Syllabus

Inclusivity in Learning

Your success in this class is important to me. We will all need accommodations because we all learn differently. If there are aspects of this course that prevent you from learning or exclude you, please let me know as soon as possible. Together we’ll develop strategies to meet both your needs and the requirements of the course.
I encourage you to visit Disability Services to determine how you could improve your learning as well. If you need official accommodations, you have a right to have these met. If you have a documented learning disability or other condition that may affect academic performance you should: 1) make sure this documentation is on file with Disability Services (SUB I, Rm. 4205; 993-2474; http://ds.gmu.edu) to determine the accommodations you need; and 2) talk with me to discuss your accommodation needs.

Course Information

Goals

  1. Familiarization with the techniques of analysis of popular music that music theorists commonly use
  2. Introduction to academic music theory literature
  3. Development of several crucial skills for the professional musician: 
    • aural skills through transcription projects
    • analysis skills through your assignments
    • writing skills through your weekly responses
    • presentation skills through your in-class presentations
  4. Exposure to new types of music from myself and your peers

Recommended Prerequisite

MUSI 611

Meetings

  • Time: Wednesday evenings, 4:30–7:10 PM
  • Location: Music/Theater Building (MTB) 2018

Instructor Info

  • Name: Dr. Megan Lavengood
  • Email: mlavengo@gmu.edu
  • Office: deLaski Performing Arts Building (PAB) A-421 (building 15 on map above)
  • Drop-in office hours: Mondays, 4:30–5:30 and Wednesdays, 1:30–2:30, or by appointment. Schedule a time at this link calendly.com/mlavengo or use your phone to scan the QR code to the right.

Course Materials

There is no required text. Materials will be accessible via the library or in our readings folder.

Recommended (not required):

  • Spotify (app)
  • An app for making black-and-white .pdf scans from your phone. I recommend ABBYY FineScanner, which has a free version suitable for our purposes. I have also used CamScanner.

Grading

  • 20% – in-class participation
  • 20% – weekly assignments
  • 10% – discussion leading
  • 50% – final project (15% presentation, 35% paper)

93–100: A
90–92: A−
87–89: B+
80–86: B

B is the minimum satisfactory grade.

Assignments

Weekly assignments

Partners: Every student will be assigned to a partner.

Submission of work: All assignments should be completed on Blackboard.

Due dates

  • By 12pm on the Monday afternoon before class: Every week, you will submit a written assignment of some kind (note-taking, analysis of a piece, written response to an article, etc.). You should submit this on Slack, by going to #partner-responses and finding the thread I’ve started for you and your partner. While these may be written somewhat conversationally, be sure to remain diplomatic and professional. Feel free to use the first person (I, my, me, etc.).
  • By 12pm on the day of class (Wednesday): You should somehow respond to the work of your partner on Slack, as applicable.

Grading: These will be graded pass/fail. If you do them all on time and with quality work, you will get an A for assignments and peer responses.

Late work: I cannot accept late work without prior arrangement, because timeliness of your submission impacts your peers’ ability to complete their own work. However, if you have any kind of extenuating circumstance, please talk with me (preferably in advance) and we will find a solution.

Discussion leading

Each student will select one topic they are particularly interested in, and lead class discussion on that day. A discussion leader should:

  • be able to clearly and concisely summarize the main argument of the text
  • be ready to answer any clarification questions about terms introduced in the text
  • apply the ideas in the text to a new piece of music of the student’s choosing
  • have one prompt to begin class discussion.

If you do each of these things satisfactorily, you will get an A.

Final project

In the final project, you will analyze a piece of your own choosing, demonstrating your understanding of techniques learned in class.

The final project has two components: an in-class presentation and a final paper.

Details on the content of the project including due dates may be accessed here. Be aware that 800-level students have higher standards to meet than 600-level students.

Mason policies

Honor code

Mason is an honor code university. Read the honor code here: http://oai.gmu.edu/mason-honor-code/

Title IX

As a faculty member and designated “Responsible Employee,” I am required to report all disclosures of sexual assault, interpersonal violence, and stalking to Mason’s Title IX Coordinator per university policy 1412. If you wish to speak with someone confidentially, please contact the Student Support and Advocacy Center (703-380-1434), Counseling and Psychological Services (703-993-2380), Student Health Services, or Mason’s Title IX Coordinator (703-993-8730; cde@gmu.edu).

Privacy

Students must use their MasonLive email account to receive important University information, including communications related to this class. I will not respond to messages sent from or send messages to a non-Mason email address.