course
Masterpieces of Western Music (Music Humanities)

May 2021

This man is the goat. He’s a chill dude who really doesn’t want to give his students a hard time during the pandemic. Very lenient and nice grader, but I still felt that I learned many things from class. I loved that he offered a creative project option for the second major assignment. He is goat

May 2021

Take his class!!! You won't regret it. Bird is genuinely a great human being. His lecture is informative and clear, so it's easy to do well in exams if you pay attention to all the lectures. His lectures have this great balance between talking about the material and playing examples of the genre or era, keeping them interesting and easy to follow. The assignments encourage you to really think about and appreciate the pieces chosen, and I honestly find the topics interesting to write about. He always provides useful feedback while being supportive and encouraging. The exams are typical, 3 listening IDs, multiple choices, and short essays. He sends out review sheets before exams. The review sheet includes keywords (for the multiple choices section) and possible essay topics. Again, if you pay attention in class, there is no reason you can't do well in the exams.

May 2021

Taylor is great! He’s been extremely understanding of unusual circumstances due to the pandemic. He’s also one of the most lenient graders I’ve had at Columbia. I got an A+ without too much effort, and it looks like most of the class did as well if the Courseworks statistics are accurate. If he’s teaching again, I would highly recommend enrolling in his section.

Apr 2021

My first time writing a review because I want to say this is by far the best professor you can have. If you lucky enough to be assigned to him, stay with him. Very kind, flexible and understanding professor. Makes sure you know what you are learning and does not have a focus on grade (which to me made the class much more engaging). All students got A and A+'s I believe.

Mar 2021

Perfection. Wow, what a class. You are really blessed if you have him.

Jan 2021

An awesome person all around! Prof Bird caters to people from a range of musical backgrounds and never fails to make classes interesting. He also balances discussion and providing important information very well (a lot of tenured profs cannot do this lol). Definitely a very caring and genuine person in general. If you have the opportunity, TAKE HIS SECTION! Core classes are really a coin flip but you can't go wrong with Bird.

Jan 2021

Very decent professor. Classroom style: He tends to lecture more than host discussions with students, but this isn't a bad thing at all. I wanted a professor who I could learn from, but wasn't overwhelming vis-a-vis coursework + didn't force participation. Tom was exactly this type of professor. Overall, music Hum w/ Tom is an easy A so long as you complete what you have to complete. He's straightforward, not a harsh grader, and not pretentious at all.

Dec 2020

TAKE HER CLASS! Prof Stern-Baczewska is so passionate about music and a fantastic professor! I loved listening to her play the piano almost every class- I am constantly blown away by how she is able to transcribe any piece that we listen to for homework on the piano. She also really cares about her students and is so encouraging. Yes, she cold calls sometimes but this is because she really values listening and engagement. She always praises students for what they say and never criticizes/ admonishes them if you say something wrong. Although she's a concert pianist, she never made you feel like you're inferior or like you don't know as much as music as she does (which obviously she does). Her class is always so welcoming, enjoyable, and full of compliments and praises. She grades SO GENEROUSLY and the workload isn't too bad. I learned a lot and am so grateful to have taken her class!

Dec 2020

David Bird is the GOAT. Sweetest human alive, light workload, passionate about music. Even with light coursework, you will learn the info well. My mom listened in on a class once and raved about how wonderful he was. Better than a lot of actual professors at Columbia IMO.

Dec 2020

Prof. Kouyoumdjian is absolutely amazing at teaching music history in a way that is both informative and engaging. While the curriculum requires her to teach a lot of the "masters" of Western music, she does an incredible job weaving them with contemporary composers from a wide range of styles. Moreover, she is full of energy, open to discussing anything, including sensitive topics in a respectful and interesting manner. She has single-handedly made me more interested in music from genres I didn't even know existed. Overall, she's a wonderful instructor who made a class I was dreading taking into one of the most fun classes I took this semester, and all of this online may I add, during COVID.

Dec 2020

She is not the worst, but she definitely isn't far from it. This music hum professor has the dryest teaching style but worst of all she is the least receptive person to feedback that I have ever met. This really ruined the entire experience for me, since she would think it was the students' fault for not understanding what she was saying; she could barely explain a concept, and when someone asked for clarifications (& the class was collectively confused) she would get frustrated at that individual who was confused. Anyway, she is quite generous and she is sweet, but she should not be a professor at the end of the day. Take another class if you want to enjoy Music Hum. The workload isn't the worst.

Sep 2020

He has the flattest affect of anyone I've ever met. I've barely even seen his facial expression change when he's instructing- the only sign of life seems to be moving his head or something when we're all listening to a piece together. Listening seems to be the main part of the class, he didn't convey how to understand or identify music to those with untrained ears and seemed miffed every time most of the class would misidentify a song. Music Hum is not the most exciting curriculum, but he manages to make it even duller and obfuscate students' ability to understand.

Sep 2020

I really enjoyed Lucie's class! She's energetic, passionate about music, and a great teacher. She deserves her silver nugget. She does require IDs on the final and midterm (I was nervous about this, but she teaches you really well and you only have to identify the period of the piece, not the name or composer), and I really grew to appreciate music as a result of this course. Grading was fair and the projects were fun and creative.

Sep 2020

Nice person. Reasonably well organized. Very easy grader (I think multiple people got A+s). Overall a safe choice.

Jul 2020

Professor McWhorter might be the best professor I've ever had. He is incredibly engaging and really cares about his students & the material. He really knows his stuff when it comes to music, history, linguistics and everything in between and is great at explaining things clearly. You don't have to know anything about music to do well in the class. I'm going to take his intro to linguistics class because of how good of a music hum professor he was. This is the type of professor that makes Columbia a top school.

Jun 2020

Disclaimer: I took this class over Summer 2020, and it was remote due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Velia is a WONDERFUL instructor! She made difficult to understand concepts easily digestible, was more than capable of facilitating discussions even over Zoom, and made the class an engaging and enjoyable experience. If you're looking for a Music Hum instructor who is engaging, gives a very reasonable workload, and will push you to engage with music in new ways, Velia is for you!!

Jun 2020

*Disclaimer: I took this class in the summer and I took it online because of Covid-19 Velia is a really sweet professor and she is really open to just hearing your thoughts. She never makes you feel bad for interpreting something "wrong" or not understanding the music. She doesn't expect you to be able to be a musician after this class and that is comforting given that I am not a musically inclined person. She is passionate about what she's teaching and just hopes that her students walk away with some appreciation.

May 2020

Subpar. I found her really disorganized, lectures seemed aimless at times, and exceedingly boring. I usually don't write CULPA reviews, but I found her final exam assignment to be inappropriately intensive given a) music hum, b) a P/F semester, c) online learning, and d) an unprecedented global pandemic. We were assigned a 5-6 paper and then assigned an additional final exam due a week after the paper was due (already unnecessary -- some of my other classes cancelled their finals and just had final papers). The final was 5 responses to particular pieces of music (250 words each) and then a 500 word essay on the two composers we found most engaging and why and the two readings (which we never discussed) we found most engaging over the course of the semester. That is an inappropriate amount of work for a final music hum exam for an in-person semester, let alone a P/F one done online. I found it tone deaf and disproportionate.

May 2020

Mike is a nice dude, but he might take the course a little too seriously. If the workload isn't modified, this class is not really worth taking with him. At times, the class is very frustrating because the assignments can be very long, and seemingly pointless. If you can take this class with a friend, the workload is easier to handle. The content is interesting nonetheless.

May 2020

Elaine was super enthusiastic and encouraging during class. It was clear that her only motive was for students to learn and care about music. Her class may be easier if you have prior music experience (obviously), but she really didn't expect it out of any student. She didn't really focus on technique and mainly only cared about how the music made you feel/ your opinion of a piece in discussion. On examinations you needed this and what she taught about technique, style, form etc.

Apr 2020

Ted is such a homie. I love him! He's super interesting, really engaging, and makes class fun (and funny). Our first listening assignment was by FKA Twigs if that gives you a sense of how awesome he is. He really believes in everyone's ability to grasp the concepts in Music Hum and tries to make the content interesting, tying together large concepts and terms in a digestible way. He's really supportive and wants you to enjoy music! Highly recommend.

Apr 2020

Sonja is like the human form of an angel. She is kind, caring, and respectful about the fact that Music Hum is a required class. She also very clearly loves music, and encourages the students to show the type of music they love in class, no matter what it is they enjoy. Informative and fun classes, with a few short readings and simple assignments. She allowed the final to be open-notes, and gave us a very good review package beforehand. She even invited her chamber music group to play in class, and it was beautiful. When I started Music hum, I thought it was gonna be a bunch of dry music theory about how great classical music is as opposed to newer forms, but Sonja made sure to focus on what makes all music amazing- its ability to tell stories and move people. She also emphasizes marginalized voices in the canon, and made sure to include the earliest possible examples of female musicians and musicians of color in the class. It was wonderful, and I don't know anyone who got less than an A.

Feb 2020

Taking Music Humanity with Dr. Rothe is a great experience. Very nice person and full of patience. As a non-native speaker, I do not have much music background and the vocabulary is quite challenging for me. However, Dr. Rothe is always very patient and devotes a lot time in his office hour. Reasonable workload. Someone might complain about the frequent assignments (twice a week but super short)but I think it is the best way to encourage you to learn (also avoid being too lazy and falling behind the progress). Love the Met Opera!!! and the Met museum field trip. Also require students to attend an extra performance with many recommendations. The prompts of papers are very interesting and the length is very short.(2-4 pages) For exams, he is always very clear about what he is going to test. Just prepare without too much worries. Finally, a very nice grader for people who do things required. I think I am less talented than many of my classmates but still get a A for my efforts. P.S. really love his recommendation of the Sachertorte cake at Cafe Sabarsky hahahaha

Jan 2020

Colby is not a bad person, but he isn't actively nice. If you were to look for a word to describe him, it would just be "some man". He doesn't try to connect with you or really have any personality apart from an overt air of seriousness with which he takes the class and himself. This isn't a crazy class where everyone gets C's. But the fact of the matter is that even if you work pretty hard, you'll only end up with a B+, unless you're an Art History or whatever other majors we have at this school in this field. I have a 3.9+ GPA and only got a B+ in this class. Again, don't take this with Colby unless you're an art history major.

Jan 2020

I also took Music Hum with Audrey in spring 2019, and I feel the need to correct the record that the previous reviewer set. Audrey was actually a pretty good professor, and was exceptionally nice during office hours, which is why I felt compelled to post. It was pretty easy to figure out her style and build my papers around that, which resulted in an A+ (my first A+ at Columbia, despite being an econ major). People do participate quite extensively in class, but judging from the friends I took the class with as well as myself, Audrey actually grades pretty leniently with participation as long as you at least talk once each class. Most of my friends and me ended up with A's, despite being not musically inclined.

Jan 2020

I'll keep it short. Is she the best, most insightful, most eloquent, most inspiring, most phenomenal, most brilliant, most inclusive, most personable professor in the history of professors? Absolutely. The basic music history you will learn in this class is due to the course, but the intricacies, the most engaging discussions, the stories, the perspectives, your newfound love of music, and memorable moments of wisdom you didn't think you could possibly get out of a music hum class is 100% due to Professor Chung. If you don't take this class or any class with her, you are doing yourself dirty. This class is incredibly easy, not because she inflates grades, but because for the first time in your life you actually will want to fully immerse yourself in the class. JUST TAKE IT ALREADY

Dec 2019

TAKE THIS PROFESSOR IF YOU CAN!!! Professor Colonna is very well versed and understands the subject matter extensively. He doesn't use big words or complicated terminology which makes him feel very down to earth and easy to understand. He was great at allowing each student to understand exactly what he was trying to teach and helped guide you along the way with great examples of terms he uses. It's extremely easy to do well in the class as he outlines exactly how you can get 100% on every assignment. The midterm and final are both take home and open note. I really enjoyed his class! Incredibly worth your time - not only was it very fun and enjoyable but very easy too!

Dec 2019

11/10! Take/switch into Professor McCoy for Music Hum if you can. This past semester, we had one quiz that was very straightforward, one paper that was just a review of La Boheme (the opera we went to see as a class), and then shorter response assignments scattered throughout the semester. The final was just a discussion on the first day of reading period. Professor McCoy makes the class incredibly fun and is very dedicated. She's such a quirky and fun professor. I had a great semester.

Dec 2019

Great great teacher. You should take this class to learn something new about music, even if you aren't a musician but just an avid listener.

Dec 2019

By far the best professor I've ever had- incredibly smart, eloquent, and passionate overall about the subject matter. Love her SO much and will continue to recommend her until the end of my days.

Oct 2019

The absolute best. This was her first semester teaching and she is literally awesome. She makes the class so incredibly interesting. I always want to participate. She is also so kind and helpful. We never have quizzes or exams. We only have papers that are all about very interesting topics. She is such an awesome professor. I hate writing but she makes it worth it. She also is not a harsh grader at all. We go to the met opera too (not sure if this is typical).

May 2019

just awful, do not take her, she takes this class wayyyyyy too seriously, if you don't know music she is not for you. she expects you to be some sort of classical music genius and expects everyone to say 40 things everyday, she will fail your participation grade if you don't. Really bad class.

May 2019

It's true: she's the best. Great conversation facilitator, knowledgeable professor, incredibly talented musician. All the demonstrations and her concert at the Italian academy added so much to my semester. You can tell she really cares about her students. I'm so glad I took this class with her.

Apr 2019

She's not bad but she's not that good either. Nothing special... If you can find another professor, I recommend you change sections. If you stay in this class just try to talk a lot....

Feb 2019

It seems that he recently lifted the difficulty of his class and started to give a lot of assignments and readings. As some of my friends who already took him highly recommended me to take him, I chose him amongst many options. However, I definitely regret having chosen him rather than other good options. If you are not deeply interested in Western Music, you will be having a hard time catching up with his fast-paced lecture. Of course, Professor Pratt is quite nice and works hard to ensure that the students understood the material. However, the materials were quite confusing and difficult to comprehend.

Jan 2019

TAKE LUCIE VAGNEROVA. You will not regret it. Really sweet professor who is very understanding of her students. VERY fair grader.

Oct 2018

I can't recommend César enough. His class is low-stress, interesting, and his grading is generous. He is an ethnomusicologist rather than a musician by training, so he teaches the course through the lens of history/political context, rather than pure music theory, which makes it approachable and engaging.

Sep 2018

Matthew is a fairly good teacher who means well. He teaches the class such that it is accessible to students with no musical background whatsoever, but I found that he was not the best at describing more technical concepts without jargon. He can come across as very formal and reserved, but he is good-natured and really wants all of his students to leave with a greater appreciation of music regardless of background. Most of the assessments rely very little on technical knowledge. His midterm and final were structured the same way: multiple choice/fill in the blank, listening ID based on an abbreviated list of pieces (~10 for the midterm and ~17 for the final, and IDs were not cumulative), mystery ID (a piece we had not heard before where we identified features rather than composer and time period), short essay, and short answer (on the final only). You could rely a lot on historical context and musical trends for the exams, although some of the multiple choice questions featured historical details or vocab words that were only briefly mentioned in class. He gives almost no direction on how to study for exams aside from the format of the questions, but if you review your class notes very thoroughly and review the main points of the Cook readings you'll be okay. You need to have the listening IDs down pat as there is no way to get around knowing composer and time period (not exact date), especially for the final where the works were less dramatically distinct from one another. However, he is not trying to trick you on the IDs. He is also a stringent grader. That does not mean he is unreasonable, but for example he gives you a percent grade on participation (so don't expect an automatic 100% freebie like other core classes). Take him up on reviewing drafts for writing assignments, and be creative/have an argument so you're not just regurgitating the Cook ("Music: A Very Short Introduction"). Most people got feedback on their first writing assignment that there was too much summary.

Jun 2018

Sure yes, this class is demanding and you may feel frustrated with the workload and start resenting the professor, but this class is doable, and Mailman is very passionate about music and teaching. For a 3 credit class you are going to have a workload more akin to a 5 credit class, and whilst there is a lot of preparation--reading the textbook, watching videos, doing the Mediathread assignments, there is also a lot of flexibility. Prof Mailman gives opportunities for extra credit both on homework and the exams. We had to write two papers, one on the opera which we went to together as a class and the other for a concert of our own choosing. He gave us ample time for both papers(several weeks) and provided detailed feedback. The final exam did literally take the whole 3 hours and was very content filled, yet there were many opportunities for extra points in one area if you may have struggled in another. I would say don't take this class if you are simply just looking to fulfil the core requirement and want to drift, but if you really want to learn about music, and are prepared for all the work that will come with truly developing a skill that you may have otherwise not pursued I would recommend this class.

May 2018

I'm sure Mary Robb has a lot of impressive experience in music and that she knows every single thing she has taught us. However, I think we often overlook the huge gap between academic or professional excellence and pedagogic abilities. It is clear that Prof. Robb does not possess the latter. Not only is her approach to music outdated and unnecessarily rigid, but it also does not have the students' interest in mind. She is not teaching in order for her students to understand the complex material that is being presented, but she teaches in order for her students to understand that she knows things we clearly do not. What I mean by this is that I hadn't had a professor (probably since middle school) that very transparently enjoyed being in a position of power and authority. Her way of asking questions, of talking to us, even of taking roll call was condescending (she used a very offensive baby voice). She also didn't show genuine interest in student participation or perspective, because everything we said, if it was slightly different from what she thought, she would correct. I once met with Prof. Robb to discuss a paper and I was shocked by her lack of disposition, empathy, and flexibility. This class didn't give me anything but rather took energy and enthusiasm away from me. It was an emotionally draining class, truly. Rather than being interested in what students were feeling through the music, how they were responding to the sounds, and what they were viscerally experiencing, she asked us to memorize rhythmic patterns and vocabulary. She occasionally asked us to talk about how we felt, but with Italian musical terms, of course. In general, this class was not organic, it was the complete opposite. It was heartbreaking, offensive, frustrating, and the worst experience I have had at Columbia. I do genuinely wish no other student has to go through this because no class, no instructor, no discipline should kill academic curiosity and interest rather than encourage it.

May 2018

STEM major here: I don't usually take the time to write a review, but seeing how this professor only received raving reviews (and I most certainly did not have an "only pleasant" experience with this professor), I will take it upon myself to present the negatives of her class. (My verdict is you should only take this class if you are somewhat well versed in music, feminism, and/or social problems -- if you are not well-versed in any of these, you will either be (1) a student who talks less in her class (and consequently has a poor participation grade), or (2) a student she regularly ridicules in class -- read on.) THE GOOD: She definitely leads you to look at music and how it is interwoven with culture differently. She asks great questions and pushes you to think differently about the material. I agree with the below reviews on the good part of her class, so read them for a review that shows Lucie under a good light. THE UGLY: Imagine a teacher who gets after the class for not participating more, but then meets students' questions and comments (*PARTICIPATION*) with snark and attitude when they DO participate: this is the enigma that is Lucie Vagnerova. She praises students who offer questions and comments she agrees with, yet humiliates students who offer questions and comments she disagrees with (or thinks are a waste of time), leading to a much quieter class. Even those who might offer a comment she would like become too scared to answer for fear of humiliation. She plays FAVORITISM with a heavy hand-- she will greet and praise the students she likes, and she will either (1) ignore the students she dislikes, or (2) serve the students she dislikes a strong dose of sarcasm and disrespect daily. Ironically, in the end, you've got 3-4 people regularly commenting: (1) Her favorite students, and (2) the students she regularly $hits on but who are willing to take the flack for the sake of getting the participation grade. In the end, I wonder: what is the point of teaching a class where the students already know all of the answers? She is ill-fit to teach an introductory music course.

Apr 2018

Very enjoyable class! Heavy(ish) workload, but very doable and surprisingly interesting. Daily homework, mainly informative readings , and listenings, 6 unit quizzes (gives a good review sheet before, and the homework correlate with the material for the quizzes) and 6 response assignments (400-500 word mini essays), daily participation and one final exam (discussion facilitated apparently). Really nice and approachable with questions and concerns. Offers extra credit for museum trips and operas!

Feb 2018

David is a wonder, adorable human being. He's a PHD student, so he's quite young and not that strict. He teaches using organized, detailed powerpoints and plays fun selections of music during class. Once, he even had the choral group come and sing to us when we were learning about Renaissance music! He is laidback and kind. He even asked us if we had any conflicts before scheduling the midterm. We haven't had the midterm yet but I can't imagine it will be that hard.

Jan 2018

Columbia's Core Curriculum is widely accepted by undergraduate students as quite dependent on the energy, knowledge and engagement of the professor. I could not imagine a better person to have taught Music Humanities than Professor Matthew Ricketts. Music and Art Hum are both courses necessary to a solid liberal arts foundation but difficult in execution due to varying degrees of exposure to the fields of their students. Professor Ricketts made Music Hum not only easy to grasp, comprehensive in depth and thought provoking but enjoyable and entertaining, too. His mastery of the subject material and efficiency of communication made this class exceptional. He would often sit down to the piano to play tonalities and segments of the works we'd just heard in order to clarify his points or demonstrate the musical elements by slowing down, speeding up or changing key of the works. This was not only impressive, but it helped his students connect to the works in a tangible way (as tangible as music can ever really be). Professor Ricketts handled all levels of student questions with the same thoughtfulness and respect even with students' obvious gaps or proficiency in musical capability. He graded fairly but with constructive critiques, he adequately prepared us for exams, he was exceptionally organized and prompt, he pointed us to further and outside resources when applicable and he was generally a joy to learn from. I can't imagine having missed out on taking his course, and he has positively and permanently shaped my experience with Columbia's Core Curriculum.

Jan 2018

A great professor. Very patient, informative and helpful. Really like his session.

Jan 2018

Take this section!!! Julia is awesome. She is enthusiastic, makes class straightforward, and is a very fair grader. If you want to learn a lot, and get a good grade, then this is the section for you.

Dec 2017

I think Prof Debellis is a great music teacher and just a really sweet person. He is clearly excited about the class he is teaching and has a pretty good sense of humor. We did not have much discussion in class though, so it was pretty hard to stay concentrated throughout the class.

Dec 2017

Marcelo is the best. There is very little homework at all in this course and it is super easy to get an A. That said, class discussions and lectures were very engaging and he emphasized listening to the music above all else. I walked away from this class with a true appreciation for, and knowledge of the Western Classical Tradition.

Dec 2017

Very nice but his class is a lot more work than others that I've heard about but around 60% of your grade is guaranteed (performance and final papers are the only real grades). No in class tests and quizzes are generally in-class music analyses. Grade Breakdown: 30% Class participation 20% Penpals 20% Performance paper 10% Quizzes 20% Final paper

Aug 2017

Brother John is a great guy. First off, he's a monk! How cool is that. Anyway, I can confidently recommend taking music hum with John. The class was relatively easy, workload totally manageable, and John is really passionate and knowledgable about a majority of the topics. The class as a whole was a bit disorganized, which is partly due to John's eccentric nature, and partly due to a sense of kindness/flexibility. He'd give us the questions that would be on the midterm/final ahead of time, and was pretty flexible about handing in papers too.

Jul 2017

If you've heard that grad student/postdoc Core professors are hit or miss, she's definitely the former. Professor Bonner was a kind, approachable, and enthusiastic professor who made the class extremely accessible for those without any sort of musical background. The class was definitely much bigger on music history and studying the form of pieces than the technical aspects of music, and in retrospect felt a little superficial - parroting some lines about how X element of the music had Y affect sufficed for a lot of this class, though I guess that's to be expected of a music hum class. The midterms and final were also very reasonable and graded pretty leniently, though most of the stuff on the exams was only covered in class, so attendance was pretty much mandatory. In general, if you do assignments on time and write down what she said about each piece during class, you will probably do well. Oh also, her class covers the entire chronological sequence, from Gregorian chants onwards; if you were looking for a section that skips the "boring" early stuff, hers is not it. She does make the beginning rather enjoyable, though, and is one of the easiest parts of the class.

May 2017

I would strongly recommend you to AVOID this class. She will require you to do a lot of readings and have profound level of musical knowledge. If you expect a relaxed chill music hum class, this is definitely Not the one.

Apr 2017

One of the strangest and enlightening experiences I have had at Columbia thus far, if you have the fortunate circumstance to take Music Humanities (or any other class) from Professor Garton I would highly recommend it. Having taken similar classes at other Uni's (GS student) I can say that Professor Garton makes the dull experience of learning some strange pieces of Western Music into somewhat of a fond experience. From his quirky personality and outbursts of awkward/self-deprecating jokes he reminds me that music isn't always about terms and book knowledge, but it is also Art that can be felt and experienced.

Apr 2017

I never thought I would read such a scathing review about Mutch as the one below me. In the end, though, I kinda see where they're coming from. Kind of. In my experience, Mutch's class was very easy to coast through, though this is coming from someone who's familiar with music, music theory, and a little bit of music history. Actually, Mutch's class was very easy. I never had a problem with grading (his prompts were indeed easy and I got good grades), and the information lectured in class was easy enough to follow along with. When you participate, he does tend to respond with a cold silence, but I thought that was just him letting students talk and get their participation points. The hardest part of that class was probably the listening quizzes he gave, where you listen to songs for homework and have to identify them (with their composer and larger work) in class. Mutch is actually kind of a goofy guy, but I decided to keep my distance from him because of how I ashamed I was for falling asleep literally every class. Oh well, I got a good grade so I guess he didn't seem to care that much. So I don't really know his real personality, but all in all, it's just music hum, and his section is easy enough to coast through, fulfill that requirement, and get a decent grade.

Apr 2017

She is very passionate about the subject. She was always happy and energetic in class. However, I am pretty much tone deaf, and for me the class was a challenge. She breezes by topics and facts very fast--and I think others in my class would agree--so for me it became a hard class. I probably did the worst out of my group. The average was a A- and I got a B. She is extremely rule-bound, so if, let's say, you're at an A- but always participate and show interest, then she will give you an A- because your percentage warrants an A- only. Not saying she shouldn't be this way, but there was a professional recording artist in my class who did everything and beyond and still got an A- in the end. There was a problematic lecture where she showed some movie where the protagonist is in black face. The closest thing to a black person they had in there was me, and im not even black; i mean more in terms of having an awareness of systematic oppression of people of color. So essentially no black people in the class. She said that black face is controversial but that's as far as it went. I had to raise my hand and comment on it further, to bring the point home. She did not seem to be comfortable with that. If you're going to show a film with black face, you gotta at least mention the history and problem associated with it. To her, it didn't seem to be too big of a deal. She might wanna reconsider showing that movie in her classes.

Apr 2017

TAKE HIS SECTION!!! Tom is an amazing professor and an amazing person. I am so happy I got to take Music Hum with him as I don't think I would've learned as much or enjoyed it as much with anyone else. First of all this man is an angel. He is just like a really precious kind person. He also LOVES music. There's nothing like taking a class with someone who is actually passionate about the subject matter. He makes the class accessible for people who know nothing about music. We also went beyond the music and talked about the historical and contemporary critiques of composers and their works which I thought added something really valuable that went beyond just passing a core. Additionally, this is not a class that you will need to stress about. He respects the fact that it's a core class that not everyone may be into by giving an extremely manageable workload. He also reads essay drafts, holds test review sessions, and is really available for questions showing that he puts in the extra effort. He also used Beyonce to demonstrate a musical principle in class like what more could you want??? But seriously take this class with this amazing person.

Mar 2017

TAKE PROF. TOLEDO! He is a hilarious Argentinian man who does not want to overwork you. There is very minimal work required to get an A and Professor Toledo is a sweetheart. You're very lucky if you end up in his section.

Mar 2017

Lucie's class was solid. We were given very clear and easily-digestible summaries of every genre and music era that we had to know. Every lecture focused on samples of particular genres, and we were given some short readings and listenings before each class. Because of this, the class was straightforward. There's a pretty level playing field for all students to get good grades in the class, regardless of how much musical experience they had in the past. It might take some outside practice to understand the music terminology at the beginning of the semester, but later on all the same music theory terms are circulated around during discussions. Overall, we learned a lot about motivations behind music characteristics, and discussions that surrounded a particular music genre. We also tied in these music genres to current interpretations (i.e. live performances with Q&As, seminars) that all helped in understanding the material better. The workload was not heavy.

Jan 2017

Such a nice guy. Encouraged discussion and motivated the material pretty well (I still fell asleep a lot for some reason though and he called me out on it once). Definitely would recommend him if you're willing to try to meet his (somewhat high) expectations

Jan 2017

Take this review with a grain of salt, because I only sat in on one class with Professor Kozak before dropping the class. Just wanted to note that the way Professor Kozak teaches Music Hum is with two tracks: One day each week, he focuses on music and its qualities (the way you might in most Music Hums); the other day, he talks about the socio-political ramifications of listening. This involves all sorts of identity politics, talking about why we privilege Western, classical music over other forms of music, and breaking down that prejudice. Professor Kozak seems like a great teacher. His emphasis on the social and historical background, motivations, and consequences of different pieces seems fascinating, and I'm sure he'll teach that well. There's also no question that his politics line up with a particular strand that's extremely popular on campus. For that reason, many will see his class as a breath of fresh air, and a way to make music relevant to the world as a whole/activism/social justice. On the other hand, those looking for a traditional Music Hum experience where they'll actually learn the core elements of music (albeit with far less focus on the historical circumstances that gave rise to that music) will find that this class spends only half of its time - at best - on that subject.

Jan 2017

Like most, I was fulfilling a requirement, and I did not expect how fun and educational the class would be because of Professor Rothe's excellent teaching. He consistently was very prepared and did a great job of discussing pieces as how they were representative (or not) of a broader historical time period. He would actively encourage us to return to the key concepts and descriptors we learned in the beginning and use them as tools to analyze the music, which I felt was helpful for reinforcing them. It is clear how passionate he is about the subject when he discusses experiences like his visit to Notre-Dame or shares his favorite musicians and their work. He also had a fun sense of humor that made class more enjoyable. If you have a chance, Music Hum with Professor Rothe is a great experiences.

Jan 2017

Inauthentic.

Jan 2017

Ryan is a sweet guy who is passionate about music. To be honest, I didn't really like him at first. He's soft spoken, somewhat too young, and sounds a little boring. But he quickly grew on me and I really appreciated attending his class! He is a composer and a drummer (weird mix right) and so his perspective on music is really quite interesting. He sometimes throws in his own experience in attending a conservatory and the weird things he learned. Overall, I learned a lot about music from this class and I want to recommend him to everyone who needs to take music hum. Don't stress yourself about music hum. With Ryan, you will learn something for sure and certainly get a good grade.

Jan 2017

The best.

Dec 2016

Not difficult at all - quite a breeze and interesting enough in class.

Nov 2016

Prof. Julia Hamilton is an engaging professor who simply loves what she does. She teaches HUM 1123 - Masterpieces of Western Music and she is currently a grad student within the Music department. She assigns readings twice a week after classes by email and she is quite thorough with what she expects from students on essay assignments and in-class exams. If you do the readings, come to class prepared, and study for the exams, then there's no reason why won't do well.

Aug 2016

Solid Music Hum section. Professor Goodheart does a great job of balancing discussion of formal structures in music with emotional, personal responses to it. He's also great at keeping the class interesting and responding to student questions and ideas. Not a huge amount of historical context is covered, until you get to the 20th century when he does discuss more of it. Still, I felt like I left the class with a stronger ability to listen to all kinds of music and appreciate pieces even when I may not like them. Definitely recommend staying in his section or registering for it – it was a valuable, interesting, and stress-free way to take Music Hum.

Jul 2016

I want to start by saying that she is a sweet professor, there is no doubt about that. She comes prepared and knows her stuff; however, if you are not already familiar with Western culture, then this class might not be for you. I don't want to sound critical, but she doesn't teach on an introductory level. She assumes that the whole class is on the same level, and ignores that half of Columbia students are international and don't necessarily know about Western art. I am not a westerner, but i truly wanted to learn about the culture in an effort to better understand the people of Europeans decent, but i was not able to achieve that because i felt like i was in an advance class. Hence, if you have no background in Western music, then you might be better off going with another professor. Moreover, she is a harsh grader, she ruined my GPA. Another reason is that if you care about your GPA, don't make the same mistake i made and think twice register with her.

May 2016

While I would say that this class had a relatively average workload, I feel that it is quite necessary to highlight some of the Mutch's deceiving characteristics. At first, one would come across this professor as a socially awkward PHD grad. It is impossible to have a conversation with him without the inclusion of awkward silences and it is even more impossible to take him seriously considering that he is the type to wear running shoes with cargo shorts. For the most part, his classes consisted of a 40 minute lesson on the composer, and the remaining minutes were attributed to students asking questions like "how much did Beethoven make" or "did Stravinsky take drugs". Very often he would try to imitate the songs on the piano but did so with many mistakes. Therefore it would have been better off not listening to it as opposed to him indirectly bragging about how he plays the piano. It was easy to bullshit in his class considering that no one read the book nor was it really required. The discussion posts were completely subjective, so very often you can get away with writing your own opinion as opposed to discussing what the readings were about. His “pop” quizzes every week were relatively easy but you have to know everything about the song’s name to get full credit. This means that Symphony no. 5, Movement 2 is worth half a point where as Symphony No. 5, Movement 2, Op 30 is worth a full point. This is where I go off on his conniving nature. At first I wanted to sympathize with this professor since he looked like the type to get bullied in school for listening to Bach during his lunches and recesses. I also thought he was a virgin considering that he clearly jerked off to the likes of Mozart and Handel while drinking a warm glass of milk before bedtime. (Trust me, when he speaks about any composer, there is an immediate jolt of energy and his pants get wet). Mutch keeps much of his animosity towards students to himself, and decides to lay into you either through your essay or participation grade. He shows no visible signs of hate, so IF you decide to take his class, try your best not to laugh at him (despite how hard it is not to) or go on your phone (despite how boring his class is) because he sees everything even with his lice-infested, ungroomed beard that covers the majority of his face. Make sure to participate because he takes it very seriously and will dock off points for not doing so - however he will never call anyone out for not doing nor will he show you any signs of how much he hates you. His essays are generally easy prompts, but do not take this lightly – he will grade it harder than you expect, especially the first one. The final exam was also quite easy considering that it was multiple choice and 2 essays that were subjective and a comparison. Once again, don’t be tricked, he grades the essays harder despite how easy the questions are. All in all, I received a good grade, but would have definitely been higher if it was with another teacher. I didn’t really work hard but that was also because Caleb is a joke. He is heartless and won’t round your grade up as well. Try to find another teacher, but I guess he is not the worst out there.

Apr 2016

BEWARE! First off, Glasenapp is a nice and approachable guy nice. With that being said, this was without a doubt the hardest class I've taken in my life to date (and my GPA now reflects that). As a global core, music humanities should not be as hard as Glasenapp made it. He's definitely passionate in this subject (which is why he is pursuing a PhD in it) and while that is admirable, he fails to realize most (all) of the kids in his class do not share that same passion. If you have not studied/played music your whole life and don't want most of your studying to be in music hum then there's not a shot in hell you'll get a good grade. If classical music is your passion, then you will probably do alright in this class. Not because you'll be able to cruise by, but because you'll be willing to put in the work necessary to get that grade. For example, there was a kid who plays and studied classical music that actually dropped the class more than halfway through the course, and then there's the kid who played and studied classical music who got an A but did all the readings and what not. He is a relatively harsh grader and doesn't care if you've never seen an instrument in your life. He will grade you just as harsh as the kids who have grown up around classical music and assumes dense and complicated information is common knowledge because he's so knowledgeable. While I'm trying to memorize and recognize 30 songs from 6 different composers for a mid term, a friend of mine who's taking the same course at the same time in a different section is memorizing 6 songs by 3 composers. He commonly mocks other music hum professors who take the course more lightly. Beware.

Apr 2016

TAKE IT!! He’s awesome. Gives you 5 quizzes, two papers, and a final. He posts the quizzes (a "studyguide for the quiz" which usually has at least half of the questions that will actually appear on the quiz) online before giving them to you in class. He does a pre-read on the papers for you. The final is basically a longer quiz with an added essay and a bit longer listening section, but also an ass load of extra credit opportunity. You do have to go to an Opera which is kind of inconvenient because it was during the middle of the week, but that could be different in different years.

Mar 2016

I hope Paul teaches Music Hum for years and years to come, because I could not have asked for a better professor. Unlike many art/music professors, he approached the subject in a way equally accessible and engaging to students with a strong background in music (I suppose I was one) and those with little formal training in music. Totally unpretentious, informative, engaging, receptive to and encouraging of student opinions, and understanding. The course was taught in a relaxed manner that covered the major musical eras and composers, and offered lots of interesting history and musical comparisons. Rather than stressing students out with crazy music theory or listening tests, he emphasized appreciation and interpretation of music, and the more technical aspects of music and preparation for listening IDs came easily along with it. TLDR: really great professor, definitely take him for Music Hum.

Aug 2015

This guy is so likable! Music Hum was pretty challenging for me as I had trouble recognizing things by ear. However, Mahir is so fun and clearly enjoys his job which always makes a class more enjoyable. He doesn't allow computers in class which is totally fine for what we're doing. The material was never dry and many of our assignments were fun and interesting (like seeing live symphonies and writing about them). We were assigned a fair amount of work but not everything was graded and handed back, likely counted more towards participation. When I was struggling with some assignments and clarity of terms I reached out to Mahir and he was incredibly helpful. He really does want everyone to do well and he spent a lot of time going over my study guides. I sent about three to him and he would correct where I was mistaken, tell me if I was missing anything and re-explain concepts in a new way. For the midterm and final he gave VERY clear expectations and provided a list (not too long) of songs/symphonies/operas/etc for us to study and then choose about 75% from that list. It made the whole thing so much less stressful. Highly recommend!

Aug 2015

As a senior, I have taken courses with a myriad of professors. Maeve Sterbenz is the best humanities professor I’ve had thus far. She is very flexible with her office hours and gives everyone an ample amount of extra credit opportunities. Her 2 quizzes and 5-page concert paper are simple and straight-forward. In addition, she gives out quiz review sheets and even goes over them during class. Prior to the summer of 2015, I was hesitant to take summer classes. I was under the false impression that condensed summer classes would be much more rigorous than Fall/Spring Semester classes. She makes the class fun and smooth. Professor Sterbenz is a virtuoso who teaches with efficiency and charisma that is unparalleled. By the end of the course, you leave with an ‘A’ along with a new found interest in analyzing everything you listen to with more precision. After taking Professor Sterbenz’s class, I would highly recommend taking it with her.

Jul 2015

Professor Baczewska is truly one of the best professors I've had in my four years at Columbia. I left Music Hum until my 2nd semester of senior year and was not looking forward to it. However, after taking Music Hum with Prof. Baczewska, my perspective on both music and Music Hum have changed dramatically. Let me start with the Professor. She is a classically trained pianist who runs the Music Performance Program at Columbia. First of all, in class, she will demonstrate certain principals of music by playing piano. Even I, as someone who does not have an ear for music (despite years of piano and violin lessons), could appreciate how amazing her piano playing was. It is really quite rare that you have an expert practitioner at Columbia show you his/her skill with such grace and interweaves it so well with the lessons. Also Prof. Baczewska is a very supportive and kind person. She really helped us through learning the songs and musical concepts in a very fun way. Very available via email and office hours and just a really great presence in class. She clearly loves teaching Music Hum and you will learn a lot from her. Also she really stresses discussion which makes the class more active. It is important to note that she will never let the discussion get too far off topic and will always make some to inject insight if the discussion gets derailed by tangents. She is a great discussion facilitator and just an incredibly wonderful human being. The class itself is pretty aligned with the rest of the Music Hum curriculum. The one really cool thing though is that we had student performers come in for about 3 or 4 classes. Because Prof. Baczewska runs the Music Performance Program, she got a few different performers into our class (one on jazz, one on Ravel, one on classical music) which I thought was really cool for a few different reasons. (a) You get to learn how talented some of your classmates are. (b) Hearing music live from really high-level performers is definitely a different and more enriching experience than listening to it over the speakers. (c) You get to learn more about how musicians play through and feel about the music they perform. Anyways, I definitely would advise you take this class. It will not be your hardest nor your most time-consuming class (although, you definitely do have to invest some time). However, it is a very enjoyable class and one that will truly enrich your Columbia experience. I think the way Prof. Baczewska teaches the class is a real embodiment of what the Core Curriculum is supposed to be.

