I feel so conflicted about Ramin's class. On the one hand, the review below seems to say it all -this man is brilliant, and clearly cares very deeply about his students, his own work, and his teaching. On the other hand, the vagueness that exists in his classroom really detracts from one's ability to learn from him. We spend probably 10-15 minutes of the 50-minute period in complete silence, which doesn't seem so useful in a class where we are supposed to be listening to music. I also found Ramin's whole lack-of-assignments and grading thing very frustrating. Though it was obviously nice having very little outside work, I have absolutely no idea how I am going to do in this class. I haven't received one grade and have only handed in two assignments, and I therefore have no idea what Ramin will be grading us on. This is very frustrating in a class that is really supposed to be an easy A. To sum it up, I learned a lot from Ramin about what it means to think about music emotionally, critically, and academically. I learned about the process one undergoes when evaluating a piece of music. But I don't think I learned anything that I was "supposed" to be learning in Ear Training. I didn't learn any concrete skills or facts to prepare me for Ear Training IV or to aid in the theory sequence, which, as Ramin stresses, is what Ear Training is really for.
Oh Francoise, how I wish I could speak French so that I could actually understand you! This class was a joke if you had perfect pitch, less so if you didn't. But, in any case, the workload was minimal, and most of it could be done while waiting in the hallway for the classroom door to be unlocked. Francoise was really nice but really difficult to understand; most of the "mistakes" made by students resulted from Francoise not clearly giving instructions for the assignment. Other than that, though, the class is fun and pretty chill.
Francoise is a great musician, but a poor professor. She very obviously knows her stuff, but her ability to communicate that knowledge is sorely lacking. She'll get halfway through a concept and then suddenly get sidetracked...and then never return to the original idea. Or she'll explain something, then forget that she's explained it and explain it again next class. There's no real continuity. I feel like I learned very little as a result.
I arrived on Francoise's doorstep in the middle of first semester, a refugee from the horrible atmosphere effected by Professors Francisco Iovino (really boring) and Eric Sewell (really Darwinian). Immediately I was seduced by her continental bon-vivant charms, transferred to ET III, and had such a great time for the remainder of the term that I registered for ET IV in the spring as well. Learning in Francoise's class is pleasant, natural, and painless: merely by sitting in her room and doing the inane tasks of sight-singing and dictation that she assigns to you, you will osmote the knowledge and come out a better at the speciously defined field of "Ear Training." But I'm not really sure how much I actually learned, and I'm pretty sure I could have learned more -- an example of Francoise's frivolity is assigning weird modern music for sight-singing/dictation even after it was made abundantly clear that we needed several play- throughs to do dictation of a simple, logical passage by Mozart. It was fun, though. The bottom line is: Ear Training through either IV or V is compulsory if you're a music major; you shouldn't be a music major here, but if you are, then take Francoise; also give serious thought to skipping out of ET I and II (an effortless process expedited by Francoise) because those classes are hell and III is not that much harder and even if it is you'll be brought up to speed by the innocuous midterm. Francoise's favorite grades are A+ and A, which shows how enthusiastic yet delusional she is about her students' abilities. But it's Ear Training, so who cares?
The best guy to take for ear training, especially if you consider yourself to have a pretty good ear already (hint: you don't). Alex is really smart, a good composer and an AMAZING jazz improviser, though he's super-modest about all of these things. He's also just really cool, like you'd wanna hang out with him in your spare time, which I'm not sure is something we'd say about Francoise (thought that's not fair- I've never had her except once as a substitute for Alex- what a weirdo!) Alex has a very broad approach to ear-training- all music, everything, is just sounds, vibrartions in the air. A semester with Alex and he will have you listening for the overtones in a humming air conditioner. So expect to listen to a lot of really modern ugly music but to learn to appreciate it. Alex will also totally turn around and whip out a Bach chorale or even some medieval/ Renaissance stuff. You also do practice with extremely complex irregular rythms and cool jazz harmonies! I feel like I've understated Alex's coolness. He's really REALLY cool. And Brazillian.
i love Francoise. She's such a passionate teacher! She tries very hard to make the class entertaining (whether it's a success depends on your personal taste). she's very linient and helpful. to me a good teacher is one who loves to teach and loves her students. and therefore i think she's a great teacher. the class may seem slow and "a waste of time".. but hey you get a credit relaxing
I don't get how people could not like this woman. She's so into the music that it's impossible not to get into it yourself. Class was always entertaining, and you leave humming tunes you never thought you'd hum (like Stravinsky or Messiaen). Class is amazing as long as your not tone-deaf.
I'm not sure what drugs the other reviewers are on (or the teacher, for that matter) but Francois is TERRIBLE! She's the nicest woman, and very kooky , but I've never had such a bad teacher in my life! This class is a complete waste of time
You will love her. She's fun, likes what she's doing, and like the students she works with. You will develop your ear in this class, which is the point of it. In other words, this is 2 hours a week of fun