will be both accompanied and a cappella. There will be both a winter and a spring concert.

Faculty

Jazz Vocal Seminar

Component—Fall

MUSC 5330

Note: Audition required.

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.

Faculty

World Music Ensembles

Gamelan Ensemble: Angklung Chandra Buana

Component—Fall

MUSC 5350

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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West African Percussion Ensemble: Faso Foli

Component—Spring

MUSC 5351

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.

Faculty

African Classics of the Postcolonial Era

Component—Fall

MUSC 5352

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.

Faculty

Dance Partnering

Component—Spring

This course is both an introduction to various skills involved in working with tactile partnership in dance and a creative laboratory to explore the expressive potential of touch. Contact Improvisation (CI) dates back to the early 1970s, but this is not a course in CI, per se. We will explore many exercises and principles drawn from CI work, as well as principles that CI has drawn from movement forms as diverse as aikido and ballroom dancing. Whether we’re aware of it or not, we already work in partnership whether dancing or walking down the street. The force of gravity is always pulling our weight toward the Earth, and the ground (or the floor) is pushing back. We’ve become so good at standing on our own two feet that we may no longer realize that we are constantly navigating this interrelationship. As we move out of balance, which is part of all dancing, we need to build skills on how to fall. As such, we’ll start this semester with a focus on floor work, challenging ourselves to move safely on and off the floor with increasing speed and force. As we build skills, we’ll gradually adapt these principles to our work in contact with our peers. While we’ll begin with a very light touch, we’ll gradually build into mutual support structures and, possibly, try out a few lifts. This adds to the complexity of navigating forces that originate from our partner. As this work progresses, the integrity of our support structure will become more and more critical. The structure of the class will alternate between skill building/practice and creative exploration with these skills. We will also learn some existing partnered sequences from my own choreography to serve as a kind of springboard to our own creative investigations. A foundation of working in physical partnership with others is navigating consent. We will begin our work together by exploring recent discourse on touch, consent, and boundaries in the fields of dance and performance. Each student will be empowered to understand and articulate his/her own boundaries, which may be constantly in flux. We will engage this as both a right and a responsibility for each of us to exercise individually so that we can build a functional, honest, and empowering community for our work together. The core work in this class is about exploring physiological touch and sharing weight with the floor and your peers, as described above. If doing so in each class session with a variety of partners throughout the semester is not of interest or does not feel safe/supportive at this time, this course might not be a good fit for you this semester. If you are somewhat unsure but want to explore touch and potentially expand your comfort zone with partner work in dance, please reach out during registration (Aug. 19-21, 2024), and we can have a conversation (jjasperse@sarahlawrence.edu). 

Faculty

Butoh Through LEIMAY Ludus

Component—Spring

This course is an introduction to butoh through the lens of LEIMAY’s Ludus practice, which is the embodied research being taught today by LEIMAY Artistic Director Ximena Garnica. Butoh is a Japanese performing-art form that was created by Tatsumi Hijikata in the 1950s and 1960s. The course will start with an introduction to Hijikata’s butoh-fu, a choreographic method that physicalizes imagery through words. The course will then expand into LEIMAY’s Ludus practice, using multiple physical explorations to embody imagery and enlarge states of consciousness, enabling multiple realms of perception while challenging Eurocentric notions of body, space, and time. Each dancer’s physical potential will be cultivated to develop a unique movement language that is rooted in butoh's ideas of transformation. Simultaneously, we will focus on the conditioning of a conductive body through the identification of the body’s own weight in relation to gravity, along with the cultivation of internal rhythm and fluidity. Together, we will decentralize self-centered 34 Dance approaches to movement and explore the possibilities of “being danced by” instead of “I dance,” “becoming spacebody” rather than occupying space. We will challenge our body’s materiality and enliven our sensorium through listening to the rhythms and textures of the nonhuman. And we will use impossibility as a spark to enrich the ways in which we create and inhabit the world. This course is based on principles developed through Garnica’s nearly two decades of study of butoh. Historical and cultural context will be offered throughout the course. This class is open to dance, theatre, and any other students who are curious and interested in discovering alternative approaches to body and movement practices.

Faculty

Exploration in American Jazz Dance

Component—Fall

Inspired by the work of Katherine Dunham, you will be invited to explore her movement vocabulary, often used in jazz dance, and then find the interconnections between Dunham’s contributions to film and concert stage with the current techniques used in commercial and concert dance, as well as learn vernacular Jazz movement. Open to all levels, this high-energy class inspires fun and freedom of expression through artistry, improvisation, and embellishment of choreography—regardless of skill and dance experience, yet challenging enough for more experienced dancers.  For each meeting, a classic Dunham warm-up will be given, followed by lively, Dunham-inspired jazz progressions and a combo. Join us for a transformative exploration of jazz dance, honoring tradition while embracing innovation!