Jul 2015

If you Have Josh you have won the Music Hum lottery. He is awesome. Josh not only taught us perfectly all the facts and information of any music humanities course but did so with amazingly in depth conversation and analysis that was largely discussion driven and student based. We discussed topics outside the traditional music hum syllabus such as the implications of including a specific piece or style in the syllabus and what exactly the "great works" are and how they came to be considered as such. He constantly challenged and made us consider our framework and vantage point in music hum and more broadly within the core, and Columbia in general. While we were learning the basics of music theory it also felt like we were having important and fascinating conversations about people,society, history, and our perception of them. All of my other friends found Music Hum to be fine and doable but altogether underwhelming -- my class turned out to be one of my favorite thus far. Assignments were extremely clear, his expectations and the information we needed to know were all given precisely. I had never had any prior experience in music, and he managed to both teach me all that I needed to know with ease while not boring some of the more experienced students. He's also just funny and super cool.

May 2015

If you are lucky enough to end up in one of Prof Newland's sections for Music Hum, you've won the lottery! A wonderful lecturer and great spirit! I learned so much and the very manageable workload was a great balance to my other heavy load courses. She's the best!

May 2015

Not a great professor for Music Hum. Class was all over the place. Professor regularly referenced his lack of concern for the curriculum or assignments, but assigned the same work anyway. It was hard to care when he didn't seem to himself. Save yourself the trouble and take a Music Hum that feels more standardized like the rest of him. Taking this class means you better hope you get along with the professor or your heavily subjective grade in the class will suffer. Classes were generally boring and not especially worth attending.

May 2015

I thoroughly enjoyed my time in David Adamcyk's section of Music Hum, despite the fact that it was an 8:40 am class. I think he gave a solid overview of music from the Western tradition at a good pace, while managing to cover many contemporary music concepts. He has a separate website for his Music Hum class, which is super helpful and contains the lesson plan for each day, links to supplementary listening/concert venues/terms, and information about papers and exams. Each day, one student is assigned to pick any kind of music to present during the first five minutes of class; this is fun because it relaxes the atmosphere and you learn a bit more about your classmates. The class explicitly follows this schedule and we covered everything from Medieval music (Hildegaard von Bingen, Palestrina) to Minimalism (Reich, Cage, Glass) and Jazz. Of course, the most famous classical music composers such as Haydn, Brahms, Mozart, and Bach, are covered. He was very patient in going over key terms and material, and even as a student who has had extensive training in classical music, I found the course very illuminating when we learned about technology's role in music (think Moog synthesizers, multi-track recording process). At first, I was intimidated to take this section of Music Hum when I learned he was a composer. I suppose I had some warped perception that composers would be harsher in terms of hearing students' opinions about music, but (at least in this case) I was wrong. David was very receptive to student opinions and will kindly give you his feedback on your ideas without being intimidating. The concert reports were graded leniently and the midterm and final were straight out of class notes. I wouldn't bother buying the recommended book; there's an online version of it out there, anyway, and if you take good notes, you won't need it. I highly recommend this section. I regret not meeting with him one-on-one, which was due in part to the fact that he only has office hours by appointment, but I think many of my classmates found talking to him about their concert reports super helpful. Once I got to know David a little better at the end of semester, I found him pretty hilarious and charmingly quirky.

May 2015

Creativity is the most important part of this class. History of music might not be as important in this class, compared to other Masterpieces of Western Music course. Although the workload is pretty heavy, everything is fun to do and graded fairly.It is not very clear what he wants at first, but you will gradually get a hold of his expectation. He does everything to make the class interesting, such as playing the piano himself, which I enjoyed a lot, and bringing in different classical musicians.

May 2015

Worst professor I've ever had at Columbia. Or anywhere. As someone with a very intense musical background and intense musical appreciation, taking Music Hum with Professor Mailman actually made me like music less. This is not to say that Professor Mailman is not a hard-working professor who deeply cares about the material--this is to say that Professor Mailman brought an intensely arrogant attitude to our biweekly classes. He was very weirdly misogynistic which was extremely off-putting not to mention a dick. He came in with an attitude that everyone understood the jargon he was using even though my classmates were for the most part non-musicians. As a musician I felt alienated by Professor Mailman--I cannot imagine what my peers were feeling when he would throw around expert musical jargon and expect everyone to follow what he was saying. That said, classes were thoroughly thoroughly boring. Professor Mailman spoke in a monotonous (but simultaneously cocky) tone for a good hour and a half every class. He assigned a shitload of work that no one actually did and then he looked mad when he realized no one listened to the three hours worth of music he put on Courseworks. No shit. Professor Mailman also focused a great deal (too much) on the theoretical aspect of music. We spent three classes on Sonata Form and we didn't really talk about the ways in which music is a deeply personal, intimate experience. He made learning about music the opposite of enjoyable. If you get him as a music hum professor, SWITCH OUT. I am serious. Do it for you--don't make the mistake I did and stick it out with him for a semester.

Apr 2015

I had written a much longer and better review of Josh last semester, but somehow it got lost or maybe I just never hit submit. In any case, Josh is the professor you want for Music Hum. He is very understanding that many of us have no musical experience, and that many of us could not care less about meter or instrumentation before taking this class. With that in mind, he tries to make Music Hum entertaining and engaging for everyone without placing too much stress on us as students. He is more than clear in explaining everything, and will tell you when he is not too sure about something. When you come out of Music Hum, if anything, you will likely have an appreciation or greater appreciation for classical and even non-classical music. Even though it was his first semester teaching, the readings were very appropriate and the assignments were incredibly reasonable. Seriously, for quizzes and even the final, he prepared a study guide for us! That’s how much he wants you to learn. That being said, if you're a super music whiz who has been playing the piano or violin for years, you might find him boring, as he will likely explain things you know or can already pick up on. However, Josh is also very good about asking you about more specific questions (musical key, technique, etc) and then he builds off that for the rest of the class. There are unknown and known listenings, some listening assignments, the trip to the Met, essays, etc. like every Music Hum class. But all in all, if you’re looking for an engaging teacher who will make learning all this Music Hum stuff worth your time, Josh is the professor you want. If you manage to get him as your prof, don’t switch out! He is so worth it.

Apr 2015

Great professor! She truly wants her students to understand the subject. I had absolutely no music background and still did very well in her class. She will not move on until everyone understands the material. Take her for Music Hum.

Feb 2015

Great guy who obviously cares a lot about the material. But he definitely tends to care a little too much at times. You can totally skate by in the class by not doing anything other than the 2 short papers and taking the midterm (operas included), but if you actually look at the syllabus and all that he has planned for each day and night of the course, you may start to feel bad about not doing at least some of it. Also sometimes it seems like he makes up answers to questions students ask him, but that could just be me being over judgmental. Overall, great Music Hum section, a lot of expected of you, but none of it is actually required.

Feb 2015

Such an awesome professor!! He cares so much and is so interested in music that it makes YOU interested in music! He's so excited and gets performers to come to a lot of the classes, so class is always interesting. He also shows us performances of a lot of the pieces we listen to, which makes class more interesting. He's a really easy grader and works really hard to make sure that everyone understands the material.

Jan 2015

Maja is a really nice person, but she isn't the greatest teacher. She isn't the loudest person, so she has to compete with the NYC sounds outside of Dodge. Her explanations in class aren't extremely clear, but not horrible to follow along with. She doesn't allow much discussion in class at all, and at least in my class the few kids that talked kind of engaged in a fancy pancy pissing contest. The blog posts, ten of which you have to post to the class blog, are kind of stupid, just busywork in my opinion. And the papers weren't that great. One was a cross-Core paper, which was not my favorite. We had to write it about super medieval stuff, and lot of my favorite stuff in the Core is of more recent history. The concert and opera papers also involved a lot of BS on my part. I wish she'd just ask us to write about our experiences at the events. The only period of music where I felt she wasn't on top of her game was jazz, which I personally enjoy. We did get three or four live performances during class from our classmates, a choir, and a jazz ensemble, which was really nice. One day she brought in her violin and played, which was awesome! I wish she did that more often. Where you'll actually learn something in this class is in the textbook, which actually is pretty nice to read. You can find it for free online as a PDF and rent the CD's from the bookstore (saves $$$). Overall, I wouldn't necessarily recommend her, but you have her by chance, just read the book and listen to the music, and you'll be fine.

Jan 2015

Professor Fogg is very approachable. He truly means well and will help in any possible capacity. He appears to be a man of infinite patience; a necessary virtue in anyone that listens to music created before the 20th century. It's also not a virtue many people have in spades, so yes, his class certainly felt boring. I personally enjoyed it, but I'll never forget the walls of silence in that room. I suspect a combination of inexperience (from both teacher and student) and brutal heat were the cause. This was a summer course, and to be fair, it was hard to hear over that AC. So off it remained. There was a 5 minute presentation you had to complete about a piece of your choosing, at a time of your scheduling. The midterm and final were challenging. Roughly a third of the grade was based on your ability to listen to a piece and identify its period, composer, and title. Definitely not something you can wing. You also had to attend a performance by any artist and write a 5-page review using your newfound knowledge. I had fun with that. You could pretty much see whoever you wanted as long as you had something to write about. Honestly, Music Humanities isn't very enthralling subject matter, unless you're already into it. I can only see Professor Fogg improving with time, assuming he continues teaching. Some of the material was tedious, but overall, it wasn't a difficult course. And I did well. And I even remember some of the material. And that's what it's all about.

Jan 2015

Dan is my favorite professor I have had at Columbia. In fact, I tried to write a review of him after spring semester of last year, but it wasn't published so I am writing another because I feel that strongly. I do not like music classes, but Dan really made the class enjoyable. He would use modern example to apply theories and really tried to engage the class. He got very excited about everything and was overall such a likable guy that you couldn't dislike the class. I am so happy I got put into his section and would consider taking another class with him even if I am not a fan of the subject. Would 100% recommend

Jan 2015

A fabulous teacher, I recommend him wholeheartedly. At first, I was a bit concerned since it was his first time teaching Music Humanities. But Josh is a very down to earth, yet passionate teacher, and is clearly interested in helping all of us learn to love Western art music. Almost every class was interesting and engaging, and Josh always helped us better understand not only the music but the context of the music -- what sort of changes occurred both in society and in the music that make what we're studying worthwhile. He was also careful to clue us into controversies that surrounded the music, like the modern reactions to Wagner's antisemitism or contemporary reactions to Bach's Grosse Fuge. All in all the class was enjoyable and a lot more than I expected from the first time teaching a course. I have been in some train wreck classes where the teacher was passionate, but disorganized to the point that it made the course unenjoyable. This was not one of them. The class was clearly organized and Josh was passionate about the material. There were some kinks or complaints -- but I expect that they will be worked out for next semester. The main complaint I have was is that the syllabus had no schedule for readings or listening assignments, and instead they were given to us two or three days in advance by email. Josh later admitted that he was planning the course as he went, so kudos to him for consistently selecting good readings that helped us ground the music we listen to. Hopefully he will keep most of the material and give a reading schedule for the coming semesters. As far as workload, typically there were two or three readings for class, given to us in a PDF format. The book that is usually assigned for Music Hum was not necessary. There were about four or five listening assignments, two essays, three quizzes and a final. All very straightforward. Josh is clear in what he wants you to know and will go the extra step to make it as easy as possible for you to succeed, even going so far as to make study guides for us! In all, he really, really wants you to succeed in music hum. His class was always a joy and I always looked forward to it. Josh is the teacher to get for music hum, if at all possible. If you have his section, don't give it up! Even if the time is at 8:40.

Jan 2015

Paula is a wonderful Music Hum teacher! If you're lucky enough to get into her section, don't switch out because Paula makes Music Hum fun, engaging, and clear. The highlights of the semester include in-class guest performers (her graduate student friends), baked goods, fun YouTube videos, and a unique off-campus music experience/obligation. Paula knows her stuff about music and will definitely show you a good time throughout the semester.

Jan 2015

While this may not be your most exciting class, Debellis is very clear in relaying concepts and pretty much sticks to the textbook throughout the course. Keeping up with reading and listenings in the text will help, but is not absolutely necessary to follow along in class. This class is not a history class, but rather focuses on how music is organized and structured. No worries if you have zero musical background like myself. He will provide a list of known listenings for the exam, so be sure to make a playlist of these and know them well. The workload is reasonable and he's a fair grader on papers. Nice guy as well.

Dec 2014

Music Hum with Ashley Nail was a dream. Ashley is an AMAZING teacher, and probably one of the best instructors I have ever had at Columbia, even being a grad student. She consistently made the class fun, both for people with extensive music experience and for people with none. She really knows how to explain things in a way that make sense and in a way that you will remember and be able to talk about for years to come. She made sure all of us could make small contributions to the class discussions, and she introduced us to all sorts of cool music that was off the syllabus, as well, which was really neat. Her offbeat humor and cat lady jokes made waking up for 8:40 class totally worth it. She did her lectures so well and also prepared us so explicitly for all of the assessments that if you kept up with the readings enough you could get great grades on all of the quizzes and papers. She also had all of the readings photocopied and put on Courseworks, so we didn’t even have to buy the textbook, which was great. I’m so glad I got put in Ashley’s section. It was the greatest Music Hum experience I think I could have hoped for, and I would consider anyone who gets into it really lucky.

Dec 2014

Professor Steichen is great! This was his first semester teaching Music Hum (and first semester teaching at Columbia), but he did an awesome job teaching it and is a really fair grader. His background (I believe a PhD in Musicology) in academia definitely showed in how much he is interested and cares about this subject (which I think can be difficult in a class full of non-music majors. He really catered to the fact that a lot of us in the class had little or no background in studying/analyzing music, in that he was flexible about paper and discussion topics and was totally okay with us incorporating perspectives from other disciplines in our analyses of music. He also gave us some super interesting readings that took psychoanalytic, disability studies, and feminist perspectives on the music we were discussing. This made the music material a lot more accessible to those of us with little background in the subject area. His past teaching experience (which I think was at Princeton) really showed -- he is always well-prepared for class and great at responding to emails. His class was an overall very valuable experience. Definitely take Music Hum with him if you can!!

Dec 2014

Paula taught music humanities for the first time this fall and was absolutely incredible. She understands that the core forces us to do things with breadth over depth but to make everything more interesting she only goes through one or two pieces of music each class to allow for enough depth to have fun with each topic. Her enthusiasm was what made the class the easiest to deal with, and when she wasn't particularly enthusiastic about a specific topic she made sure to bring in one of her musically inclined friends that was (she couldn't play the piano for our Romatic Piano class, so she brought in a friend who was obsessed with and could play Debussy beautifully, for example). It was also great that she was able to combine her enthusiasm for the music with some critical discussion about why we study the Western Canon and old white men in general, which I don't think can be ignored when you're teaching a class like this.

Aug 2014

I think Matthew did a pretty good job. It wasn't the most exciting class ever, but he was clear and helpful. The quizzes were occasionally odd, in that they're the kind where the fill-in-the-blank is a very specific phrase defined in a very specific way, but if you take notes carefully that shouldn't be an issue. I don't know if this is standard for the class, but I really liked that he could just hop on the piano and play just about any piece off the top of his head or show us an example of the style/technique he was talking about. He's quite flexible, open to feedback, and basically this really chill guy who makes Music Hum very doable.

Jul 2014

First off, Thomas is a nice guy. However, he could use quite a bit of improvement as an instructor. The class was slow and his teaching style monotonous. The listening in class seemed to be offering enjoyment for him, with almost an apathy for the class. Admittedly, Thomas did not make the course syllabus, and I recognize how structured a class like music/hum is. If this class is supposed to create an appreciation for the masterpieces of western music, it is an utter failure. The class was torturously boring, and for me, a waste of time that could've been spent learning something I, and my fellow students, are more passionate about. Thomas continually turned off the air conditioning (often during 80+ weather) as he felt it interfered with our listening. This was incredibly frustrating and uncomfortable.

May 2014

If you cringe at the thought of having to take the Music Humanities course, you can rest easy knowing that there are Professors such as Daniel Chiarilli. His passion for music is borderline contagious. If you have trouble picking out certain aspects during the listening, he is always available to help to understand the concepts. Although this course is mandatory, selection of the proper professor can make or break it, and for that reason, I endorse Professor Chiarilli.

May 2014

A rather average experience, with one major exception: the assignments. Elliott is nice, approachable, and generally enthusiastic. He's a graduate student and it's clear he's new to teaching, but mostly in a good way. His selection is heavily biased toward the romantic period: we spent as much time on the Romantics as the Baroque and Classical combined. The beginning and end of the course were disappointing, as we started with an "elements" overview that taught us little more than what "homophonic" means, and finished with three full sessions of watching "2001: A Space Odyssey" (including one after classes ended). In addition, there are a session, evening viewing, Met outing and long paper all dedicated to Puccini's "La Boheme", so if you- like me- don't like the opera too much, too bad. The real problem with the class, though, was the assignments. There was an (ungraded) assignment for every class, involving things like "charting" pieces, identifying certain shifts in the piece, etc. They aren't bad in and of themselves, but they were very time consuming, and the consequence was that we heard relatively little music and spent most of the time writing about the pieces. Which is quite a shame. In addition, there are a midterm (IDs, short questions), final (IDs, short questions, essay), short paper (3 pages) and long paper (6 pages on La Boheme). None of them are hard or overly long individually, but all together (what with the assignments every class) they make for a lot of work and studying for a 3-credit core class, especially considering how little music we actually hear. All in all, not a bad class as such, and hopefully he'll change things around, but far from perfect.

May 2014

Very simply, if you want Music Hum to be an easy class drop/do not register for Mailman. This guy seemed to be on a mission to make this class a huge part of our lives this past semester. For every class, he expected that we would go through his homework assignments (literally 3 hours long) to prepare. He doubled/tripled the amount of music that we were responsible for by adding his own songs to the already challenging amount presented in the textbook. When preparing for exams, I would have 8 hours of music on iTunes that I had to be able to identify. Would study all night to maybe get half of them right. Ultimately, 90% of the class did not do the work. He can also be very annoying. For example, was angry when people showed up late when it was literally blizzarding outside. Decided he would start taking points off for coming in late and then suddenly stopped. Would get mad when people asked him to write larger. One thing that was cool was when he brought in a live jazz demo to perform for us. I really like jazz and was looking forward to this part of the class. We actually did not cover any jazz in class because he messed up and got way behind on the syllabus. This of course did not stop him from putting several questions, including an essay, on jazz in the final. When the jazz group came to perform, another music hum section came in to watch it with us. Their professor seemed to be a really cool PHD student. I asked myself, "Why couldnt I be in that section?". Being so behind on the syllabus, we did not cover several of the composers of the 20th century. A reasonable student would assume that he would not test much on what he didnt cover. WRONG. These composers popped up all over the final. The final: 1. He said that the final would cover everything from the classical through the end of the semester. In actuality, it was probably 75% stuff from the final two weeks of the semester that he floored it through and 25% everything else. 2. The final was absurdly long. Listening ID with ~25 questions. Multiple choice and short answer. Multiple choice questions. And 2 full length essays. Everyone took nearly the full 3 hours to do the exams. I talked to friends in other Music Hum sections, their finals maybe had a listening section and 1 essay that took them an hour and a half usually. All in all, Mailman is a huge ass and you should not take this class unless it is literally second semester senior year and you need it to graduate. If not, wait for an opening in that cool PHD student's section.

Apr 2014

Professor Rothe is great. I would completely recommend him. He's very knowledgeable and passionate (he often asks 'have you heard of xx's films/songs/art?' and it was kind of endearing how he would also look a little crestfallen if no one raised their hands but delighted when someone did). I didn't have a strong music background and my class was a mix. But he managed it well by being very patient and also using the knowledge of the experienced musicians. The class was also not very discussion-based, which was fine by me because he had plenty of insights. I loved the historical focus of the class. Take his class!!

Apr 2014

Anne is amazing. She comes prepared for every single class, which results in a well structured course. Participation is a big part of it, so you should really try to speak up as often as possible. The atmosphere is welcoming and inclusive, so even if you're shy, there should be no problem. Beyond Anne's teaching style, she's just a genuinely nice person and seems to care a lot about both the class and her students. She definitely wants you to succeed. Be warned about the 8:40 time slot though. I am not a morning person, so there were several times when I overslept.

Jan 2014

The tone of the 2 reviews reviews is not quite right imo, so some more info could be helpful. Professor Mailman did assign *way* too much work. He added an entire supplementary curriculum to the textbook and seemed to think it was reasonable - doing all of it would have taken a number of hours for each class. Coupled with the oft-held perception that Music Hum is easy, this definitely pissed people off and I was frustrated at times too with an assignment that was just way too long. On the other hand, success did not depend on doing every single bit of work. Also, I found listening to the pieces to be fun, and the times when I was even somewhat conscientious to the textbook and additional stuff, I found myself learning a ton. His curriculum was well-designed, and he took lots of question in class. At times his flexibility made things confusing because he was too nice to shut people down. I agree with the below reviewer that he was the hardest working professor I have had at Columbia. I often felt guilty for not putting in even a modicum of the effort that he was, and he is passionate about the music and teaching. He is a bit of an oddball but I found his humor awkwardly hilarious. He is definitely some sort of musical genius. Lastly (and, to be fair, at least in part because of the copious amounts of assigned work), the Fall 2013 class was a terrible one. 80% of the class did none of the homework and never spoke in class, and he would often get frustrated with complainers about grades. the few people who did participate ranged from honestly curious to insufferably know-it-all. all in all, I bet you could do a lot worse than Professor Mailman, but expect to put more time in than you might expect for Music Hum to be successful.

Jan 2014

Beau is a really great professor. But you probably are more concerned about the fact that he's a fair professor, so if you're not too familiar with the world of music, you should be ok. Plus, he gave out a study guide for the midterm and final (which were basically lists of everything that would be on the tests) and held review sessions for each. If you study for the tests for a few hours and make sure you have all the listening down, you should be fine. More importantly, his class is super interesting, and you'll learn a lot, If you're put into his section, stay there!

Dec 2013

This semester was her first time teaching Music Hum, and I must say, she did an excellent job. Her teaching style is very coherent and it's obvious that she knows her stuff. Anne is also a sweetheart and will never make you feel intimidated or belittled; if you make an argument in class that isn't necessarily correct as a whole, she will very nicely tell you why that might not be the case while still finding a way to appreciate your argument and point out the parts that were correct. Her class is very participation-heavy; she will call on you if you do not volunteer, but do not let that deter you because she provides a very comfortable environment for dialogue. As long as you make somewhat sense, your point will be accepted since she understands that we are not professional musicologists. She is also a very fair grader and provides extra credit opportunities. I highly recommend her class! Waking up for an 8:40 was less painful than I expected.

Dec 2013

She's adorably awkward, passionate, energetic, and really wants to help every student do the best they can. I thoroughly enjoyed all my interactions with her. Also she doesn't use the silly textbook most other sections require you to purchase, and I loved her for that. (instead she assigned First Nights by Kelly, a really good read that I'm glad I own now) That being said, her section isn't exactly the "chill" experience that every one tells you music hum will be. She doesn't inflate grades, and expects you to really prepare for the exams. The weekly workload is light, but the exams are hard to prepare for and hard to do well on. So if you are paranoid about grades, this might be stressful. (it was for me) All in all, solid section and great teacher. Just not the easier choice.

Dec 2013

Let me submit this before we get our final grades back--that last review is unnecessarily scathing. If you're the kind of person who's looking for an in-depth survey of Western music as that suggests, you should probably be taking the dedicated music intro classes and not put so much expectation into a class that everyone in the entire College needs to take. That being said, Juliet probably caters quite well to a Core music class and thank fucking Christ because I might have shot someone in the head if it were a stressful class since it was at 8:40 in the morning. Classes are mostly discussion based and we spent a lot of time just...listening to music and talking about particular features of it and the social context (what else could you do??). She was really kind about not forcing us to try to identify a particular period or aspect by ear, because to be honest, a lot of people just naturally kind of suck at that. She was really friendly and sweet and handled the large range in experience relatively well. You can walk out of that class knowing generally how music progressed in the Western world over time, knowing characteristics of the major movements in the music world, and the most important figures in music history...and that's really all the average person wants or needs out of Music Hum. For some people this class will be a nuisance no matter what, but I think that in general we were all quite fond of Juliet and her dorkiness/enthusiasm. She does seem to have tightened her expectations a fair bit from the previous reviewer but not to the point of painful. My only gripe is that she doesn't make use of the white board as well as she might and tends to write random things down and circle them, and you have no idea what's important or what you should be taking notes on. Since she thankfully doesn't require a textbook, this can leave you at a bit of a loss of what to study and generate rather haphazard class notes. I thought her exams were actually well-crafted and tested how well you'd paid attention in class and whether or not you'd ever opened the music files she posts to courseworks or done the readings. You could potentially do disastrously if you haven't studied but if you do study, you'll do well no matter how much you lack musical ability.

Dec 2013

I disagree with the reviewer below. While he does ask you to listen to many of the pieces in the textbook, if you can figure out a specific characteristic of each piece, then it shouldn't be too hard to identify them even if the most "famous" part of the piece isn't played. As for professor Mailman himself, he is by far the hardest working professor I've ever had at Columbia. Not only does he create his own videos to help us understand the materials, but he also creates study questions for the quizzes that show up word for word on the quizzes and final - he even said so himself! The tremendous amount of work he puts into making the class as good as possible is how every professor should do it. I am very glad that I ended up in his class, as he is a very nice professor and you will definitely come out of his class with a very deep understanding of the music. P.S. He treated us to pizza and milkshakes after we watched the opera.

Dec 2013

Coming from someone with a musical background, you should drop this class immediately. Not only does he expect you to be able to identify every single piece in the textbook, but he just about doubles that amount with outside material of his own. Very disorganized - we were way off the syllabus, lectures were disengaged, and his courseworks is a mess. He switched how he posted assignments halfway through. No one knew any of the IDs on the final - he played obscure parts from obscure songs. Save yourself hours of work and switch sections. Really disappointing for a class that I was really looking forward to.

Dec 2013

SHE IS AMAZING! First off, the workload in her section is completely manageable. And really engaging. We had a little assignment that required us to to go The Cloisters uptown. I would have never traveled up there if it had not been for this class (side note: go to The Cloisters. It's amazing!). The really big assignments in the class are the 2 concert reports (which are due one week after you see the concert). She even says that she will read your drafts for a concert if you see it before the midterm. Throughout the semester she will send emails with suggestions to different shows around the city that you can see for the class. For the midterm, she has a review session at her loft in SoHo. She gives you a review sheet with all the terms you will need to know and the exact paragraphs for the short essay that you will need to put into musical form. Basically, she hands you the midterm and all you need to study is the known listening section. The final is the exact same thing as the midterm and mostly focused on the second half of the course. The only part that is the entire course is the known and unknown listening. That you need to study for. I would say the only bad part of her class is along with her syllabus that she gives out in the first class, she also has an online syllabus. It was annoying at times to have to look at both to do the readings and there was always additional reading/viewing of something. But overall, this class is really amazing. She is always available for questions and makes it easy to meet to review something.

Nov 2013

Rothe isn't as awkward as everyone else says; he's actually wicked funny. Also, he's a terrific teacher and I totally recommend you take the class with him. Why? Because you won't have to memorize what 60 very similar-sounding pieces sound like and he's super chill. I've been talking to my other friends who had music hum, and they said they had to do that memorization, and as someone even classically trained in music it seemed a bit ridiculous. Rothe isn't like that. He repeats that he isn't trying to make it unnecessarily hard on you, so our 3 quizzes over the semester are exactly what he tells you they will be like--very historically based, identification between like 6 pieces (which are very different, because some are operas with and without video and like costumes guys come on, some are symphonies, some are clearly only with one instrument, etc.). 6 different works for the midterm, guys. All in all, take the class with Rothe. If you look over the material, it's an easy A. Actually do the readings, it's an easy A. It's more historical-based than other music hum sections, as Rothe doesn't see music in a vacuum. He also is into operatic stagings and talks a lot about that, if you're into that. HE'S THE BEST.

Oct 2013

Kristy was horrible. Course reminded me of high-school. She would take down essay points for using "it's" instead of "it is". She was nervous and shaking during class, not really accesible afterwords. It was an awkward experience altogether. I wish school will not save money by letting inexperienced sub-par junior professors and graduate students learn to teach over our backs. In Riggs' case – even that will not help. Again, reminded me of my (bad) public high-school. Didn't learn anything of value.

Oct 2013

Congratulations, you just won the lottery! This is easily the easiest AND most fascinating class I have ever taken at Columbia. Brad tells you on the first day that he really, really, really wants to give everyone an A... and he does! Unless you royally screw up aka don't come to class, you will get an A. There is NO homework. That's not a joke. He tells you straight up not to buy a textbook and that this will be the easiest class ever. His son is a student at Columbia, so he is all about alleviating the average CU student's homework plight and really teaching you for the sake of teaching you. Just because there is no work, though, doesn't mean you don't learn anything. Brad is so so so smart, and just BLOWS your mind away with great music and facts. He doesn't ask you to memorize artists, pieces, etc, but rather asks you to just be able to differentiate the different time periods of music. This is super easy if you go to lecture, as he makes an outline every class about what makes a time period distinct.

Sep 2013

Kristy was horrible. Course reminded me of high-school. She would take down essay points for using "it's" instead of "it is". She was nervous and shaking during class, not really accesible afterwords. It was an awkward experience altogether. I wish school will not save money by letting inexperienced sub-par junior professors and graduate students learn to teach over our backs. In Riggs' case – even that will not help. Again, reminded me of my (bad) public high-school. Didn't learn anything of value.

Sep 2013

I completely agree with the other reviewers. The class is basically all about how much you appreciate music. Participation didn't matter, but I think everyone talked at some point, because Prof. DiPaolo really has the ability to make the class atmosphere comfortable. I remember a couple people would doze off in the back row, but he never picked on them. Super funny, quirky, intelligent. I wish I could take some other classes that he teaches. More than recommend his class.

Aug 2013

Honestly, I don't even know where to begin with DBK. What immediately comes to mind when I think of her class are the words "stupid" and "awful", and that doesn't even cover it. I am shocked that she has gotten such good reviews in the past, because the class I took with her was not the one described. At all. She is obviously very knowledgeable about music and music history, given her position and her background. But that doesn't mean she knows how to teach... especially a class like Music Hum where everyone comes in with varying degrees of knowledge of music/reading music/performance, etc. The good stuff: She doesn't really go deep into music fundamentals so if you don't know anything about music, you won't have to learn any of the hard technical stuff. Also, she's very nice, and pretty understanding about missing class (although you can only miss a certain number). She at least knows her shit so I guess you could be stuck with a worse professor. She tries to bring in performances for some of the units, e.g. we had a chamber choir-type group sing for us, and a jazz group play for us, among others. That's probably the best part of the whole course. I did feel like I learned a significant amount, but it wasn't from class. It was really from reading the book and having a genuine interest in music. The class is mainly focused on music history and we started from medieval music and went all the way to modern/postmodern. The class got more interesting toward the end when we were talking about jazz, modern, postmodern, etc. The not so good: Like I said, she doesn't really know how to teach Music Hum. She assigns a shit ton of reading and assignments (it wasn't that bad in the beginning but it felt like there was more and more as time went on), but then doesn't go over any of it in class unless you bring up an issue in the assignments. We didn't really talk about the music we had to listen to for homework much or how to identify them. I did not think the assignments helped me prepare for the exams, really. You're supposed to do the reading because there can be a random pop quiz on the reading on any class day (and your pop quiz average is worth 10% of your final grade), which is silly in itself. But the real silly part is that she gave us like one pop quiz in the first 3/4 of the semester and then gave us like four in a row. Also, these quizzes were hard. They were like three questions each and she gave us five minutes to do them but the questions were so arbitrary, I almost always did the reading and basically could never answer more than one of the questions. As mentioned, she doesn't go over the reading in class. The entire class is spent ... honestly I don't really know on what. She encourages participation but asks questions that don't really facilitate participation or that no one really knows the answer to. I'm thinking about it and I really do not know how we spent class time. She would lecture at us for some time, and we spent some time looking at handouts and watching YouTube clips, and she spent a lot of the semester going over structures of types of pieces, like fugues, sonatas, etc. which was interesting. I did learn a bit about listening (for meter, and to hear which pieces were sonatas, etc.) but I didn't feel like this knowledge was really solidified, more like we did it and then moved on. It was really a waste of time. Also, she sucks at technology. She doesn't respond to emails well, even important ones (like reading over paper drafts). She had all of us buy the interactive e-book instead of the hard copy book because she thought that it would be easier, except the book she told us to buy in the beginning of the semester had different versions on the site so we didn't all have the right book. We all ended up getting the book for free from the company, which was great, but it was still stupid. Then she would try to reference the book in class and couldn't pull it up, etc. etc., shenanigans ensued. Also personally reading from the e-book, I felt like things didn't stick as well. Which was a problem since we never went over it in class but then would be tested on it. Also, she had a problem with Courseworks. She would email out deadlines for papers that were different than the ones listed on CW and then not respond to emails about it and assume we knew which one it was; her grade breakdown on CW didn't add up to 100, plus she changed it like three weeks before the end of the semester; she forgot to give out the opera tickets; etc. etc. She was very disorganized. I don't want to shit on her class too much because I got a good grade, but I wouldn't say this is one of those easy classes that you can just breeze through. The exams are based on both class material and stuff from the book you read and never go over again, and she asked some pretty specific things. The papers are graded pretty easily. Some music hum classes you have to really analyze concerts/opera for musical elements and stuff, which was not the case with our papers. I just wrote about what the pieces/opera sounded like they were about and how I felt about them and then backed those claims up with some musical stuff (like dynamics or something) and did fine. But they were all crammed into the last month of the semester, all three papers, which is pretty dumb. So ... I wouldn't recommend this class to really, anyone. If you want a good prof that you can learn from, she's not it. If you want an easy grade, this class isn't really it either. It was a headache to deal with, even if I did fine in the end.

Jul 2013

Hands down one of my favorite professors. He is quirky, funny, and extremely flexible with the work he hands out. I heard from some other Music Hum students that their teachers were a pain in the ass, requiring complex analysis and identification of musical terms. Dipaolo wasn't anything like that. In fact, I felt that he was too easy sometimes. Incredible passion for music, and extremely knowledgeable. Learned a lot, and would retake the class in a heart beat.

Jul 2013

I was lucky enough to find myself in Tina Fruehauf's class after putting off registering for Music Hum until second semester senior year. Not having had any sort of formal music education prior to this, I was just planning to get my last Core requirement out of the way in time to graduate. However, Tina was the precisely the type of instructor the Core office wants and gave me the tools to appreciate music at a higher critical level than me saying, "I like/hate this!" WITHOUT creating any of the usual anxiety of Columbia classes that make me rip my hair out. Besides an entirely manageable workload (hint hint), Tina is fantastically engaging in the classroom. She is straightforward and gives the most incredibly precise clarifications of the material in response to students' questions / comments. No prevarications or scatter-brained/evasive answers here, Tina is 100% clear and very nuanced. This is not to say that she's a German hardass, not at all, but she seems to genuinely want each of her students to understand things. The kindness and lightheartedness with which she speaks is probably a result of her generally caring nature, although she is in no way cloying/motherly, as some older female professors can sometimes be. Maybe that's because she's pretty young -- under 40, I think. She generally has a healthy, positive air about her! One time, I saw her in mid-bounce jogging down the hallway on the 7th floor of Hamilton and I almost wondered if I was bisexual, such a beautiful image of a Teutonic jungfrau she made. (I'm a gay male.) ALSO, she has a fantastic sense of humor! She's not deliberately in-your-face (which I don't mind to a certain extent), but very subtle and not gratuitous. Overall, while I can say that I had one or two classes at Columbia I enjoyed more than Music Hum (simply because I am interested in other things), I can definitely say that Tina is the best teacher I had in all of college, strictly speaking of the métier of instruction regardless of subject area. P.S. She has the best German accent ever; in her syllabus, she accidentally wrote "since die Middle Ages" at one point no joke. Also, I believe she is climbing Kilimanjaro at the very moment I am writing this (after-class chitchat).

Jun 2013

Nick was a fantastic Music Hum instructor. I'm surprised he doesn't have a silver or gold nugget! It was clear throughout the semester that he takes teaching very seriously, and that his goal was just for us to learn about classical music. These are always good things in a core class. I was most impressed by how organized Nick is and how much material he manages to fit into each class. His classroom is truly a well oiled machine. He produces very comprehensive handouts for everything in the course (class content, guidelines for assignments), returns graded work promptly with copious comments, and responds to emails quickly. He was an engaging lecturer and I think, managed to capture the interest of even students who probably weren't inclined to like the subject matter that much. It's clear that he's really into the material, but understands that most people wouldn't normally listen to that much classical music. On another note, it was pretty cool that for the German vocal music we studied, Nick appears to have translated the texts from the German himself. With regard to course content, there were a few live performances in the class, which were pretty exciting (Nick is a singer), as well as a trip to the opera to see La Traviata, and to Carnegie Hall for a Wagner recital. Nick is serious about graded assignments-- he'll definitely point it out if you don't back up your arguments or don't organize them clearly. That being said, since this is a core class and all, I think he is fairly lenient as long as a good faith effort is made. Plus, there are many extra credit opportunities. I'm pretty sure that a large proportion of our class received As. I believe Nick is teaching CC next year, and I think he'll be great. I'm pretty sure he incorporated something about Kant and the noumenal and phenomenal when we talked about Wagner and Debussy (hurray for drawing connections between core classes!). Anyway, if you get Nick for CC, definitely take the class! It's guaranteed that he'll invest boundless energy into the course and make great efforts to ensure that you walk away from the class enlightened on some level.

May 2013

He’s a nice guy, but he’s trying too hard. He’s a pianist, so he knows music very well--and beyond that, not much else. We learned almost nothing because he didn’t know how to teach with the readings: he basically just repeated the book and then talked a lot about musical jargon that no non-musicians understood. I appreciated his knowledge, but gave up trying to follow along pretty quickly. Eisenberg often talks for twice as long as he needs to, and this definitely adds up; we got out of class 5-10 minutes late almost every day, and class was already supposed to end at 7:30. He does the same thing with assignments, writing overly wordy and confusing essay prompts and vocabulary IDs that are hard to study. His midterm/finals were a little ridiculous: Music Hum was my most difficult final. This should just not be allowed to happen. The second half of the class was all student presentations and guest performances. He prepared us for the final not at all, and the same goes for the other assignments. We also got no comments on our midterms, which meant that we were pretty much on our own for the final (he didn't prepare us and the book is your only hope). I want to give him credit for really wanting to do well. But the truth is, if I knew what I was getting into, I would have immediately switched sections. Music Hum was my only Core dud.

