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Course Information

Instructor Info:Becky Miller
Office Extension x5545
TA Info:Angus Davidson
Jacques Boudreau
Office Extension x4449
Term: 2012F
Meeting Info: Tuesday Thursday
10:30 AM - 11:50 AM Music and Dance Building RECITAL
10:30 AM - 11:50 AM Music and Dance Building RECITAL

This course focuses on the broad fundamentals of western music and music theory, including music literacy (how to read western music notation). We will learn theoretical concepts (pitch, rhythm, timbral nuances, texture, intervals, chords, harmony, etc.) and develop our sense of aural music cognition through ear training. This course will connect music to theory by teaching students how to compose music and by performing on instruments the basic theoretical concepts covered throughout the course. No prior music training or literacy is required. We will also apply the theory we learn to the instruments we play (or to Orff xylophones for those who do not play an instrument). While we will use instruments as a sort of laboratory to test out the theory we learn, this course does not attempt to teach students how to play their instrument. 

Students must attend ear training classes once a week and can choose between Monday or Thursday evenings, from 7:00 to 8:30 pm, Music Classroom in the Music and Dance Building.

Course Objectives:

Check Moodle weekly for all assignments.  The syllabus will also tell you when to bring your instruments to class. We will work from the two textbooks (The Music Kit: Workbook (WB)and Rhythm Reader (RR).  Read the assigned pages before the class for which it is assigned. When doing homework (“Review Exercises”), you will always have the option to do every other or otherwise selected examples; if you are unsure of your work or make mistakes, you should re-read the text and rework the answers to understand where you went wrong.  Please use pencil to do your homework.  You will be asked to hand in the “Review Exercises” at the end of each chapter in the Workbook.    

Class attendance/late policy:  You can miss up to three (3) classes, no excuses needed. If you are absent more than three times, you will not receive an evaluation for the course. November 20th is a mandatory class to attend; please make your Thanksgiving travel plans accordingly.   Class begins at 10:30 am; lateness counts as an absence; be seated and ready to start at 10:30amThere is no eating or drinking in class.

Ear Training, taught by Jacques Boudreau and assisted by Angus Davidson: You must sign up for one evening/week.   Attendance is mandatory; you will not receive an evaluation for the course if you miss more than 1 (one) ear training session.

Musical Compositions: Almost immediately, we include composition in our study of the fundamentals of music theory.  Please purchase a composition book of stave paper (music paper).  All compositions must be neatly written on stave paper in pencil only.  If you have a messy composition with a lot of erasures and cross outs, please recopy it before you turn it in. DO NOT use notation software (Sibelius or Finale).   

All homework is due on almost every Friday by noon in Jacques Boudreau's mailbox in the Music Building.  Concert reports and music compositions are generally due in Becky's mailbox in the gray crate outside Becky's office in ASH (208).  The occasional music composition will be handed into Jacques Boudreau; we will let you know as needed.

Evaluation Criteria:

In-class Evaluations/Study requirements: Learning music theory is dependent on regular, daily study.  Do not attempt to do all your homework the night before it is due.  Do some every day, particularly as we move into the more challenging theoretical concepts.  This applies also to ear training.  Sit in front of a piano, play the music, and practice singing along.  Learning the fundamentals of music takes serious commitment and time.

In order for us to get a sense of how well you are learning the material, we will have a total of three in-class evaluations and a final take home evaluation.  If you are unhappy with your performance on these, you can retake them as often as you’d like; we’re most interested in progress rather than product here.  Unless you are ill, there will be no make ups for missed evaluations, so please plan accordingly.

Concert Reports:  Students will attend, in pairs, two concerts over the semester.  One concert will be primarily or exclusively western classical music concert, the other should be a jazz concert or traditional/world music concert.  (Rock and pop music are not acceptable for the purposes of these concert reports. If you are unsure, please contact Becky Miller before you attend the concert.) Together with your partner, you will co-write a three (3) page, double spaced report of each concert.  Please read through the concert report hand out carefully BEFORE you attend the concert and follow the guidelines as you observe the concert and write your report. These reports should be primarily observational, well documented, and should offer a cogent argument with clear presentations of themes. Reports should be written in a formal style and should avoid first person (“I”) as well as slang.  I do not accept emailed papers; turn in hard copy – stapled and with both your names -- on the day they are due.  Late concert reports will not be accepted and you will not receive an evaluation for this course if you do not turn in both concert reports.

Final evaluations for the course will be based on your performance on the in-class evaluations, quality of concert reports, musical compositions, your progress during ear training sessions, and regular, energized class participation.

Additional Info:

Required Texts/Materials:  Available at Amherst Books, 8 Main Street, Amherst.    413.256.1547;

Hours: 6:30 AM - 9:00 PM Monday through Saturday; 6:30 AM - 5:00 PM Sunday

Manoff, Tom. The Music Kit: Workbook; The Music Kit: Rhythm Reader and Scorebook, 4th edition, 2001, NY:WW Norton & Co.

Optional, but highly recommended:  Edly’s Music Theory For Practical People, 2nd edition, by Ed Roseman.

At Hastings Book Store (Pleasant Street, Amherst center)music paper book. Also, please buy a small, straight edge (ruler) and a good store of pencils with functional erasers with which to complete your assignments.