Faculty

Movement Studio Practice (Level I)

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.

 

Faculty

Hula

Component—Fall

This beginning-level dance class is designed to introduce students to Hawaiian hula dance through percussion, song, and dance. The hula class structure is designed to give student a hands-on journey into the heart of the hula. At the same time, in the classroom, students will explore the broader issues of culture and its artistic expressions. This multidisciplinary approach incorporates social studies, language arts, dance, visual arts, and music. The instructor and the students work collaboratively in class, bringing together their various skills and expertise. Students will focus on the arts and traditions of a cultural group, building a contextual frame for the study of the hula, its origins and meanings. In the course of the class, many basic skills are put to use—oral and written language, coordination, listening, observation, description, analysis, and evaluation. This blend of artistic and academic learning provides students with an in-depth artistic experience while also exploring the larger themes of cultures and their artistic expressions.

Faculty

Ballet I

Component—Fall

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.

Faculty

Tai Ji Quan and Qi Gong

Component—Fall

Students will be introduced to the traditional Chinese practices of Tai Chi and Qi Gong. These practices engage with slow, deliberate movements, focusing on the breath, meditative practice, and posture to restore and balance energy—called chi or Qi. The postures flow together, creating graceful dances of continuous motion. Sometimes referred to as one of the soft or internal martial arts, Tai Chi and Qi Gong are foundational practices within a lifelong, holistic self-cultivation in traditional Chinese culture.

Faculty

Alexander Technique

Component—Spring

The Alexander Technique is a system of neuromuscular re-education that enables the student to identify and change poor and inefficient habits that may be causing stress and fatigue. With gentle, hands-on guidance and verbal instruction, the student learns to replace faulty habits with improved coordination by locating and releasing undue muscular tensions. This includes easing of the breath, introducing greater freedom and optimizing performance in all activities. It is a technique that has proven to be profoundly useful for dancers, musicians, and actors and has been widely acclaimed by leading figures in the performing arts, education, and medicine.

Faculty

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.

Faculty

Hip-Hop

Component—Spring

This studio practice course introduces students to hip-hop culture through the classic hip-hop styles of dance. Cumulative technical dance training brings to light the ethos of the street-dance culture and how it counteracts and sometimes adopts mainstream media misconceptions. Through the study of classic hip-hop dance styles, students expand their awareness of connections between various dance forms that pre-date hip-hop while exploring the dilemma of belonging, yet standing apart. Through dialogue, students will begin learning about the history of the original dance styles in their communities and then discuss mainstream factors that either helped or harmed the evolution of the community. Occasional guest teachers will offer a class in a club or street style that will help students get a feel for the New York City dance scene of the 1980s, which influenced today’s trends. Students will watch Internet footage to aid them in understanding the similarities and differences between previous trends and today’s social exchanges in dance. Students will receive dance training at a beginner level done to hip-hop music from past to present. If there are intermediate-level dancers, they will be taught at respective levels in order to make advancements in their grasp of vocabulary.

Faculty

Improvisation

Component—Year

Improvisation is a potentially limitless resource. Arising from our perceptions of movement itself, responding to environmental elements including sound and music, taking direction from conceptual/imaginary sources, improvisation can yield raw materials for making dances and performance works in multiple disciplines. Improvisation can form the basis for community-building activities. Improvisation reliably supports refinement of our technical skills in dance, from conceptual and choreographic to performative, by giving us greater access to our unique and infinite connections to movement. In this course, we will engage in a variety of approaches to improvisation. We will investigate properties of movement (including speed, force, time, space/range, quality, momentum), using activities that range from highly structured to virtually unstructured. We will work in a variety of environmental settings, from the dance studio to outdoor sites around the campus. Throughout the year, our goals will include building capabilities for sustained exploration of movement instincts and appetites, honing perceptive and communicative skills, and learning to use improvisation to advance movement technique. All of these will support the development of a durable foundation from which to work creatively in any discipline.

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Performance Project

Component—Fall and Spring

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

How is it possible for us to move in the countless ways that we do? Learn to develop your X-ray vision of human beings in motion through functional anatomical study that combines movement practice, drawing, lecture, and problem solving. In this course, movement is a powerful vehicle for experiencing in detail our profoundly adaptable musculoskeletal anatomy. We will learn 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 entire musculoskeletal system. In addition to movement practice, drawings are made as part of each week’s lecture (drawing materials provided), and three short assignments are submitted each semester. Insights and skills developed in this course can provide tremendous inspiration in the process of movement invention and composition.