May 2013

The best class I have ever taken at Columbia. I wish that I took this class with Sam sooner and learned how to actually listen. You'll be exposed to new types of music you've never heard before and never thought existed (while your friends are still concentrating on classical music). At first, you'll find it weird and then you'll grow to love it. Sam really cares about what his students should actually take from the course - "I just want you guys to learn how to listen." He won't drone you on remembering music, dates, composers, but rather teach you techniques to actively listen, to hear those nuances you didn't hear before. You will apply this whenever you see a movie and hear the film music and whenever you're jogging and you realize "wow I never heard that sound before." Thanks Sam for teaching me how to listen and give the most relaxed yet interesting class ever.

May 2013

Leanne is a very kind, nice teacher, who assigns a ton of homework and grades harshly. The class content isn't bad. We go over various periods of European and American music from chants in the 1400s to Minimalism and Jazz in the 20th century. Most of the class is spent on classical music and opera though. The class can get boring at times and a few people do sleep in class (which probably kills the easy 20% you could get from participation). She assigns listening and reading every class. I didn't actually listen to any of the music till before the exams, but you should if you want to do well. The midterm was kind of hard since a lot of the chants and classical music are hard hard to distinguish. The final was easier because we covered more varied "modern" music. I suggest you take this class only if you have to. This is an average MusicHum class from what I hear. There are better teachers who makes the class an easy A. There are awful teachers who make students attend 6 concerts. I suggest not rushing MusicHum and waiting till you get a section with an easier professor.

May 2013

You know how there are those professors who are really unorganized but their class is still phenomenal and you learn a lot? Michael Eisenberg is not one of those professors. He's very smart and very talented, but his music hum class was literally the least organized class I have ever taken at Columbia. He would assign readings from the book, but all we would do in class was analyze little snippets of songs or have in class performers. I think he demanded too much from us in the sense that he wanted us to be able to analyze music, but most of us did not have any kind of background in music and were unfamiliar with music theory. What was really irritating was that the exams tested the stuff from the book (more historical context type things) but we hardly ever even went over it in class. The final was the most poorly designed test I've ever taken. He gives you 4 cds of music to memorize and be able to identify by ear, in addition to four short essays, and vocab (he gave us over 120 possible words, 50 appear on the test, and you only have to answer 25). If you can switch out, DO IT, but if you can't you'll survive. Just do well on the concert reports and participate a lot, he'll think whatever you say is profound.

May 2013

I had the pleasure of having Professor Fruehauf for Music Hum. Her teaching style, care for each and every one of her students, and friendly demeanor easily made Music Hum my favorite Core class. She was always so kind and patient while making sure we had a solid grasp on all of the musical concepts and terminology. She would always encourage everyone to participate as well. Her dedication to her teaching was unmatched by any professor I've had at Columbia. She was always willing to make time to help students out with their assignments, attend concerts with them, or just to chat about life. Overall, count yourself lucky if you get Professor Fruehauf for Music Hum. She is a true gem.

May 2013

Eisenberg is very knowledgeable, I will give him that. However as a teacher, he is EXTREMELY unorganized and I felt that he expected too much music theory knowledge. It was not uncommon to receive several emails over the span of a few minutes correcting information. We barely followed the text and the majority of the second half of the semester was in class presentations or performances that did not help prepare for the final at all. That being said, grading is pretty lenient if you follow the rubrics closely (use sheet music for the reports if you can read music, it helps a lot). If you can switch out of this section, do it, but if not it's tolerable.

May 2013

Arman is a fantastic teacher. Though he can be overly energetic (which was sometimes hard at 10 in the morning), he is one of those rare teachers that is actually deeply passionate about the subject matter and about his students. Our class had a really fantastic dynamic that he facilitated well, and he always brought really engaging pieces for us to analyze and questions for us to think about. He gives great feedback on assignments and is generally an easy grader. Even though I am music major and thus knew a lot of the material already, he had a way of catering to each student to make everyone feel engaged, involved, and important. This is something that is often hard to find at Columbia, and I think that Arman does a truly wonderful job of it. I have no bad feedback about him at all.

Feb 2013

What to say about Marilyn McCoy. SHE IS AMAZING! Now granted, after talking to other students in different sections of Music Hum, I realized that I had to do a little bit more work than others in the different sections, but in the end, it was worth it. She has such a passion for the material, and is such a great teacher! She truly cares about her students, and does everything she can to see each of us succeed. Her lectures are informative as well as fun, and does a really good job describing musical terms and jargon, so people without music backgrounds can follow. I would seek her out for this class, and I learned a lot having her. Her class was my favorite last semester, and if I ever take another music class, I want it to be with her.

Feb 2013

Professor Bradley-Kramer is, simply but, an amazing professor. She is sincerely committed to the goals of music hum, and every student who takes the class with her leaves with a new perspective on music generally, let alone classical music. The textbook is really interesting, with one of the first assignments on syncopation citing "Lose Yourself" by Eminem. She ties in music from different genres to solidify conceptual ideas, and really strives to make the class interesting for everyone.

Feb 2013

Lucy is phenomenal. End of story. That being said, you have to be willing to engage with her personal interpretation of music history from both a women's and/or subaltern perspective in order to actually get something out of the class. She's very willing to tie contemporary music and debates on power/class/society/race/politics into the construction of musical narratives and definitions of "high" vs. "low" culture and "virtuosic" vs. "non-virtuosic" music. All in all, one couldn't ask for a more attentive and thought-provoking musichum instructor. Also, Lucy is very hip. Seriously, sometimes she's too hip to handle. (but don't be intimidated)

Jan 2013

Really Great Professor for Music Hum. Really excited to teach everything and always comes to class with passion and energy. You can clearly see that he is in love with music. He presents the material well and provides a good context for everything and is good at making the class understand all the technical and fuzzy concepts associated with music. One criticism I have of the class is that sometimes it is easy to the point of banality. This is not in reference to the technical and listening aspects of the class which can be a bit tricky (but could have definitely been more challenging and interesting and not so basic) but more to the historical and cultural aspects of the music. In this sense the class seems to have been watered down a lot and one could get through an entire essay by just BSing some buzzwords and dropping some names rather than having any in depth analysis of anything. It also seemed that he panders to the students a lot in terms of making the class easy and was quite often bullied into giving easier assignments and cutting out things from the syllabus by lazy students who didnt really want to put in anything. The assignments are quite useless but the exams are a good measure of ones knowledge and understanding of all the concepts. The material of the class however is quite interesting and amazing and I really got exposed to some amazing music in this class. The Professor is really a nice guy and he himself seemed really pissed off about watering down the class so much and sort of hated giving people credit for their BS. I feel that if the professor raised his expectations for the class a little bit in terms of the quality and rigor put into the work and didnt get scared that he was ruining someones grade or making it too difficult or anything then it would have been a much more fruitful class and not have the flavor of something that was just a requirement and needed to be thrown out of the way.

Jan 2013

He's perfect! Keep this section if you get into it. Everything you want in a Music Hum professor and class, you'll get from this one. The music is incredible, and the fact that Mario is so passionate about it only extends your own appreciation. I believe we covered the same pieces as most MH classes (from talking to people in other sections) but we had a textbook with listening guides and readings. Overall, an enjoyable experience.

Jan 2013

I agree completely with the review below. Kaye's lectures were fine, and he did try to make them interesting, but he offered little feedback, created an unpleasant classroom environment, and was almost impossible to communicate with. He spent 15 minutes a class chastising us for not reading the book, telling us that he doesn't have enough time to teach us everything, and scolding us for taking notes because we shouldn't be "memorizing" the material. Same speech. Every class. He specifically kept the lights off--to make it easier to see the slides but also to prevent us from taking notes--even though it's IMPOSSIBLE TO STAY AWAKE in a dark room while listening to Mozart's variations on Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star. The midterm was ridiculously long and the final asked the MOST SPECIFIC QUESTIONS possible. One midterm question was on the nickname of a composer that the book mentioned in passing. These are the kind of insanely specific, irrelevant questions that show up on the midterm and final. The prompts for the papers were so vague and when we asked for feedback he would say things like, "it's hard to explain what makes a good paper" and "you just have that special spark or you don't." OK. He was so hot and cold in class--some days he was super friendly and other days he would snap at students for asking innocuous questions--and he also seemed to dislike random students for no particular reason. I think he really wanted us to learn about and appreciate the music--and would try to help--but this was hands down the worst class I've taken at Columbia. If you're looking for an easy A OR just an enjoyable class from which you'll learn a lot about music, SWITCH OUT.

Dec 2012

This class was the most hysterical class ever! I was in a class made up of mostly musicians, but even compared to the other classes made of up musicians that I talked to, our workload was super, super light. Prof. Dipaolo definitely had interesting insights, and I feel like I did learn from the class somewhat. However, much of the class consisted of simply listening to music, or else, trying to get the speakers to work, or else, complaining about how the speakers never worked. In discussion, we had a few people who already knew everything, and a few who hated the people who already knew everything, which always made for free entertainment. And Prof. Dipaolo always had some amusing thing to show or play us (an electronic version of Rite of Spring, for example), so overall this was my most enjoyable class. Prof. Dipaolo is the nicest guy ever, and I cannot imagine that anyone didn't get an A.

Dec 2012

Music Hum Courtney was a great teacher for music hum. I didn't think I would enjoy the class as much as I did. Much of the time was spent lecturing and listening to music which made it more of a relaxing course. My favorite part of the class was at the end when she brought special guests who played their music and described their careers. Courtney was sweet, relaxed and helpful. She worked hard to ensure that the students understood the material. From her class i feel that I learned a lot about music, take her class.

Dec 2012

I just finished my semester of Music Hum with Professor Kaye. I found it to be one of the most frustrating courses I have ever taken at Columbia. I feel as if the reason they don't let you choose your core professors ahead of time is so they can sneak in professors like this. To be fair, I will start with the pros: Professor Kaye was knowledgable about the subject and a relatively clear speaker. Meaning he said words and I understood what they meant. But he is also kind of a lunatic. For the first half of the semester, he did not lecture on any piece of music we would be tested on. He said that he wrote the lectures to be entertaining, and that we had to learn all the relevant information ourselves from the book. He spent anywhere from 10-15 minutes EVERY CLASS talking about how he didn't have time to cover everything we had to learn, and we had to pay close attention to the readings, because that's where the test questions would come from. Aside from being a waste of time, this seemed to illustrate that he is somehow aware that he is shirking his duties as a professor of a core class, which is to teach us about the Masterpieces of Western Music. Instead, he spends his time on pieces that he finds more interesting that may have some connection to the pieces we need to know, in detail, for the exam. He goes so far as to insist that his students don't take notes because they are there to "think" not just "memorize" and that none of the lecture is on the exam. (Despite the fact that none of the lectures were relevant, he still required attendance). After the midterm (which I think everyone did terribly on, but was curved) he started talking about the actual material. ALSO: in giving us his general feedback on our performance of the midterm, he claimed that we "didn't absorb anything" from lecture and included nothing we learned in class in our midterm essays. When I tried to point out that he had directed us to not take notes, he just talked over me, saying that we should have understood these concepts and been familiar with these pieces of music to bring them into our analysis, even if they weren't in the book. Seriously: delusional. My classmates expressed frustration over these antics, but no one was motivated to say anything in class. I raised my hand in class and asked if I could give feedback on the exam (the questions are extremely technical and specific, the exam extraordinarily long) and he responded that he "couldn't make everyone happy" and is "always criticized for one thing or the other." As a side note: he's a total colonial apologist. On the last day of class, he waved away my attempts to discuss the colonial implications of a video he showed, claiming that "if it's not one person's colonialism, it'll be another." Offensive and incorrect. I expect I will get something around a B or a B+, which is fine, but he is not worth the trouble.

Dec 2012

Professor Cerar did an incredibly poor job of communicating anything worth knowing in this course. She often spent an entire class on a tangent, never addressing the topic we were actually supposed to cover. Her notes on the board seem to be placed at random and make no sense, making it impossible to take notes. In the middle of a sentence, she might write down one of the words she has just used, and expect that one written word to make all the difference to her poorly constructed lesson plan (assuming she even makes lesson plans). If attendance weren't mandatory, who knows if I ever would have shown up, since I often felt like I wasn't gaining anything from her lectures and could have easily learned what I needed to know for the midterm/final just by staying home and reading the assigned readings. For the midterm and final, she gave us a study sheet that included 140 vocab words (some of which included words that are impossible to define or to use in the context of a composition, such as "octave" and "scale") that were clearly copied and pasted from some online music dictionary, and told us that of the 140 words, 8 would appear on the tests. Plain and simple, she's a bad teacher. The only time I ever learned anything in the class was when reading the textbook or when the TA would take over for a class period. If you can, switch out.

Dec 2012

Maja, like the other reviewer mentioned, clearly cares about the well-being and interests of her students. The only problem is that this doesn't always translate to her teaching style, which at times can feel disjointed and vaguely non-sequitur. It was often unclear what her expectations were for various things (papers, midterms, etc) and even though she is rather generous as a grader, it was always difficult to discern where the grades came from and what they were based on, which made it a little difficult to cater to her style. She covers the basic material necessary, but not in a way that evokes any particular interest or deeper understanding; it certainly feels like an obligatory course. If you happen to get her for Music Hum, it's not the end of the world; you won't have a very difficult time in the class, but you might find yourself uninspired more often than not.

Dec 2012

Frisch is nice, approachable, and he honestly expects his students to be interested in learning about music history. Do not take his class unless you REALLY care about the content music hum. He uses “Music in the Western World: A History in Documents” instead of the normal textbook. This book is essentially the bastard child of the CC and Music Hum texts; it’s incredibly boring and expensive. Frisch rarely goes over the assigned readings in class, but he expects students to identify and analyze the passages. Instead he spends the ‘extra’ time (30+ minutes) showing scenes from operas. This wouldn’t be a problem, except for the fact that it was almost the end of the semester and we hadn’t covered American music yet. Also, he sings; it’s terrible and hilariously awkward. He has forced the class to sing on two different occasions, despite the fact that everyone was clearly uncomfortable and half of us did not know the words to the song.

Dec 2012

This was Matthew's first semester teaching, so it is understandable that he was still refining his teaching methods. He would often assign 2 listening pieces per class (~25 minutes of listening for hw/class), but we usually only covered 1 of those pieces. The class can be dry sometimes--Matthew can ramble a little--but overall this was a fine Music Hum experience. The pop quizzes are easy, we only had to write one 5 page paper, and Matthew is an easy and generous grader. The best part of the class with Matthew is that he is an amazing musician, so he can play out different parts of the music for class over and over to help explain a concept. Overall, I'd recommend Matthew as a Professor--he makes it as low stress as possible.

Aug 2012

Great professor. Professor Keenan kept most of the lectures lively with her enthusiasm. Her knowledge on the subject is incredible; it's almost a shame that we sped through many of the topics towards the second half of the semester rather quickly. The class definitely starts off slow, especially for people with prior basic music training such as myself. But over time, especially when the class enters the Romantic Era, things move along a lot quicker. Definitely don't fall behind in the assignments. As with most core classes, it's often easy to forget the sporadic assignments (such as two page response papers) scattered throughout the semester for this class. Stay on top and check the syllabus frequently (the assignments are rather straightforward anyway). If you pay attention in class things will be much easier. The exams are based off the lectures and everything you need to know is always written on the board, which makes it easy to take notes. If you're willing to put in the effort, this class is well worth the time. For those even mildly interested in music history, one can learn a lot in this class.

Jul 2012

It's difficult to write a balanced review for this class, because most of the time I either really liked/disliked it depending on the topic or assignment. So here goes: Lucie's class is not strictly organized or "conventional"; she does not define concepts and build on them in an orderly fashion. Rather, she jumps right into a topic and will go back and define concepts as students ask/she sees fit. For some minor things, this was not a problem. But a lot of concepts that related to musical theory itself were left undefined and a lot of students were confused. Likewise, there is no "takeaway" from any given topic... the class centers on the student's attitudes about the material, and I think Lucie wanted us each to develop our own attitude towards music, which was difficult to do if we didn't even know the basics. That said, Lucie is understanding and a lenient grader. She has no problem spending time going over things the students don't understand very well, and she makes it clear that she will not test us on the technical aspects of music, so we shouldn't worry about them too much. She also uploads a list of important concepts for us to know, although she doesn't define them so you really need to pay attention in class. All in all, I had a good experience but I would have liked the class to be more structured. I felt like I didn't come away with as much information about music as I did about feminist/racial reactions to certain types of music.

Jun 2012

Professor Vagnerova is unapologetically fashionable. Far from being the only reason, but it kept my attention. My Hum class was very international and the Prof. seized on this opportunity and let everybody participate and share their very different experiences of the world and music. The course was richer for it in the end. I will actually miss our weekly discussions. Some of the discussions did get a little messy but if I learned one thing in this class, it is the way music is connected to other parts of humanity, it doesn't just stand apart in the "art" sphere. That's why discussions could go off-topic sometimes. I recommend this class to everybody willing to question the ways they have been listening for years.

May 2012

I am sure most students in Lucie's class would really disagree with the above reviewer. Some students simply want to memorize a list of definitions, pass an exam, and get credit. Also, unlike said reviewer, I think Music Hum SHOULD be a conversation rather than a lecture. As Lucie said in the first class, her questions don't have right/wrong answers but are supposed to encourage discussion. I was actually glad to have a teacher who passionately shared her opinion and debated students like equals instead of acting like she is 'above it' and 'superior' like many professors at CU. Sometimes Lucie allowed the discussion to go off-topic as long as it's productive. Other times, she will shut down off-topic comments but I never felt like she held a grudge. As for students misbehaving, loudness, and some students' constant lateness, I believe that's their fault and not so much the instructor's. The teacher is the teacher, not the police. Lucie's class taught me to think about music not just as an abstract source of pleasure, but as a place of national, class, ethnic, and gender contestation. I would say I enjoy my favorite music much more as a result. Also, I started listening to more types of music such as Jazz and the french composer Debussy. One of the most interesting returning discussions in Music Hum was about the concert experience -- how strange and ritualistic it is to dress up, sit in the dark without making a sound and clap at the end. In fact, students are expected to attend two concerts on their own (a classical music concert and a 20th century "avant garde" concert) and the class as a whole went to hear 20th century American music at Carnegie Hall. As a result of these assignments, I heard music and went to venues that I would never normally encounter: I am glad I got to do this before leaving New York. Some of the music was difficult to listen to at first but subsequent discussion in class helped a lot. I enjoyed the challenge though maybe some students did not.

May 2012

Professor Deborah Bradley-Kramer is probably the best professor I have ever had at Columbia. Deborah Bradley-Kramer is an amazing piano player in her own right (and would often play for us in class), and is extremely knowledgable about the material covered. You will learn so much from her class, and be introduced not only to the mainstream musical composers of the course (Bach, Beethoven, etc.) but also be introduced to Deborah's own personal choice of interesting pieces, many of which have so many connections to the genres of music you will learn in the course. Deborah as a person is the sweetest, nicest professor you will ever encounter, and is always readily available at office hours and available to talk before and after class. In terms of the work for the class, you will have brief reading assignments (from both the textbook and readings Deborah will post on courseworks), listening assignments (that have a few questions you have to answer and submit to her for credit, and she gives you full credit if you've done the assignment), two longer papers (4-5 pages, 1200-1500 words), and short one-page responses to listenings and readings. It was really not that bad at all. The midterm and final were challenging, and you had to memorize quite a few listening compositions, but it wasn't that bad because if you keep up with the material you should be able to know the pieces thoroughly. The final had a short essay response. I did pretty well on the midterm, and Deborah gave you an opportunity to do an extra credit assignment to boost your midterm great. All in all, Deborah Bradley-Kramer is a fantastic professor and the greatest professors at Columbia. It is unfortunate that professors as good as this come few and far between at Columbia, but this woman deserves a golden nugget!!!! Take take take her class! :)

May 2012

Ashley was hands down one of the best teachers I have ever had. In all my time at Columbia, as well as in high school, middle school, primary school and yes, even Kindergarten. She brought tremendous enthusiasm to the class, an incredibly contagious enthusiasm that showed in her lectures, homework, grading and exams. I loved going to class because of her great personality. She made me laugh every single class period, while at the same time amazing and enthralling me with the syllabus pieces and her knowledge of them. She was insanely structured, which made the class easy to follow and extremely accessible. I loved music humanities, and Ashley made it an experience that will stay with me until death.

May 2012

If there's any way to describe this class, it would be...awkward, but I'll get to that later. The class is pretty cut and dry, straight off the syllabus. There's a little bit of all the musical genres/periods, and we were usually a class behind schedule. Most of the class focuses on listening, so we mainly analyzed music in class. Which means that most information content would be from the book, though I doubt many people actually did the readings since they turned out to be unnecessary. Work wasn't stressful, but there seemed to be A TON of assignments before every class on Courseworks. Most people probably didn't do them, and it was fine. I would assume most people did fine, but you might have to put a little work into it simply because of the amount of material we covered. I've seen syllabi from a couple Music Hum sections, and this one definitely seemed to have the most (albeit easy) work. Despite this, this class was flat out awkward. Leanne is a very nice person who is responsive and always willing to help, but a lot of times, she would make jokes that the class would laugh at just to be polite and humor her. Having the class at 9 AM probably made it worse. There's nothing in particular that's wrong with the class, but it certainly will get boring at times and you won't leave feeling inspired about music. It's good exposure to a wide array of musical styles that's good to know, but more likely than not, it be a memorable or fond experience.

May 2012

I feel so lucky to have had Professor Fruehauf for MusicHum. She has really broadened my knowledge of, and piqued my interest in, Western music. I've started attending more concerts and listening to more pieces on my own thanks to her. In the first half of the semester, Professor Fruehauf emphasizes musical terminology. While the terms can be difficult to grasp at first, she patiently reviews them and answers questions until everyone is on the same page. This gives you a solid vocabulary with which to discuss music for the rest of the semester and beyond. She also assigns some small written assignments in the first half. This may be more work than the typical MusicHum section, but the homeworks do complement the class well and are even pretty fun (like listening to a fusions between Gregorian chant and pop). For the first concert report, we each had to find our own concert to attend. Professor Fruehauf is really helpful with this because she suggests concerts throughout the semester, regularly emailing us information about upcoming concerts. She will also read and comment on a draft of the concert report as long as it's submitted before the midterm. For the second concert report, we saw La Traviata as a class. Professor Fruehauf also hosted a review session in her home for the midterm. It was really kind of her to offer the extra help, and the review was very helpful preparation for the exam. She cares a lot about her students, and is happy to chat about the material or what you're studying outside of class. Throughout the semester, she is clear and straightforward about her expectations, and you will come away knowing so much more about Western music. Consider yourself lucky if you have her for MusicHum!

May 2012

Kate was a great Music Hum prof. Whether she's a great composer... well, check out her website and judge for yourself. The class moved briskly and covered a lot of material. Unlike many music hum professors she spent 2 weeks on modern music, so if you want less Mozart and more Reich, take Soper. She hit the highlights, but definitely lingered less on Mozart and Beethoven and the other classical greats. I personally think that was fine, and was happy to learn more about 20th and 21st century *concert* music (ie no Beatles, think Stravinsky and Stockhausen and Reich). She posted courseworks readings for every class, but they were relatively short and worth doing because they supplemented the lectures well. Generally there were about 4 songs totaling 20-30 minutes for each lecture. You had to attend a western music concert and write up a 5 page report focusing on whatever you wanted, due the last class. During reading week there was another 5 page paper due, with a relatively broad topic. The midterm and final were identical, and non-cumulative. Part 1 was known listening: she posted 25 songs we'd heard in class/on courseworks and we had to be able to identify title and composer of the ~5 she picked based on a ~30 second sample. Part II was unknown listening, she'd play a few minutes of music similar to what we'd heard and we had to identify a likely composer and explain what elements of the music made them a good fit. Part III was basic multiple choice, which if you paid attention in lecture you'd do fine on. Part IV was an essay responding to a prompt, pretty open ended as long as you cited specific composers & titles.

May 2012

Maybe I had a Cohen's evil twin for music hum this semester, since his previous reviews don't make any sense compared to what I experienced. Very few pros: Cohen is incredibly passionate and knowledgable about the music. He's also a generally well-meaning and kind person. He's cute and nice in a grandfatherly way. Truly, I WISH he had been a good teacher. I hate trashing such a nice guy, but I think all of his future music hum students should know what they're getting themselves into... so they can switch out of his section. So many cons: Cohen is a TERRIBLE music hum professor. Let me explain.... He should not be teaching students who have no prior music knowledge. He gets visibly frustrated when we ask naive questions, even though music hum is supposed to be a class for beginners. Rather than teaching on broad concepts that might help us get a grasp of classical music, Cohen focuses on tiny details - and tests us on them! It is incredibly frustrating for me, especially since I genuinely wanted to come away from music hum with an appreciation for classical music. All I've done is stuff my brain with random facts and tunes that I'll regurgitate for the final and forget 2 days later. Cohen is also ridiculously disorganized. He takes so long to teach every little, minute concept that we ended up barely covering anything outlined in the syllabus this semester. On our Courseworks site, the syllabus says that our grade breakdown is: Class attendance and participation: 15% One written listening report: 10% One written concert report: 10% Quizzes: 20% Mid-Term examination: 20% Final examination: 25% HOWEVER, we've only been evaluated twice this whole semester: two incredibly detail-focused quizzes. Listening report? Concert report? Mid-term? LOL. As it turns out, we'll also be having a final exam...which he announced about a week before it was scheduled to take place. We've asked him how much the final exam will weigh for our final grades, and he replied with "I'm not sure exactly, but a lot." WTF. I'm not kidding. The thing is, I'm all for learning for the love of it, but the way Cohen conducts this class is just not fair. We deserve to have clearly outlined expectations. On that note, Cohen does indeed give out extremely detailed "listening guides" for the pieces we'll be tested on. Don't be fooled by these "gifts"....they are (and he is!) INSANE. He literally expects us to be able to recognize specific seconds of specific movements of specific pieces. I've never been expected to learn anything in such detail. Cohen will email us 3-4 times per week correcting his previous 2-3 emails, saying that we should be focusing on seconds 20-45, not 19-42. Again, not kidding. He ALSO expects us to know pieces that we haven't even covered in class because we ran out of time and couldn't cover them. Again, UNFAIR in so many ways. In sum: Do not take Cohen's section of music hum. He is a nice guy, but an AWFUL instructor. I wish I could go back in time and take someone else's section. I had such a wonderful art hum experience, and I've been so disappointed by music hum. I know for a fact that other music hum teachers make the course worthwhile.... Unfortunately, Cohen's not one of them.

May 2012

I agree completely with the previous review but would like to add one important detail: he is possibly the easiest grader alive. Seriously, As for everyone. I know that this is not a forum for sharing which classes are easy, but this is an important thing to know. If you're looking for an instructor who will put as much effort into grading a paper as you did writing it, this is not the guy. He allowed me to review the 4/20 Wolfgang Gartner concert for my concert report, and he knows exactly what that date means. I got both papers back with an A at the top, no comments, and no crease by the staple, where someone would fold it if they were to read the paper (he may not have). Really nice guy, though. He's funny and great to talk to about music -- just not Music Hum, per se.

May 2012

Prof McCoy was awesome. I'll agree that there are a TON of assignments, but none of them take long, and she's not a tough grader at all and gives extensions to anyone who asks. As earlier reviews note, she covers the material in a pretty different way than other teachers. Her course is based on First Nights, a book that covers only 5 musical works (Monteverdi's Orpheo, Handel's Messiah, Beethoven's 9th, Berlioz's Symphony Fantastique, and Stravinsky's Rite of Spring). Regardless of whether you like the works, you'll learn a ton from them because you spend so long on each one, and McCoy is really good at putting them in the context of what was going on in music history when they were written. One downside is that you don't get to have that one week at the end of the course where you learn about more modern composers or the beatles or whatever contemporary music another professor might cover. Overall I think it was a great way to learn about western music. More than anything, McCoy just cares. She cares about the music and about the class and about her students, and her enthusiasm is contagious. She wants you to succeed and will go out of her way to help you understand concepts or to help you catch up if you miss a lecture. Being there for students is an often overlooked asset in a teacher, and she just totally gets it.

May 2012

For one, I think that using the Mac in class was a bad idea. She clearly does not know how to use it efficiently and often bent down in the middle of sentences, while continuing rambling, to find something on her laptop. It was distracting and made it so that the class often had to sit in silence while she fiddled around with it. That said, I think using a PowerPoint or something typed would be helpful in this class, because her handwriting was really hard to read. That, and she wasn't really good at getting through what she planned on getting through that day. This is probably for two reasons. 1) She would ask us questions about our reactions to music or what we knew about a particular time period, but, really, she was getting at some ridiculously obscure fact. Music history isn't something that's really intuitive, and she tried to get us to sort of have the answers ourselves, but she should have just told us what she was getting at. It would have saved time and been a lot less awkward silences. But even more so, it was annoying because it seemed like she was more interested in her time than ours. She could fiddle around with her laptop and stop in the middle of what she was saying to find a music clip, but if we weren't 30 seconds early to class, the door would already be closed. That was really distracting, too, because individuals would always come in on time/a little late and she would have to stop what she was doing to let them in. It wasn't really necessary to close the door unless she was playing music, which, at the beginning of class, she often was not. Also, she often dumbed down musical explanations to the point where they were useless. Her explanation of tonality, such a key concept, was botched, and I'm pretty sure only the kids who had played music before could discern what she was trying to say. If she had just taken a day to really explain tonality and, perhaps, dropped a day of modern music (which she obviously is a fan of...Skipping Brahms in the Romantic Era to do some really crazy and not necessarily useful modern music), or at least used some sort of textbook to keep us all on the same page, it would have been more fulfilling. That said, this would also make this class harder, which is not necessarily something that's great in the student's eyes. She would critique little details of our arguments in our papers, so I don't really know how this class is going to end up grade wise. She would preface everything with "everyone has a valid opinion," but if someone voiced an opinion against modern music either in class or in a paper, she would reject it. I get that she's a modern composer, but I also think the goal of this course was to educate us on the classics, not really new, modern stuff that may fall out of fashion in the next year.

May 2012

Ashley is amazing. She puts a lot of time into preparing for the class, and has genuine enthusiasm for helping people understand the basics. For example, she takes the time to photocopy the textbook so that you don't have to waste your money on it. She gives quizzes once a week or so with review sheets so even when I felt lost (I have no music background) all I had to do was focus on those directions and I was more than fine. She brings energy and appreciates participation. I made myself raise my hand at least once a week so she knew I was giving an effort. I know that I didn't bring a whole lot to the discussion, because some of the other students had a much larger working knowledge of music, but Ashley made it clear that she wanted us to comment when we could. I've heard from friends that they've not had the same pleasant experience as me with this class in particular so I'm grateful I had Ashley.

Apr 2012

Professor's lectures are not very clear. I often cannot tell what the main point of the lecture is and what we are supposed to get out of it. Then, several lectures later when we are told we talked about this or that in class and that's when I find out what was important in the previous lecture. We seem to be expected to remember everything that was said in class. There is not an organized introduction of course materials. Instead, it's more of a conversation lecture with key words thrown in. I didn't feel like I learned much and classes are a blur of comments from a few of the students in class. It would help if aspects of the course like history, music history, changes in music, etc. were connected better instead of each lecture appearing to stand on its own. It might be better if, after a discussion, the professor summarized what she wanted us to get out of the listening or that time period. Every once in a while, it felt like if I didn't go check on Courseworks what subject we were discussing that day, I would not have any idea what genre we were talking about and when and where it took place. Only certain people talked in class. Partially, that was because only certain people are outspoken naturally, but some people who might have wanted to talk probably gave up after a few classes because of the professor's response. There are times when the professor seemed to shoot down what someone said. She played favoritism a lot. When some people said something, it was always accepted with little enthusiasm, while others' comments were treated like they were very intelligent and relevant. If someone talked too much, she would start ignoring them. In general, I did not find this class interesting and I learned very little.

Apr 2012

Alex (he goes by Alex) is definitely one of the best instructors I've had here. I can say with certainty that my appreciation for music, music history, music theory, philosophy in general, etc. has been changed for the better. He's one of those instructors that makes learning fun (I know that sounds cliche, but it's true) and I will take the lessons I've received from this class with me for as long as I have music to listen to. Definitely deserves a silver nugget at least; I'd give him gold. Quite nonconventional style very well executed. No handouts and hardly any work out of class (2 readings all semester), but it makes for an even more engaging learning experience with a focus on experiencing the music and discussing it at the same time. Again, his style isn't conventional. After missing class once, I was told to get notes from a classmate because he didn't know what he had covered that day. He told me he has a notebook full of the things he wants to cover, but it's in no particular order and there's so much that it's hard for him to know exactly what he actually got to. This sounds a bit disorganized, but it doesn't feel that way at all; the course always feels like it's moving with clear and organized direction. Participation is encouraged, but I don't think anyone ever feels pressured to chime on, nor do I think we're penalized for keeping quiet. That said, the class is engaging enough that you'll want to participate and ask questions. His class would probably be considered "easier" than most, but I've learned a great deal without ever feeling like I'm memorizing or learning it for the sake of the class. Alex makes the class feel like a pursuit outside of just a grade; I can say with certainty that I'm substantially more interested in music, music history, and music theory because of this class. Great Core experience; as a previous reviewer put it, he's one of the few instructors left that really captures the Core experience we're all hoping to have. If you're looking to fulfill your Music Hum requirement (which I suspect we all are), TAKE HIS CLASS. If you're already interested in pursuing music beyond the requirement or know a bunch already, it may be a bit simplistic for you, but I still think you'll have a lot to gain from his funny demeanor and insightful commentary.

Apr 2012

I had heard a lot of bad things about music hum in general, but I truly enjoyed this course. Aaron is an interesting lecturer and a very sweet and funny man. Topics and theoretical concepts that could have easily been tedious were made interesting and accesible. He really wants you to get the concepts and puts a lot on the board and prepares notes before hand. He also brings in other mediums like visual art to give you a better grasp on the full scope of the artistic world these composers were living in. You have to do your work, but the text book is actually really interesting (it's not Listen, it's a collection of primary source texts) and the chapters are incredibly brief (like 2-3 pages). He's not an easy grader as much as an understanding one...he knows not everyone is into music and music theory. I showed up on the first day dreading this class, and it became a highlight of my semester. Aaron's enthusiastic without going overboard, and it's easy to catch it. I really came to appreciate a lot of new music, and I felt like I really learned a lot without breaking my back. This is what music hum should be.

Apr 2012

If you want Music Hum to be a light and enjoyable course, do not take it with Marilyn McCoy. There are lengthy and tedious assignments due every single class. Sometimes she assigns two homeworks to be due in one day, or due on days you don't have classes. Her exams are very easy, but the she takes the homework and the classes way too seriously. Her essay grading is tough. She is very disorganized when it comes to giving you feedback. She will make you rewrite anything below an 80% and then tell you your score is the same, even if you rewrote the entire thing. She is very enthusiastic about the course, which is nice, so you learn a lot. Every other Music Hum teacher knows that we only take the class to finish the core, so it should be light and easy, but McCoy wants us to make Music Hum our number one priority, which is ridiculous. Find ANY other teacher for this class.

Jan 2012

Max’s is so good that I cannot put down leisure in this cozy Friday night and write this review. He is the best instructor I’ve had in Columbia, not one of. If you are in his section, I would think you are really blessed. His class is great in 2 aspects. 1.The Evaluation Structure: A concert report is a required component for music hum. Students in some sections may have headache how to write it. In Max’s class, I do not have such agony. Max does not expect you to write a mellifluous paper that may provoke him, or bash you how bad you appreciate music. So when you are in concert(whose attendance is required for music hum), you can really enjoy the concert or opera without distraction of finding clues how to fill in several words in report. The grade is based on attendance, participation, midterm, final, quizzes and homework. Homework is not hard and very useful. It helps you understand the pieces.(fugue) His penalty to absence is harsh but I promise his class is so interesting that you would enjoy every class. Almost each class has a quiz: one for assigned reading and one for listening. There are a lots of quizzes but it is not hard if you keep up to his schedule. Reading is not long at all. He usually writes reading by himself, with pictures of his choice. It not only saves you lots of money but also his reading handout is very neat! Listening quiz is to give an answer if the music he plays is assigned or not. This may sound daunting. But trust me, if you use his method how to get familiar with music, you would find the answer comes spontaneously. So quiz part of evaluation can easily earn full mark. A bit complaint is that he is a merciful person that when many students are wrong in a quiz, he may blame himself for tricking students and announces the quiz will not count. I am just a bit vexed that I was not wrong when many were wrong while I slipped in some quizzes where most of others got correct answers. Last parts are midterm and finals! There are two parts: definition of music vocabularies and music identification. No essay question! He would give a clear list of words you need to remember. He asks for the word, not asking you to explain the word, which is much easier. The music recognition part could be tricky, as he may choose some ambivalent period. But it is not hard. It is just a bit not easy to get full mark. 2. the content of class: Max is a knowledgeable, “talkative” instructor. It is unfortunate truth that if a lecture spends 100% of time on the same topic, like music, it will definitely become boring. Max is adept in teaching as he digresses a lot, to the end that is still related to the class and interesting. Such as, in the class of High Baroque Period, he show pictures how noble people stand, pose, in picture. He gave interesting insights and observation comments, which made the class not only a music hum class but also a class of digging history minutes. In a class, we digressed to a philosophical question, whether there is a sound when a tree falls in an azoic place. In my class, it is funny that both the president and vice president of CCSC are in my class and they defended different opinions. It is a nice touch to Philosophy, broadening my knowledge in college, although I have no Philosophy class. In addition, Max often described his feeling to pieces of music, which is one of my favorite parts. I always find it hard to express music. What he said often expresses what I feel(Beethoven, Mahler), or intrigued me why the piece has the power(Prelude to Tristan and Isolde). I feel like I have much to say but I have to be out. I hope Max would keep up the passion of teaching. I really wish Columbia would hire him after he graduates. He already finishes his study and would graduate soon. If Columbia does not give Max Tenure, Max may let us know, we would occupy low to petition. If you want to fraternize with Max, you may call him Maxi, that is what he said his mum called him. And the second piece of music ( sounds like African ) is very good and he said he would post but did not post to courseworks. If you really want to read some cons, I would say he is a bit laid-back. He may return graded midterm late and uploaded your final grade late. That is it. At last, I want to say that Max’s assigned pieces of music are so great that I am still listening to them. If he could do twitter to keep giving assignments, I’d like to take more!

Jan 2012

Michael is great. He's fun. Class is a breeze. Plays a lot of modern music, and he makes connections from the more antiquated material to the more familiar facets of culture. He makes sure he doesn't go over anything really unnecessary in class. Best class of my time here. He deserves a nugget, but since this is the first review... Super easy midterm (he literally gave us all the questions and answers), Super hard final, though it didn't affect my grade much from what I could tell. 1.5-2 page paper within the first week of the semester (super easy). Beginning of the semester he said we'd be doing two concert reports (5-7pp) or one combined/comparative one (10pp). He made a deal with us close to the end of the semester and we got away with doing one short (5-7pp) concert report!!! Nightly reading, which isn't so much required.

Jan 2012

I still had a huge case of high school senioritis when took this course. Slacked off hard, did not read the book, exchanged my one page musical journals for half page ones, missed class instruction multiple times, didn't set time aside for studying for finals, started writing my five-six page essay the day before it was due, and I still walked away with my GPA unscathed. How did I accomplish these feat? I have absolutely no idea, but at the end of the day, I still learned a lot. Professor Einbond is also a renowned composer with a huge passion for music. His lectures are never boring and allows one to think about music on a different dimension. You will have bi-weekly quizzes that will be hard if you haven't been religiously listening to the music. But don't let this discourage you since the average class grade for the quizzes was around 20-40 percent, even with a few peers that knew everything about music. Despite these unforgiving quizzes, the overall effect on the final grading seemed unaffected. Take this class, you will thank yourself for it.

