what i teach
Studies in Popular Music
The course was originally designed as a historical survey course, covering more than 150 years of popular music in the United States from the mid-nineteenth century up to the present. But there are deep social aspects of race, gender, and notions of modernity that must be addressed in approaching popular music. The course begins with Minstrelsy and the problematic stereotypes as well as the rich musical traditions that have arisen from this genre, which was the most popular form of entertainment for 80 years in the U.S. The final portion of the course delves into how music and social movements have changed society by creating a collective identity and beliefs in what is possible, as witnessed in the 1960s. The course focuses on deeply listening to music as something that can expresses meanings that are beyond language, and examining how popular music tells much about ourselves and our society.
Asian Musical Cultures
This survey course explores the sounds, histories, cultures, communities, modes of engagements, and sociopolitical aspects of influential musical styles found in Asia—and in Asian American communities in the United States. The course covers a wide range of the musical styles, from venerable classics to contemporary popular musical practices. Issues of ethnicity, gender, class, diversity, identity, and cultural politics will be addressed continuously throughout the course.
Women in Music
This course is designed to give an overview of the role of women in a wide variety of musical cultures and genres. Students will analyze musical works and the manner in which women are portrayed as performers, producers, audience members, and consumers. Major topics covered include: women in popular musics, women in Western art (classical) music, and women in non-Western music. Through the course of this class, students are expected to gain critical listening skills, become familiar with musical fundamentals, and improve their ability to discuss and analyze cultural and social issues in terms of feminist theory.
Music of the Peoples of the World
This course provides an overview of musical traditions throughout the world by focusing on case studies from the following ten geo-cultural regions: East Asia, Southeast Asia, South Asia, Middle East, Central Asia, Oceania, Africa, Europe, South America, and North America. A variety of genres that often fall within the definition of traditional, folk, popular, and classical musics are examined within their cultural contexts. Notions of pitch, tuning, rhythm, and scales are examined in a cultural context and outside of the normalized Western hearing. In examining indigenous musics, careful attention is given to animist belief systems deeply embedded in music. Deep listening is encouraged and this course also gives attention to the manner in which world musics are globalized and commodified by the media and recording industries.
Introduction to Western Art Music
A study of selected masterworks in relation to the periods which they represent. Emphasis upon the listening experience and awareness of musical styles and structures. The primary goal of this course is to learn how to listen to classical music and how to understand (and hopefully, to enjoy) musical languages of various epochs, styles, and composers. Musical form, pitch, and rhythm are focal points throughout the course, tracing their formation and recreation in dialog with socio-political events in Western Europe and the U.S., giving considerable attention to the Enlightenment philosophical movement and technology that shaped Western art music.