Faculty

Anatomy Research Seminar

Component—Year

This is an opportunity for students who have completed a full year of anatomy study in the SLC dance program to pursue functional anatomy studies in greater depth. In open consultation with the instructor during class meetings, each student engages in independent research, developing one or more lines of inquiry that utilize functional anatomy perspectives and texts as an organizing framework. Research topics in recent years have included aging and longevity in dance, discussion of functional anatomy in relation to linguistics, pedagogy, choreography and performance, investigation of micropolitics in established dance training techniques, examining connections between movement and emotion, development of a unique warm-up sequence to address specific individual technical issues, and study of kinematics and rehabilitation in knee injury. The class meets biweekly to discuss progress, questions, and methods for reporting, writing, and presenting research, alternating with weekly studio/practice sessions for individual and/or group research consultations.

Faculty

Ballet II

Component—Fall

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.

Faculty

Ballet I

Component—Spring

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.

Faculty

Ballet II

Component—Spring

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.

Faculty

Movement Studio Practice (Level 2)

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.

 

Faculty

Movement Studio Practice (Level 3)

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.

 

Faculty

Movement Studio Practice (Levels 2 and 3 Combined)

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.

 

Faculty

Introduction to 2D Digital Animation in Harmony

Open, Seminar—Fall

In this course, students will develop animation and micro storytelling skills by focusing on the process of creating frame-by -frame digital drawings and keyframe movement for animation. This course is essentially an introduction to both the professional digital software, Harmony by Toon Boom, and the process of digital drawing and rotoscoping. Instruction will be based in the software, Toon Boom Harmony Premium, and will include line style, visualization, character development, continuity, timing, and compositing. All of the production steps required to develop simple 2D digital animations will be demonstrated and applied through exercises aimed at the production of a single animated scene. Participants will develop and refine their personal style through exercises in digital animation and assignments directed at increasing visual understanding. Digitally-drawn images (with the option to include live action and photographs) will be assembled in sync to sound. Compositing exercises will cover a wide range of motion graphics, including green screen, keyframing, timeline effects, 2D and 3D space, layering, and pose-by-pose movement. This one-semester class will provide students with a working knowledge of the emerging and highly efficient software Harmony, recently adopted by the film and TV animation industry. Conference projects involve each student’s production of a single, refined animated scene. Students interested in then continuing in 2D digital animation in the spring semester will be encouraged to take the subsequent Intermediate/Advanced 2D Animation course.

Faculty

Documentary Filmmaking and Music as Liberation II

Open, Large seminar—Spring

This course is designed to enlighten our creative consciousness, using music and nonfiction filmmaking as tools for liberation. Music and other sonic experiences are intrinsically connected to how we witness, experience, and tell nonfiction stories. In this course, we will examine work where the score itself plays a character while creating films of our own inspired by the soundtrack as a living piece of our form. Broken into groups, students collectively create a five-minute film that invites the viewer into subjects that are engaging and new while challenging the binary and often Western notion of what storytelling can be. The role that music and sound can play as a form of protest, meditation, and transformation is at the heart of our visual experience. In the spirit of global movements toward a more just and sustainable world, this course infuses a cinematic quest for truth in storytelling with the undeniable power that music brings to our understanding of a moment in time a scene, a relationship, and ourselves. From American Utopia to Amazing Grace and Gimme Shelter, students will screen, discuss, and be inspired to create work that challenges all of the senses.

Faculty

Documentary Filmmaking and Music as Liberation I

Open, Large seminar—Fall

This is an open course designed to enlighten our creative consciousness, using music and nonfiction filmmaking as tools for liberation. Music and other sonic experiences are intrinsically connected to how we witness, experience, and tell nonfiction stories. In this course, we will examine work where the score itself plays a character while also creating films of our own inspired by the soundtrack as a living piece of our form. Broken into groups, students collectively will create a five-minute film that invites the viewer into subjects that are engaging and new, while also challenging the binary and often Western notion of what storytelling can be. The role that music and sound can play as a form of protest, meditation, and transformation are at the heart of our visual experience. In the spirit of global movements toward a more just and sustainable world, this course infuses a cinematic quest for truth in storytelling with the undeniable power that music brings to our understanding of a moment in time, a scene, a relationship, and ourselves. From American Utopia to Amazing Grace and Gimme Shelter, students will screen, discuss, and be inspired to create work that challenges all of the senses.