Jan 2012

Nick is a great teacher for music hum! He's a singer so you'll be listening to a lot of that in this class. For a 9 am class he keeps you pretty awake with his energy. He is very clear in his explanations and is as nice and lenient as he can be. he's a grad student so he's really understanding and will give you paper extensions if you tell him in advance. Also a smart guy (Yale alum). makes sure the student understands the material and always makes himself available for office hours if you need any help.the workload was fair, we had weekly listening assignments that he went over thoroughly in class before he collected. as long as you put in the effort you'll do well! (class isnt graded on a curve, he says if everyone hands in A-level material, everyone will get an A :) ) All in all i loved taking the class with Nick! He's quite entertaining and I gained much appreciation and knowledge for music. also the trips to the met opera and carnegie hall were definitely worthwhile! So be happy if you have Nick for music hum :)

Jan 2012

I went into music hum thinking it was going to be fun, interesting, and easy. I had friends telling me that as in any core classes, I'd be screwed if I had a subpar professor, but I thought to myself, how bad could it be? Well, I was horrendously wrong. Whitney Slaten's first impression was nice enough, a nice guy with what seemed like a genuine interest and experience in music. However, he didn't really "teach" us, he most of the time read word for word what was on the crappy slides provided by the textbook. He also digressed a lot, which was admittedly more fun than reading the slides, but it still didn't help us learn the material. This may be a little bit more controversial, but I also think the way the curriculum is laid out is a bit flawed. The course attempts to teach you the histories and the inner workings of the music (up to a point) while being very, very careful to avoid any Music Theory in order to... I actually don't know why. Still, this jumping around definitely caused a lot of confusion. Whitney tried to dodge and evade answering any theory related questions, which ended up with him answering some questions incorrectly (which I knew from taking music theory before). In conclusion, nice guy to talk about music over a cup of tea, poor, poor instructor.

Dec 2011

Prof. Mundy IS GREAT. Besides the concert report and the final report, work is MINIMAL. Whoever wrote the review preceding mine said you had to work quite a bit, but I disagree... maybe because I'm in SEAS and I have to do a ton of work? There was like 1 quizz every 3 weeks or so which was TOO easy... to mess up in it you really have to not care about the class... The music aspect tended to be really interesting, and I actually feel I learned a good amount. Summary: Prof. Mundy IS A FANTASTIC TEACHER. EASY GRADE.

Dec 2011

Pretty good experience. Ursel was very flexible in scheduling the course. She allowed time for students with music experience to play short songs as the appropriate music era approached. She's very knowledgeable about the material. She can also simultaneously teach to people who are new to music and to people who have 12 years of experience. Two of the concert reports were handled by default; one was an on-campus string quartet, and the other was the Met Opera. We had the freedom to choose the third concert. Reports were usually due within a week and a half. Concert reports could be done as a stream of consciousness if you know what you're talking about. My only complaint was that technical difficulties sometimes wasted time.

Dec 2011

I really liked Professor Eisenberg. Despite his overall frazzled-ness he is a really smart guy who knows SO much about music, and he's an accomplished pianist, so he could always play examples for us on the spot which I don't think every Music Hum professor does. Maybe it was just my class, but we had great discussions and he was always really encouraging, everyone's comments were always "profound" even if they weren't, but a lot of the time they were! He was an interesting grader; he really wants you analyze the performances deeply and seems to know when you're BSing. He might be really disorganized and discombobulated, but if you look past that he's a great guy and a great teacher. He got everyone in our class talking, which I think is the most important part of a core class.

Dec 2011

It's actually been a while since I was in Andile's Music Hum class, but I realized how few reviews there were for him and I wanted to make absolutely sure that everyone knew about this class. It was almost too horrible for words. I was so excited for this class, but after the first week I started dreading walking into the door. First, while he seemed completely knowledgeable about music, his knowledge about related subjects (such as history) was incredibly sub-par. You might think this wouldn't be necessary for this class, but a huge part of Music Hum is the history of music and it's a serious problem to have a professor who is frequently corrected by his students on this subject. Second, he knew his craft but had no way to transmit that knowledge to us students. If I hadn't already had a background in music, I would have never passed this class. And I don't mean pass as in get a B. I mean I would have failed this class with an F if I hadn't studied music in the past. We spent two classes going over concepts that had I spent months learning. He would also do things like tell us that beforehand that a quiz would cover period X to period Y, and then include questions from a period that was not within that range or tell us the midterm would have certain kinds of questions and then have different kinds of questions on the midterm. What horrified me most about this class, though, was Andile's attitude. Our class was very engaged and curious, but whenever one of us would ask him a question, he would act as though we were questioning his authority. Although the class is supposed to be discussion based, he would just lecture and lecture and then throw out a random question. When no one answered within 3 seconds he'd get upset with us even though most of us were just caught off-guard. Also, when he was blatantly wrong about something and someone would correct him, he would act in the most childish manner. For example, once Andile made an incorrect statement about the organization of the Bible (Old Testament vs. New Testament stuff) and a girl corrected him very politely. The next thing he did was ask her to recite a random verse off the top of her head because "she obviously knew the Bible so well." Honestly, Andile seemed completely uninterested in teaching us anything. It's a shame, because Music Hum could be a truly amazing class. I'd like to give him the benefit of the doubt and hope that he's improved, but don't risk an entire semester of misery on it. Seriously, if you see that you've been put in his class do everything in your power to switch.

Dec 2011

Professor Johnson made Music Hum a bearable experience with his humor, enthusiasm and encouragement. I didn't particularly like the Music Hum curriculum -- I think it is just to unreasonable to expect students with no classical musical training to be able to hear and appreciate structural elements of music that normally require years of exposure to perceive -- but Professor Johnson always made himself available to help us and was always responsive to our questions.

Sep 2011

Ashley is hilarious. She is well organized - has the whole course mapped out from day 1 including softball quizzes (with quiz review sheets). The grading rubric makes it easy to do well without overly relying on the final exam. She can move quickly if the music nerds take over, but if you're like me and weren't forced to master the piano at age 2 then just speak up and she'll dumb it back down. All semester, I had other friends complaining about music hum, while I was actually looking forward to her class/personality. She's a really bright lady. AND - no need to buy the textbook - everything you need to read she has xeroxed and added digitally to courseworks. You can't choose art/music hum teachers, so if you get her, consider yourself lucky.

Aug 2011

Fantastic. She is a brilliant professor and one of the more passionate ones I have ever had. She is very organized and is always willing to meet with a student to discuss works, genres, and composers. Definitely take this class. She makes music humanities as pain-less as possible. Her love of the course will undoubtedly infect you. TAKE HER CLASS. 8 quizzes on the readings or pieces. No midterm. Cumulative final exam on 7 known works and 3 unknown. Two concert reports (3-4 pages) and a final paper comparing two settings of a poem. Easy and straightforward. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!!

Aug 2011

I loved this class! Which is pretty amazing given that I came into it with no musical knowledge at all and was dreading being so far out of my comfort zone. From the outset Gavin was enthusiastic and interesting, but more importantly he really knew his stuff and was able to communicate his knowledge in ways that even those of us with no musical background could easily understand. He also managed to push me just hard enough that I felt like I learnt a lot, but without making it an overly stressful or painful experience. Admittedly, as the other reviewer said, the format of the class may not be ideal for those who already have a reasonable amount of musical experience (although I spoke to several who were keen musicians and loved it), but this is really not Gavin's fault. The class is made up of such a mix of people, backgrounds and abilities that it is just impossible to meet everyone's needs perfectly, and maybe this is something that the core department as a whole needs to look at. Given the material Gavin had to cover, however, and the mix of people he had in the class, I think he did a fantastic job. In terms of workload, the class was very manageable. One short essay (analysing a rendering of the Orpheus myth) and one opera report. Both were explained clearly and graded fairly. Gavin was also always available in office hours and via email to give help or advice if needed. There was also a midterm and a final, both of which were fairly straightforward. Sure, some of the questions were on extra musical material, but Gavin warned us about that several times in class, and also provided us with a list of topics to focus on, sample questions and brief style guide. I basically listened to the pieces until I felt I could recognise all the major themes and events, read the assigned chapters carefully, re-read my class notes and came out with an A+. Don't get me wrong - I worked hard and this was not an easy, mindless class, but I found the directions clear, and the grading fair. And, perhaps more importantly, I now have a playlist of beautiful works I actually know something about and a desire to expand that list further. If you get the chance - take this class. You won't be disappointed!

Jun 2011

Tarantino is quirky and very smart. He explains the musical vocabulary very much in his own way, and he is visibly passionate about the material as he speeds through it, desperately trying to cover more than is possible. Be ready to ask questions often because if you don't you will get left in the dust, so to speak. Also, he knows a hell of a lot, so ask questions anyway just to tap into the storehouse that is his brain. Having a musical background does not guarantee boredom, nor does it guarantee an easy A. He has tweaked his class to appeal to both musical and non-musical, and he stimulates interesting, organic (not forced) discussion, simultaneously allowing those with things to say time to speak and making sure to include all of his students. The midterm is a bit scary. Study longer and harder than you think you should, particularly on the listening portions. Seriously. Pop quizzes occasionally. Prepare by knowing the big picture (development of Western music) and the important names, and approximate dates. He set up his personal website so that you don't have to buy the book, so return the favor by doing the reading. You'll get more out of discussion with him that way.

Jun 2011

Love Marti. She's smart, enthusiastic, effective, all of that. She teaches methodically enough that you can excel without any intellectual curiosity, but she indulges the students who desire to go beyond Music Hum's checklist of proper nouns. Her academic background allows her to explore and explain a lot of ethnic music from modernish American history, while she's sufficiently aware of pop music that you don't get bogged down in theory. Plus, it's a fun class. We watched some videos, movies, heard some pieces, had some nice discussions, attended the opera. Boo to those who don't participate!

Jun 2011

Professor Salinas is an awesome professor. He had something interesting to say every single class and was very helpful/accessible outside of class. Also he had a great sense of humor which is always a bonus. I saw some reviews where people said prof. Salinas is hard to understand because of his accent and that's total bullshit. He speaks perfect English, nice and clear. Do the assigned readings and contribute to class discussions and you'll do fine. Also super important to keep up with the assigned readings because the listening part on midterm and final are pretty extensive. Overall great class totally enjoyable!

May 2011

David is the absolute best. I've never had a better experience in a core class, or many other columbia class in general really. He's incredibly intelligent and insightful, especially for his age, and he made what could have been a really awful and boring survey course, a really fun and intensely interesting time. He gives you a lot of things to look at, listen to, watch, or read on the courseworks page, and it certainly helps to do them, but most of the time you can get all of the information from David in class the next day so it's not usually all that necessary. He is definitely very lenient with assignments and doesn't care whether you turn them in by hand or email, so long as he gets everything at some point or another. He specializes in minimalism and some other really great avant-garde kind of music, so he puts more weight and time into the 20th century section of the semester I think, which is totally fun and engaging (so, so much better I would guess than having a teacher who specializes in Renaissance madrigals or something). I also feel like the class was very centered around the philosophy and theory surrounding periods in music, composers, etc. so you read some pretty challenging articles (like some really crazy dense Adorno articles), but he does a great job of unpacking them with the class. He's open to anything you have to say, and even if you can tell when he doesn't agree with what you said or that what you said was wrong, he never shuts anyone down and if he doesn't understand your comment right away he'll ask you questions to try and figure it out instead of just moving on to someone else. Pretty much the nicest guy in the world, and really wants the class to be happy. Also, he makes the best witty comments at random all the time that never failed to make people laugh. He's fairly new to teaching so he gets kind of nervous and flustered sometimes, at least at the beginning of the semester, but its totally endearing and doesn't even remotely take away from what a great teacher he is. I can't say enough good things about David, it's a shame he's only a grad student because I wish I could take like five more classes with him. If you end up with him as your teacher, be happy, your core curriculum will be a hell of a lot more interesting because of it.

May 2011

I was lucky to end up blindly in Andrew's class. The core can be such a toss-up depending on whose class you're in, and I'm glad I was in this one. Here's what you should know about Andrew's class: You WILL get as much out of a survey course as can be expected, and you most likely WILL enjoy class. Andrew makes jokes like it’s SNL, and when he’s talking passionately about composers (as he’s also known to do) he’ll still be interesting and engaging. You WON’T be able to breeze through this class without cracking a book or coming to class. Andrew’s expectations go above and beyond the bare core requirements (in a good way, it’s worth it). Especially if you have a limited background in music, you’ll notice other students effortlessly acing the listening part of the quizzes, but everyone has to have come to class or done the reading to get the multiple choice questions. You’re expected to go on a number of class field trips (in addition to the required opera trip, a heavily emphasized “optional” trip to Carnegie Hall and other concerts). It’s worth it, and enjoyable, but I recommend not going to Havana’s senior night before a 9:00 a.m. quiz, thinking you’ll breeze through it. You won’t. That 50% looks bad on courseworks, too.

May 2011

Marti is full on brilliant and this was recognized by the University in her winning of an award for the best graduate instructor in Music Humanities. In addition to being smart, she is incredibly humble and never talks down to the class (and we asked inane questions all the time). Like every instructor, she is limited by the Eurocentric motifs throughout the course, but she worked to include a few composers when she could, that were not "dead, white, males", an effort very much appreciated by the class. My personal favorite was her inclusion of Clara Schumann's, Piano Scherzo Number 10, arguably the best piece we listened to all semester. In addition, she was very clear about her expectations. She gave us essay questions for the exams in advance, and was more than willing to provide guidance if we needed it. I was very grateful, both to know what was expected, and to have her assistance in being sure that I met those expectations on the assignments. I can't say enough nice things about her both as a person (she is very kind, genuine and willing to help you) and an instructor. I was lucky to be in her section.

May 2011

Mario is super chill and his class is too. While this certainly was not the most challenging of classes, I still learned alot and feel ready to participate in those cocktail party discussions about music that the Core prepares us for. He loves when you participate in class but that isn't even really necessary, do some but not all of the readings and write passionate reports/responses and you should be fine. It was a 9 am class that I never missed because I knew I could get out of bed and relax in class, listen to some great music, and gain a few insights at the same time. A painless, interesting class.

May 2011

This class was amazing - one of the best classes I have taken at Columbia. If only every core class could be like this! Her strength comes from connecting really disparate genres of music - we talked about the connections between opera and Pearl Jam, between Bach and Eddie Van Halen, and between Gregorian chanting and The Velvet Underground (to name a few). At the very least, this makes the class much more interesting, but it also makes the material that much easier to grasp. The only downside to the class is that the workload is a bit inconsistent. It starts off very light, then works up to a moderate level, except that there were two weeks when it spiked - there were a lot of assignments due for the same class (or for two classes in a row). That said, it's very do-able overall, and she's a very reasonable professor, so if you need an extension, she'd probably be willing to help you out. That said, if you take this class, you'll have a lot of fun, and you'll never look at classical music (including opera) the same way again. Even if you come to the class with some musical training (as some in this class did), you'll still learn new things... and if you have no training whatsoever, that's fine - you won't feel like you're behind at all. In short - if you have an opportunity to take this class, by all means do! You'll thank yourself for it every day in class, and every time you listen to classical music for the rest of your life.

May 2011

Kate is overall a very nice person and teacher, but there are some flaws in her teaching method, which is completely understandable because she's a grad student and is still exploring education. The Bad: 1. She doesn't return hw assignments, which can be really frustrating because you never know what she thinks of your opinions or if your ideas are even valid or interesting. 2. The classroom dynamic can be HORRIBLE at times. Maybe it was just my class, but she oftentimes is lacking ways of engaging everyone in the class in an interesting way. 3. She gets annoyed if you're late to class, but many times during the semester she was the person late to class. Don't throw stones when you live in a glass house. 4. The only time we were ever on track in class was the first day. She often goes on (relevant!) tangents that can be really interesting, but we would suffer every class by losing material to study which would've been pretty cool. The Good: 1. Midterm/Final was 100% fair. She knows how to make a good exam. If you paid attention in class and studied moderately you got a good grade. 2. She's nice and understanding! 3. She's got the enthusiasm, just needs to work on the delivery.

May 2011

Yoshi is a teacher who really wants his students to appreciate music in all of its forms. He presents his lectures in a format which gives you the most important information with examples of each term/artist/etc. Sometimes he rambles on and talks about things which have no importance on what he is teaching but it is still a fun experience. His exams have listening identifications, short response, multiple choice, and 1 or 2 essays. The essays are very generic allowing you to write about whatever you wish. On a side note if he every invite you to a concert with a reception, attend.

May 2011

David is so great. Really good experience, really learned alot, and actually found music hum to be killer interesting. Of course alot of the material is kind of boring and awful, but David does make it as good as it can be. He's just a really nice guy across the board...multiple review sessions for both tests (which are not intense enough to even merit students' worries), huge willingness to help with anything, very understanding when it comes to missed classes/deadlines, etc. If you get him for music hum, be happy. You're not going to have a super easy experience all the time, but the class is super A-able and the experience/learning will be as good as you want. Unless you're a music freak who wants desperately to get into the deep intricacies and technicalities of music, you're gonna end up happy with the class.

May 2011

Meh...OK so Prof. Salinas knows what he's talking about and I DID learn a lot but...I really wasn't expecting to actually have to learn things in Music Hum. I just wanted to listen to some awesome music! If you're looking for a breezy Music Hum, this isn't the one for you. If you're looking to actually be academically challenged and know your shit, then it's perfect for you! Despite a thick Argentinian accent, Prof. Salinas is a very nice guy and really knowledgeable about the subject of Western art music. That being said, I was kinda pissed that we had to read Plato, Hegel, and other philosophers and music critics in class.

May 2011

I'm still not entirely sure what to make of this class. Some if it's frustration with the curriculum: as someone with a (fairly limited) musical background I found all the baby-talking we had to do around ideas like keys and chord progressions to be incredibly annoying. Likewise the emphasis on "extra-musical material": I did not imagine myself cramming for the final exam by trying to memorize the names of the soloists in the premier of Beethoven's 9th or the name of the theater in which the "Sacre du Printemps" was first performed. Nor, for that matter, the profession of the individual who played Euryidice in Monteverdi's "Orfeo", the identity of Berlioz's love interest, or any of the other useless minutiae we were forced to learn in this class, and which contributed exactly nothing to my understanding of the music. Some of it's confusion about the format: participation counts for 20% of our grade (enough for him to assign everyone basically whatever grade he feels like); but opportunities for participation were so limited that the class got used to remaining silent: when a guest instructor came in to talk about jazz and asked questions, the class just sat there with its collective jaw hanging open. As for Gavin himself, he's goofy, cheerful, and friendly. (He's also utterly tone-deaf, which is sort of endearing). I really think he means well, and I really want to like him. But then he does things like putting an ID on the exam which he explicitly said wouldn't be tested, or assigning an essay that has nothing to do with music. As Heinlen says, "never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by incompetence."

May 2011

Alex is a really good and occasionally pretty hilarious teacher. Having to deal with a student population that ranges from the completely confused to the super-musically-knowledgeable-and-I'm-not-afraid-to-show-it takes some craftiness, and he pulled it off well. At the same time, he managed to generate a lot of interest (and suspense even) in the subject matter and during some classes I found myself wishing that the class was longer so we could go over all the composers/pieces that he listed on the syllabus. Definitely one of the academic highlights of this semester, and it's classes like these that are part of the reason why Columbia's core still retains semblances of legitimacy.

Apr 2011

Professor Mundy is an excellent Music Hum teacher. Her zany enthusiasm is infectious and makes classes easy and interesting to attend. She would sometimes prepare helpful powerpoints for class or would allow class discussion to dictate the class, especially for classes on modern / post-modern music. She clearly cares a lot about the course and music in general. Assignments are very clear and the readings she assigns [we didn't use a textbook] are really interesting and place the different music being studied into interesting contexts. Approaching music from the perspective of Plato, Renaissance magic, Walter Benjamin, and biology is really fascinating and much more effective than other textbooks I've seen for Music Hum. I highly recommend taking Music Hum with her.

Apr 2011

Andile, as he asks we call him, is one of the worst professors I've had in quite a while. The major issue I faced in his Music Hum class was that he didn't seem to realize what level the class is supposed to be - introductory. Our first quiz, a week and a half into class, dealt with hearing a piece we'd never heard before and identifying musical color, meter, form, tempo, texture, and key. As someone who had absolutely no musical experience before this class, it was impossible to have gained the abilities he expected after 9 days of study. Another major problem is that he cannot explain his assignments. While we only had a single concert report, he never explained until a week before it was due that the report was actually a research paper on the cultural history of our chosen piece, or that he wanted us to do research beforehand on our chosen work. Overall, if you see his name on your Music Hum section, run for the hills as fast as you can.

Apr 2011

He has a dry sense of humor and is very knowledgeable about the subject. It seems like he's confined by the core class because most people in the class aren't there for music theory, something I think he could easily expound upon. So it is what it is, whether you'd prefer that extra challenge elsewhere or are happy with a class that teaches you the basic skills of understanding any musical composition without pretending that you're suddenly an expert. Attendance is important and lateness past 5 minutes counts as an absence.

Apr 2011

I guess I should get to these things before college ends. Yeah, Alex is kind of awesome. I've put off taking this requirement for two and a half years now and this is a teacher that definitely highlights the stupidity of that decision. Don't get me wrong; the material is what it is. I mean, I'll discuss the new Radiohead's mediocrity or Trent Reznor's Social Network soundtrack until I pass out but classical music isn't my thing; it's just not. And no, I haven't been moved to tears by a Sonata, Major/minor recognition is still a best-guess approximation, and I can only list the many ways in which the recitative can suck it, but I've enjoyed this class a lot more than I suspected I would. It's painless, easy to follow, and borderline fun. Participation is encouraged but not mandatory and after a day of interning or back-to-back seminars it's a relief it's nice not to have to try to outshine other students for points by talking (and sidebar: self-awareness goes a long way, folks. If your anecdote has no other purpose than to drop an obscure ballet term only tangentially related to the material, maybe consider saving it for the diary, mm?). Plus Alex's kind of hilarious. He very occasionally has this pointed, almost-douchey-but-not-quite way of answering the really super-inane questions that really makes you chuckle. I don't know; I'd grab a beer with him. Maybe it's because all my other teachers are geriatric Powerpoint readers this semester but I really like him. It verges on the man-crush. Take it, you won't do better in the blind lottery that is Music Hum.

Apr 2011

Professor Salinas is an amazing teacher. I never dreaded coming to class because there was always something new and interesting to learn about. He encouraged participation which made discussions much more fascinating. He is very knowledgable in all disciplines. However, the class is quite difficult compared to what my peers have told me of their music hum classes. Be prepared for listening tests, a midterm with 10 listening IDs, 20 MC and 2 essays, 2 four to five page essays and a final. Also, you need to read the readings he gives you before class to be able to participate in discussion and get the full participation grade.

Jan 2011

Great Teacher! It was quite refreshing to have a prof that truly cares about teaching and strives to facilitate discussion. Don't be like that one girl in my class and just search for the right answer... he doesn't look for right answers but rather wants to hear that you're able to use the right terms to back up your opinion. Very reasonable grading on the concert/opera reports and on the midterms and finals he provides a VERY useful study guide. He lets you pick what concert you wanna attend but mandates which opera you'll review... Much better than some other teachers that force the students to sit through boring classical concerts for the reports. Also, allows you to miss one of the edblog assignments and is very accessible for office hours. Take him for Music Hum at any cost!

Jan 2011

He was one of the best professors I've met in my several semesters at Columbia; making involved into materials for even non-music majors. No writing and no reading materials, unlike other Music Hum professors. Study guide is given for exams, and exams are fairly easy if you just study the guide thoroughly. Also, he's a nice guy with humors. Strongly recommended professor. One note: His lectures might be difficult at first. Also, there are lots of terminology you should know for the exam. But you can rely on the study guide, which means that even you are lost during his lectures, no need to be scared of. Because the exams are only based on the study guide. I'm a non-music major, this was my first time in my life to actually take a course in music, and frankly speaking, didn't study at all for this class (except doing the weekly listening assignments). But I still ended up with an A-. This is probably the only course at Columbia that I didn't study at all (except the study guides and listening assignments) an was still on the A range.

Jan 2011

I took music hum last semester with him and he is such a wonderful teacher. He had a laid-back approach to learning the material and I thought this was a more effective way to teach and instill appreciation of the music in his students. Coursework includes: weekly edblog postings, concert report, opera report (the two reports are heavily weighted) along with a midterm and a final. I really enjoyed him as a teacher and take him if you have the chance.

Dec 2010

I dreaded Music Hum going in, and I left the class really glad I was forced to take it... all thanks to Prof Henson. She makes you learn the canon and all the technical vocabulary, but isn't too much of a stickler about it on exams/concert reports. She's more intent on you truly appreciating the music rather than making you a good cocktail party robot that can blather on about Fur Elise. Most telling was her choice to not have any IDs on the exams. I asked her why she was only going to play songs we hadn't heard before, and she told me "If I tell you Beethoven's Fifth is going to be on the test, you'll listen to it a million times and never want to hear it again." This is EXACTLY the mentality Music Hum teachers should have. So, instead of mindlessly identifying pieces of music for the exams, she played John Lennon, the Beach Boys, the Who, etc and made us describe it with the vocab she gave us. Great approach. If you're in her section, you're lucky.

Dec 2010

I would recommend him very highly. He's over 75, and his knowledge of music is incredible. Admittedly the quizzes were graded harshly for some people - but they didn't affect the final grade at all. You could go to a concert he was conducting instead of writing concert reports. It was also great that he brought in several people to play for us during our class times. He was always trying to help, and was very accessible. Cared a lot about us, and always made an effort to try and get to know us outside of class. I would definitely try and take another class with him.

Dec 2010

Being in David's Music Hum class has been the most joyful, personally rewarding and intellectually stimulating experience of my semester. Right away he struck me as smart, well-read beyond the scope of music history, and clearly interested in the material he is teaching. His curiosity about all kinds of music always rubbed off on the entire class. In fact, many times I wished the class went on for longer. From talking to friends in other Music Hum sections I gather that David's syllabus is very well balanced: we studied women composers while drawing attention to issues surrounding the male-dominated canon, we discussed popular next to high art genres with regard to commodity culture, the cultural elite, the concert hall, and the various historical functions of music, and many times we looked at the role of music in film. David put great care into preparing the Courseworks web resources for the class: he included the text of most songs, so I could sing along to Machaut's "Rose, liz," which helped me memorize it for the exam. As a sometime screw-up, I appreciate that David is sensitive to the problems of the average college student and also any special needs you might have. I wish my friends were more like that. I truly recommend taking his class.

Dec 2010

Juliet was really nice and everything, but she's one of those grad students who's teaching to fulfill a requirement, not because she's particularly good at it. This is the kind of Core class that makes you resent the crap out of the Core: incredibly shallow analysis, arbitrary content, and a teaching-to-the-textbook method that somehow manages to make music boring. Half of it was the fault of the syllabus, but half of it, I'm pretty sure, was the fault of Juliet. She added virtually nothing to the text and came off as surprisingly ill-informed for a music scholar. Like, really uninformed. However, DO take this class if you a) want to skip class a lot with little to no effect on your final grade, b) want tests for which you will be basically handed the answers ahead of time, and/or c) want cushy essay prompts that explicitly state "You need no thesis for this essay." That's valid. Also, she is, you know, nice. It's too bad.

Dec 2010

Juliet is probably one of the most fun lecturers I've had the pleasure of taking at Columbia. This means a lot from me, because at first I thought she was such a dork that I considered dropping the class. You grow to love and appreciate how desperately she just LOVES music. Like the previous commenter suggested, the 9AM time slot is a killer, but honestly, take her. Her smiles will take you through the semester with little to no work on your end. Also, she's the easiest grader I've ever met, so A's and A+'s on assignments will be a breeze.

Dec 2010

I imagine there are plenty of people at Columbia who think the Core is a good idea (or at least who thought so when they came), but I doubt that anyone is glad for the chance to take Music Hum. Don’t get me wrong, I think music in the curriculum is a good idea. But does anyone really need three hours a week to learn what Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony sounds like? Or what a major scale is? Really? How did you get through eighteen years without hearing Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony somewhere? Didn’t your parents have a TV? Didn’t you see “The Breakfast Club”? Or that movie about the dog named “Beethoven”? Or what about the major scale? Did you never see “The Sound of Music”? Did no one ever sing “Happy Birthday” to you in your whole life? It’s hard to get excited about a course designed to introduce you to the ten most famous pieces of music of all time (all of which you will know if you’ve ever seen “Fantasia” or been in the same room with a radio), along with some medieval music that pretty much nobody cares about and some electronic music that absolutely nobody cares about. But there may be some of us who need this sort of thing: for example, when we were told that Schubert’s “Erlkönig” sold a large number of copies shortly after its publication, one kid in the class—I think he was an athlete—asked if the copies were sold on vinyl. (That was 1821.) But the point of this is to demonstrate that there is no hope of enjoying Music Hum, because either you will already know most of the music on the syllabus, or (if you somehow managed, maybe by wearing earplugs since you were born, never to hear the pieces playing every minute on every radio in every waiting room in the universe) then you probably don’t want to know anything about classical music. Which means the goal is to get the highest grade possible for the least commitment possible, and if that’s what you’re after, then Carl Christian Bettendorf is your man. The workload consists of a midterm (45 minutes), a final (also 45 minutes, miraculously) and a three-page concert report in which you can say anything you like as long as you refer to the piece, the composer, or the style of performance (and really, what else would you say?) That’s all. But it gets better: when he plays pieces for you to identify on the exams, he drops hints like crazy. Just in case you never did the listening assignments, he picks opera passages in which you can hear the characters’ names distinctly, and just before that happens he says something like “Now listen carefully, so you can hear the character’s name, coming up,” and then points to the stereo just when it happens, in case there was any doubt. Also, he’s a wonderful guy. He’s very sweet, and has a mellifluous German accent, and a sweet little tufty haircut, and sometimes gets excited talking about modern composers. You should absolutely take his class, because he’s a lovely fellow whom you should get to know, and because if you’re clever enough to tie your shoes you’ll get an A+. And if not, you’ll probably get an A.

Dec 2010

This class was one of the best I have even taken at Columbia. Professor Sisman is incredible at teaching what she loves and makes the material covered very interesting. She also had various guests come perform during class. She often sits at the piano to explain concepts and to detail aspects of the pieces. Lot of anecdotes/jokes on the composers. Course covers Medieval music, Renaissance, Baroque, Early Classical, Late Classical, Modernism, Jazz, Post-Modernism and Electro-Acoustic. Class visit to a MET Opera.

Dec 2010

Ashley is a great professor. She makes Music Hum no sweat - not that other professor's make it too stressful. But she's very clear about what she expects her students to know and what she wants her students to get out of the class. In the end, her students do end up knowing a lot about music and getting a lot out of the class. At first she may seem a bit awkward in front of the class, but she's actually just quirky clarinetist and a lot more on the ball than one initially might assume. She really knows her stuff - especially 20th century music and is clear about the genres she likes and doesn't like. She's equally enamored of the older stuff and that passion often translates to her students. When she's unsure of herself or unable to answer a question, she'll admit it. But her knowledge is pretty extensive so that doesn't happen too much. All in all she's a really sweet professor who's out there to make music hum as enjoyable for her students as possible - and in that she definitely succeeds.

Dec 2010

Professor Forshaw is amazing. She is very laid back and you can tell she loves music. My class was at 9am so there wasn't much participation. She did at times seem frustrated by this, but never did she become angry. She is very helpful and easily approachable. I really recommend taking Forshaw's Music Hum (if you can stand the 9am class time) because she knows a TON about music and makes it very easy to understand and engage. For her midterm and final, prepare the key terms sheet she gives you and know your listening assignments, you should have no problem at all.

Sep 2010

So far Rothe has done a fairly reasonable job. He's not nearly as shy or awkard as some may say. He's only learning how to be a professor!!! He knows how to teach music, and he knows a lot about German and Latin music, as well as Jazz and Rock music. You may think the class only covers Classical Music, but it also covers World Music as well as Progressive music. Give him some time and he'll be excellent. He'll be an amazing first year or second year teacher for CU student. I mean we are at Columbia University right???

Aug 2010

I'm writing this not because DC needs any more praise in this underground forum, but because he deserves to know how deeply his students appreciate his pedagogy. First of all, Daniel Callahan has become a household name amongst my friends, because he always leaves me with ample anecdotes to use in response to the inevitable question, "how was your day?". How was it? Was today the day Callahan brought in a four part choir to perform Josquin's Ave Maria? Or was it the day that he stood on a table in order to emphasize the inhuman feel of Stravinsky's not-so-primal Dance of the Adolescents? What I particularly appreciate about him, and have not seen in a professor (although he resents that title) outside of him, is that he incorporates pop culture into his lessons without seeming like he is trying to prove how hip he is. I think a lot of professors will swear, or make a pop culture reference in order to 'relate' to students, without having any pedagogical value. Callahan shows videos of Beyonce singing the national anthem, and you learn something as a result. Thank you DC, for reviving my faith in the core, and giving me something from my undergraduate education that will stay with me for many years

Aug 2010

Daniel made my day every class. He had a bottomless well of enthusiasm and I couldn't wait to see what was coming next. An instructor that expects you to take the class as seriously as he does, and certainly never for granted. If you waste his time with being late or unprepared as a class, he will guilt you. Expect this. As for the class, he is a marvelous instructor and exceptionally adept at involving the class in the technics and historical contexts of the material. The latter is not to be taken for granted and will carry you a long way on exam essays as these works have been determined to be so as much by their place in history as for their acknowledgement as "masterpieces". The listening guides in Listen are tons useful, the extra readings that he assigns tend to have a gender studies (this is a focus of his academically) tone or approach, and watching for his finger in the air during lectures will net you a minimum of an A-. Most of my classmates that made A's made less of an effort than I. I am clearly a bit behind the power curve but I loved this class. P.S. Don't feel silly if you attempt to make some profound contribution during class and he seems like he could care less - his freight train of thought runs over these. The right answer to a question will endear you to him and IS ALWAYS IN THE READING!!

Aug 2010

If you are so fortunate as to be enrolled in Murat's section, congratulations! You will get an A. There aren't really any deadlines or assignment requirements outside of paper length and staying (very very roughly) on topic. And, if you're like me, then you also walk out of the class not being entirely ignorant of major advancements in music history. I actually feel like I learned things without having to bend over backbards, jump through hoops and shit my pants when I get an assignment. If only every Columbia class were so glorious as this.

Aug 2010

This was all that anyone could hope for in a Music Hum class. Sean is a funny, adorably erudite musicologist with a hipster vibe who always made class something to look forward to. It made a class I was dreading into one of my favorites of the semester. He approaches the "Great Works of Western Music" from an historical perspective - you'll be reading excerpts from primary sources (very very short) instead of the usual textbook - his comp lit background comes through a lot in what he focuses on (which means you won't spend the first week learning about what a treble clef is, etc.). Highly recommended. Consider yourself very lucky if you get Sean.

Jul 2010

Itook a lot of music in HS so I thought I already new a lot about music (more than a lot of music majors I know), but Kristy really challenged me to learn a lot! She was totally into the material, kept things moving, and brought a lot of energy. She would ask a lot of questions in class and expect us to do the readings before class, but this wasn't a problem if you kept up. What I really liked was how she tried to bring in current events or make it relevant, even when the topic was 200 yrs old. I figured I was going to get an easy A since I studied music, but I had to work for it. She really wanted all of us to learn, and she was already ready to answer any questions we had. Her tests weren't too hard as long as you studied all of the material on the study guides that she gave. I liked that she didn't make us guess about what was on the exam, because we covered so much material that would have been impossible. She was very fair in her grading too. She had a ton of guest players come to the classes and play or sing examples of the music that we were studying that day. All in all, Kristy was a great professor - funny, prepared, energetic, fair - Take this class with her if you can!

Jul 2010

It is clear that Maria is new at teaching. As I expected, she assumed everyone had a more advanced knowledge of music than they did. There were a few students that played music, and had a musical background, and it was clear she catered toward them. I suspect the previous poster was one of them. If you aren't a fan of classical music, you will not enjoy her class. The class had three unrelated sections. The book, her assigned readings, and her lectures. She wouldn't reinforce the material in the book, and because there was only one example for each term, you could easily be confused. This is like someone telling you there is this genre called Rock and Roll. Then they only let you listen to Billy Joel and say he is rock and roll. Now you think ALL of rock and roll sounds like Bill Joel, which it clearly does not. She gave us a quiz, which everyone asked her what to study, or what to expect, and she said not to worry. Surprise surprise, we should have worried. Most people did poorly. She often says one things and writes another, and does not explain the formats of tests well. Suddenly you have 100 terms to study over the weekend. Maria was very inflexible with meeting students. I was eager to make time with her between the quiz and midterm, but she wasn't available between the two, leaving no ability to improve, though I will admit she was good about email. Maria takes off points on the exams with no explanations. She can take half of the points off an essay with only one small comment. The papers have nothing to do with music, which is nice because she doesn't teach it well, but again she takes off points for nothing. Towards the end of the course, she played youtube videos sometimes half of the class time.

Jul 2010

Andrew needs a gold star! This was one of my favorite classes at Columbia, and I came in with little musical background. He really went above and beyond in this course - he'd make color-coded listening guides for our listening assignments, he'd break down pieces into understandable chunks on the piano (he's really good!), he made an effort to assign interesting and creative papers, he was always e-mailing us Youtube videos of noteworthy performances, and he had his friend come in and sing a Schubert lied for the class. It's obvious how passionate he is about what he teaches, but he still encourages students to disagree with him. I thought his grading was on the generous side of fair. Consider yourself lucky if you get into his Music Hum section!

Jul 2010

I love Brahim! He made music hum so stress free and fun! The material is pretty dry/simple at times but he really tries to make it more interesting with anecdotes/a lot of audio demonstrations. He is a composer himself and you can tell he is really passionate about music (always makes class more enjoyable). Also his accent is pretty soothing too (he's from Morocco). I think what I like most about him is that he never made anyone in the class feel dumb so everyone felt at ease to ask questions. At the same time he offered more complex ideas for those who did have some background in music.

Jul 2010

I really don't know what the first reviewer (from June 23, 2010) was talking about! I loved Kristy as a prof. She came to class very well-prepared, with notes that she seemed to know by heart because she barely needed them when she gave the lectures. She brought in a lot of guest performers for each period of music that we studied and found interesting youtube videos with interviews with composers. the one requirement in the class to attend an opera (La traviata) was awesome! The tickets were cheap ($10) and the opera was great. I had never been to the MET before, but Kristy really prepared us well for the experience and brought out some interesting details that I would not have noticed. She even arranged a backstage tour of the MET for students. I thought that the workload for the class was fair, and she gave us review study guides before the midterm and final so that we knew the basics of what would be on the exams, but it was up to us to know a lot of material. Kristy really cared about the students, you could tell because she tried to get lots of people involved in the class discussions and she was really passionate about classical music. She even played the flute in class several times to explain a concept. I used to email her a lot with questions and she always got back to me within an hour, which is more than I can say for a lot of CU professors. Overall, I really liked her class and I think you will too!

