This is the final discussion post for Mu 101 (Spring 2020). Usually the end of a course means taking a comprehensive exam to demonstrate what you’ve learned, but there are many ways besides taking an exam to show what you know. That’s what I’m asking you to do in this discussion, although in a different format than you may have done previously (I am still Dr. J., after all).
First, let’s recap
Since we switched to distance learning, here’s what has been assigned:
Participating in online discussions
- Music and Covid-19 (Mar 16-22)
- Music and economics (Mar 23-Apr 5)
- Music and violence (Mar 30-Apr5)
- Sound migration (Apr 6-12)
- Musicking (Apr 13-19)
- Voyager 2020 (Apr 20-26)
Reading already listed on the syllabus
- Cage “Lecture on Nothing”
- Cook “The economics and business of music”
- Forney 33-35, 150-155, 162-166, 276-281
- Forney (2017) 167-169
- Nettl 3-18
- Titon 18-30
- Yudkin 115-126, 139-144, 159-170, 213-218, 224-226, 245-253
- Writing 3 (music criticism)
- Writing 4 (concert response + Reflection 2): https://drjonesmusic.me/classical-music-concerts/
- Writing 5 (create a primary source document like Rameau, Bach, or Beethoven)
- Writing 6 (your choice of topic and style)
Peer critique sessions
We’ve had two of these: Mar 16-22 and Apr 6-19. We’ll do the final one next week with everyone’s Writing Portfolios
Create exam questions
Based on everything you’ve done since March 16, imagine you wanted to make sure students in Mu 101 got something meaningful from this distance learning experience. In the comments below, I want to you pose questions that you think would assess what other students have learned in the past month-ish of distance learning. Does that sound like a challenging thing to do? It is! Here are a couple of framing questions to ask yourself to get started:
What matters? Of all of the activities you did for Mu 101 during our distance learning phase, which were the most important in terms of helping you learn? What did you learn by completing them? (Notice that I didn’t ask what facts you learned — instead I asked about the process of doing so!)
What was confusing or hard to learn? If we were going to take a traditional exam in Mu 101, what would you hope I wouldn’t ask on an exam?
What was unique or special? What happened in this distance learning class that could have only happened with this specific group of people participating? What did you learn directly from your classmates?
What was missing? What did you want to learn about that you didn’t get a chance to?
Answer those exam questions / Make them better!
If a classmate poses a question that really gets you thinking, try to answer it! There aren’t any points involved, so feel free to give a question a try, reword it so it makes more sense for you, or show why it might not be an effective exam question.
When I teach the final class of the semester in person, I always tell my students a few things, and while this is a less personable format I do want to share them with all of you, too.
I hope that I have ruined your ears. I hope that you cannot listen to music in the same way you did before you stepped into our classroom in January. I hope that you have more of an understanding now of how musical sounds are made, how people create musical ideas, how other people listen to and think about music. I hope that even when you come across music you do not like that you can empathize with other people who do, that you can understand what they do like about it and see the value in their position.
I hope that you continue to listen broadly to the world around you. There is so much music out there, right now in this instant and across all of human history. I hope that we’ve touched upon enough musical names and ideas that you can go out and find more music online or in a concert hall in the future.
I hope that your sense of the world has changed — that the world is bigger than you thought, but that you also feel like you have the tools to make sense of new ideas, people, places, and ways of thinking.
I wish you the best in whatever comes next for you, in terms of your education at QCC and beyond, your careers, and your lives. firstname.lastname@example.org is forever, and I’m there (and this website is here) for anything that you might need — and I love to hear good news from my (former) students.
Stay well, be kind, and listen deeply.