Musics of India and West Asia

May 2021

Professor Chami is highly knowledgeable in the material and also cared greatly about his students -- a combination that makes for an incredible learning experience. He wanted us all to think critically and apply theoretical concepts across our exploration of different cultures and aspects of music. Provided critical historical background, and wasn't shy about talking through different political perspectives regarding those histories, which I really appreciated. He makes a very welcoming environment to express different opinions (as long as they weren't super dumb), as well as express a lack of understanding of a topic so that you may be filled in (very much the opposite of most elitist Columbia experiences). Assignments were geared towards learning necessary skills, such as writing abstracts and describing sound. Additionally, when we did not do so well on an assignment, he would devote part of the next class to talking through how to do it better. My only qualm is that he never performed his own instrument for the class. I will just look him up on youtube. Also -- you don't have to know the technical aspects of music at all! very accessible. you should absolutely take this class!

May 2011

Shannon Garland is one of the worst teachers I have experienced in my fours years at Columbia. She come to class without knowing the material but yet insults students if they don't know the material. Instead of teaching the class, she has students begin class discussion who don't know what they are talking about. Moreover, she expects students to know every detail for exams and papers and yet never teaches any of this to us. More importantly and distressing is how she has no problems making fun of students, outwardly insulting students in class, telling students they cannot use the bathroom during the class.

Jan 2011

All i have to say is never take this class with this instructor. She has far too much to prove. She conducts her class as a highschool course (plan to get insulted for never taking a long bus ride if you need to use the bathroom during class). She is so interested in her own ideas she misses the point of the questions presented by students. I was dissapointed in Columbia University's Music Department after taking this class. But, i heard the other instructor is amazing so maybe she is a one time flaw.

Nov 2003

This class is a serious exploration into musical culture. Prof. Fox has a specific style of teaching that is rich and interesting. He has a huge knowledge base. Prepare to learn more than you expected. This class is really an ethnomusicology class with a lot of reading, listening, and attention to detail.

Dec 2002

I liked Prof. Weidman. She's young and quirky with a great (though very subtle) sense of humor, and she teaches the material well. A little boring sometimes, but that's mainly because it's TWO HOURS LONG. (why, music department, why?) The readings were fascinating and made me want to be an ethnomusicology prof. What made the class sort of painful was that it was filled with incredibly stupid students who asked incredibly stupid questions at every turn. But what can you do? Different people teach this course in different years, and Weidman's a fine choice.