Jul 2010

I totally disagree with the first reviewer, Kristy was one of the best professors I have had at CU in ANY subject! She was energetic, extremely knowledgeable about the subject matter, and managed to make classical music fun and interesting. We had multiple guest performances in-class, which really made the material come alive and Kristy worked very hard to keep everyone in the class alert and involved by asking many thought-provoking questions throughout each session. She also would incorporate video and music clips into each class. I may not have liked medieval music, but she managed to make even masses and chants come alive! On top of being an engaging lecturer, she went above and beyond the call of duty by giving us thorough study guides for both exams, so that we could adequately prepare for the tests. What more can you ask for in a professor? She was always conscientious about returning emails quickly or meeting with you if requested. You will need to work hard in her class, but with the comprehensive study guides that she provided you can do very well. Anyone at CU would be lucky to take a class with her!

Jul 2010

I couldn't disagree more with the review above. Kristy truly cares deeply about making this class interesting and relevant. She brings in a lot of outside performers and guests to perform live music and talk about the pieces. She also incorporates relevant video clips of films and interviews of composers. Her exams are fair and the course load is pretty reasonable, 2 concert reviews, a midterm, final in addition to class readings and listening assignments. SHe also gives a study guide that was extremely helpful for the exams. It is obvious that Kristy loves the music she is teaching about, especially the nineteenth century, and really wants everyone in the class to learn something too. I highly recommend her class for Music Hum.

Jun 2010

Worthless. Kristy could not have cared less about this class. There was, in fact, one class in which she stated some information (covered in the reading) that was incorrect. When corrected, her response was something along the lines of "Oh. Really? OK." The most emotion she ever showed in class was prompted by malfunctioning A/V equipment. Our section was, admittedly, pretty pathetic in terms of student interest; however, I think the fact that the final only included material covered after the midterm demonstrates that there is clearly something wrong with how Kristy conducts the class. Avoid at all costs unless you're a senior jock and you think you may actually care less than her.

Jun 2010

One of the best professors I have had at Columbia. Enthisuastic, fun, enjoyable, funny. He can be a bit bitchy, depending on his mood but an utterly entertaining class, and for a person completely non-musically inclined, he has provoked a depth of respect for music especially for the "canon". 2 years after the class, I still have the "Listen" CD on my ipod and listen to it with joy. Take this professor and this professor only.

Jun 2010

Plain and simple, this guy is just not a good professor. He comes across as a decent enough guy during the first couple of classes, but once the semester gets into full swing he makes it clear that he neither wants to be there nor cares what people get out of the class. The exams cover what could charitably be described as musical trivia, and th music recognition is designed to be intentionally ambiguous. Also, he will refuse to tell you what to study, just telling you to "study whats on the syllabus". He does not apply any type of curve at all, so his lack of teaching ability becomes the students problem. It is really a shame that I took this class with him, and if you make the same mistake I did, you will feel the same way. This professor takes what could be a fun, exciting, and rewarding class and turns it into a miserable semester long obstacle course.

Jun 2010

Professor Eyuboglu is simply great!!! Very intelligent, understanding, approachable. He made the class interesting and fun. He was very good with providing all the necessary information needed to prepare for the assignments/exams. The part about not returning the papers didn't bother me too much because as long as you write what is asked of you to write, you'll get a good grade. Just ask questions if you have them and do the work and you will be fine.

Jun 2010

Nili is a great professor and I really really enjoyed having her for Music Hum. She does her best to make class painless and easy. There was only one concert report, a lot of extra listening that she posts on Courseworks. She uses a different textbook than anyone else, so be prepared for that. While she's not super good at eliciting classroom participation, she's more than willing to be patient and answer questions, and really tries to engage the students. I didn't really do any of the readings, and relied on class notes for the exams. It's a good idea to have a little bit of musical background before taking this class, since she seems to place a lot of emphasis on technical analysis of music (e.g. meter and textures) but I'm sure you could get through it fine without any.

May 2010

Maja is a really nice person who clearly loves the field she's working in but as far as teaching goes she has more than a few kinks to iron out. Even when she seems to have a good grasp of the material (which is most of the time) she usually has trouble passing it on to her students in a clear way. Her writings on the board reflect this and are usually disjointed and not really worth copying into your notebook. That being said she is always open to questions during class or office hours which is a plus. Overall if you get her for this class it's not the end of the world as it's a pretty easy class anyway and she shows you lots of videos to make the time go by faster.

May 2010

Simply put, Courtney rocks. Very laid back teacher who still cares about the course and dedicates herself to teaching the class about the history/fundamentals of music. Extremely flexible regarding just about anything, Courtney puts in an extra effort to accommodate student difficulties (being not far removed from school herself) and tries to make music fun for the class. Class trips to Verdi’s La Traviata and jazz clubs are also a definite plus. Even though it was an early morning class, Courtney made Music Hum awesome and is totally recommended. Even though you can't choose into her, try to switch in. She's worth it.

May 2010

Geoff was nice, low-key, and relatively lenient. He doesn't presume that we have musical knowledge like some other music hum profs. Not a particularly exciting class but he tries to make it sorta interesting. Very little reading and listening homework (and what little reading is assigned is not even necessary). Gives practice midterm/final questions and tells us exactly what is/is not covered; doesn't try to trick us on exams, which are in the fair/easy difficulty range. Very forgiving with grading of concert reports. I'm not a music person at all and am partially tone-deaf (seriously) but still wound up with an A. Not a fascinating experience, but low stress and painless.

May 2010

Daniel=a god among men. Daniel is knowledgeable, articulate, and enthusiastic. While your first listening quiz may be lower than you had hoped, your grades will improve exponentially on subsequent assignments. Daniel wants his students to not only succeed, but also to learn and appreciate the evolution of Western music. *Pay close attention to the concept of "work versus performance" throughout the course of the class. *When you write your opera and concert reports be sure to analyze the technical aspects of the performance with the vocabulary used in class/in the textbook. *Arrive to class on time! Does not like late-comers... *Enjoy singing along to Beyonce and dancing to Stravinsky's "The Rite of Spring"! *Read the assigned texts (not in the textbook). They might show up on a listening quiz or two.

May 2010

You are very lucky if you end up getting Alexander Rothe for this class. Sure he was a bit awkward and nervous at first (which he admits) but he relaxed as the semester progressed. I thought about changing sections after two classes as he seemed to favor those students that had a musical background and quickly dived in the concept of notations, which can feel like a new language for non-music students. But I was wrong and I am happy I didnt change. I truly enjoyed this class although there is a lot of memorization. He gives good advise on the assignments, he is a generous grader and will understand if you need to hand in assignments passed the due dates.

May 2010

Could not have agreed more with the previous reviews. I had read these reviews before and decided to give him the benefit of the doubt since he looked like a nice person from first class. However, a nice person does not equate to a good instructor. I very much regret not taking their advice - avoid at all costs. His criticism of my essay did not make sense to me whatsoever, and I received from him my first-ever B on a paper since college (I'm in my third year). My friends who had taken Music Hum ended up with professors that gave them A+'s despite the fact that they had zero music background. I took 3 years of music history and 3 years of music theory as part of my piano training during elementary/high school. As this fact demonstrates - the exams are basically testing your knowledge of music historical trivia, and the listening identification requires you to know pieces from the MIDDLE of the piece (you have to identify Composer, Name of piece, and Period), not just from the beginning. I've played plenty of piano, but I really do not know stuff like Modernism well enough to just tell from the middle because guess what, there is virtually no pattern in some of them and they all sound far too alike. As stated above, if he doesn't think the class is participating, he will start to give pop quizzes to force people to do the reading and participate - this is by far the most ridiculous way of teaching I have ever hear of in the Western world - it sounds like something a very backward educator would do. Pop quizzes don't scare me, but the action itself is just pedagogically WRONG. As Music Hum is a required course, I strongly urge you to wait until you have a good instructor to take the course and not rush into it like I did. This will be one of the lowest grades I have ever received in college and will definitely drop down my GPA.

May 2010

Professor Einbond is an exceptionally good music hum teacher, and his course will be especially satisfying for students with some musical background. He is a composer, and thus brings a musician’s perspective to the course. He includes more music theory than most sections, which nonetheless is not too challenging for musical novices and is very enriching to the study of the various works. His comments on various composers are often quite funny, and he frequently demonstrates a point on the piano. His class is engaging without being excessively difficult. One way in which his section differs from many others is the emphasis on modern music as well as avant-garde, which is the field in which he composes. This may be a good or bad thing depending on your tastes and interests.The sections on baroque, classical and romantic music were a bit rushed in order to include more modern music on the syllabus, including things like spectral music as well as composers like Varese, Ligeti, Feldman and Berio. This focus may make the class frustrating to traditionalists, but more interesting to the musically open-minded.

Apr 2010

Take his Music Hum section! It is exactly what you want out of a required course - interesting, slightly challenging and fun without a heavy work load. Even if you have little to no interest in music and music history, you will come away from this class with an appreciation of a wide variety of music and a general sense of historical relevance. I had a 9AM course and never missed a class because there was always something to gain from coming to class - either enjoying 10 minutes of listening to music or hearing interesting references and facts about a composer or historical era. Mario is incredibly chill and disarmingly knowledgeable about every section he presents. He gives a really comprehensive review/study sheet that prepares you extremely well for the exams - stick to the review sheet and you won't waste time studying from the textbook (which is a little less organized than his instruction but worth purchasing/borrowing). Definitely try to find his section once you register and you will be humming a happy tune because of it!

Mar 2010

I wouldn't say that he's a bad guy, but he takes himself and this class ENTIRELY too seriously. He comes across as though he is bitter and angry that this class isn't given the same attention that, say, an Econ class would be given by an econ major. He expects everyone in the class to have lots to say every day, and if he is unsatisfied with class participation he will start handing out pop quizzes. Also, he refuses to give you any clue what will be on the exams and tells you to "study what's on the syllabus". I would not recommend him at all.

Feb 2010

I liked Alex as a person, but I struggled to enjoy his class. He's a very awkward and painfully shy teacher who would go 5 minutes or longer while talking without looking at students. At the beginning of the semester I was annoyed, but by the end felt bad for him, as he seemed very uncomfortable in a teaching role. Fortunately it was an easy class and once the semester was over I largely forgot the negative aspects. If you get him, keep your expectations low. Oh, nearly forgot: if you don't have any formal musical training, you'll likely feel completely lost at times. Don't try to ask him for help, as it'll be like asking him to teach you Mandarin using Swahili. Find someone in the department.

Jan 2010

Keenan-Penagos took the class seriously, but her personality makes it tough to take her seriously. She tends to laugh at the end of every sentence, whether it's funny or not. It was extremely distracting and it added a lot of dead time to the lecture. Class moved very slowly, with lots of small talk before, during and after any statements of importance. If you are a down-to-business type like me, you will be frustrated throughout the semester. That said, the girls in the front of the class seemed to love her personal style. The readings were approximately 70 page book chapters, each of which described the first performance of a musical masterpiece like The Rites of Spring. The readings added an historical element not delved into during lecture, but they just did not feel necessary. The required one-page precis for each reading was very busyworky, if I might coin a term. Midterm and final were easy enough. I did develop some appreciation for the subject matter, but I'm really just glad that this box has been checked.

Jan 2010

At first, I was a little wary of Professor Somary. He was assigned to our class during the third week or so of the semester. The music department offered little detail as to why the previous professor was no longer teaching. The first quiz was graded pretty harshly. A lot of people got C's and D's so many of us were kind of freaked out. Then as the semester went on, I grew to appreciate Somary and adjusted to the expectations of the quizzes. Somary is an expert in the field and apparently a well-known composer. His teaching went a little over my head sometimes because I have absolutely no background in music. That said, I did learn a lot. He is also very available outside of class for questions and extra help. He truly cares about the students and is patient with people like me with no previous knowledge. In the end I feel lukcy to have had Prof. Somary. You are getting the most out of the core if you take Music Hum with him. He also is picky about writing... so your writing will definitely improve.

Jan 2010

She's a really nice woman who genuinely wants to teach something about music. Even so, it's not always clear what she expects you to get out of the lectures and some minor things pop up in the quizzes. The larger things she definitely stresses though, and it's pretty easy to tell what's important to know. You do need to purchase a textbook, but the 6 cd set she requires is available in the Music Library in Dodge, so you can just load it into your itunes instead of buying the cds. Overall, not a bad draw for a Music Hum teacher.

Jan 2010

A very enthusiastic and slightly eccentric professor who loves music and wants you to love it too. I would fully recommend taking Music Hum with Prof. McCoy, she marks easily and she wants to you to enjoy listening and learning. She bases the whole course on "First Nights" the textbook, which looks at 5 musical pieces - Orfeo, The Messiah, Beethoven's 9th, Symphonie Fantastique, and The Rite of Spring. Each piece is a mini course with some musical terminology and historical background specific to the music. After every unit you get a fairly easy multiple choice 'midterm' and a short (1-2pg) 'essay'. The assignments are not cumulative so you can forget about each unit once you have finished it. Best of all there is no final, just a 'final discussion' in class.

Jan 2010

Daniel deserves the gold. As a person, he's really nice, tremendously funny. As an instructor, he cares a lot. Daniel makes that known right up front. You can easily take another Music Hum class with much less work, but Daniel doesn't believe that a Music Hum class should just exist for us to coast through. We're at Columbia and should learn something along the way. You get to watch him dance on the desk and in turn he gets to watch us sing and dance as well. I remember he had a review class at 9 pm prior to an exam because it was convenient for the class. I still have that music on my mp3 player and listen to it.

Jan 2010

Worst class I've ever had...by far. Music Hum has its potential but Alexander Rothe made sure to teach the most boring class ever. He is really sweet and understanding, even when it comes to deadlines. Once, we had another Music Hum professor guest teach, and although it was a 9AM class and I had only slept for three hours, it was the most awake I'd ever been. With Alex, I could have a full night's sleep and class would still be a massive snooze-fest. I thought I'd love Music Hum because I've been a classically trained musician for over 10 years. Turns out, it was just a giant disappointment

Jan 2010

Music Hum with Tarantino was enjoyable. He is sometimes not the greatest lecturer but knows what he's talking about and is a talented musician. If you say something dumb he will challenge it and make you elaborate. He is, like other reviewers have said, not the most organized professor, but he did send us modified syllabi and recording lists and attempt to keep us updated on the class schedule. He uses his own website on which he has detailed (though sometimes convoluted) analyses and descriptions of each composer and piece you need to learn. You should at least skim these and the assigned readings as there will be questions about both on the exams. The syllabus itself is interesting and will provoke a few good discussions if you get good classmates. He also provides study guides for the midterm and final that are basically just lists of terms you should know--helpful but not life-saving.

Jan 2010

Definitely agree with the previous post. Kate was literally amazing. Her instruction on musical forms was actually excellent. Her lectures approached the material from multiple perspectives. She would begin with a new historicism interpretation and then delve into the musical theory behind each piece. I'm an econ, math major, but I've been playing music since an early age. I knew very little of the history of music or about many elements of form and texture. This class will take music, some of which you may recognize, and force you to engage it from a completely different perspective. One example: The Rite of Spring, Stravinsky. This piece has made multiple appearances in popular culture, but this class will help you to understand the primalism that motivates the composition. Class atmosphere is very laid back and not at all hostile.

Jan 2010

I don't think there are enough words to describe Mark Seto's awesomeness. Honestly, I was one of those people who didn't expect to do too well in Music Hum. I had no background in the material, and my understanding of the basics is still mediocre at best. But Mark understands this. He understands that this is a basic course that everyone is expected to pass, and so, he treats it with lightheartedness. Obviously some people are more informed on the material, and this led to interesting discussions, but people also said a lot of dumb things. He always took these well, though, and actually managed to try to make some sense of them. Aside from that, he also contributed historical perspectives and always raised interesting and complex ideas that added to the discussions. He's really funny, and like the previous writer mentions, well dressed. Seriously, this man can do no wrong. He's too kind, and well, I'd gush more about him but just want to make this nice and simple: take his class, if you can.

Jan 2010

Professor Boynton made Music Hum a really valuable course. She is approachable and willing to answer any questions - no matter how elementary. I really appreciated her historical contextualization of all the works. We focused on five pieces in depth rather than doing a more general survey like other sections. By the end of the year I felt like I had actually learned something and had a new way of thinking about and talking about the things we studied. She does a good job of navigating the difficult territory inherent in this course - engaging rather than alienating both those with no musical background and those with extensive musical background. All in all, a great Music Hum experience.

Dec 2009

Frisch knows his stuff - although the same just can't be said of his TA however. His class is generally enlightening, but not enough to keep everyone awake in the dreadful 9:10am slot (someone is always asleep in the class, but he doesn't really care). If you stay awake for the most part and take notes, you won't need to do any assigned readings. He is a very busy person and although he cares greatly about the subject topic, he does not have that much time to deal with the details of the class. As a result, the writing assignments are graded lightly - as long as you focus on the topics that he covered in class. If you can manage to drag yourself to his class every other day, then take him! There are no "required readings", no quizzes, no responses that other Music Hum sections are required to do. In fact, if you got him, you have lucked out (besides the 9:10 part). Midterm and Final were both the same structure, both very fair. Just know your listening, terms and you should be fine.

Dec 2009

Mark is the man. How to describe him? Hmmm. . . If I were to host a swanky cocktail party, Mark would be at the top of my invite list. Not because he's a snob (he's definitely not!), but rather because he's incredibly refined/sophisticated, pleasant, and would probably get along with virtually anyone. It was almost irritating how he came to class every session impeccably dressed and prepared. He's clearly a seasoned Music Hum instructor and I was always amazed at how diplomatically he handled the ridiculously stupid comments some people made in class. While I may seem a little bitter about how perfect a human being Mark seems to be, I nonetheless feel guilty writing this because he is sooooooo nice and i had such a great time in his class! Music hum is frustratingly basic for anyone that knows anything at all about classical music, but Mark made the best of it. It's a broad survey course so we couldn't go very in depth, but Mark did an absolutely fantastic job highlighting the important (and interesting) points, comparisons/contrasts between composers and genres, etc. I learned so much from him and he also made class fun with well chosen jokes and the occasional simpsons reference! Definitely recommend!

Dec 2009

Murat is a great guy and a good teacher. The class was pretty boring for the first month or so, but that is mostly due to how uninteresting the subject matter is. The latter part of the course, with Mahler (Murat's specialty) and more modern stuff is much much more interesting. The exams are incredibly fair, and Murat makes sure everyone knows exactly what to prepare for. The workload is light. It is at 9:00am so obviously class participation wasnt great but Murat made it totally bearable. For a while during the semester Murat didnt give any grades, saying things like "its hard to quantify concert reports" and then in the end I think everyone pretty much did fine.

Dec 2009

Lehman is interesting and funny, but the class seems to fall a little short in many aspects. He presents the bulk of the material clearly, and usually illustrates his points with snippets of music (or entire pieces). However, when music theory gets involved, as it necessarily does, he gives brief explanations that don't really help. He spends one quarter to one third of class time prompting discussions, which is where the class participation portion of the grade comes in, but the answers to his questions tend to be dominated by a few people that reveal themselves early on. The questions are usually either blindingly obvious (which makes them seem worthless to answer) or abstract (which creates the same problem). Feel free to give whatever thought pops into your head. He has the course planned out in advance, with music assigned before every class. The listening is short and never dry, which is pleasant. Sometimes there are a few pages from a textbook or an article to read, and these are usually boring. Thankfully, there are very few reading assignments. The planned schedule fell out of sync with the actual classes around halfway into the term, and at the end of the term there were a few classes missing. As for graded work, there are two tests and two concert reports. The tests are identical in format -- he chooses 10 pieces of music from the homework and plays a portion of each. After each one, you have to identify the composer and write a few lines about the piece of music (what kind of music is it, what musical technique it features, etc.) This sounds daunting considering the number of pieces there are, but he tends to pick the most memorable ones from the composers about whom he spoke at length in class, so it ends up being very easy. He reveals more information about the concert reports as the class progresses. At first he just says that there are two of them, one of which has to be music in the style of the music studied in class, and the other can be any kind of music. The first concert report is simple: 3-4 pages (consider this a gift compared to most college writing assignments) about the basic aspects of the music as well as the concert experience. He will tell you to follow a handout that he gives early on - just keep including points from that handout and you'll be fine. If you hand it in late, you lose a third of a letter grade for every day late it is. The second concert report is considerably different. Besides being 4-5 pages long, you need to include at least two sources, which you can obtain at the music library (this means that your 2nd concert should be some sort of "classical" music). You need to refer to the sources extensively in support of claims you make about the music. In addition, you need to obtain a copy of the music that was played at the concert, which most people forgot to do. As a final note, always come to class, and make sure you show up on time. Lehman allows a 5-minute period after the class officially starts in which people can arrive, but he told us that after that period, no one would be allowed in (not that he actually kept this promise - he's just too nice to lock people out). Still, he looks down on lateness.

Dec 2009

Her lectures are very interesting---she's funny. And who doesn't like hearing about the crazy composers' lives, and listening to the music. Her tests are straightforward and fair. I feel like I learned alot without being tortured by the workload. One word of warning though...she lets students ask alot of questions and have freedom to interject. IMO, it got out of hand and we got behind the syllabus as a result and the last half of the class was kind of disjointed and rushed. But overall, her class was a pleasure, and you learn and have fun! Can't say that about too many classes at CU.

Dec 2009

Kate's a great instructor. If you have to take Music Hum (which you do) I couldn't think of anyone better to take it with. She's got a great temperament, is very knowledgeable about the material, and is clearly very passionate about Music in general. While I am a science major, I found this class very enjoyable and I really learned a lot. You don't spend too much time on any one genre so even if a style of music is not your thing, you're quickly onto the next section. I'm glad I ended up in Kate's section. The course is graded on the following... 2 concert reports due at the end of term. 5 small quizzes she makes it super easy to prepare for 4 short written assignments (1-2 pages) No midterm 1 final It probably sounds like a lot, but it's really not. The papers are really short and only require a flick through your class notes and the text book to do well. Show up, do the work and you'll do great!

Oct 2009

Low intensity, you'll spend most of class just listening to the works rather than analyzing them which is nice. One take-home, multiple-choice online midterm (we had 5 days to do it), the same deal for the final exam. One paper on 5 pieces of music-100 words or less one each piece. Also offered extra credit and spent time on the intersection of dance and music towards the end. A good pianist, too.

Oct 2009

Walter Frisch is obviously a brilliant scholar and a wonderful teacher; I'm not sure why these people complained about the class so much. In itself, the class wasn't too difficult, but I at least found that I learned a lot about many periods of music. Since he is a musicologist, he focused on the history and culture of various musics and how that influenced the finished product. The only thing, frankly, that seemed to hold back the class was that the vast majority of students never did the reading or listening in a serious way and struggled throughout the semester with the technical vocabulary required to have interesting discussions about music. When people can't talk about the significance of bitonality in Stravinsky or serialism in the Second Vienna School, its hard to get into the nitty-gritty of musical analysis. I didn't find that he was particularly nit-picky about grammar and thought on the contrary that he was rather generous (at the very least, fair) in his grading of papers. I suppose that grammatically incoherent papers should be downgraded if only because it makes understanding them more difficult.

Sep 2009

Marilyn McCoy is hilarious. Her approach to Music Hum, while not the most engaging for anyone with a mildly serious music background, is accessible for all students. Her enthusiasm for the material is evident, and while she struggles with technological issues on the daily, I can honestly say that I enjoyed her classes. Her knowledge is great, but she can sometimes be slightly unclear when explaining concepts. However, she is more than open to any questions, and she truly appreciates curiosity. One negative I have is that she bases her curriculum off of a book which studies five major works of 'classical' music. I would have liked to examine other kinds of music and their position in history. Overall a great professor.

Sep 2009

Sigh, Sam Pluta. Music Hum went from a class I was initially dreading to a course that I became really excited about every time I went to class. After hearing horror stories about other MH teachers, I was worried but there wasn't a single piece of music that sucked or that was boring. Sam worked to make sure we were constantly engaged with the material and never meant for the class to be anything but fun. He spent the last weeks of the class focusing on music he really loves: electronic music, film sounds, and free jazz/noise. He taught us a dance for the Tennessee Waltz, he made jokes, told us funny stories, and played Phil Collins for us. He was incredibly chill and I STILL feel like I learned more about the works we listened to than I would have in a "serious" environment. Sam wanted us to engage with the music as listeners and to pick up the nuances and subtleties of each piece and after the course ended, I realized that I had. I also really liked that Sam tried to get everyone to express their own tastes and he encouraged people to bring in samples of music. My only complaint is that we did not need to buy the textbook ($100 and I barely opened the damn thing).

Aug 2009

Mario is both a decent MusicHum instructor and a cool guy--stick with him if you get him. While sticking closely to the core syllabus, he focuses on each student's subjective experience of music and working to hone your listening abilities. Classes consist of brief lectures on the current topic and open discussion on pieces you listen to in class. By the end of the semester you won't necessarily have a knowledge of the history of music that exceeds the over-simplified MusicHum syllabus, but you'll be able to listen to and analyze music more closely. He's also very, very easy on grading if you show you're open-minded and have put effort into the assignment. He's totally understanding about workload and will give extensions if you need them.

Aug 2009

This was a really great class. As a student with very little interest in studying music academically, I was pleasantly surprised to find myself not only enjoying the class but also doing well in the class. Sean was able to make the material accessible and enjoyable to learn. I highly recommend taking Music Hum with Sean. The workload is not outrageous and the midterm/final are doable. Fantastic class and teacher!

Aug 2009

Unlike many of the professors that are here simply to do research, Farzi is a naturally talented and fantastic teacher. She was very articulate and enthusiastic, and watching her dance to the music each day made me chuckle. She's obviously a little constricted by the Music Hum curriculum, but is really good at teaching the later periods of western art music. I learned a lot and would highly recommend finding a way to have her as your music hum prof!

Aug 2009

Amber is the best! she is so interesting, knowledgeable, and adorable! she brings in her friends who are musicians to perform a lot of the pieces and she is great at explaining all the musical jargon for people who have no background in music. she is fun and you'll love her class. she's totally open-minded and interested in her students' ideas and opinions about the music. she makes music hum a very eye-opening and interesting class. tip: talk a lot in class. you'll get an A+.

May 2009

Many of my friends told me horror stories about Music Hum. Awful professors, heavy workloads, bad grades, you get the picture. That being said, I feel incredibly lucky to have had Farzi as a professor. Thanks to her, Music Hum was one of the most enjoyable classes I have taken in my three years at Columbia. She's interesting, knowledgeable, funny, and incredibly fair. She spices things up with in-class performances and relevant videos, and she really wants everyone to learn and succeed. Her passion for music is truly infectious. Thank your lucky stars if you find yourself in her class!

May 2009

Professor Frisch is a decent professor who clearly likes music (though he doesn't play the "out of tune" piano all that well) and has a genuine interest in music history and theory. Of course, this means that the class focuses quite heavily on historical and theoretical interpretations of music, leaving more "what do you feel" questions aside. Frisch clearly values quality writing and grades well-written papers much higher than those which contain similar arguments less eloquently stated. The reading is more or less optional as the tests only cover material discussed in class, but this makes attendance and attentiveness important. As the class is at 9am, these can be a struggle some days. The listening portions of the exams also come from material played and discussed in class, which is nice - Frisch isn't out to trick you and seems to genuinely want you to do well. All in all, a decent class, making Music Hum tolerable if not fun.

May 2009

Nico is a pretty good music hum teacher. not the best, but definitely not one I would try to avoid. He takes the class really seriously though, and always wants to get into intellectual discussions. He grades kinda harshly on concert reports, and he expects you to really be super analytical about your experience. Also, his tests are tricky, and you really need to know everything in the book/class notes about the songs AND the composers. The good thing is we watch interesting performances in class... His class can be a struggle for people with no music background, but all in all, it was an all right experience. He isn't a super hard or super easy music hum teacher.

May 2009

Besides music humanities in itself being a sketchy field of study (how can you actually define what music really is, and analyze it? Who says Arnold Schoenberg was great? Maybe no one, and that's why they weren't famous like rising commercial artists and the whole jazz/rock scene ((Which is scantly mentioned)). A couple of decaying farts in a music conservatory? They're so disconnected from reality....) Seriously, if it weren't for large colleges allocating so much of their budget into these classical music departments, this man would be out of work! There is no marketable skills here! The course itself is a little sketchy to someone majoring in economics, mathematics or any hard science that requires brain activity. The course can be described to being an enjoyment experience (listening to music) fused with reading and the creation of a vocabulary to describe music. The textbook even attempts the usage of graphs to illustrate a few points. Frisch harshly criticizes one's writings, and spends more time critiquing one's grammar and choice of words than actual substance. Unless one is entirely consumed in the class and writes lovely sentences about the concerts and the songs, he really acts like a vicious viper raping your every line. They are the true daggers to your grade, and there are 4 of them. The exams are literally a joke, and as long as you can listen to the music and pay attention in class, you'll be fine, and walk away with at least a B+ on the exams. However, its the papers once again that will do you in. More on the professor - he's is sloppy with the notes he writes on the board, and is very engaging with the class. he occasionally sings and plays the piano, and is somewhat klutzy with technology, but not as much as his even blunter T.A.'s. Throughout the class, he frequently looks at his notes and reads often from a variety of texts in front of him, giving the impression that he isn't the brightest light bulb. The man does little justice to what I feel actually is great music, and he used to be the chair of music humanities apparently. Don't take him if you have the option, unless you're a senior in my case, and had no choice in choosing quickly filled sections.

May 2009

Sean Hallowell is a cool dude and a great teacher. He doesn't delve into music theory, as many music hum teachers are wont to do, and chooses to focus instead on music history, or how the various composers participated in the European art-music tradition. He's insightful and super funny. My one criticism is that there were a lot of life-long learners who seemed determined to undermine the class, wasting time with silly questions and inane comments, and Sean's niceness only encouraged them further--I wish he would have done more to keep discussion from straying off course.

May 2009

Murat is such a fantastic guy. Registering for or petitioning to get into Music Hum classes is basically a game of luck, and you are very lucky if you end up with Murat. He really cares about music and about his students, and he's very knowledgeable about all genres. Don't be intimidated by the music IDs on the quizzes and the exams -- Murat definitely goes out of his way to be as straightforward as possible, and if you study and go to class, they'll be easy. From what I understand, the workload is light compared to other Music Hum sections. Whether you're a music person or not, whether you just wanted to fulfill the requirement or whether you wanted to actually learn something, you'll come away from the class knowing more -- though there's a chance that you still won't know how to pronounce his name by the end of the semester.

May 2009

If you want an easy A, or even A+, take this course. If you want to learn about Masterpieces of Western Music, definitely do not take this course. Holzborn may know a fair amount about music, although this does not come through in his lectures where he seems completely disinterested. Most lectures were bogged down by one or two students asking him a stream of mostly irrelevant questions which consumed the entire class period. He is a very nice guy but doesn't seem to know much about teaching a class. The two concert reports were extremely short and he only wanted you to discuss how you felt about the experience rather than the music itself. He also allowed you to submit drafts which he went over with you before the final submission. The midterm and final were both extremely easy exercises in rote memorization. There weren't even that many pieces on either since so much class time was consumed as explained above. There was a mandatory trip to an opera (which Holzborn himself did not even attend) which was cool to see but I didn't feel it added anything to the class. The reading was mostly superfluous although useful to memorize bold terms for the exams. Overall, a ridiculously easy class where I feel like I learned very little other than being able to recognize the first 10 seconds of 20 or so classical pieces.

Apr 2009

Give this guy a gold star! Good instructors are often very passionate about either their subject or their students. Andrew Haringer was the best (and rarest!) kind of instructor -- clearly passionate about both. The syllabus couldn't have been easier to parse, the trajectory of the course in general was clear, the level of class discussion was high. He seemed to genuinely care that we grow to love and appreciate music the way he does -- he would often send out e-mails telling us he'd be "remiss in not recommending" a forthcoming performance. He responded to student concerns quickly and thoroughly. With another one, I might have blown the class off and done the minimum amount of work required to get by (it is, after all, required), but Andrew made music important enough to me that I actually wanted to study and understand all the concepts. Andrew's liberal use of the "syllabus" option on Courseworks to post all of our listening and reading assignments and explain the general themes we'd be discussing for each class. It kept everything very organized and centrally located, which I appreciated. The listening guides Andrew often provided to go along with our listening assignments were also really helpful, especially at the beginning when I didn't really know what to listen for when closely listening to a piece of music. My only complaint is that he posted quizzes on Courseworks (four times through the semester on Thursdays), which we then had a 24-hour to complete -- they took about an hour each on non-class days, which was pretty convenient for me. Otherwise, awesome (and very understanding!) instructor.

Apr 2009

simply: just do it! i couldn't have ever ever ever asked for a better music hum prof. i learned so much. i agree with all the other reviews here. too funny. too smart. you learn. you like.

Mar 2009

Such a great Music Hum teacher. Charles is easy-going and inspiring. Plays piano in class, always a plus.

Feb 2009

This has been one of the most torturous classes I've taken at Columbia. He used to teach elementary school, and he seems to believe he's still there. He wields the constant threat of pop quizzes, which he never fails to mention each class, as a sort of punishment if discussion is not up to his expectations. Classes are boring, pedantic, and uninspiring for anyone who has any musical experience or simply life experience. I shudder at his childish jokes, and try to avoid eye contact during class. Misery is a constant companion. Life has lost all meaning. Are there any decent music hum teachers out there?

Jan 2009

Daniel is amazing! I quit piano in 8th grade for a reason, and I really thought Music Hum would be a drag...but somehow, he made it interesting. His deadpan sense of humor definitely has something to do with it. He seems to make everything sexual; I spent a lot of effort trying not to laugh, because I wasn't sure at first if he was deliberately making everything sound wrong. He also genuinely cares about the material and tries to get students to be aware of the biases and general snootiness of the Core. Take the class. It's worth it just to hear him sing Destiny's Child. (Daniel, I only wrote this review, because I knew you'd read this)

Jan 2009

Emily is taking her PHD at Columbia, and only teaches one music hum class. While she is familiar with most of the material we cover in the music hum syllabus, she is honest in letting us know that there are certain genres of music that she is unfamiliar with, so guest speakers are invited quite frequently. Emily makes music hum as laid back as possible - she summarizes most of the readings for us each class, so you don't necessarily have to be on track with the reading assignments. The midterm was fairly simple and straightforward, and is only worth 20% of your grade. She did grade the midterm harshly, but only to keep you on your toes so you don't slack off for the second half of the semester. For the overall grade, her grading was quite generous. Compared to other music hum classes, Emily doesn't require you to learn stuff that is irrelevant to what you get out of your music hum experience. For example, she doesn't require students with no musical background to learn scales and piano chords, all we needed to know were some very basic terms. She also doesn't require you to be able to distinguish among musicians (as other classes do), she only requires you to be able to distinguish among eras of music. Overall, an easy and fulfilling experience.

Jan 2009

Silverberg seems to have eased up a bit since the previous reviewer. There was no facebook group, and the workload was very light (see below). She was very passionate about the subject and did her best to encourage class participation. She humored every question, was flexible & accessible. She seemed very knowledgeable about the subject & spoke eloquently. However, there was a lot of focus on the formal and technical aspects of the music being played - not tons of fun. I'd say that she is one of the better teachers of a mediocre course, but doesn't have a particularly colorful personality. Keep in mind however that the exams are very memorization-focused. If you take copious notes & have a decent memory, you will do well in this class.

Jan 2009

not a great professor, but not terrible. we had no textbook, and the readings were of anecdotal interest, but not necessary, so the class basically consists of Hoffman's lectures. he does not go very deep into technical details, so if you know more than a little about music, you will probably be bored and unsatisfied. he is obviously enthusiastic about the material, but has trouble conveying that enthusiasm. all in all, an easy class with good music, but nothing to get too excited or stressed about.

Jan 2009

Daniel is an amazing music hum instructor. While he adheres to the core and does require: daily homework, 2 short concert/opera reports, 2 listening quizzes, a mid-term and a final, it is well worth it to take his class. He is very much into class involvement and having the class very involved...and he keeps things fresh. Who else has us "dance" to M.I.A.'s "World Town" or sing "Row, Row, Row Your Boat"? He was very easy to approach and his number one priority is to make sure that you understand (for the most part) what you are doing. Some advice: At least browse the reading...if it seems like too much, just let him know. Definitely participate in class! Listen to the music on the repertoire that he gives before each evaluation at least a couple of times _all the way through_. I am not saying it is an easy A, but if you put in some effort, you will do well, and Daniel is well worth it.

Jan 2009

Alex Mincek is a fantastic music hum teacher! i came in with almost no music background. he managed to make the subject really interesting and I learned so much from this class. he is very laid back - he just wants students to become interested in the material. there is more lecture than discussion but most of that was because the students didn't know so much. with a different group of students he would have been happy for more discussion. however, it didn't matter - he is very interesting to listen to as he knows a lot not only about music but other subjects related to the material. Take him for an enjoyable core class where you will learn a lot and do well. (Trust me, from my experience doing my core classes, it's worth picking a good teacher for music hum/ahum.) Just take notes, maybe speak once or twice in class, and you'll get an A. the concert reports are not difficult at all and he does a great and comprehensive review for the midterm and final so you know how and what to study. If I haven't said it already - this class was awesome!!!

Jan 2009

He's really boring and has a clear contempt for people who do not embrace music in the same way he does. If you do have some musical background though, he will turn to Jell-O at your feet and think you a genius. Good things: You don't have to make the field trip to the opera though, and your concert report can be about something on campus (aka something that's free and that you don't have to go anywhere for). His midterm was a lot of definitions, but if you have music background, you'll most likely end up with over 100%. If you don't, you can still get an A, just memorize. Listening isn't bad at all on either the midterm or the final.

Dec 2008

I have to agree with other reviewers: Ryan is a great way to wake up at 9 a.m. He plays great music at the start of class, knows how to maintain class-wide conversation throughout the 1:15 minute period, and gives really interesting readings that a non-Music major can easily relate to. Because he is so non-Music-major-oriented, I can't say that I learned a whole lot about the technical side of music during the semester, but the history was interesting nevertheless.

Dec 2008

I have never written a Culpa review before. However, Daniel was such a blessing that I felt compelled to do so here. I can't imagine a better Music Hum teacher than Daniel. I have heard some stories of Music Hum teachers who give no midterms, finals, work, etc., and treat the class as a passing requirement. Daniel is passionate about this class. His teaching style is engaging and fun. You don't need to know anything about music going into this, but you will come out appreciating Western Music and feeling like you've gained tremendous knowledge about the subject. One thing though: Daniel does expect you to work. He will personally make sure that you do work. This class definitely requires more focus than other Music Hum classes, but in the end it's rewarding and well worth it. Just to give you a general idea - this class was harder than any Music Hum class I have heard about. But since you have to do the work and actually learn the pieces, you will undoubtedly do well. The final was rough - cumulative with 12 listening/IDs and a long essay, but the class received an average of a 98%. He forces you to learn, and you will enjoy it.

Dec 2008

On the very first day of class, Sam set the tone for the entire year. He stated that "this class is meant to be fun, and if at any point it isn't fun, please let me know." He gets it. When students take core classes like Music Hum, chances are that they don't have any plans to make a career out of music or art or the Frontiers of Science. Rather, the teacher should treat the class as an opportunity to instill a basic love of the subject in each of his or her students and demonstrate the majesty and breadth of what is out there. Sam did this like no teacher I've had at Columbia has. He didn't make us memorize sonata form (he did go over it) or the exact dates famous composers died...rather he spent his time and energy breaking down his favorite individual pieces of music, revealing sides that casual listeners wouldn't recognize. For our concert reports, he encouraged us to go out and sample the experimental and electronic music that he loves. I was introduced to a vast amount of "modern" music that I'd never even heard of coming in, and now continue listening to and enjoying even though the class is over. Personally, he's a brilliant person and complete riot: We LOL'd over and over again every class. Sam has inspired me to continue my musical education at Columbia: I'm taking Fundamentals of Western Music next semester and might even end up concentrating in Music. I've had a lot of wonderful teachers at Columbia, but Sam has been the best I've had so far.

