Course Review

Well, it’s been a while since I’ve written a blog post! I had exams and projects and then it was Christmas break! And now that it’s almost over (in 3 days AGHHH), I figured I should get back to UBC and start rehashing my first semester of university! So here’s a course review for you!

MUSC 110 – Intensive Tonal Theory and Form I, Professor William Benjamin

This course was easily the toughest course that I took this semester. The class was small, about 20 people, and we met 4 times a week. We started off with a course pack that was full of fairly easy rudimentary theory. We worked on that until the middle of October, wrote a midterm on it, and were done with it completely. For the rest of the semester, we used our textbook and the workbook that accompanied it. We usually had homework assigned twice a week, and it took me approximately 3 or 4 hours to complete the homework each time. The final exam was very reasonable; it wasn’t too difficult, and it used most of the techniques we discussed in class. Prof Benjamin was a good professor, although he had a tendency to ramble on while lecturing.

MUSC 120 – History of Music I, Professor Alex Fisher

I am a total history buff, so history of music was my favourite course of the term. We started off with learning about the fundamental basis of music from the Middle Ages and related it to the Catholic Church, and we finished near the end of the Renaissance. There were about 70 of us in the class, it was in a recital hall and was taught as a lecture, and it met twice a week. I found the lectures slightly monotonous, but the course material was taught well and although I had a tendency to fall asleep in class, I did really well overall. We had ten 10-question quizzes every week, and I found that as long as you reviewed the material at least once, it was not a challenge to get a good mark on those. We also had a proposal for a research paper, the research paper itself, and a final exam. Professor Fisher was always willing to give extra help on the online discussion board, and it was easy to keep up in that class.

MUSC 105/106 РMusicianship I and II, Professor Gordon Paslawski 

Musicianship, in my opinion, is not an interesting course. The basis of musicianship is how to learn aural skills and to improve the basic skills of a musician. I spent the first few weeks in musicianship I, but after the professor realized that I already knew everything he was teaching, I was moved up to musicianship II. It was a bit more challenging, but I still picked it up very quickly. To be completely honest, I never practiced anything that was assigned in that class, and I would start learning things for tests in the few days previous to the test itself. It was a pass/credit/fail course, so I didn’t find it important to pass. The teaching was good, but I just found that I didn’t have much to learn from them.

ASTU 150 – Art Studies in Writing, Professor Patricia Kelly

I took this course as my first-year writing requirement, and I can’t say that I enjoyed it. The basis of ASTU is to focus on one topic for the whole semester, and my class got to focus on health. We spent time outside of class reading articles about health (and usually feminism), and our time in class was spent discussing those articles and reading from our Giltrow book. I didn’t find that I learned much in the class, and the marking was quite inconsistent throughout the semester. I also found that other classes had very interesting topics, such as the relationship between dogs and humans, or the impact of social media. ASTU can be brutal if you get a bad topic, or a bad prof.

MUSC 107C – Composition I, Professor Dorothy Chang

Composition was a fabulous course. We only met once a week, but we would spend that time discussing our projects, learning about contemporary music, and listening to various musical examples. I found it very informative and interesting, and writing compositions that conformed to their project restrictions was a good challenge for me. It helped me to branch out of my comfort zone, and I definitely became a better musician because of it. Professor Chang was very knowledgeable about composition technique, and as well as being in class, we also had a lesson once a week with a TA. They helped us work on our ongoing projects, and gave advice about the composition world in general. We had three projects: a solo instrument, solo piano, and a project involving 2 or more instruments. We also had weekly assignments every week that related to the main projects that were assigned. All in all, a great class!

So I hope this helps anyone who wants to know what some courses are like in music! I really had a great semester, and I thoroughly enjoyed most of my courses. And now on to the second semester…!


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