This course encompasses the study of musicians who lived in Laurel Canyon, in Los Angeles, California, between the years 1964--1970, including Joni Mitchell; Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young; Mama Cass; Frank Zappa, Jim Morrison; and many others. Students explore the evolution of popular music in this particular place and time. Students also examine the ways that the events and culture of the time contributed to this musical evolution, and the ways that the musical response affected culture. By exploring these connections, students come to see how songwriters engage with their environment as they attempt to write music that reaches and influences a large audience. The class emphasizes the importance of artists considering the world around them, and their place in it, as they create work that feels fulfilling to them, and also inspirational to others.
This interdisciplinary course explores how writers, filmmakers, musicians, political figures, and citizens continue to struggle with the diversity and tensions of Celtic identity. The focus of the course will vary from year to year to include a broad range of topics centered on the fusion in Irish, Scottish, and Celtic life of culture, politics, religion, history, drama and film, and music. Sample topics include films by Jim Sheridan, Neil Jordan, and Paul Greengrass; contemporary Celtic music such as Altan, Solas, and Capercaillie; literary works by such authors as Joyce, Yeats, J.M. Synge, Frank McCourt, Martin McDonagh, and Seamus Heaney; the Great Famine; emigration; the resistance to British rule; the Irish Civil War; "The Troubles" in Northern Ireland; and Scottish nationalism. Irish, Scottish, Welsh, Cape Breton, and other traditional musicians will visit the class to perform and discuss Celtic music and society.
This course offers critical and creative approaches to children's literature and the music that accompanies it, through literary analysis and student music compositions. This course posits that quality music for children can and should be both aesthetically interesting and intellectually engaging. We will look at music for children and explore connections bewteen children's music and children's literature. The course will focus on different genres, from classical and folk, to film scores and pop covers. We will also be reading and discussing the source material that inspired the music, including folktales, nursery rhymes, and works by Shel Silverstein, Lewis Carroll, Edward Gorey, and Roald Dahl, among others. Particular attention will be paid to the nature of the kind of diverse child audience that educators and performers will encounter in front of a classroom and an audience. While music composition is an integral part of this course, students from any major are welcome.
This interdisciplinary sociology and writing course explores the changing times, attitudes and music in the South. Students read journal articles, biographies, ethnographies, and interviews of those who live, know and write about Southern culture, tradition, music, its legacy, and new challenges. In examining the social change themes of individual strength, collective support and community, the class will learn how demographic, cultural, and social realities blur boundaries, tear down barriers, and pose challenges to a region that has long documented its struggles and conflict in written and musical expression.