Dec 2008

Max is an engaging (and fun) lecturer, and he's always willing to meet with you (and on pretty short notice) if you're having trouble with anything he assigns. I liked him and liked going to the class. However, the class he teaches is really much too freaking hard for a core class intended for non-majors. I constantly felt like I was in a 2000-level music theory class. From talking to friends, I figured out that no, it wasn't my imagination, Max's class is actually just about the hardest music hum. For example, 20% of his final is a 19-page, 12 point font list of terms (with paragraphs, not sentences defining them) that you need to memorize (in addition to the rest of the final, which is two hours of music you need to spend about 20 hours learning, and timelines you need to memorize, and class notes you need to review). I mean, I felt like it wasn't a class taught at the level non-majors should be expected to do well in, and also like it should have been a 4-credit class, not a 3-credit one. However, maybe this isn't all THAT bad since he's one of the most helpful, available professors I've had. Yet, I probably would be getting a MUCH better grade had I chosen a less demanding professor who teaches a less comprehensive class.....

Dec 2008

This section was awesome. Murat was a very chill professor who was energetic and animated during the 9 AM class. Our TA, Alex, was also fantastic. Between him and Murat they clearly answered any question that the class posed. I am a musician, so I probably had an easier time with the material than other students might have. But, it was very clearly presented throughout the term and even though there were a few awkward jumps between eras, I found that the general sampling of music given was good. Murat moves a bit slowly through the material, but it all works out in the end. The grading seemed REALLY generous in my class. Overall, if this is an undesirable class that you simply want to get over, I'd suggest this section, because Murat is awesome and the grading is easy. However, if you want to be intellectually stimulated, this might not be the section for you; we seldom delved deeply enough into the works or the times to have meaningful discussion.

Dec 2008

Farzi was an amazing Music Humanities professor. She explained everything clearly and basically stuck to our textbook, which made it easy to understand what was going on for somebody who didn't know much about music history. Class was rarely boring. Mostly lecturing, but she gave us the opportunity to discuss the more exciting/controversial issues in music history. She brought in live performers for three classes and played a lot of music in class, which made it easy to keep up (especially if you hadn't done the listening homework). It also made it easier to pay attention because there were frequent musical interludes. She also gave us the opportunity to drop our midterm grade and count our (noncumulative) final twice. Grading on the papers was fair.

Oct 2008

Daphne is unassuming, approachable, pretty intelligent, and kind of a hipster (and it shows). She was really empathetic to people in the class who obviously had no musical background- we did not need to memorize names, dates, composers of every piece we listened to (unlike a lot of music hum classes). She's not so much a musician as she is an ethnomusicologist, which definitely helps. I was admittedly one of those jackasses who had a lot of music training and knew most theory and history like the back of my hand and took the class for the easy A. Which I got, but I felt most people did too. If you try at least a little bit, she'll appreciate the effort and reward you kindly. I also learned some really cool anthropology stuff about Yoruba drumming and concert venues- probably the most interesting part of the whole course. There is only so much she can do with the set material, but she did manage to incorporate The Arcade Fire in our discussion of Baroque music, which I thought was pretty sweet. Overall, Daphne makes music hum as painless an experience as it can be.

Aug 2008

Every time I casually apply what I learned in this class I remind myself to review Alex. I came in with absolutely no music knowledge--none--and little interest in it to boot, and walked out with a solid foundation and a healthy interest in most everything from beethoven onwards. He's easy going, funny, and understanding (especially towards us music dunces) and yet we learn a hell of lot in a compacted time. It's actually fun to participate in his class. He takes observations that might not seem like much on the surface and explains the mechanics in detail. There were plenty of people in class who came in with abundant music knowledge/experience, and yet it was seamless--not too fast or slow--and we all seemed to have a great time. The concert reports were fun to write, he's very open what it is you want to explore in these assignments. Take this class with Alex, especially if you are apathetic towards music, because he'll change that pretty quickly.

Aug 2008

Only a grad student but one of the best teachers I've had. Only music class I've ever taken and learned an unbelievable amount. Nevver bored in class and always prepared for the tests. You will have to work hard and be ready for class, but it is definately a class in which it is possible to do well. If you are into it, you will be rewarded, both with the grade and with the experience. Definately pick Dan when youre signing up for music hum

May 2008

Todd was truly a great person; unfortunately the Music Department stuck him with five classes to teach during the semester I took Music Hum with him, so he was a bit disorganized and frazzled. If you take the class seriously, do the readings, and listen to the music before class, you will find the class enjoyable. Todd brings in lots of fun factoids and stories to give the unit more context. He has a great sense of humor and loves it when students have an opinion and participate in class--even if what you say is completely idiotic. Many students in Music Hum are gunning for A's and complain constantly about how hard everything is. Honestly, if you give an honest effort, Todd will recognize that and reward you accordingly. The midterm will scare the daylights out of you. It is very, very difficult. However, it was curved dramatically (almost 20 points) it only gets easier after that. The final was a joke, and you have two response papers (3-5 pages) to turn in.

May 2008

Easy A. Mostly lectured with very minimal class discussion. Graded all assignments and tests extremely leniently with check marks and 100s. I'm definitely no expert in music, but this was hands down the easiest class I've taken at Columbia.

Apr 2008

He was often harried/rushed/seemed more and more out of it as the semester went on. Maybe something was going on in his personal life, so I don't want to criticize him, but it definitely detracted from the class experience. He's definitely very passionate about the subject and a talented musician, and I enjoyed the class overall. Assignments were appropriate, but the grading on the midterm was very harsh - the questions asked were overly difficult and obscure. The music on the syllabus was great, and Tarantino was great at improvising on the piano to illustrate various concepts. I like that he made a class blog, but he soon stopped posting questions on it rather early in the semester. I definitely recommend taking Music Hum with him, but don't expect him to be organized.

Apr 2008

Was the previous poster in the same class that I was? Keenan definitely has a self-deprecating sense of humor that someone may misinterpret as rabid love for pop musicians, but she's a great teacher. Her lectures are solid, easily digested, and incredibly clear, and she is a tough but fair grader. If you're looking for the class that allows you to BS your way through it, like so many classes in the Core, Keenan is not the professor for you. If you want to learn about music history (and cool fun facts about musicians), then she's awesome.

Apr 2008

Daphne is amazing. I came in with no music background whatsoever, dreading the class, but she not only taught me a lot, she also made it interesting.

Apr 2008

Simply put, Ben is a doll. He is bright and engaging. His take on the canon of western masterpieces has the unique advantage of giving you the requisite cocktail party knowledge while simultaneously equipping you with the critico-theoretical tools to deflate pompous assholes who wear Beethoven as cultural capital like it was a degree from Choate... Take this class.

Apr 2008

Daphne Carr. You want to take Music Hum with her. She cares a lot about the class, especially about making this core class interesting to both herself and her students. She is mostly interested in pop, rock, punk and so forth, and works this stuff into the standard curriculum where she can. She lets us dance in class. She lets us give presentations on what we think the best and worst music is. She appreciates awkwardness. She's interesting, smart and hilarious. If you don't take Music Hum with Daphne Carr you are missing out.

Mar 2008

LOVE HER. She's the sweetest teacher I have ever had and super understanding. Although the subject itself bores me a little (I personally am not a music person) her obvious passion for it makes me want to go to class (even though she is completely understanding about absences. She's great. love her.

Jan 2008

Okay, so he's over-eager. You can tell that he wants badly to affect all of his students' lives, to make them know music more in-depth than the average Music Hum class. He's just the right amount of awkward that it's endearing, and I have a feeling that a lot of the girls in the class had at least little crushes on him. The work load is a bit more demanding than the average music hum work load (our final paper was a research paper that had to have something like 10 outside sources), but he's also a wonderful person, eager to talk to the students, and a very good teacher. If you want to coast along then he might not be your man, but there were many times when we all laughed together and learned a lot, and I think I'm not alone in my admiration for him.

Jan 2008

Insanely organized, outwardly very sweet and humors a lot of bad questions. Encouraged outside concerts, but the Facebook group for class was a little too much. She e-mails constantly, and she's incredibly accessible, but similar to high school in terms of workload. Just...unnecessary. And for a Core class in which most students had no background, I thought some of her exams were ridiculous and her grading unwarranted. Nice enough, but I'd skip her if you've got a heavy courseload.

Jan 2008

As the other reviewers have said, Alex (he told us to call him by his first name) is a nice guy and very approachable. He is very laid back and one of the few core professors that I have had that actually want you to learn the material. He creates a relaxed environment where students are encouraged to participate. Alex is very knowledgeable about a variety of topics in music and a good lecturer to boot. In other core classes attendance is taken however Alex not once took attendance. A drawback to this was that he didn't actually learn any of the students' names.

Jan 2008

Steer clear of this instructor and petition if you must. He repeats word for word (and without inflection) what is written in the book, and pretends to know what he's talking about. Worst of all, he takes himself very seriously and has little sense of humor. Don't try to correct him, even if he is wrong. Music Hum isn't a great class to begin with, but its required--if you want to at least learn something and even enjoy the class a tiny bit, look elsewhere because Instr. Kisiedu is worthless.

Jan 2008

hes not the greatest lecturer, but he knows lots about music and has a structure to the course.

Jan 2008

She's nice, but a terrible instructor. She wasted class time talking about her Justin Timberlake experience, referenced him a few times in class, then skipped the entire genre of Jazz! I got the constant feeling that she didn't actually like any of the classical pieces we focused on. Avoid her course at all costs! We have some amazing instructors, Keenan isn't one of them.

Jan 2008

Laugh with (or at) Olaf Post’s understated humor and you’ll be entertained while you struggle to differentiate between Haydn’s Symphony no. 95 in A minor and Mozart’s Symphony no. 40 in G minor—don’t forget to name the movement (Second? Fourth? Perhaps there’s only one…). Even if you’ve read the material and listened to the music, a generally manageable task and worthwhile considering the periodic pop quizzes, the pieces will muddle together after a while, particularly those of the baroque period. Fortunately, Professor Post brings in multiple guest performers to enliven the material, and while the musicians are entertaining the look on Olaf’s face as he revels in a pianist’s rendition of Mussorgsky’s “Pictures at an Exhibition” is priceless. He loves his field but understands not everyone is equally excited about music theory and so tries his best to elucidate the material from both a technical and artistic perspective. While students without a musical background may struggle with some aspects of music that come with practice (i.e. distinguishing between major and minor keys) and, hence, which Olaf will have trouble conveying, his lessons are approachable by the experienced and inexperienced alike. Tests can include a couple of absurd details from the text but Olaf grades on his own scale that tends to mitigate the difficulty. Such details slip my memory soon after the exam but I have a new appreciation for the instrumental music that now rolls through Party Shuffle on my iTunes. I even add some to playlists.

Dec 2007

Ryan is absolutely PRECIOUS! Let me give you an example... before Thanksgiving break Ryan checked to see if we all had someplace to to go, offering us dinner with him and his friends if we didn't have anywhere or anyone. Adorable! And he felt SO BAD about the racism and tragic lives that Billie Holiday and Charlie Parker suffered, he got choked up just talking about them. I wanted to hug him! And he didn't make us buy the big music book. Instead, he assigned some fairly interesting articles from: Barthes (a sexy reading), Adorno (a thought-provoking reading) and even Jacques Attali (a crazy but interesting reading). On the downside, the second half of the semester was, pretty much, atonal modern composers that you've never heard of -- and, if you're like me, you will purge those screeching sounds of metal against glass from your iTunes one millisecond after the final exam is over. We covered some good stuff from Debussy, Stravinsky and Bebop during this half of the semester. But the rest of the time we were listening to Ruth Crawford Seeger (who?), Morton Feldman (huh?), Virgil Thomson (ugh)... you get the picture. On the upside, Ryan gave us a lot of freedom. He did not take points off assignments just because I didn't say some specific thing about a piece of music. As long as it was clear that I'd listened to the piece and spent some time thinking about it, Ryan gave me full credit on the assignments. I really appreciated that because it's hard to talk about music.

Dec 2007

i don't usually write culpa reviews, but i need to share this with you: maria was the best grad student instructor i've ever had. she was better than any professor i have ever had at columbia. i had her as a TA a previous semester and as an instructor this semester. i never thought i'd get so lucky! i am a junior at columbia and i have never loved a class so much as this one. i didn't even think it was possible. maria puts so much effort into this course. it is obvious she really wants us to learn and enjoy it! she was so kind and so helpful with anything you ever needed or asked her. she is always accessible, always emails you back in a timely fashion. we would start every class with a piece of music she picked out and we would jot down notes/ answer a question she asked about the piece and its relation to our discussion. she took the time to find a song, that we would all enjoy, maybe even recognize, and compared it to what we were studying! she would always try and find videos at the library for us, to make it more visual than just aural. she's just so great. it's hard to imagine a grad student, someone so young, and with so much already on their plate to be able to teach a course so well and so constructively. i learned so much in this class that i will take with me forever. i see music in a totally different light now, and it's a great perspective! maria wasn't just a great teacher, she CHANGED MY LIFE.

Dec 2007

Daphne is an absolutely awesome teacher. If you are looking to learn the traditional Music Hum nonsense and nothing more, than don't take this class. But if you want to understand music in a new way and learn from a really great teacher who wants you to learn, take it. Her teaching methods are unconventional but good. She is just chill. Hands down. Switch in if you can...trust.

Dec 2007

Andrew is awesome. he openly admits to wanting to be awkward like the son on Arrested Development, and makes many corny jokes. On the other hand, he knows his shit so throughly and is very enthusiastic, to the point that even I began to love classical music. Really engaging, really fun. I'll miss him.

Nov 2007

I think the first word I would use to describe Andrew is awkward. But he's also hilarious, unpretentious, down-to-earth, and really, really enthusiastic about music. He genuinely wants his all of his students to enjoy the class, enjoy the subject, and form their own opinions about western music (unless you say the music sounds like something you'd hear in Nordstrom's - someone said that about a piano piece (Chopin, I think) and Andrew almost had a stroke). Andrew tries to use a lot of different media to discuss music: besides audio clips, he brings in clips from shows/concerts, movie clips, and he plays the piano. Twice we've also had live performances of what we're studying by other music students. It makes the class more interesting, and the fact that he can play the piano (and he's good at it) means he can break down different elements of music. I'm not really sure where the second review came from. His jokes aren't inappropriate, and his grading is very fair. And Andrew doesn't expect his students to know really technical aspects of music. He might mention some more technical terms and concepts while he's explaining a piece, but it's always as a side note, and never anything he actually expects his students to know for an exam. He does expect you to become familiar with basic technical concepts (major, minor, rhythm, structures of different kinds of orchestral works...), but it is, after all, a music class, and it's only information that you need to get a basic understanding of the pieces you study. All in all, this is probably one of the best classes I've taken so far at Columbia. Andrew's enthusiasm for music is infectious. Music I previously thought was boring I now enjoy listening to, or, at the very least, appreciate. You should definitely do what you can to get in to this class.

Sep 2007

I don't understand how the below person could give him such a good review. For one, I expected Music Hum to be a survey course to introduce us to the masterpieces of Western music. Instead, Andrew expected us to understand the technical aspects of music, even at points trying to instruct us on music theory. I have played an instrument for over eight years and sometimes I didn't even know what this man was talking about! In addition to making inappropriate jokes, he is a unnecessarily difficult grader. I implore you, please stay away from this one.

Aug 2007

I couldn't have asked for more from Music Hum than what Professor Jeff gave. He's a passionate, good-natured and engaging lecturer. Yup, he devote more time to recent music than some teachers - to his credit, in my opinion (although the first reviewer got it wrong, it's not all about noise/minimalism). He also has a soft spot for Bach, yet manages to get to all of the curriculum thoroughly. Go chat with him in his office hours about his own work, and you'll appreciate what a talented music geek he is.

Aug 2007

Amber is an amazing teacher. She is perhaps the nicest woman in the world and is very effective in her teaching style. I had no interest in western music until I took this class yet she made it fun, exciting and easy to understand. I know some of the kids in my class who had previous music knowledge and seemed way ahead of the game but I still managed to get an A+! If you do your papers diligently and chime in with some comments in class every now and then, you will be on her good side and she will do all she can to ensure you get a good grade. Definitely recommend her!

Jul 2007

The Baz is a great instructor. First, he knows his material. While you were rocking out to Weezer, he was digging the classical. He was playing piano as a zygote. To quote: "Yeah...you know in tenth grade, I was SO into Bach!" He has a zippy sense of humor; class is rarely boring. I absolutely despise classical music, but that notwithstanding, the music was tolerable because of his fine teaching. The Baz can also play just about anything on the piano, which is extremely helpful. He will take out as much time as you need to help you understand the material. All in all, cool guy.

Jul 2007

This course changed the way I think about all music. Admittedly, that's what a music humanities class is supposed to do. But I've met a lot of unsatisfied music hum students who complain about the tremendous waste of time they spend trying to learn musical notation and dates of compositions. Professor Blazer focused on concepts in music that apply in other areas of knowledge, he deconstructed pieces intelligibly, and even fit in great anecdotes about the composers lives. He was a truly amazing teacher. Not only was he passionate, clear, and really funny, and really seemed to care about his students, even the musically challenged ones. I have taken most of the core classes here, and this has been by far has been the best.

Jun 2007

Johan confused me. I hated the class, completely ruined any interest I had in music. It was stressful and his lectures were unorganized and incomprehensible. He spent way too much time on the modern stuff, refused to even talk about jazz, and tended to love talking while the music was playing so that you couldn't hear anything he said. No one showed up on time, so he always started class late and so let you out late. Also, for the first month, every class about half the people would be new, for so many people dropped it. His tests were ridiculous but heavily curved, I left so many answers blank on the midterm, yet somehow ended up with an A. The papers stressed me out with their obscene lenghth, 1.5 sized font, and his refusal to allow you to have a thesis and tie the whole thing together. Although he did not give the busy work homework that so many other music hum teachers assign so that the weekly workload was not bad, when there was something due, it took me forever. Despite all this, if you go talk to him, you'll find that he is a very nice approachable understanding guy. I thought I was going to fail and regretted having not dropped the class, yet I, to my great surprise, ended up getting an A. In sum, if you're put some effort into it, you can get an A, but if you want an enjoyable non-stressful music hum, don't take Johan's.

May 2007

This is a tough review to write because I like Brahim a lot. He has a genuine passion for the subject and it shows, at times itÂ’s even infectious, but when the exams came around I often felt like he could have done more to convey the information he wanted us to know. Unfortunately he can be one of those professors who teach you something AFTER you see it on the exam. HeÂ’s a gentle grader on the concert reports and the paper but frustratingly harsh on the exams, often marking you off for things that could go either way and not giving you the points when you go talk to him later and clearly exhibit that you know the material. I would say that you should find another professor but everyone in the Music Hum department seems to be lacking in one significant respect or another. You might as well stick with Brahim unless you have a line on another really good teacher for this class but be prepared for surprises and take good notes. Talk to him after class if youÂ’re unsure about something and spend A LOT of time listening to the crappy music particularly in the second half of the class when it gets harder to differentiate between some of the symphonic styles. He gives out stuffy guides for the exams, if he teaches the course like he did with us follow the first one to the letter, plan on exercising a broader knowledge of concepts on the second (a lot of people got tripped up on the second exam because they were expecting something like the first one) and a combination of the two for the final. DonÂ’t sweat the papers so much, just write what you genuinely think and pick something you enjoy. Overall, this class kind of sucks but thereÂ’s no way around it and you could do worse than Brahim.

May 2007

I really enjoyed Music Hum with Professor Hisama. Unfortunately, she only taught my section because of a last-minute illness, and likely will not teach it again, and go back to teaching grad level courses. She clearly knows a ton about music and is very passionate about it. She is also very friendly and extremely willing to work with students when they need help. Music is her life and work and that shows every class in her desire to expand the musical knowledge of her students. If she ever teaches Music Hum again, I would highly recommend her.

May 2007

Louise was a great TA for Music Hum. She taught a few of our section's classes, and it was clear that she truly loves music, is very knowledgeable about it, and is extremely friendly and willing to help. She will be teaching Music Hum next fall, and if you can get her as a teacher, I would definitely recommend that you do so.

May 2007

Whoever wrote that Eric's music hum class is very chill was definitely right. I was one of the people who knew almost nothing about music, and I very rarely felt stressed out by the class. Eric is a good teacher who takes time to explain things and does his best not to let class become boring: he brought in a friend to perform part of an opera, he played the prepared piano for the class, etc. Also, his sense of humor made the material a lot more interesting, especially when he gave us the composers' biographies. He chose some very weird/interesting pieces for us, especially as the semester progressed. Also, while his midterm and final definitely weren't easy, he graded very leniently and wrote lots of helpful comments. Consider yourself lucky if you get Eric as your music hum teacher.

May 2007

Andrew is the reason I came to Columbia. Obviously, I didn't know he was going to be here, that's not what I mean. But, if you want a young, talented, hysterical, bright, enthusiastic and caring teacher for the Core, pick Andrew. He is simply a fantastic teacher. I didn't know the first thing about classical music a few months ago. Now, I spend my nights listening to Haydn symphonies or dissecting Wagner leitmotivs (for fun!). Andrew is a really nice guy, he learned everyone's name and something about them by the end of the first class. He's the funniest professor I've ever had. (And he's really tall.) Every class he plays the piano for at least a few minutes. This was one of my Columbia favorites. Email Andrew and ask him which section he's teaching and try to get in to it. He's so cool.

May 2007

Highly recommended. Nice guy--makes sure everyone knows the material. Had insightful things to say. Knows you don't really care that much, so he takes it easy. Has you read good stuff, but doesn't use that piece-of-crap textbook.

May 2007

While the other reviews are not spectacular I don't think they fully grasp the experience of Johan's class. It's not fun. "Lectures" basically consist of him rambling on about pieces with little to no direction or coherence. This would be tolerable if on the exams he didn't expect more than extensive knowledge of the material he oh so poorly covers. The one bright spot would be the essays which aren't too difficult and he grades very generously. He is a pretty nice guy outside of class but just one of the worst teachers at Columbia. If you just want to get the core out of the way and you get stuck with Johan, I guess it's tolerable but don't look to get anything out of the class. Otherwise stay away from Johan Tallgren.

Apr 2007

I must strongly disagree with the other reviews. I write this before my final, so my objective judgment does not get clouded by the grade I receive. If you have Katherine for Music Hum, consider yourself damn lucky. I have never had a professor who gives so much effort. She provides you with most of the sources for the papers, so you do not have to spend much time on research. She reviews drafts, is very approachable, answers all emails super fast. Katherine has a very dry and refreshing sense of humor - a rarity among professors. Yes, she is not very happy when folks come late - but she is right, it is disturbing. But she brings donuts and coffee to motivate everyone to come on time! She shows movies, operas, even Monthy Python sketch about Beethoven, does everything to make the class interesting. Come on! And I (who has no music background) learned a lot in her class, and even started to love opera and jazz (I know, I would have not believed that either) Thank God I stayed in her class. I would highly recommend Prof. Dacey.

Mar 2007

I think that Music Hum is generally a really difficult class to teach and than Jeff did a very good job. He obviously tried to find a way to make the class interesting and accessible to everyone, and I think any difficulties he had had more to do with the structure of the course than with him. It is true that Jeff spent a decent amount of time on 20th century music, which I think was actually really wonderful for the half of the class who had already had some musical background. Even if the course is probably not the most exciting one you'll ever take, regardless of the instructor, Jeff is passionate about his work and extremely helpful and generous during his office hours.

Mar 2007

Professor Salinas is very knowledgeable in his field of study, and he has energy and excitement for teaching. It is quite possible that professional music students might not find his class interesting, because as a core class it is supposed to provide an introduction to music and emphasize its importance in history, society, and the formation and evolution of culture, NOT talk about the tiny technical details that maybe some were looking for. There are other classes for that! I am a science major and didn't feel an initial interest in western music and its development. However, the variety of readings he provided from authors like Edward Said, Plato, and Nicholas Cook really tied in other elements of the core and made for interesting discussion. At times he lectured, at other times he asked students to come prepared to lead a discussion. Perhaps people are so used to taking exams at Columbia that test material one was never taught in class, that they found his exams "easy." They were straightforward and completely manageable if you read and attended class. Can you complain? And I must say, one reviewer said there were "communication issues" and that he was "hard to understand." Professor Salinas was a bretah of fresh air as an instructor that came from Argentina. His English is very good, he made himself perfectly clear, and that comment seems compeletely condescending and uncalled for. Not ALL profs can be WASPs....hope there wasn't too much strain on your ears!! Professor Salinas defenitely helped me attune mine to the importance and beauty of music, if you just give it a chance.

Feb 2007

I absolutely disagree with the first review of Edgardo. Edgardo was one of the most stimulating instructors that I have had at Columbia thus far. He engaged the class in interesting discussions, and I found that he rarely ever lectured! I had absolutely no prior knowledge in music, either, but I left with a great understanding of both music and how it related to other sociological and historical phenomenon. He related trends to music to trends in literature and art, too, which made the entire core curriculum come full circle for me. I went to class every day excited to be there. Yes, there were required readings for every class, but they were very short, and very interesting. Edgardo is also extremely approachable and ready to help anyone who needed any extra help. I do agree that Edgardo was an easy grader, which was another plus to taking his class. But honestly, in addition to the GPA boost , I got more out of music hum than I ever expected--TAKE THIS CLASS!!

Feb 2007

I find the first review of Edgardo completely unfounded. His passion and expertise in music DOES convery very well to any student willing to participate, ask questions, etc. He is friendly, flexible, and approachable. The midterm and final are no suprises and straight forward. The material he presents is engaging enough, and he is willing to discuss any topic that is presented to him. Edgardo also doesn't harp on the technical aspects of the music, so if you've never taken a music class before, or in my case, saw yourself as musically challegened in general, then this is DEFINITELY the class for you. He teaches you enough technical elements so you sound well-versed at dinner parties, and puts what we're learning into real-world settings so we can see how it relates to things in lithum and arthum. The workload is a breeze. Take the class.

Jan 2007

Probably the most interesting class I took at Columbia. It was good to finally take a professor who seemed passionate about the subject in question and took the time to answer people's questions (although this did make the class lag behind in material). He really makes you change the way you think about music.

Jan 2007

i have to agree ...terrible. The class was boring, communication skills -- hard to understand We listened to what he liked....lots of avant garde music....ugh I went into the class so excited and left completely turned off.

Jan 2007

George Steel is a great professor. He is engaging, incredibly smart, funny, and sophisticated. He is usually available in his office after class without an appointment and will take the time and effort to explain anything that you may have missed in class. Although he spends a lot of time discussing the technical side of music theory, which won't be a problem for those who know how to play any instrument, none of that appears on the exams. There was a class trip to the see an opera and we had access (because of Professor Steel's connections) to an exclusive room where we were served drinks and snacks. One class was at the Riverside church to watch him conduct an orchestra. He usually takes attendance. The only thing required of you is to listen to the musical pieces assigned and be able to identify the name of the piece, the composer and period it was written. He is the head director of the Miller Theatre, if anyone cares to know, and he also hooked us up with a free subscription to Time Out magazine. Overall the class is very manageable

Jan 2007

Overall a good experience. The actual material felt a bit more untraditional than most classes, but Brian Kane made the class fun and worthwhile. He's passionate about the actual music and doesn't make you do a bunch of bullshit work. Our midterm was take home, our final was open note/ open book, and the hardest part of the class is memorizing the different pieces of music for IDs (and even that isn't too bad). You learn to think about music rather than memorize a bunch of dates, composers, and styles.

Jan 2007

If you were assigned to Professor Henson for music hum, you lucked out. The chief reason for this is that she does not take the class overly seriously, but you will still learn a lot. You don't need to a do a ton of work, but you need to listen to the music. And the class is completely relaxed. More importantly, she's British!!! She'll tell you to "have a think about it for next class" and she'll entertain you with her delightfully English wit.

Jan 2007

This class has been one of the best experiences at Columbia. Corbett's knowledge of music is tremendous. Most importantly, his passion for music and charm will inspire you. He never condescends, has a great sense of humor, is very fair and kind. He is extremely witty for a young instructor, in the sense that no question will throw him off. He might willingly indulge in 'beyond-curriculum' music banter, but he LOVES his music. He is quick to play anything at all on the piano to explain what mere mortals cannot hear in terms of rhythm or major-minor mode. The work load was rather big, but I walked away from this class so much richer in music knowledge and have learned to appreciate the old masters in every way. His very memorable, uncanny 'Corbettish' delivery will stay with you. Consider yourself lucky to be in Corbett's class, it will be an asset to you for the rest of your life, if not professionally, most definitely personally.

Jan 2007

She is a pretty solid teacher. Knows a lot about music, but teaches at the perfect level, as she knows the class is a requirement and than a lot of us don't know much (or anything) about music. Assigned reading/listening for each class, but I never did them (aside from skimming sections on major periods the night before the exam). The stuff covered for exams was always discussed in class. For exams, you're expected to know major points and defining features of musical movements, Names (including movement) of pieces as well as the composers, and vocabulary covered in class. The first midterm is pretty indicative of the next midterm as well as the final... to study, make a playlist and put it on random & repeat until you can identify names & composers. Also, review notes, and make a list about each composer, each musical period (Romanticism, Classical, etc.), and vocab words discussed in class. Not a difficult class, and you come out learning a reasonable amount. I never did the reading assignments, and studied for exams the night before (or morning of) and did very well. Just make sure you write a draft of the final paper ahead of time so you can meet with her. She'll tell you things to change about your paper that you may never even have questioned, which are good to know since she's the one grading it. (She also gave us extra credit opportunity. 10 points on a midterm grade if we wrote a 2-3 page review of a music event on campus. We were allowed to do 2, earning up to 20 points)

Jan 2007

Justin was a really good teacher. He was generally chilled out and never made a fuss about people coming late for our 9:10 class. He responded promptly to emails and was always willing to help. We only had one quiz, and the only thing we needed to memorize the entire semester was what sonata form is. That being said, I put more work into this class than any all of my other classes this semester put together. We had to go to four performances and write concert reports on them. The third one was the opera Carmen which we saw together as a class one Saturday night. The fourth one was optional and if you did it they you could drop your lowest grade on the concern reports. We also had a take home midterm and final where we needed to listen to pieces, identify the composers and write about the pieces. Whatever you do, do not google the text of the pieces and write what they are, even if you explain how you would have gotten there without googling them.

Jan 2007

Overall, Prof Rosenberg was a nice, fair, engaging teacher. I did not enter music hum with very high expectations, but Prof Rosenberg definitely did an excellent job at keeping the class interesting and catering to the many different knowledge levels in the class. her grading was fair as well. there were a few minor hiccups, like she assigned a lot of extra reading that we never talked about in class and that im pretty sure very few people did...but all of that im sure will be worked out as she adjusts to how long it takes to teach a bunch of non music majors about music. i wouldnt call her an AMAZING professor but she was very good. i'd recommend her.

Jan 2007

I don't really get Johan. He's incredibly dry and sometimes incomprehensible as a lecturer, yet he can be very clear and engaging if you meet with him one on one. He also claims to be a hard grader, but if you can write intelligently and concept-drop then you'll be fine. Personally, I did very little work for this class; I just crammed before the exams and wrote the papers very quickly, and everything was fine. (However, I'd previously taken some music theory and history, so I had that to go off.) I think Johan views this class as an inconvenience, and he didn't really inspire me (or anyone else, as far as I could tell) to put in any real effort. Still, he's a pretty nice guy... he is really awkward, though. Oh well.

Dec 2006

Positives: interesting reading assignments; facilitation of class discussion; not 'by-the-book' (i.e. very eclectic and personalized curriculum); very helpful in class and during office hours. Negatives: tries to fit too much actual activity into class periods where out-of-class activities would work better; readings and lectures more complementary, not integrated. Overall, I would strongly recommend this professor.

Dec 2006

Easy and enjoyable class. Sometimes provocative. And if you take the class very seriously, you can learn quite a lot from Mincek. If you don't take it that seriously, well, Mincek is a good guy, very open and accomodating, and by his own admission, he makes the class incredibly easy. You do need to actually study for the midterm and final exams, or you will be at a loss. He does a very detailed review, so it won't be hard to do well in this class if you are able to do well in, say, literature or art classes. Mincek's specialty is new music, with a generous helping of jazz. So until you hit Beethoven, the class doesn't really take off. Once you hit Beethoven, Mincek is able to make the material very accessible. Personally, I learned a lot and enjoyed the whole thing.

Dec 2006

DO NOT take music hum with andy. the LEAST engaging teacher I've EVER had. Spare yourself.

Dec 2006

Aenon is the most caring teacher I have had so far since I've been to Columbia. He is completely committed to making sure that all of the students in the class gain a deeper understanding and appreciation of music. He also turned me on to Kraftwerk, and he was a kind grader. Although I took his 9AM section, Aenon's music hum class was definitely the highlight of my week this semester.

Dec 2006

Anthony's a very nice guy and he's definitely passionate about what he's teaching. To be honest, I would not have taken music hum if it had not been a requirement. While I did learn quite a bit from the class, I wouldn't say the course succeeded in making me fall in love with music completely. He assigns around 30 minutes to 1 hour worth of reading every night. The readings are very manageable and he goes over the musical periods in class accordingly. He's very receptive to opinions and suggestions, I don't think there was a single time where he said something along the lines of "you're wrong". There are around 2-3 papers per semester and these along with the exams are very fair. If you study, you'll do alright on them. He's rather lenient actually. To sum things up, he's an EXTREMELY nice and sweet man; check out his resume too, he's like a genius. He's very passionate about the material taught and he wants us to feel the same as well. However, he's not the most engaging of lecturers, so he kind of falls short in this regard. If you manage to focus completely in class, you'll learn a lot from him and earn a good grade in this class.

Dec 2006

Justin was absolutely fabulous! He looked so nervous on the first day of class (he was kind of doing this rapid box-step dance subconsciously that made me somewhat dizzy, but he calmed down by the second week, haha). But he totally managed the class perfectly from there on. The syllabus was on courseworks--totally organized, updated as needed, clear, useful, etc. He always returned assignments in a timely fashion and provided thoughtful and helpful feedback. (And it was super neat because he had us submit paper via email and he typed the comments right onto the paper and emailed them back--way more efficient, environmentally-friendly, and easier to read than the old-school handwritten comments on hardcopy papers.) He answered emails promptly and was great about providing extra help outside of class. He totally devoted a ton of time to this class--he would personally meet with every student to help with concert report drafts (we had 4 of them). He asked for student feedback and seemed to care about our suggestions and input. He was definitely knowledgeable about the subject and he came to class prepared. He kept to the schedule really well and kept the class moving at just the right pace--never boring, but never overwhelmingly fast. He was enthusiastic and approachable. I can't say enough good things about the way he ran this class! My first experience with Music Hum was terrible (ie. the prof walked in on the first day and said "okay, let's listen to some f*cking music" and turned on Stevie Wonder) and I dropped the class within a week. So I feel so fortunate that my second experience was way better--count yourself lucky if you get Justin's class. He may demand more work than some other classes (seems like we had more concert reports to write others), but he's still a blessing because there are definitely plenty of scary-bad Music Hum teachers out there.

Dec 2006

IÂ’m not kidding when I say this but I think she might be the best professor I have had a Columbia. She really makes the class come alive, and is really interesting. She is an amazing musician herself and its really cool to hear her play the piano in class; it gives the class a more personal feel. DBK is also so nice, I did poorly on my midterm and I met with her and she let me do extra work to make up for it, it was so nice and not many other profs would do that. She gives a good amount of work but grades things so easily. If you take her you will really be thankful, she is so cute I just wanted to hug her everyday shes very motherly. Take her i give her an A+++++ no matter what she gives me

Dec 2006

This was a great class with a great teacher. He specially arranged for live performances during class on multiple occasions. This made class much more interesting, engaging, and educational than just sitting listening to a recording would have been. He really knows about the subject and cares about students. He was always accommodating and friendly and often cracked jokes during class. I learned a lot about classical music and the new styles that are coming into favor. The more recent pieces were really bizarre. He brought them out more than other teachers. It was really great to learn about and hear something new. Maybe the best thing about this guy is that he's so into the material that he doesn't want to waste class time for as many assignments as other teachers give. We only had one midterm and one concert report while most sections had two of each. We also had only one other assignment during the year. Despite this I still feel like I learned more than my friends in other sections. It was a great experience.

Dec 2006

The person who wrote the last review is obviously a little bitter and musically challenge. When I entered Todd's class, my only musical experience was my cd collection and did wonderfully. All you need to do well in this class is the ability to listen, both to Todd's instruction and the music. He explains well and even asked the TA to help explain things more simply when students didn't understand, so we often go additional information that way. Homework assignments are not graded but show your progress and effot, which he really takes into consideration for your grade. The papers are relatively easy if you put forth some effort and Todd is liberal with grading. He offers good criticism as well. The information is covered well. Exams were curved and reasonable if you tried at all and included music IDs, terms analysis, and music analysis. I enjoyed music hum more than I thought I would and Todd was a nice guy. It's tough being all the way on the 7th floor.

Nov 2006

Don't take Pinkham for Music Hum. He is a really nice guy but has a real knack for making this class insanely boring. Music Hum is supposed to be one of the best classes at Columbia, but Pinkham really doesn't seem appropriate to me to be teaching it. Just because you have a big cd collection, doesn't mean you can teach music. Plus he gives you bad grades on top of it. Unless you are a music major, you will have no idea what is going on in the class.

Nov 2006

all the good things former students say about him are true. he is freakin awesome! one of the best profs at columbia--easy, interesting, nice.

Oct 2006

Brahim was great! He was one of the best teachers I had. He tried to engage us with music and provided creative materials (how art and music go together, how elec-music is made, etc)and musical background to help us understand the course better. He doesn't try to push or voice his opninons over others' and the students were free to talk and discuss about how they interacted and responded to the course material. He teaches with enthusiasm, is very well-prepared, tries to take care of everyone in class and is very very fair. The course gets a little dense and dry towards the end, but is tolerable. There is a midterm and a final. Review sheets are given out before the exam, and the IDs only come out from the reivew sheet-with an extra credit ID that isn't on the sheet or wasn't covered in class.

Aug 2006

I took Stuart's class and I thought it was great. He is really smart, patient and yes a nice guy too, which seems rare around here. The thing is if you are a snoozer or try to bs in class or on papers he won't give you much attention. I was in that class with the annoying jazz guy and everyone wanted to slap him silly. I cannot believe Stuart didn't kick him out. Anyway, I actually learned a lot and somehow was able to impress my parents who are major music freaks. I guess the TA was okay too but I don't remember him much. Bottom line is Stuart did the job and then some.

Jun 2006

If you have the chance definitely take Music Hum with Professor Boynton. She is extremely knowledgeable and also, unlike may instructors, able to impart her knowledge of and interest in the subject to her students. Class time was engaging and always went quickly. Moreover, she had reasonable expectations of her students and was a completely fair grader. Though we learned more than in other music hum classes and she actually situated the music in its social and historical context (which other teachers are supposed to do but don't) she didn't expect an unreasonable amount of knowledge on tests. In fact, the extra we learned just helped us understand the basic concepts we were supposed to learn. She may seem standoffish at first but she's really an incredibly caring woman. You don't really have to do the daily homework because she gives you a review sheet before the midterm that tells you exactly what you have to learn.