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Music and Sound for Film

Open, Seminar—Spring

This class will explore the ways in which music and sound serve the dramatic intent of a film. As co-inhabitants of the aural spectrum, a film’s score and sound design are increasingly called upon to interact. Working in one of these areas now implies an understanding of the other. This class will cover: spotting music/sound with a director; choosing musical themes that correspond to the dramatic needs of a film; using sound design to highlight facets of the world and its characters; conceptualizing the soundworld of a film; and designing the music and sound so that they occupy different, complementary spaces. The marriage of sound and music has deep roots in the history of cinema, and special attention will be paid to great works of the past. There will be weekly listening assignments to survey the history of film music and to explore current trends. Technical topics covered will include: intro to ProTools and an overview of basic mixing, concepts in music editing, use of effects such as compression, eq, reverb and filters, file organization, management, and workflow. Students will work on sound design and/or scoring concepts using video clips that I provide or, better yet, using works from their fellow students in the film department.

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Racial Soundscapes

Open, Lecture—Fall

Close your eyes and listen. The human experience is highly sonic. Along with touch, hearing is among the most personal of our bodily senses. Now, you may hear the sound of passing cars, a lawnmower outside, or the murmur of voices from the hallway. But does race have a sound? What does Jim Crow sound like? Are there sonic dimensions to Black Power? Can popular music propel social movements, or can we hear social change? This lecture guides students through a survey of color and sound. We will explore historical case studies where concepts of race and recorded music collide. Through a careful analysis of a variety of cultural texts—including memoirs from specific artists and critical reviews of albums—and a consideration of contextual historical events and phenomena, students will consider how popular culture and music have shaped concepts of race and ethnicity over the 20th century.

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Theatre and the City

Open, Lecture—Year

Athens, London, Paris, Berlin, New York...the history of Western theatre has always been associated with cities, their politics, their customs, their geography, their audiences. This course will track the story of theatre as it originates in the Athens of the fifth-century BCE and evolves into its different expressions and practices in cities of later periods, all of them seen as “capitals” of civilization. Does theatre civilize, or is it merely a reflection of any given civilization whose cultural assumptions inform its values and shape its styles? Given that ancient Greek democracy gave birth to tragedy and comedy in civic praise of the god Dionysos—from a special coupling of the worldly and the sacred—what happens when these genres recrudesce in the unsavory precincts of Elizabethan London, the polished court of Louis XIV, the beer halls of Weimar Berlin, and the neon “palaces” of Broadway? Sometimes the genres themselves are challenged by experiments in new forms or by performances deliberately situated in unaccustomed places. By tinkering with what audiences have come to expect or where they have come to assemble, do playwrights like Euripides, Brecht, and Sarah Kane destabilize civilized norms? Grounding our work in Greek theatre, we will address such questions in a series of chronological investigations of the theatre produced in each city: Athens and London in the first semester; Paris, Berlin, and New York in the second.

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Toward a Theatre of Identity: Ibsen, Chekhov, and Wilson

Sophomore and Above, Seminar—Year

Theatre emerges from social rituals; and as a communal exercise, theatre requires people to work together toward a common purpose in shared and demarcated physical space. Yet, the very notion of “character,” first expressed in the indelibly defining mask of the ancient Greek protagonist, points paradoxically toward the spirit, attraction, and trial of individuation. And so we have been given Medea, Hamlet, and Tartuffe, among the many dramatic characters whose unique faces we recognize and who speak to us not only of their own conflicts but also of something universal and timeless. In the 19th century, however, the Industrial Revolution, aggressive capitalism, imperialism, Darwinism, socialist revolution, feminism, the new science of psychology, and the decline of religious clarity about the nature of the human soul—all of these, among other social factors—force the question as to whether individual identity has point or meaning, even existence. Henrik Ibsen, a fiercely “objective” Norwegian self-exile, and Anton Chekhov, an agnostic Russian doctor, used theatre—that most social of arts—to challenge their time, examining assumptions about identity, its troubling reliance on social construction, and the mysteries of self-consciousness that elude resolution. The test will be to see how what we learn from them equips us—or fails to do so—in a study of August Wilson, an African American autodidact of the 20th century, whose plays represent the impact, both outrageous and insidious, of American racism on “characters” denied identity by definition.

