Here’s the first of my reviews of courses I took first term of my second year. First off: MUSC 210, the third and final course in the intensive theory stream.
Course Description: This course moves fast and was quite a bit harder than either MUSC 110 or 111. The majority of our class had done a bit of theory before through the RCM syllabus, but this term covered things you’d never find on an RCM exam: detailed and thoughtful analysis of forms, symmetrical harmony, chromatic and Wagnerian harmony (crazy hard by the way), metrical complexities, and trends in the sonata form in the nineteenth century.
Textbook use: This course requires the same two textbooks as MUSC 110 and 111, The Complete Musician and the accompanying workbook by Laitz. Dr. Dodson sometimes used the textbook, and sometimes did not. A lot of the time he expected you to read the textbook and understand it beforehand so that the lectures could be used for discussion rather than basic explanation. Most of the assignments came out of the workbook, so you really do have to have it for this class.
Homework: One assignment per week, and a quiz each Monday on the subject of the homework. The homework took on average four hours to complete, sometimes more. At the beginning of term Dr. Dodson said, “I think it would be unreasonable to expect you to complete more than one assignment per week,” and we all just laughed, because Dr. Benjamin had done this many many times.
Professor: This term we had a new professor, Dr. Dodson. At first I was a bit unsure of him, because like a typical human I’m wary of change, but I really did like having him as a professor. He teaches in a very organized and clear way, marks very fairly, likes to make sure he’s being clear, and is available is you have any issues you want to talk to him about.
Class format: Small class again meeting four times a week, a few people dropped out of the stream because of the pace. A fair amount of explanation was done in class, as well as a lot of discussion and analyzing scores in small groups or as a class. There was a quiz every Monday on the subject covered the week before.
Additional comments: This class was definitely a lot harder than the previous two, because it was a lot of information covered very quickly that we’d never really seen before. You have to put in a lot of work, but if you do you should do well enough. The midterm and exam were easier than expected because he wanted to test our knowledge rather than see how creatively we can think under pressure. (That said they weren’t super easy, either.) But if you can get through all the extra work, congratulations! You’ve now finished the tonal theory requirement two terms before everyone else. Now onto MUSC 300…