May 2006

Duncan is definitely an extremely nice guy like a lot of the other reviewers have said. HeÂ’s also an inspiring musician. His class is fun to sit through, and he comes off as really laid back. But, his midterm comes out of nowhere. A lot of people in past yearsÂ’ ratings said that they never did the reading and still aced the midterm and final. Well, unless I am just a complete idiot, that has changed. The final had a ton of stuff that he might have quickly rushed through at some point in class, but for the most part, I was only able to do well on it as a result of the fact that I read 250 pages of the textbook in three days and made a 15 page study guide to go along with it. So, I guess the point I am arriving at is that I strongly disagree that his class is a walk in the park. Most people think of Music Hum as a joke, and you might think his class is going to be one, but I promise you that the midterm will be a brutal eye opener if you donÂ’t do the work. Also, his teaching style was one that I had a hard time following. He jumps from whiteboard to whiteboard writing all over the place about musical terms, movements, composers, forms, etc. IÂ’m not musically challenged and a lot of it still went way over my head. I had a hard time keeping up with him. I tended to focus on the movie clips or the song clips that he would play us rather than his scribbling about late Romantic form. Just donÂ’t get distracted like I did because thorough class notes to study from would probably be a huge help. IÂ’m just not sure how one is to take thorough notes in such a scatter-brained formÂ…But, again, let me emphasize, I really like Duncan a lot. IÂ’m semi-bitter that Music Hum ended up being my lowest grade this semester, but I canÂ’t really complain because I got what I deserved. So just donÂ’t blow off his class because he doesnÂ’t just give everyone AÂ’s or A+Â’s like a previous reviewer indicated. He might have back then, but he definitely doesnÂ’t anymore.

May 2006

If you're lucky enough to get Matt as your music hum prof., don't switch! Matt is an amazing prof., and in comparison to stories I've heard of other music hum classes, will make the class really enjoyable. Instead of making the curriculum only about classical music, he incorporates all kinds of music (including contemporary radio hits, the beatles, you name it) into his lectures, while making it clear that he really hates britney spears. Instead of making you listen for very small details and drilling techincal terms, he has a very relaxed class structure that stresses listening to any kind of music objectively. This is a really great approach, and everyone in the class was enthusiastic about it. Matt even brought his guitar into class and sang a Christina Aguilera song once, which was hysterical! This class is very worthwhile -- you will learn about music theory basics, and you will definitely get a clear understanding of music history and its development. However, Matt will also give you music from many cultures, from many genres, and will let you contribute the music you like as well. Each class, one person plays a song they like for the class, and Matt asks a few basic questions or comments on how elements in that song might tie into classical music or music theory from the class. It's really a fun way to learn the stuff, much better than sitting in a dark room falling asleep to music with someone pontificating on the harmonic structures that go over your head!

May 2006

Olaf takes music hum really seriously. Which means that you will take it very seriously, because he makes you work for the class. While other Columbia students will brag about their easy A+s and midterms with questions like "what is your favorite song and why?", you will be memorizing songs, composers, and useless vocab from the reading. He makes you really work for the class, very often in excessive, unnecessary ways. However, the nice thing is that you will finish the class actually knowing something about music. Even though I found myself continually cursing Olaf during midterms and finals, I am glad I actually got something out of the class. Plus, Olaf is funny, nice, and an amazing pianist, so the day to day isn't that painful.

May 2006

Wubbels' music hum class is very chill. He's a funny, nice guy who obviously knows his stuff when it comes to the masterpieces of western music. At times I found the class to be slightly boring, but more than anything that was due to the fact that I found it hard to really get into a lot of the stuff we had to listen to (which isn't Wubbels' fault, as he doesn't have complete freedom to choose what we listen to). The workload isn't bad at all. There's no textbook; just listen to the selections and come to class. For the first half of the semester we had to do response papers once every week/two weeks, but this stopped after we started having essays due. The grading is fair as are the exams. Stick with him if you get him!

May 2006

Professor Bazler, or I shall say, Corbett, is the best professor that I can expect from a music department. I actually don't know how to describe all the details because everything about him and the class is simply great. If you are in his class, you are in luck!

May 2006

Prof. Walden was great, I really enjoyed taking this class with him. He was easygoing and made the entire class enjoyable (and I did learn quite a bit). Take this class with him if you can.

May 2006

Oh Olaf Olaf! How do I love thee? How do I also not love thee? Olaf has a sweet smile, a magnetic personality, and a wicked sense of humor. That being said, he is probably not the best instructor if you have no musical background. I spent the entire semester feeling completely lost; so did many other students. He tries too hard to incorporate a lot of technical knowledge into a class that's supposed to be geared towards people who don't have the necessary background. At the same time, class was always entertaining. So I can't wholeheartedly recommend him, unless you're already a musician in which case you'll be like a fish in water. But I certainly can't give him a bad review because the force of his personality almost made up for the frustrating elements of the class. Basically, if you want a unique music hum experience, take his class, but not if you care a great deal about grades.

May 2006

Susan Boynton seems to be well intentioned, but she fails to make Music Hum the great course it could be. As another reviewer mentioned, her explainations of simple concrete concepts and ideas are vague, and she uses terms without ever defining them, managing to alienate the non-musically inclined folks, and to bore the ones who knew what a "chord" was. Everyone in class stopped doing the reading a couple weeks into the class, and since she didn't enforce it at all, no one had any idea what was going on. She would ask the class about the reading - no one would answer - and then she'd threaten us with something like "I'll just sit here until someone answers". She seemed to be in denial that no one read. This "no reading" attitude continued after the midterm, as she gives out a specific sheet of things to know about each song, and GIVES you the 2 essay questions beforehand. Basically, you'll ace the tests if you spend 5-10 hours reading / listening / preparing before the midterm and final (exactly the same, just different songs). Also, she left for Europe before the last class (which was taught by the great TA, Amber) and never came back. Kinda seems like she couldn't care less. She was very stringent with deadlines for papers also, don't be late. The papers are also not as great as rumored in other Music Hum sections. One 5-6 page Opera Report on Don Giovanni (which we were not prepared for, and it was unclear what she was asking on the paper). One Classical concert report (5-6), and one listening paper (3). So, none of this "go see a cool Jazz show and write on it". On the positive side, she had many guest musicians come in and play, which was great, free concert during classtime. All in all, find someone better. If you really don't care, and don't think that you'll mind her knawing away at your time all semester, then it's an easy A, as she gives you EXACTLY what you need to know for the midterm and final.

May 2006

Although what the other reviewer says is all true it doesn't do Eric justice whatsoever... he's a really great guy who knows a ton about music. He really tries his best to keep the class interested and really pushes the core requirement envelope by covering music regardless of the historical "importance" and ties together themes and effects throughout many different genres of music. I loved his anecdotes about each of the composers that really gave you insight into the person and allowed you to understand their music at a deeper level instead of focusing on the accepted criticism of musical scholars. He leaves lots of room for class participation and questions so don't ever hesistate to ask- he will have something really interesting to say. I think he makes the course more about understanding what elements of music successful or enjoyable instead of indoctrinating you with what you "should" know. He plans a bunch of special classes w/ performances and a trip to the met --Consider yourself very lucky ;)

May 2006

Considering that if you're in CC you have to take this class, Corbett is an excellent choice for a teacher. I really liked his casual manner - he doesn't make you feel like an idiot if you don't understand music. He's funny and brilliant, with the ability to sit down at the piano and play just about anything. Sometimes I thought he could be a little too gentle with the class in that some people would just go on and on and on talking and asking questions, but overall Corbett is a really great teacher and I know he'll have a bright future ahead of him when he gets out of grad school.

Apr 2006

I took Prof. Helbig's class trusting the previous Culpa reviews about her, saying she's an "easy A"... well - she did not give anybody ANY A's in the Midterm, which was a nightmare, made up of three sections, with one section made up of terminology questions - she asked us terms we did not even discuss in class! Do NOT take Helbig's class unless you're very knowledgeable already! She is anything but an easy A! TAKE ANOTHER MUSIC HUM TEACHER WHO IS really LAID BACK - WHO WANTS HIS/HER STUDENTS TO GET GOOD GRADES!!! and I am not a bad student, I am pretty hardworking and I'm obviously not stupid since I go to Columbia - and I'm getting my first C+ at Columbia from Helbig's class! And I'm not the only one who's getting such a low grade! I don't know what made her change since the wonderful reviews in 2002 and 2004, but she is NOT the desrcibed person in previous reviews anymore. Yes, she is a very nice person, yes, she is very laid back, yes, she makes herself available if you need her- but she is definitelt NOT laid back really - and you see it from what she expects you to know in her exams - if a teacher is laid back in class and expects a lot from you in the exam (stuff you should cover on your own), then that teacher is NOT a great teacher.. she's a good person - no doubt - but she's not a great teacher. TAKE ANOTHER MUSIC HUM TEACHER WHO IS really LAID BACK - WHO WANTS HIS/HER STUDENTS TO GET GOOD GRADES!!!

Apr 2006

If you are nervous about music hum for whatever reason, Duncan is the way to go. That is, if you could rank music hum courses on a scale of easy, challenging, and hard he is definetely of the former. Besides being one of the kindest people I've met in NYC and at Columbia, he realizes that Columbia students have much more on their mind than music hum and doesn't demand hours and hours of their time. However, you'll want to spend all of your spare time doing homework for his class because he is so energetic and enthusiastic. I was consistently sleep-deprived throughout the semester, which is usually a killer for 9 am classes. But Duncan was better than coffee, and often his class kept my attention enough so that not only did I not fall asleep in his class, but I rode on the energy from music hum to get through my 10:35 class. As if that weren't enough, I feel I actually learned something, and the 9 am class was well worth my time. If you have any hesitations, NEVER FEAR, DUNCAN IS THE MAN.

Apr 2006

Corbett was a fantastic TA, his music hum section is my favorite class this semester, and among the best I've taken at Columbia. He teaches the theory and concepts thoroughly, and knows many interesting and hilarious anecdotes about the lives of the composers we are talking about. He is super sweet, and very helpful outside of class as well. His class increased my appreciation for music tremendously, and helped me discover composers I knew very little about. Overall, a great choice!

Feb 2006

Brahim is an awesome Music Hum professor. He is really easy going and makes the class very low-stress. Made everyone comfortable in voicing their opinions. His tests and assignments were fair and he didn't grade too harshly. Overall a really fun guy to take Music Hum with.

Feb 2006

100 pages of reading per week? An overexaggeration. Lewis sure did assign readings, but only from the Listen book (which was like 20 pages per week). Lewis is obviously a very talented musician and knowledgable professor. Sure he digresses to certain off-tangents, but if you want to learn about and engage with the music assigned, Lewis does an excellent job of doing that. He encourages class discussion, and won't hesistate to disagree with you if necessary. The initial phase of the class gets a bit monotonous because he has to cover the standard classical and baroque material. But once he gets to the modern period (post 1900), it starts to get really interesting -- like he introduced us to queer forms of "music" that I would NEVER have known if I hadn't taken this class. Point is, if you're looking for the "standard" music hum class, avoid it. But if you're looking for that unique core class, Lewis is the man.

Feb 2006

All I have to say is that I studied an entire weekend for our second midterm and got a grade 2/3 of a letter lower than the first midterm, which I did not study for at all. Ninoshvili's lecture style is pretty straightforward and boring; unfortunately the stuff that she doesn't bring up but once is what makes it onto the exams, and the terminology that is stressed to you as being important is often overlooked. If you are a musician, especially a nonclassical one, I do not recommend enrolling in her section, as her explanations of musical concepts are shaky and she pays nitpicky attention to exact terminology. In terms of the concert journals, she is a very lenient grader. She'll pretty much give anything an 'A'. Also, her time slot is abbhorent: the last thing I wanted to do at 6:10 in the evening was listen to her lecture. Overall: Ninoshvili is pretty harmless, if not slightly incompetent. Try and get someone else if you can - the subject matter is actually pretty interesting, but she fails(i don't think she even tries) to bring it off of the textbook page.

Feb 2006

I have to say I completely disagree with the last reviewer's statement. Huck was a very capable instructor and he was very open to helping people outside of class. He even let me write an extra credit essay which really helped my grade and he met with me several times to revise and improve my paper. If you are really interested in the subject and want to learn something, take his class. If you just want an easy class that you can skip and still get an A then don't.

Jan 2006

Professor Lewis is an amazing person and is very talented. However, his class is best only for the most intense music fan. He speaks in a monotone and it is easy to get sleepy. He prefers to focus on the non-traditional, so if you want to know who Bach is, do not take this class. If you like Music, I would recommend him. If you are just fufilling a core class, I would save yourself a lot of headaches and find a more traditional and more sensical professor.

Jan 2006

If you get Prof. Pinkham, I suggest you switch out NOW. I heard music humanities was supposed to be one of the best courses at Columbia, but taking it with Prof. Pinkham ensures that you will definitely disagree. He not only teaches in an extremely boring way, but he seems to grade essays and papers almost arbitrarily, by simply placing a mark on top of the page without any markings on the entire essay to indicate any reason as to why you deserve this grade. Also, after giving listening homework, he would sometimes surprise us with listening quizzes wherein he would play the song and expect us to recognize it and say something about it, seemingly easy, although sometimes he would play a different version of the piece than what was assigned and expect us to realize that they were both the same pieces. He is extremely aloof and almost indifferent to teaching, never really acknowledging or getting excited when a student would contribute his or her thoughts. His midterm and final were extremely hard to study for, they consisted of him playing pieces we had listened to throughout the semester, and some we had not, forcing you to always second guess whether or not you were identifying a piece you had already listened to or a new one. All in all, a terrible professor who may care for music but not for teaching music. His class made me wonder, why is he even allowed to teach this course??

Jan 2006

Ryan is amazing! He is really intellegent, dedicated to his students, accessible, and generally just a really cool person. He's a historical musicologist so dont expect to do a lot of theory. Instead he focuses on historical background and the social conditions influencing and surrounding music. He also chooses to go really in depth with a few pieces rather than listen to a million pieces and make his students memorize all of them. The tests are REALLY easy and he is quite fair grading the papers. The only reason i would suggest looking into another class is if you absolutely hate 20th century music, which he does quite a bit of. But i went into the class thinking i did, and he really gave me a newfound appreciation for it. He also does a lot of vocal pieces and if youre lucky will sing (really well) and dance for the class. If you dont leave this class with a love for western music you should at least try to get him to be your friend...becuase hes really cool.

Jan 2006

Brahim is a very friendly and easygoing guy, who you can talk to about anything. He's young, but he treated the students with professionism and respect, and was sometimes funny. I did not like the material in the class, but he tried to make the class interesting and stimulated class discussions. He's not very eloquent in his speach and almost every other word is "um", "ok", or "alright". I once counted over 500 um's in a period. It was annoying at first, but you tend to stop noticing it after a while. His exams were very fair - they covered only listening identifications and essays. He did not make us memorize small details about the exact structure of every piece, which I heard some other Music Hum teachers make students do. Overall, he's definately one of the better teachers to get for Music Hum and the workload for the class was pretty light.

Jan 2006

Oh man that last one is great. banging head against wall. affirmative. Plenty of people did that spring semester too. I do not see that she is teaching this semester. Which is good because she failed me for not correctly addressing musicology concepts in my final paper. Whatever, Im a rock royalty princess, and I wasnt going to take her bs, so I was kind of deserving it.

Jan 2006

Put simply, Ryan is so nice that I didn't have the heart to switch from his 9 am section into another that began at a more humane hour. He's incredibly friendly and approachable, and really cool too. This was his first class, and he was excellent. He made Music Hum's somewhat stodgey curriculum fun, adding interesting, innovative interpretations that range of his personal, indie-rocker taste. And he makes the class very easy. Fun, interesting, incredibly nice, and easy - for once a no-brainer at Columbia - take Ryan's class!

Jan 2006

I don't know what everyone else is talking about, but Duncan isn't that great of a professor. Yes, he does make a 9:00 class extremely entertaining. We had Star Wars videos, Rammstein, Wizard of Oz/Pinfloyd, and live music. This is, of course, admirable, but I never felt that I actually learnt anything. Other Music Hum profs spend one class discussing a particular piece, period, and composer, while Duncan just gave a VERY general overview. After the midterm, he practically stopped teaching, and we spent the rest of the time watching videos and listening to live performances. However, if you want a easy A, take this class!! I ended up with an A, when I had a B in a midterm, and never spoke in class (apparently participation counts for 10% of the grade). He also practically teaches you the midterm, and doesn't really require you to do the reading, even though it is part of the daily assignments. Just make sure you take notes in class, and EXTREMELY detailed notes during his final review session, and you should be headed towards an A. If you want to learn about music, don't bother with this course.

Jan 2006

Professor Lewis is a mixed bag. His lectures are very entertaining, and the workload is quite light. Unfortunately its really hard to tell what is important and what's not based on his lectures. Also, he doesn't write anything useful on the board. His office hours were infrequent, and he didn't seem willing to meet with students outside of them. Fortunately, his TA was very available. He spent about 10-15 minutes reviewing the class before the two exams. This consisted of telling us the type of questions and their topics. When the actual exams came they were different (e.g. he told us in advance the essay questions for the final, but then changed them on us; he told us nothing from the book that we discussed in class, but there were some short answers from the book). The two papers were incredibly open ended. Grading was mysterious, but you'll probably end up in your normal grade range.

Jan 2006

Ryan is awesome. He is so nice and energetic and knows a ridiculous amount. Though this class was at 9 AM, I went to every one because he was so cool and the class wasn't boring. Even if you don't know anything about music, you can understand what's going on in this class. Even if you think you know everything about music, you can learn something in the class. As long as you do the listenings and the readings, you should be fine.

Jan 2006

You could definitely do worse for Music Hum than this guy. First of all he has an awesome name. I got endless amusement from telling my friends I was going to to class "wif pwofessa wubbles." But mostly he's just a cool guy. He's funny, relaxed and down to earth. He organized the syllabus by themes (War, Irony, Virtuosity) rather than chronologically, which was a pretty interesting way to do it. He always kept things pretty simple, yet could go into more depth if you asked him to. I had absolutely no musical background, and I really didn'thave much trouble understanding any of the concepts. The tests were fair and of reasonable length, and he only assigned one paper and one concert report. Pretty much all you have to do to do well in this class is come to class and stay awake. Unfortunately, I did neither of those, and thus I got a really bad grade. I don't really hold that against Wubbels though. I would say I have only two complaints against him. The first is his attendance policy, which is only one absence before he starts taking off from your grade, which is pretty ridiculous to me. The other were these weekly to biweekly listening responses he had us do, which I guess isn't really that big a deal, but they were really tedious. One last thing. This class is at 9 am. While Wubbels was cool, he wasn't cool enough to hold my attention, or many others', at that hour. So think long and hard about whether you'll be able to get up that early and stay awake through the class.

Jan 2006

Duncan was excellent. I'm not a morning person, and he kept me up and excited at 9am. He avoided the nitty gritty details of music, and instead focused on the concepts we might actually remember and absorb. He brought in incredible audiovisual presentations, and spent the whole first few classes learning about us and our music taste. One of the best for Music Hum, I'm sure. Fully Recommended.

Jan 2006

Pinkham is actually the dean of the graduate school for arts and sciences, which means that he doesn't have the kind of time to devote to music hum. Furthermore, while he may have an extensive music collection, he can't seem to figure out how to teach. If you have a background in music theory you may find his lectures more understandable, but if not, he can be confusing. His lectures are disorganized, and he doesn't focus on the interesting things, like music history or culture. Try to get into a better section.

Jan 2006

Aenon is an amazing teacher. Makes each class fun and interesting. Take this class, one of the best instructors that I have ever had!

Dec 2005

This was the first class Jeff ever taught and man, it shows. To be fair, Jeff is a very cool and laid-back guy who is clearly excited about his passions. Unfortunately, his passions are the uber avant-garde kind of music that totally alienates normal music listeners. He got way too hung up on the basics of pitch/rhythm toward the beginning of the class, devoted half a class to the Romantics and four classes on the Noise Movement/minimalism. It could've been interesting if he'd been able to control class time better, but by the end of the semester we felt like we'd learned nothing from his mumbling delivery and haphazard lesson plans.

Dec 2005

Brahim is a really good Music Hum teacher. Very enthusiastic, organized, and well-prepared.

Dec 2005

It's music hum. Most of whether you like it is probably subjective. She's a good enough teacher that if you like this sort of thing, you'll like the class; if you don't, you'll learn something anyway. She's a good lecturer, but it was hard to figure out what was of what she said was important to write down and what was not. She would put really important stuff on the board. The five concert reports weren't too bad- Manhattan School of Music is at 122nd and Broadway and they have a whole bunch of free concerts. Overall, I guess I'd recommend this class. The fact that there were no research papers was really good, and she graded the concert reports leniently (and the first one of the five was a practice one, basically). Five concert reports is a lot, but you can seriously write about anything, ignoring musical detail, and get A's or A-'s on them. On the other hand, there are probably other music hum classes out there with less work required. I learned a fair amount and had a good time at the concerts, but this is not a class for the lazy man.

Dec 2005

If you've been assigned Music Hum with Dean Pinkham, I would suggest that you head straight to the Core Office and find a way to switch out! Dean Pinkham is a math professor and a Columbia administrator. While he is a music connoiseur--as evidenced by his constant allusions to a childhood spent at the Opera and Classical Music concerts with his parents, and by his enormous collection of classical recordings--he appeared to have no idea of how to teach the class, and he was typically unable to answer our questions. He doesn't teach music history, and he doesn't teach what's in the book. Instead he stumbles through the class on tangents that never seem to go anywhere, and then plays recordings we hadn't listened to for homework. And of course, he loves to put these recordings that you can't hear at home on the final and the midterm! Dean Pinkham's manner in class and in office hours was generally curt, and expressed little connection with our generation. He expects students to see the immediate relevance of gregorian chant without explaining why it's important. And he never talks about the history surrounding the music--the composers lives, the politics of the time, the repercussions the music had. Instead he hands out musical scores for every piece we hear and expects the class to understand the musical notation. Only the accomplished musicians in the class had any idea of what was going on in this course. On the whole, I can honestly say I learned nothing from this class. And going to it was a generally painful experience.

Dec 2005

I pretty much agree with the last review except on a couple things. He does talk about the music in ways that you may have not discussed in class, but he will not expect you to know this for exams, so don't worry about it. That said, he is very passionate about the music and brings in tons from his personal collection so that you're not stuck with only what is in the Listen book, which can be pretty meek. He also usually brings in copies of scores/text to whatever we listen to so you have more resources to understand the music. He encourages opinions of the music above all, so you don't have to do much research for the papers. All around he is very accessible and lenient and if you have an inclination toward music he will definately make the class worth going to (aside from the fact that he takes attendance so you have to).

Dec 2005

THE BEST TEACHER EVER. Literally the best teacher i have had since i have been at Columbia. Amazing audio and video presentations, phenomenal amount of material, but most of all, he made a 9 AM class the most enjoyable class that i have taken at CU. Without a doubt, this is the teacher that you want to have: we watched Star Wars in class, heard some Rammstein, did the Wizard of Oz/Pink Floyd together along with countless other unforgettable experiences. TAKE THIS CLASS NO MATTER WHAT.

Dec 2005

I think that the previous reviewer was pretty on target with Prof. Pinkham. He is a really nice guy, though aloof. I think the problem with him teaching this course is that he is not primarily a music teacher, more of a music conoisseur, and so the teaching is much more general and less specific than a student not well emersed in classical or baroque styles would want. I think that in general his teaching skills leave much to be desired, and classes were mostly just listening to music that was assigned, as he asks who has an opinion (rarely anyone does) and we all kind of sit there in a awkward silence as he moves on to the next piece. A lot of this course is self-teaching, being able to recognize a song and saying something about the song and where the period is from. In theory, you really don't need to attend class, though he does take attendance before every session. I have to stress though, he is genuinely a nice person and though he is not too available for office hours, and not too receptive to any "wrong" ideas that you might present in class, he is very pleasant.

Dec 2005

He is an instructor -- seriously. What I mean by that is he is serious and passionate about his subject and doesn't compromise on you learning the techniques of music. That said, he is very available to help you learn whatever you are having trouble with. Get your papers in on time-- he aggressively deducts points for beng late. Even though he smiles a lot, and will speak to you about a wide variety of things outside of class, he is really no nonsense. Speak in class. He really appreciates class participation. Attendance and participation is 20% of your grade. Read your book but more importantly listen to the assigned pieces before going to class because he will challenge what you have to say if you try to fake your way through it and listen to the pieces 3-4 times before the tests. Make sure you know your different elements of music styles for each period. His tests are short so you do not have a lot of room to mess up. You either know all the concepts or you don't and suffer the consequences. He does grade on a curve which can help. Outside of class he is an enjoyable person to speak to but don't expect that to influence your grade. I just took the final so I do not know my grade yet.

Dec 2005

Professor Henson is very funny, very engaging, and very British. If Bridget Jones ever taught a music class, this would be it. She knows you don't give a crap, so she shapes her talks with plenty of historical background to what she's talking about. You can tell she loves the subject, and does not grade unfairly at all. I'd so most people in the class had A's. I'd guess this is about as good of a music hum class as you'll get.

Dec 2005

DUNCAN NEILSON IS THE BEST MUSIC HUM TEACHER EVER!!!!...of you are lucky enough to pick into his class, count yourself among the blessed. Not only is Duncan super nice and vary entertaining, he does not expect you to know ANYTHING about music. He's all about broad concepts and having fun. Unlike other music hum teachers, you dont have to know technical things about music, he just wants you to appreciate and have a working understanding of it. He brings in videos, live musicians and other music-related things to make class entertaining! He is engaging, EXTREMELY helpful in all respects and all around AWESOME! he's paper and midterm and final are ridiculously easy--the hardest part about them is the listening--and he tells you what pieces will be on it ahead of tim! bottom line--TAKE MUSIC HUM WITH THIS MAN!

Dec 2005

Amazing. One of my favorite, if not my absolute favorite professor here at Columbia. He is easily accessable, and made class interesting as well as fun to attend. I would highly recommend him to anyone who is taking music hum. Brilliant! He's also an accomplished music composer, which he actually shares at the end of the semester, it's wild. Keep your eye out for silk lady, and the funkytown hybrid.

Dec 2005

Rebecca Fan either purposefully chose not to cover anything in the Music Hum Curriculum or is a little off. I can look back on this class and honestly say that I learned nothing. The first day of class she gave us a list of notable Western composers such as Wagner, Vivaldi, Mozart, etc. and asked us to write down the country of origin of each of these men. So naturally, I assumed that during the semester we would learn about these composers. Hell to the no! She never mentioned their names again. We spent about three weeks talking about rhythm, tone, meter, etc, moved on to talking about ethical issues concerning music, next organology, and now I'm not quite sure what we're doing because I find that this class provides perfect time to get other work done. Every minute I spend in this class is torturous. At the start of the semester, we had to read random articles and write responses. However, now it has come to the point where everybody just discontinued writing the responses altogether. I can't even begin to reveal to you the horror that is this class. Personally, I sit in the back of the room where I can bang my head against the wall. If you get into this class, don't be fooled by Rebecca Fan's smile the first day and her little list of composers; you need to get out. Drop that class like it's hot. I guarantee that slowly but surely every student in Rebecca Fan's class came to despise and dread it. I have always been a huge fan of Christmas; it's my favorite holiday. However, this year Christmas doesn't seem as special to me because I already experienced the best day of the year...It was when Rebecca Fan canceled class. I will never forget that day. Please get out of this class if you have the chance! If you don't heed my advice and instead write me off as being melo- dramatic, it's ok...you'll pay.

Dec 2005

TAKE MUSIC HUM WITH THIS MAN!!! Duncan is an awesome teacher, and not to mention extremely perky which is nice when you have it at 9 am. He grades very fair and does not expect you to know technical things about music like other teachers do...he's a bout broad concepts. He has great visual aids and multimedia stuff, not to mention the live performances he brings to the class. Exams are straightforward--he basically tells you exactly what you need to know. No surprises. All around...AWESOME TEACHER, you want this man for Music Hum!

Nov 2005

Corbette Bazler is definetly not a bad choice for a music hum professor. He is great when it comes to playing themes and motivs on the piano, and his clasroom has an open, supportive atmosphere. He really knows his music, and if you can get past some of the awkwardness of his delivery, you will be able to learn a whole lot of really great stuff. He tends to get a little bit behind because he gets too invovled in what he is lecturing on, and this can get frustrating at times. Nevertheless, I would certainly recommend him as long as you won't get too frustrated by some mild disorganization and occasionly wandering lectures.

Nov 2005

Stuart is a great guy -- he’s super laidback, funny, and he sends witty e-mails. But if you like a professor who gives clear, concise, well structured lectures.... avoid Stuart. Another reviewer called Stuart’s overall approach ‘unconventional’ – I’d call it unstructured. The dec 16th 2004 review is dead-on: class time is full of “mindless philosophical conversation tangentially related to music.” This class was full of disconnected topics – I found it impossible to pay attention and hard to separate important points from his abstract observations. And although parts of the midterm and final are open-ended essays, a section asks you to recall those super-specific facts which got lost in Stuart’s classtime rambling (do your best to take good notes of the details– it will pay off on the exams). There is, as another reviewer said, a lack of consistency between Stuart's teaching style and grading style – despite his relaxed demeanor, he really expects a lot in your essays and on tests. The essays were ok – one asks you to analyze any song (your choice). The other asked us to analyze a specific piece and the concept of the doppelganger. This was a hard one to write as it wasn’t clear what exactly he expected. It’s nice that allows you to concentrate on whatever aspect of the topic interests you most (whether that be the historical context or a piece, or the technical musical aspects). The massive amount of feedback on the papers is indicative of a truly caring professor. A few weeks into the class I had the realization that i really hadn’t learned anything so far in MHum. I naively assumed that the learning was just so incredibly effortless and painless that I wasn’t consciously aware. But studying for the midterm made me realize how wrong I was. Thank god for the book. Ironically, he’s considering getting rid of the textbook. Bad choice. The highlight, for me, were the courses taught by the TA (Eric) whose teaching style was the exact opposite of Stuart’s. His presentations made me realize how much I COULD have been learning about music had Stuart not been teaching. Instead, Stuart cut material from the syllabus and blamed it on the shorter music hum class times – in my opinion, if we had simply been more efficient with that class time, we would have had no problem finishing the material. One particularly memorable class was the one Stuart wasted arguing with one particularly belligerent student (a self-claimed jazz expert). As the rest of the class fell-asleep with boredom, these two battled it out. In my opinion it seems that instead of teaching in class, Stuart more often used long emails (some as long as 4 pages) to replace class time learning. So if you are a philosophy lover-type, you might really enjoy this class. If you want to learn about music in a straightforward and clear manner, you’d be better off choosing a different professor.

Jul 2005

Having read all the positive reviews about Jenkins, I was really psyched for the course. That excitement went away very quickly as I spent much of the summer session wondering what people saw in him. Yes, he is brilliant. Yes, he does put a lot of effort into the course. Yes, he LOVES music.... but he also LOVES philosophy, art, latin, and german and if you don't LOVE these things too, be prepared to be lost. I felt his lectures were about as organized as a schizophrenic on cocaine. What he discussed in class never seemed to coincide with the assignments. He would spend the entire class talking about philosophy and then give us an assignment that had us diagram a schematic for a piece of music...... not something I expected to do in an intro course. He is a nice guy and he's a pretty lenient grader.... but he's also a nut who thinks that his students all have a music background. You could tell some people were into the class and others absolutely hated it. If you are a music lover or you are into philosophy I'd say take music hum from him. If you just want to get this requirement over with find someone else.

Jul 2005

If you're lucky enough to register into Aenon's class, by Zeus, stay there. Even if you have to endure a 9 am class like I did, stay there. You won't regret it. Trust me. And if you're the savvy type, seek out his section after Mr. Bulletin posts the names of all the Music Hum professors.

Jun 2005

Good news: the grading in this class is really leniant, she said she doesn't like to give anyone a final grade under a B, and even that's hard to do. Bad news: she's just mean. Mostly just unfriendly, but sometimes mean. The questions on the midterm and the final were often from side comments she had made in class, which sucks, and it was painful in the morning, but since you have to take the class, and she not evil about her grading, it's not bad.

Jun 2005

I thought this class was great. He really knows his stuff and was able to make connections to all sorts of things you wouldn't have thought of without being overly academic. He's really flexible about when you turn things in even though it doesn't say that on the syllabus. I learned a lot in this class.

Jun 2005

If you've got Feld for this class, consider yourself lucky! I've heard horror stories about other music hum classes and was afraid to even register for this! but, dude on class day ONE, I was totally relieved! UPSIDE: Marlon is so cool! He's funny and quirky and makes class totally enjoyable. His passion for classical music is obvious and he wants to instill in his students appreciation for all the little nuances that make a great piece of classical music, well, great! His teaching style is easy going and laid back. He peppers his classes with great, funny stories and he's an expert on all-things classical. He is animated and will at times play stuff on the piano. It's really quite impressive how knowledgeable he is. I came away with a deeper understanding of the genius of classical music and a greater appreciation of the great composers who put these works together. DOWNSIDE: The music files you are expected to listen to are only available in you're on campus logged into a Columbia computer or by visiting the Music Library, which CAN be a bit of a pain. His TA was a bit annoying at times. OVERALL: Cool teacher, great music, you'll enjoy this class............

May 2005

What has been said by the other posters barely skim the surface of how bad and poorly run this class truly was. I still have no idea what we were taught for the last 4 months, but one thing I know for sure, it had NOTHING to do with music..of any kind...least of all Western. I found Rebecca Fan's approach insulting, condescending, idiotic and unproductive. If she wanted to turn the students on about non-traditional music, even though most of us were already pretty aware and interested, but the only thing she succeeded in doing was turning every minute in the classroom unbearable for all of us.

May 2005

I thought that Farzi was a great music hum instructor. She was not boring, but very straight forward, which is a huge help when trying to descibe complicated terms. She is fair in her grading, and sends lots of tips and study sheets for the midterm and exam. There are no nasty surprises. She also brings in contemp music to compare to the composors we must listen to. This breaks up the bordum of Gregorian Chant or Wagner very well. The class was as enjoyable as any class at 9am can be, and I actually walked away learning something, even if I am still tone deaf.

May 2005

This class was somewhat strange, especially after having such a positive experience with Art Hum. Not that it's a difficult class, it's actually really easy. But between Keith's baby and unexplained absences, we fell way behind in the book, and our coverage was less than complete. Prof. Moore is nice if not exactly an animated lecturer, and he really does stare nervously at his cell phone. He Overall, the class was lackluster and I did not feel as if I got a whole lot from it.

May 2005

Todd's clearly passionate about his stuff, he's intelligent and thinking, and obviously cares to convey something of his own enthusiasm for the subject. Problem: while my class happened to include a few students with good knowledge of music, those of us who didn't felt like we were trailing far behind. Todd is definitely there for you, always approachable, and ready to help. Still, the tests are extremely difficult, and include unknown listening exercises that ask you who the probable composer is, etc. . He gives a lot of credit for class participation and effort, so that's good. He also curves the midterm. He offers extra credit in the form of attending a concert and submitting a one page review. . .All in all Todd is a great introduction to the history of western music, although at times it does feel like he is trying to have students absorb more than is reasonable.

May 2005

You'd be striking gold if you are assigned to Aenon's class! He's a graduate student focused on composing music. He teaches all the important stuff in the book, but also incorporates many interesting, cool knowledge. He would often play music that are very intriguing in class. In the last class he played his own compositions. He focuses on careful listening and wants us to be able to listen to music carefully and appreciates it accordingly. He doesn't put great emphasis on historical background and memorization. He's a very caring and understanding instructor. He would move the dates of the quizzes to accommodate our schedules (he even changed one to a take-home assignment). The final was during a class period. An awesome awesome guy to take the class with. He even took us out for dinner before we went to see "Carmen."

May 2005

After the first class and viewing the syllabus, I entered this class with much trepidation and zero music experience. As it turns out, though, my worrying was unnecessary. Todd doesn't expect you to be a music genius, and he does a great job of explaining things and offering his own theories without having the pretention of other professors in thinking that his way is the only way. The workload seems crazy, but don't be intimidated by it b/c it's actually not that bad. The listening exercises aren't for a grade, and they're actually a good way to learn. He's a fairly easy grader on the papers if you can prove that you applied stuff you learned from class and also your own thoughts--even if he doesn't agree with them. I would definitely recommend this class if you're looking to learn and have a decent time. 9am is pretty early, but I managed to stay awake the whole semester, which is quite a feat for me.

May 2005

I would not suggest taking a Music Hum section with Rebecca Fan. Actually, I would not suggest that Columbia allow her to continue teaching, because she is not a very good professor at all. I agree with what is posted below and will reiterate that the class has nothing to do with WESTERN music at all. Maybe she is not aware that CU offers a class on eastern music, but the only time she brought up western music was to mock it or as an example of western hegemony, which would be fine, I guess, if the class wasn't called "Masterpieces of Western Music". If you mistakenly find yourself in this class and can't get out, remember that americans are bad, capitalism is bad, Paul Simon is a bad, bad man who should be punished, and only people who do not live in the states or europe are real musicians.

Apr 2005

Karen is a great teacher, and a really nice person. She's very interested in what she teaches, and is very accessible. She's a fair grader, too.

Apr 2005

Rebecca Fan is perhaps the worst instructor I have had in my lifetime. At first I thought that the class would be rather fun and engaging because she seemed to have a well developed and different approach to the subject, but I quickly found that every moment in which I must interact with her would be painful and confusing. Her paper instructions are unclear and when questioned about her requirements she reprimands you for not reading them. She changes the syllabus at random, including class meeting times and locations so that we may attend public lectures which are rarely connected to the coursework This presents a problem for anyone with other classes, a job, or other important responsibilites. Better yet, while she shows no respect for students time, she is quite strict about lateness, meaning being 4 minutes late twice in the semester WILL be reflected in your final grade. I agree with the poster below who mentioned that she speaks to college students as if they were 8, and will add that she does the same to adult GS students. I would certainly not recommend this course to GS students unless they are full timers who live on campus, because Professor Fan seems to assume that all her students fit into this catagory even though she teaches one of the few sections offered in the evenings. She also seems to play favorites, which is reflected in her attitude toward students in and out of class. Which brings us to her final fault: the class does not focus on music or learning about music of the western tradition. Actually, the class is totally without any real focus. The ever changing syllabus is case in point, as is the fact that I cannot name one thing I've learned, exept what a Pakistani harp sounds like. Really, that's it. The course is less music hum than a poorly run anthropology class. I would prefer and, possibly find more educational, lying in a ditch beside the Jersey Turnpike for three hours a week.

Apr 2005

Farzi isn't a very good music hum teacher. She always seems bored, she stands in front of the class and throws out random facts, and she's just generally uninspiring. It seems obvious that she is forced to teach this class and resents it. I believe she had a personal vendetta against me, so this may be why I had a negative experience, but she is just generally unpleasant. I don't recommend her.