Faculty

Music and Sound for Film

Open, Seminar—Spring

This class will explore the ways in which music and sound serve the dramatic intent of a film. As co-inhabitants of the aural spectrum, a film’s score and sound design are increasingly called upon to interact. Working in one of these areas now implies an understanding of the other. This class will cover: spotting music/sound with a director; choosing musical themes that correspond to the dramatic needs of a film; using sound design to highlight facets of the world and its characters; conceptualizing the soundworld of a film; and designing the music and sound so that they occupy different, complementary spaces. The marriage of sound and music has deep roots in the history of cinema, and special attention will be paid to great works of the past. There will be weekly listening assignments to survey the history of film music and to explore current trends. Technical topics covered will include: intro to ProTools and an overview of basic mixing, concepts in music editing, use of effects such as compression, eq, reverb and filters, file organization, management, and workflow. Students will work on sound design and/or scoring concepts using video clips that I provide or, better yet, using works from their fellow students in the film department.

Faculty

Time to Tinker

Open, Small Lecture—Fall

Do you enjoy designing and building things? Do you have lots of ideas of things that you wished existed but do not feel you have enough technical knowledge to create yourself? Do you wish you could fix some of your favorite appliances that just stopped working? Do you want to help find solutions to problems in our community? This course is meant to give an introduction to tinkering, with a focus on learning the practical physics behind basic mechanical and electronic components while providing the opportunity to build things yourself. The course will have one weekly meeting with the whole class and three smaller workshop sessions to work on team-based projects. (You are expected to choose one of the three workshop sessions to attend weekly.) The course will be broken down into four primary units: design and modeling; materials, tools, and construction; electronics and microcontrollers; and mechanics. There will be weekly readings and assignments, and each unit will include both individual and small-group projects that will be documented in an individual portfolio to demonstrate the new skills that you have acquired. For a semester-long, team-based conference project, your team will create a display of your work that will be exhibited on campus and provide a description reflecting on the design, desired functionality, and individual contributions that led to the finished product. Let’s get tinkering!

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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, Amabile, 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 and motivational 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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Performance Art Tactics

Open, Seminar—Fall

Experiment and explore contemporary performance art. Through surveying a range of important artworks and movements, we will review the histories, concepts, and practices of performance art. Born from anti-art, performance art challenges the boundaries of artistic expression through implementing, as material, the concepts of space, time, and the body. Examples of artists that we will review are John Cage, Joan Jonas, Adrian Piper, Bruce Nauman, Martha Rosler, Simone Forti, Mike Kelley, Paul McCarthy, Pope.L, Laurie Anderson, Joseph Beuys, Janine Antoni, Suzanne Lacy, Aki Sasamoto, and Anna Halprin, to name a few. We will review dialogues and movements introducing performance art, such as art interventions, sculpture, installation art, institutional critique, protest art, social media, video art, happenings, dada, comedy, sound art, graphic notation, scores, collaboration, and dance/movement. Students will be able to relate the form and function of performance art through research, workshopping ideas, experimentation, and improvisation—thereby developing the ability to confidently implement any method of the performance art genre.

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Performance Art

Sophomore and Above, Seminar—Spring

Since the early 20th century, artists have explored performance art as a radical means of expression. In both form and function, performance pushes the boundaries of contemporary art. Artists use the medium for institutional critique, for social activism, and to address the personal politics of gender, sexuality, and race. This course approaches performance art as a porous, transdisciplinary medium open to students from all disciplines, including painting, drawing, printmaking, photography, sculpture, video, filmmaking, theatre, dance, music, creative writing, and digital art. Students learn about the legacy of performance art from the 1970s to the present and explore some of the concepts and aesthetic strategies used to create works of performance. Through texts, artists’ writings, video screenings, and slide lectures, students are introduced to a range of performance-based artists and art movements.

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First-Year Studies: Forms, Fictions, and Revisions

FYS—Year

This FYS version of Forms and Fictions begins with the reading and writing of folk and fairy tales; moves on to incidents, episodes, stories, poetic translations, frame stories, personal essays, graphic novels, and lyrics; and, finally, plans for a novel, its opening, end, and first chapter. The emphasis here is on trying on forms, learning which form works best for which kind of content, which works best for each student, what your aesthetic is, what you have to say, as well as how you might say it. There will be weekly readings and exercises in each form, in dialogue, pacing, editing, portraiture, plot and its philosophical underpinnings. Also, students will send each other 100-word pieces every week. Conference work will be planned, written, and revised over the course of the semester. The emphasis in conference work is on vision, revision, editing, finishing, and presentation, a process useful for any course or endeavor. In addition to classes, we will meet every other week for individual conferences and every week for a group session to talk about whatever comes up: campus activities, procrastination, New York City, dropping or adding classes, laundry, food, internships, sports, roommates, whatever students and their don need or want to explore.

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Words and Pictures

Open, Seminar—Fall

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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