Mar 2005

Oh my God--if you are one of those that just wants to get through the core with as little pain as possible this is the section you want to hope for.....None of those nasty in-class midterms and finals where you have to identify pieces and composers etc--no attendance taken (though you shouldnt overstretch that given that most of your grade will be based on personal interaction with the prof in class)---basically NO homework at all and NO TEXTBOOK (yes, you save those 60$)... Get an easy A with the least amount of effort--but it will be boring as hell and not doing anything for an entire semester can be trying at times...anyways the class is 3 credits and it boosted my gpa! but did i learn anything? i think prob only to look really interested in a subject matter even when i am fighting yawn attacks...aside from that, prof. dubiel is a really nice and cool professor--he actually is really dedicated and wants to win his students for music

Feb 2005

Endlessly patient and attentive, she will engage any question and develop explanations to fit any mind. She is brilliant, teeming with nuanced understanding and an ability to get to the root of any student's confusion, yet she is wholly approachable, as professors should be, though often are not, at Columbia. She's also a fair grader and favors a multiple choice format for the terminology sections of her tests (something non-music majors will adore).

Jan 2005

Professor Lependorf was wonderful. I always left his class enthusiastic and totally relaxed. His energy and love of music get you excited about music you'd never listen to on your own. I thank him for a wonderful class

Jan 2005

Paul is a great music hum teacher. I switched into the class from another section, so I had a basis of comparison and comparatively Paul is GREAT. While in the other section we were discussing “what is music?” and useless stuff like that Paul was getting right into it. There is a lot of listening in class which is great. Paul has a great passion for the subject and knows his stuff very well. On top of that the man is simply entertaining to listen to, popping jokes every now and then and just being very lighthearted. He seemed like a genuinely nice person who really cared that his students get something out of a class like music hum. I personally had a very surprisingly good time in music hum and am now known to spontaneously listen to some Mozart or Beethoven when I don’t have to!

Jan 2005

Josh moved quickly through historically earlier material, leaving time at the end of the semester to cover some late-20th century composers, as well as the role music in film. This was sweet, as I hear that some classes spend forever on the baroque period. His perpetual discomfort with the temperature of the room (he likes to open and close windows many times per class) and sense of humor were endearing. He brought a lot of interesting theory into class, yet did so in a way which was accessible even if you hadn't read the original texts (and it seemed most people hadn't). The discussions these ideas generated were suprisingly lucid for a class of people forced to taked the course. I sort of expected to hate Music Hum, but ended up never wanting to skip class and I've even sought out some of the music we covered to listen to... Just For Fun! (no!!) Josh is super young and a little scattered, but an excellent teacher with an infectious enthusiasm for the material.

Jan 2005

Morgan is one of the nicest teachers I have encountered here at Columbia. I was really nervous about taking this class and he made it not only painless but very enjoyable. He is a great teacher and delivers very clear and interesting lectures. His class is very relaxed, and if you do the work he assigns (which is minimal), you will have no problems at all and you will learn a lot. You will be very lucky if you can get into his section!

Jan 2005

Maybe I am in the minority, but I learned a great deal from him. He is willing to go out of his way and meet with you outside of office hours, and certainly does not look down to his students. Its really what you want to get out of the class in a low pressure atmosphere which i am grateful for. Regardless of whether you are a music major or not, find a way to get in his class!

Jan 2005

Professor Pinkham is actually DEAN Pinkham, the dean of GSAS to be exact, and a respected math professor to boot. You will ask yourself, "Where the heck does he get off teaching Music Humanities?" No one knows. However, if you happen to get him, stick with it, as long as you have some sort of background in music. Although he is a genuinely nice guy, and sincerely likes the subject (you can infer his personal music collection is quite extensive from all the CD's he brings in), teaching music is not his forte. Many students who had no background in music dropped the class because he would often throw in terms like "fermata" and "key signature", etc without actually having taught them. Don't worry, he doesn't get very in-depth with the musical terminology...to someone who was in band in high school, no sweat. If you have no background in music at all, consider dropping the course. Also, I hope you like Gregorian chant, because he must have spent 4 classes on it, while leaving only one for jazz. In a nutshell, keep him if you have a basic background in music and are looking for a pretty easy grade, drop if you have no background in music or are looking for one of those music hum professors that's going to inspire you to major in music. I hate to criticize his teaching though... he really is a nice guy. Somewhat aloof sometimes, but a really nice guy.

Jan 2005

The essential problem with music hum is usually the range of musical background amongst the students in the class. Johann does generally level the playing field by asking extraordinarily difficult questions on the exams. Not difficult "I should have studied harder" but difficult "what?! I should have studied THAT??" Things mentioned in passing during one lesson that ordinarily you wouldn't even jot in your notebook are planted in questions throughout the exams. Many are only very indirectly music related. You could know the year, theme, style, composer and every instrument present in the Rite of Spring, but do you know who coreographed its first production? That said, Johann is always willing to meet with students who need help or to read your papers before the due date. If you learn how to study for the exams, you'll do well -- he generally curves the results a bit. Get into his humor and you might even have a good time and learn something, as I certainly did. The discrepancy between learning and doing well on the tests is rather startling, however.

Jan 2005

To sum up the class in one word: frustrating. I came into Music Hum with a mixed core experience: I've had some really hard teachers that were great nonetheless, and others who were not so great but were less demanding and relatively easy graders. I figured that Toby would be one or the other. I was wrong. First, let me say that "oh, he's just a grad student" is no excuse. In high school all of my teachers were either getting their masters or had their masters and were competent in teaching thirty-two students. Music Hum is - for all intents and purposes - no different than a high school class in the sense that you only reference one book (Listen). Yet Toby could not teach seventeen students. The greatest flaws in his teaching were attendance and lack of preparedness. On the original syllabus he wrote that missing or coming late to classes would result in a lower grade. Somehow, he didn't apply this to himself. During the course of the semester, Toby failed to attend four classes - and only once gave ample notice of his absence. As a result, the syllabus got really messed up, and he promised to write out a new one while giving us day-to-day assignments for the time being. He then stopped giving us daily assignments but never gave us a new syllabus. He originally also said that he would just add classes during study week. Since he couldn't really add 4 classes during a 2 day week he instead added none and offered to extend his office hours which were pretty much nonexistant from the getgo. To compensate, we skipped the entire Jazz section, did all of opera in one day, and only skimmed 20th century music. In addition to missing classes, he was never on time. Our class would always be waiting in the hallway while the other class on our floor began, then he would come in with his coffee and have to spend the next few minutes turning on his computer, getting settled, etc. Instead of really teaching us anything aside from a little bit of biography of each composer (our extent of music theory was duple & triple meter) he would just ramble off quotes that he wrote on what looked to be an old flyer. And then make some Star Wars or whatever reference. So you may say that he's "laid back" in this sense. But his midterm and final were the most tedious exams I think I've ever taken here. First off, his idea of us studying was making an index card for each piece with elements of the piece, yet a lot of the questions about the pieces were not about its musical content but about the history of the piece. For our midterm, he tried "shortening" an old exam from when Music Hum classes ran 2 hours but we all ran out of time about 10 minutes into the essay portion. He also had a problem writing straightforward short answer questions. For example, during our final we had an ID from a portion of Aida to which a girl in our class asked "in the question are you referring to the entire piece (as in the whole opera) or just the segment we listened to." He looked bewildered for a second and to save face said "I left it purposely ambiguous." Ambiguity was rampant on that final. In addition to the midterm and final we had two concert reports. He gave us no guidelines on the first one, but then graded them pretty harshly saying "oh you should have approached it this way, or that way, or done this, or that." I spent a lot of time on the reports, to the point that my friends who have taken Music Hum and were apparently able to do a concert report without much prep work thought that I was in an advanced music history course, and I didn't mind having to spend several days between the prep work and biography and all the other facets that he required - after all, I was able to learn a lot about a particular piece and composer, even if he/she weren't on the syllabus. What was bothersome though, is although the papers were turned in nearly a month prior, he graded them during our finals - taking about 3-5 minutes per paper. For all I know, other profs devote the same amount of time on their papers, but it's really disconcerting to watch your teacher care so little about something you devoted a lot of time to. And if you want a grade on a paper/test in a timely fashion, then Toby is not for you - it took about 3+ weeks turnaround to get back our concert reports, midterm, and FINAL GRADE. Yes, that's right, we took our final on December 22 and got our grades on January 11. (Doesn't make too much sense to spend the equivalent of a day and a half to grade each paper when it only takes five minutes to read a report). Finally, his accessibility. His office hours were at Hungarian Pastry Shop but he didn't have "set" ones - instead you had to consult with him about a time to meet. He cancelled from time to time, and also didn't respond to emails too quickly (or at all). Also, having office hours at a pastry shop may sound cool but is really awkward. The place is a cafe and the atmosphere is really not conducive to having discussions about your work. Toby is a charmer. He'll make references that will make the class laugh, say funny things about a composer, jokingly diss modern pop music, and tote an iPod and cup of coffee like every other Columbian. But charming teacher is only good if the teacher can teach, which Toby couldn't. This may seem like a long rant from a student who did poorly, but I did fine in the class. Its just disappointing that Columbia prides itself in the Core and then hires teachers like Toby in which case the students have to learn all of the course material out of the required text book.

Jan 2005

Chadwick Jenkins is probably one of the best teachers I have had at Columbia. He connects music to philosophy and other forms of art, vividly illustrating music hum's integral relationship to all those other core classes. His lectures are intelligent, interesting, and eloquent. Bits of everything come together, from film to poetry to gritty technical musical details, and it works out incredibly well; I have never had such engaging lectures in my time here. Look at his Courseworks, and the amount of preparation and attention to detail that he puts into his class syllabus alone puts everyone else I have had at Columbia to shame. He is incredibly approachable outside of class, often staying at the music library. Take his section for your Music Hum requirement.

Jan 2005

Morgan is awesome. He is sometimes unitentionally funny and its adorable when he gets nervous in class. He is a grad student so he often comments on how hes had too much caffaine or that he has his own tests to worry about. He is really passionate about musicology and its cute when he gets irritated at the lack of time for the material and the class. He is fun and keeps your attention. He structures his class in a very straight-forward way. Hes pretty organized and makes the material extremly clear and understandable. He is really accomodating with office hours and is very willing to help. Hes a bit of a psuh-over and if the class wants something (say a section to be excluded from the test) he'll most likely give in. He presents the material very much like the book so you are really never confused as to what you need to know for the tests. He brings in his friends who sing songs live that we are studying and supplements the class with his own materials which are never on the test. The concert journals are his alternative to a 10 page dull paper (thank you morgan!). Badically, you go watch 5 concerts and write your observations on them. An easy way to get points and also its really interesting to go hear different live music and actually be able to intellectually talk baout it. This class was awesome and I loved Morgan!

Jan 2005

About the nicest guy you'd ever want to meet. Sadly he's too nice to make the class challenging and there was no rigor to anything. His love and knowledge of music is obvious, but he was unable to rein in this unwieldy curriculum. There is too much the course tries to do, and in the end nothing meaningful is learned. There were a few interesting classes such as analyzing music brought in by the students, but the material in general is pretty boring. He also didn't seem to have enough time to grade things so he was remarkably lenient.

Jan 2005

I'm pretty much obsessed with Aenon Loo, and not just because his class was legitimately the easiest one I've taken at Columbia. I started off kind of a cocky bastard because I have a lot of musical background, but I attended his classes probably more than I could have gotten away with and genuinely learned a lot. Aenon (and he wants you to call him Aenon) is a passionate composer who really likes to teach, and he made it clear to us from the beginning that he cared a whole hell of a lot more about us becoming engaged and informed listeners than he did about our memorizing dates. He follows the book completely, which helps in studying for the quizzes and final. Aenon was one of those professors who you really want to take out to dinner--he loves Radiohead, and I really regretted missing the Chinese lunch he treated us to after the final.

Jan 2005

If you're looking for a laid-back music-hum class, Toby's is a good choice. Toby is very knowledgable about the material and makes class discussions very comfortable. I don't really know what I was looking for in the class but I ended up really enjoying it - and also learning a good amount about music. Despite having to make the 9 am class, overall Toby was a great teacher. If you can get in his class, go for it.

Jan 2005

He was great!!! Although I had previous musical background, I can honestly say that he was the best teacher I had so far at Columbia and that I learned so much more than before I took his class. It was one of the few classes I enjoyed going to. All his notes are online, there weren't any quizzes, except a few "pop" quizzes that he announced because he wanted his class to read, and the final was a 30 min. one-on-one discussion about a song. He's not a harsh grader, he's easy, just learn the jist of the notes. I downloaded all the music from his website, and the book was cheaper than most music hum classes. This is the best class ever, if u get him, you'll be fine in his class!

Jan 2005

I guess like almost everybody I was worried about taking Music Humanities but this ended up being a great experience. I feel really lucky since Stuart was so supportive and encouraging of somebody like me who is seriously tone deaf. I think he genuinely cares about his students since he is a genuinely caring person. After sending him something on the order of a thousand e-mails I was sure that I was driving him crazy, but he told me not to worry and was always responsive to the questions I had. He has a cheerful disposition in class and I didn't even miss one all semester. I definitely recommend taking Music Humanities with him. He also takes the class out at the end of the semester, which was really fun!

Jan 2005

Great class and even better prof. Stuart knows the subject very well, doesn't hold back praising his favorite music, and encourages students to do the same. His overall approach seems pretty unconventional, which is refreshing given what I've heard about how mind numbing music hum can be if you're in another class. Somehow Stuart managed to jump back and forth between things like Bach, Hannibal Lecter, and theories of madness while making it all come together and make sense. I think he also likes to mix up the pieces/topics from semester to semester since one of my friends also took the class with him just before I did and studied different things. We both loved the class, however, and got a lot out of it. Stuart also has this hilariously dry sense of humor that pops out when you least expect it, which made the class pretty entertaining. If you can't manage to get into his class try to email him in advance--that's what I did.

Jan 2005

Would you like an A without doing anything? Take this class. I didn't learn anything though, so be wary.

Jan 2005

This instructor is a gem- interesting, organized...she made a potentially awful class so enjoyable. Class at 9:10 became a pleasure. Very fair grader and always available to help, either in office hours or by e-mail.

Jan 2005

Prof. Hiles saved my Core experience. She knows that she is teaching a general and required course and she sets her goals accordingly. She keeps the readings short and the listening good. Her lectures are lively and personal--you will leave the class feeling more like she is your friend than your teacher. If you think that you might have trouble with Music Hum she is especially great since she is eager to meet with her students and spend lots of time reviewing. She will even read drafts of your papers. I highly recommend this course.

Jan 2005

Professor Lependorf is great. He really knows music, and really loves teaching. He has a great sense of humor, and opens your ears to things you never knew existed. He is certainly worth taking.

Jan 2005

if you want a JUST FINE music hum experience-- to learn a bit, to enjoy it, to not be stressed out, and to learn anything you will learn by semi-cramming the night before-- then take melissa. she recognized that not everyone wanted to be there, that music hum wasn't everyone's first priority, and that some of us knew NOTHING about music. she made it all just fine.

Jan 2005

With core classes, you win some and you lose some. With Josh Cody, you get some of each. On the winning side, he doesn't expect students in a music hum class to perform like graduate musicologists. The concert reports were graded generously to say the least (although he expected longer reports than many other music hum teachers), and his exams were extremely easy. He really just wants to see that every student learns something from the class and gets exposed to the music. If you show up, pay attention 50% of the time, and say something in class every now and then, you'll do fine. The downside is that he's really not so into the class. He's the artistic director of an ensemble group, and that's always a higher priority than the class. It took him 3 weeks to return the first concert report, and 2 weeks to return the midterm. He managed to show up late for class every single day, then claimed at the end of the semester that he'd inadvertantly copied the wrong time onto the syllabus and had been going by that all semester. (The problem is that the syllabus he handed out at the beginning of the semester had the correct time.) The coup de grace was when he simply didn't show up for the final exam after e- mailing the class repeatedly to remind us about it. Afterwards he sent an e-mail that was written as though he had somehow bothered to notify us, and gave a takehome exam he expected turned in at the end of exams. By this point, no one had time to do a takehome exam, and his decision to go this route reflected a complete and total disregard for the students in the class.

Jan 2005

Prof. Henson is a young, chamring Brit who taught her first American students this semester. The class was very enjoyable and light-hearted. The workload was pretty easy and Prof. Henson's accent was fun to listen to. Classes consisted of discussion of some technical musical terms, but she made sure not to get too technical. Most of the analytical terms are self-explanatory. Most of the class was spent in discussion of a history of music from chant to opera to impressionist. Prof. Henson is a Verdi scholar, so there was a focus on Opera. I would have liked it if there was more in-class listening. She would talk about the pieces, but sometimes I would have like to listen more. She and the T.A. were easy graders, due, I think, to her thinking that American students are very sensitive when it comes to grading, which is probably true. I don't know if this will change, but grading was easy. I really enjoyed the class and I would choose to take Music Hum with her again.

Jan 2005

Top-notch TA who knows his music/music theory/music history inside-out, cold, blindfolded, both hands tied...etc. For the handful of classes he taught in place of Prof. Smit, Corbett came well-prepared and even took over for Smit when Smit came an hour late to class. Three impressions he left: (1) his ability to walk to the Steinway and play segments of the song being discussed -- impromptu; (2) his cheerful mien when piano-ing it up; (3) the amusing repartee between him and Smit. I'm not sure if he partakes in grading, but I'm becoming more convinced that he didn't for our class. Definitely a resourceful, enjoyable, and approachable character.

Jan 2005

I found John Smalley to be a very able instructor. He is very knowledgeable and presented the course material in a manner that was easy to learn. In fact, I would even say minimal work was required on the part of the student. I made it through fine even though I did not really do most of the assigned reading or listening before class. There are occassional in-class listening quizzes of the pieces assigned but he warns you before coming to class. The mid-term and final exams consisted of term id's, short questions based on material discussed in class and an essay question, which he'll either go over in the review session or give to the class before-hand. He was helpful in answering questions during office hours and in the emails. He was also flexible about some deadlines. So all in all, I enjoyed being in his class. It could have been a LOT worse. Take him if you can.

Jan 2005

Niko's a fun enough guy, but he's serious about his class. Make sure you go to class, since he adds a lot in class that you won't find in the book. Keep up with the reading, especially the occasional handouts, and you'll be fine. The reading's always light anyway, but be careful...he sprung three short 5-minute pop quizzes on our class based on the readings. Those quizzes are usually from the handouts, but the last one was from the book, and the final had a question referencing one of the handouts. His concert report guidelines are sometimes a bit strange, so make sure you force him to fully explain it in class. But even though his workload is pretty heavy compared to other classes, he's really excited about teaching music hum (impressive at 9am!) and he knows his stuff. You'll definitely gain a new appreciation for Western music by attending his class, and he loves class participation, whether by you bringing in your own music to listen to before class, or discussions.

Dec 2004

To say that she sucks is a bit harsh. I enjoyed her class and found her to be a good instructor overall. The work load was doable and she presented the material clearly. I agree that she should have focused more time on class discussions but overall. I received comments on my concert reports and she always offered to review first drafts. She also did her best to ensure that we did well on exams by supplying outlines, review sheets, etc. Overall, I was satisfied with the course.

Dec 2004

This definitely was a great class. melissa was very knowledgeable about the subject matter and taught both the significance of the piece as well as the musical elements, which adds greatly to one's appreciation of music. there were five concert reports but they were only two pages each and that is far more enjoyable to write than a long research paper. i don't think than anyone would say that ten pages of writing is too much for a three credit class. i also think the exams were fair. i don't think you would be at a loss if you were to take music hum with this instructor; i would recommend it.

Dec 2004

What can I say about this guy other than that hes great. Not only did I get an A in the class without doing any work but I also learned a lot about music in general. The first few classes we looked at rock as a precurser to classical in order to get us in tuned with listening to music. He is never on time, and never gets through all the material. Very approachable if you have any questions or comments. Overall great guy. He does kind of get side tracked and/or forgets about stuff. If your looking for a great class filledd with fun times and laughter i suuggest you take joshua's class, nevermind the great wardrobe he has.

Dec 2004

I totally disagree with that previous negative review about StuartÂ’s class. His class was among the best IÂ’ve had at Columbia overall and definitely, hands down, the best one in the core. And while the grades arenÂ’t in yet, I can even say all this with the knowledge that I probably wonÂ’t be getting an A. To start with, itÂ’s really unfair to completely blame Stuart for having to cut things from his syllabus. The word is that Music Hum is doing an experiment this year with shorter class meetings, and just about everyone I know who took Music Hum this semester in other sections said their instructors also had to wipe out a lot of material. Stuart even said at the beginning of the semester that the syllabus contained much more material than we could have time for. To fill in some of the holes he would even send out these long e-mails in between classes. One of them about Schoenberg was like a mini research paper and it got me to appreciate Schoenberg much better than any textbook could. Stuart always found really creative and insightful ways to teach even the most boring music. On one of the papers he gave me back some of the best comments that IÂ’ve ever gotten in any class (it was 2 pages long of really useful suggestions). Sure heÂ’s a bit chatty sometimes; but would you want some robot instructor for your Music Hum requirement? So hereÂ’s the bottom line: Stuart is an informative and enthusiastic teacher, but if he figures out that youÂ’re not trying very hard in his class, or if you try to BS him, then heÂ’ll turn his attention to someone else that cares and makes the effort. As for me, I learned a ton in his class and IÂ’d take his section over again in a second.

Dec 2004

He is probably the worst professor you could get for Music Hum, so, if you have him, I suggest you take Music Hum another semester or switch sections ASAP. Not only does he like to make this class obscenely difficult and obscure, but he's just flat out mean. In the beginning of the semester, he decides who he likes and who he doesn't like and then grades those students accordingly. I have a friend who consistantly did better work that I did, but the friend always received a worse grade that I did. On top of that, he'll answer the legitimate questions you ask in class with "well why don't you know that?" or he won't even answer them at all. He's also completely unavaliable as he took 10 days to respond to a two sentance email, and would not meet with me outside his office hours, eventhough I had a class during them.

Dec 2004

Mr. Sheehan was a good teacher. He was obviously very into the material and the class was fairly interesting. I ended up learning a lot about a subject I was not really interested in. Most people are probably more interested in how the class was seeing as most of us are forced to take it anyway. It was easy. The listening quizes required some preperation, but the rest of the class really didn't. The essay questions on the midterm and final were easy, and the listening assignments were a joke. We only wrote one paper which was nicely graded

Dec 2004

A very nice person, Paul is a relatively new teacher. However, his class is very interesting and engaging. As a person of no musical background, I can honestly say I learned from his teaching. He is very passionate about music and successfully conveys this enthusiasm to his students. I would recommend this class.

Dec 2004

Overall, nice guy, a little on the quirky side. He has a really strange sense of humor and has a tendency to talk at the ground or into the sky. Each class had a general topic (eg. "Today we'll talk about Wagner") but tended to go off on all sorts of tangents. Big on the history, thought, and culture surrounding music. Also big on German words for musical things. Tries to teach music in an un-music way, but it doesn't actually work out because he tends to use music jargon and to really understand what he's saying you have to have some music theory background. He's a composer, so expect a skew in the syllabus towards 20th century music. Reading from the book is not necessary although helpful, class notes are what he tests you on.

Dec 2004

I decided to take this class with Stuart because he had received only glowing reviews on Culpa and I was excited to have what I believed to be an enthusiastic and informative teacher. One semester later, I have not only learned very little about music but I feel like a part of my enthusiasm for music in general has died. In class Stuart is very friendly and chatty, and thus ends up wasting upwards of 10 minutes before each class talking about how much we have to do; needless to say, we ended up not covering a good portion of the syllabus. Those topics that we did cover tended to be muddled by A) mindless philosophical conversation tangentially related to music by students uniformed in the details of both philosophy and music and B) a discouraging disclaimer at the beginning of most units on why Stuart didn't like the period. This total absence of class structure and efficiency was worsened by the lack of consistency between Stuart's teaching style and grading style. On a number of occasions, Stuart came to class unwilling to teach and content to instead chat about a topic of our choice, but papers and exams were graded rather harshly. Overall, a negative experience. Not recommended.

Dec 2004

He's a nice guy, and sometimes makes funny references. That's about the only good thing I can say about him. He missed a bunch of classes... once he didn't give us any warning, once he e-mailed us cancelling after 1am. While that may not be a big deal if the class wasn't at 9am, it was a pain when you'd wake up early (esp if you didn't check your email late at night) for class only to find out it was cancelled. As a result, the syllabus got very messed up and he never made amends to it as he promised. He usually came in late and somewhat unprepared. I felt like I learned nothing in the class, and he was pretty merciless when he came to telling us what we needed to know for the midterm. In addition, he basically gave us his Spring 2002 midterm, when the class was 2 hours long, not 1:15 and we ran out of time when it came to the essay section. He also repeatedly walked out during the midterm which was really unhelpful. Maybe he was good a few years ago, but he clearly did not have the time & didn't make the effort for our class, and it really screwed over our section.

Nov 2004

Take Music Hum with this woman-- she is witty and British and knows her stuff. She makes class so interesting, and fun (with a 5 minute break!), that I am taking her Verdi class next semester just to have her again.

Nov 2004

This was a great class. Although I had no background in music, Todd explained the material very well. The class was heavily discussion-based, which made things much more interesting than if he had just been lecturing. He also touched on more advanced material, instead of keeping the class to basic definitions. Contrary to what some other reviews here say, he did make it clear what we were studying--he gave handouts of IDs and things to know for the exam, which made studying much easier. And while there were a few theoretical questions on the midterm and the exam, they were nowhere near impossible.

Nov 2004

I haven't got a clue what the other reviewers were smoking. Prof. Frisch is so flighty, disorganized, and unclear about everything that this class turned into a total headache. He asks questions looking for a specific answer and is surprised when none of the students can read his mind. He'll play a beautiful piece of music but keeps pausing it and offering banal commentary so you can't even enjoy it. He would play pieces on the piano poorly and then ask us to analyze it. Our 4-5 page listening assignment was RETARDED, basically an analysis modeled exactly by the textbook. I didn't learn a thing about the history or development of music in this class other than a couple of names. He's a nice guy who likes his students, but he really can't get it together to do music hum.

Nov 2004

I have to strongly disagree with the one critical review of Adriana. I am very surprised because I thought that actually, she really let the music speak for itself. She spends a lot of time generating discussion on the class' reaction to the music. She would teach the technical stuff, but she would keep it simple and understandable. If you know a lot about music history and theory, then you're probably not going to enjoy this class. Adriana is teaching this class to people who really don't know anything about music, and want an interesting class. She allows you room to explore and apply yourself to the work, if you want, but if you really just want an easy A, then she'll give that to you too. I find her extremely engaging and knowledgable (although I'm no music history expert and I can't verify every fact that she says, I'll have to say that when people did challenge her on questions, she never shut them down). The one long paper in the class was analyzing a classical piece used in any movie, and she wanted emphasis on how the music conveys emotion of the movie/scene that it is paired with. I had a lot of fun with the paper and I definitely have a newfound appreciation for ancient, classical and contemporary music. Also, my class got to have a jazz lecture and demonstration from Prof. Christopher Washburne - a real treat for a guest lecture in a core class.

Oct 2004

The fact of the matter is..........you will not be able to understand him. He is an open and friendly teacher who tries to encourage class participation, but he makes the lectures so boring. He is not a hard grader, but the material that he chooses to set his midterm and finals on is so insignificant (not to say that any of the material in music hum is significant) that you will most likely over look it. The point is, I worked hard in the class, got A's on the two incredibly long papers that he assigned, but still ended up with a B in the class because of the midterm and final. One plus was that the TA (Paul) was cool.

Oct 2004

I disagree with the previous review of Helgeson, but perhaps because I was one of the favorites. I enjoy music theory, I have a background in this subject, and the first few weeks of the class were frustrating for me because they were rehashing material I'd already known. Helgeson leapt ahead after that, but really stuck to some basic ideas that should have cemented after awhile. I thought he did well, but I do agree that knowing some theory before going in is clutch.

Oct 2004

Morgan is the coolest teacher I've had here -- he's a very Brooklyn kind of guy (that's were he lives) -- and although he's pretty passionate about the music, he's very relaxed about class. his specialty seems to be jazz so if you can just hold out until you get there (the beginning of the sylabus is all chants/ hymns) you will be in for a pleasant surprise. seriously hot.

Sep 2004

I admit that Johan's tests were difficult, however, his eccentric style and comments made classes more than entertaining! He encouraged discussion, even when when the students were reluctant to participate. His paper topics were by no means standard; they were innovative, which made the writing experience much more valuable as a student, even for those of us who lacked an extensive musical background. Johan's focus on sociological issues allowed us to explore music in a more relevant context. Perhaps the best quality of Johan as an instructor was his availability outside of class. He would never turn away a question, and was extremely helpful during the paper-writing process. If you want an instructor who is not only extremely passionate about the subject, but is also truly invested in his students - and offers the most amusing additions to his lectures - then hope for Johan as your music hum instructor!!! Cheers!

Sep 2004

Farzi's class has definitely been my favorite thus far at Columbia. I can't imagine a music hum professor who loves music more. She played plenty of contemporary music and videos to keep things interesting. We even had an electronic music day. I don't have much of a musical background but I loved her class so much I've continued to take music classes as electives. She makes it clear what you need to know for the test and offers plenty of help for paper writing. Hers is definitely the class to take: she interesting, fun, and you can get away with doing minimal work.

Aug 2004

Maybe if you were able to understand what he was saying more than 10 percent of the time his class would be alright. As it was those 3 hours were a waste of time and simply reading the book would be just fine. Luckily our class had a good TA but other than that what a joke!

Aug 2004

This was an awesome class and definitely the one to take if you want an outstanding Music Hum experience. Stuart makes the class interesting and fun at the same time. As a musician himself, he has extensive knowledge of music theory and a genuine interest in the material. But what really sets him apart (as another reviewer says) is that he relates music to larger philosophical questions and encourages you to think about music in a broader context. There is also a great use of film clips to discuss certain pieces. StuartÂ’s a smart guy and always helpful and available to answer questions. His tests and assignments can be challenging but if youÂ’re willing to put in some effort this class is amazing. I was dreading Music Hum but this turned out to be one of the best classes IÂ’ve had at Columbia.

Aug 2004

There's one thing to be said about this professor; he's terrific. Chad is, absolutely, without a doubt, a brilliant guy. Moreover, coupled with his intelligence, he also possesses sincerity and humbleness. These two underlying characteristics make him a very compelling teacher and friend. His humble character resonantes within his teaching style and personal conduct. He will never make you feel dumb for not knowing something and he will always explain complex or otherwise foreign ideas in ways that appeal to ones understanding. He demonstrates various ideas and philosophies in such a way that is lucid and relevant. His preparation and dedication are also amazing. On the first day of class, he provides 7 CD's filled with Music for you to copy at home. Before the Final and Midterm he provides extensive review sheets that go over the major items that you must know. He is also willing to meet with anyone at nearly anytime to discuss the ideas for however long. His reading assignments are concise and brief and he will also make it a point to go over the important concepts and highlight them, so if you missed everything else, he will give you the core ideas. He is hillarious in class and never, ever has an uptight demeanor about him. I always felt like he was an older friend or brother just teaching me about something he knew very, very well. I honestly do not know how anyone could possibly give Chad a negative review, and at this point, after the class is over, it doesn't behoove me to kiss up or fabricate things; I say this with complete sincerity. His enthusiasm for his subject and teaching is resoundingly clear. Even a casual observer of this class will realize Chad's passion for Music and helping people understand various ideas on it. I came into this class with a very meager knowledge of what we were studying and a very distant appreciation (if not an aversion) for what we were listening to. However, by the end of this class, I listened to the CD's he gave us routinely. I am even exploring certain things we discussed in greater depth. I owe an incredible debt and gratitude to Chad for teaching me a new way to think of things. He's a great guy just to talk to as well. He has a lot of interesting ideas. I'd highly recommend Chad without any reservations whatsoever.

Jul 2004

Can't say enough good things about Prof. Lependorf. A class that I was not looking forward taking turned out to be a true joy. If you have the opportunity to take his class, do not hesitate a moment.

Jul 2004

If you have not taken Western Music Hum. and have no previous training in music, be careful taking this class. Prof. Chung is a nice, passionate, and engaging woman, but she mostly wants to engage with people who already know what she's talking about. And another thing, there was an ENORMOUS amount of reading for this class, more than some Lit. classes I have taken, and the connection between the music you hear and the reading is often a little weak. Be prepared to do a lot of outside work and to work hard for your grade.

Jun 2004

Charmingly, gracefully sweet person. She is always cheerful, attentive to every student, knowledgeable and a talented pianist (very modest about it). You'll wish you were born the same year she was-- just so you could have been friends with her in high school.

Jun 2004

Stuart Raphael is one swell guyÂ… You know how most teachers and most TAÂ’s just go through the motions of teaching but donÂ’t really care? You know how you end up leaving for the summer and you canÂ’t remember what you did in the class or if you learned anything? All you do know is that you spent more time watching the clock and hating your time in class then it took for you to hand over the fatty 40 grand to CU. Where is all that money going? Well, it certainly isnÂ’t going to StuartÂ… but it SHOULD! Stuart Raphael is great guy and a great teacher. For anyone who is afraid of music theory and considers the more abstract and philosophical topics as a light aperitif then they should take this class. While Stuart does teach the more technical aspects of music he wonÂ’t turn all Gestapo on you if you canÂ’t repeat his teachings like a little boy in a Saudi Madrasa. What makes StuartÂ’s class so interesting is how he relates Music Hum to the fundamental questions that create a bridge between every core class. Once one begins to have an understanding of some of the technical aspects of music the class searches to answer the greater questions. What does music mean? What is it trying to tell us? How does it relate to the human psyche? How does it relate to Society? How do we interpret music? Is there one meaning? Who creates the meaning, artist or listener? These questions and more make for a fast moving class that is worth all the big bucks and the 2 hours a week.

Jun 2004

Incredibly kind professor with contagious excitement about music history and theory. Don't be afraid to take Cody's class, even if you don't know a sharp from a flat. He's attentive to students of all levels. Good-natured and cheerful all the time. It's almost sickening!

May 2004

at first, i thought the class would be a bit boring because we were moving through the material at a slow pace. but prof. gerbino is so nice, smart, and interesting that the class wasn't boring at all. he is such a likeable person! what made the class so interesting, though, is that he always connected the music we were studying with the relevant time period in terms of historical events and the philosophy around at that time and place. two thumbs up!

May 2004

Rebecca is an exercise in trade-offs. On one hand, she GIVES YOU EXACTLY WHAT YOU WILL BE TESTED ON in excellently outlined notes with the important words in boldfaced (with definitions!). She supplements this with a handout before exams detailing what pieces she'll be listen-testing, which words she'll want defined, which text passages she wants you to know, and what essay topic she wants you to write on.. On the other hand, she is so boring that I started counting planes taking off and landing at LaGuardia Airport just to make it through her class. Class periods are a lot of listening, a lot of insight delivered by Rebecca, a lot of questions thrown at the class (most of the time met with dead silence), and a lot of naps. Her class isn't hard at all. It's just tedious, frustrating, and boring. That's a choice you're going to have to make. If Music Hum is just another GPA-padding requirement you need to get out of the way, take her class. If it's a class you actually want to get something out of, run like hell.

May 2004

Joshua, a music composer, is a very intelligent person, but it quickly becomes evident that he has no idea how to teach a class. He strays from one topic to the next, and nearly every class lacked a clear objective and conclusion. Nevertheless, his exams are mostly fair, and his grading is very generous.

May 2004

He's great. 9 AM Mondays 7th floor of Hamilton is a KILLER, but Todd was cheeful and full of bad jokes even at that hour. He knows his stuff, and he wants everyone to love music. His lectures are organized, and he always has lots to listen to. A few problems: the midterm was so hard he added 15 points to everyone's score just to get most of us to pass. So I guess his expectations aren't really clear... He also had us read really hard and obsure post-modernist critiques of pieces and then expected us to glean little tiny details out of them for quizzes. It was hard. But he tries really hard, and he's super nice, so all around, a good Music Hum teacher, especially for a grad student.

Apr 2004

Maybe the negative review from below resulted from an experience early in Chad's teaching career. I really enjoyed his class. He is incredibly intelligent but also very laid back and makes jokes at himself all the time which puts you at ease. I was afraid he was going to assign a lot of texts and grade harshly but honestly the readings were 5 minutes at best per night and his grading is very fair, I daresay lenient. I am really terrible at music, but it didn't really hurt my grade or understanding. If you are interested in another aspect of music - philosophy, mainly - then he puts plenty of historical and philosophical background in his lectures to keep you interested. Take notes and you will be fine on the quizzes that he warns you about the day before he gives them. He's just simply in love with music and the knowledge surrounding music. He is comfortable talking about every era, can answer most questions sufficiently and gets excited about it. He's also an incredibly nice person, which is a good contrast with the amount of organization and preparation he puts into the class. Seriously, Chad was the only person in the room who I would want to hang out with outside of class.

Apr 2004

This guy is NOT GOOD. This was his first time teaching Music Humanities and though he knows a lot of music theory and is a very talented piano player, he knows NOTHING about TEACHING music/music theory/music history. The class became meaningless because he would spend an ENTIRE class period replaying a 14 minute song over and over again trying to get us to hear the chord inversions and identify tonality even though he never taught us any of that. His class was theory-intensive and not interesting by any stretch of the imagination. To top it off, he is always late and in my opinion he plays favorites. I really recommend finding a different section if you can, unless you LOVE theory and don't want to learn anything about music in a social context.

Apr 2004

Professor Fan is a really nice professor. Unfortunately, I wish she would be more specific with the subject material. She tends to be very iffy. Iffy meaning an answer in a class discussion could swing either way. And that discussion normally comes up in the exams, which isn't helpful because the answer in the class discussion wasn't specific. The material we've been discussing does in a way, relate to Western Music, but I don't know what the significance of the field trips are, for example, the trip to the MIDI place and to the Ethnomusicology Center. It's confusing because although I can see how the two centers relate to the course, I don't know what's going to be on the exam. It's okay if the exam question is going to be: what's a MIDI? But if it's going to be: what's a patial, then I'm going to be like, huh? I know this review will only make sense to the class who's been through this with me but the point is that if she can be more specific with what she wants from us, it will be really beneficial (to me at least). One good thing though was that Professor Fan had called in a choir group to demonstrate and explain parts of the course material at the beginning of the term (Josquin). That proved effective. A really flexible professor as well. Willing to compromise according to class consensus.

Apr 2004

Todd for the most part is a nice guy. He tried to be funny and make the material somewhat interesting with random information and history on the music and artist being discussed. However the major problems with this class come in two forms. One Todd beign the typical artist don't like to put limitations or boundardies on anything, in other words, he doesn't have a straight answer for anything and likes to make his students figure it out for themselves. This means you're on you own for figuring out what to study for the midterm and final, you'll have no idea what the format is and you'll also be clueless as to what the hell the structure is supposed to be for your papers. The second problem with this class is because of the fact that is is rather technical. If you don't have any background in music, you'll have quite a bit of studying to do in order to get a good grade. Luckily, most people fail the midterm and final so the professor had to use a curve.

Feb 2004

Not to sound to much like i am in kindergarden but to sum it up, he stunk. This was probably one of the worst classes i have taken in columbia. We did not learn a thing about music, and the only people in the class who had a clue what was going on were people who had extensive muscial backgrounds (prob someone like the person who wrote the above review). Furthermore, his tests were utter nightmares--for the midterm he literaly copied paragraphs out of the textbook, took out words, and asked us to fill in the blanks. The finals was a series of questions on completely unimportant subjects that were minimaly covered in class or in the textbook. The papers were also quite difficult. The first paper required us to anaylze an opera, of the teachers choosing and the second paper required us to have a far deeper understanding of music and the technicalities of music than the class afforded us. Basically, I absolutely warn you away from any class with this guy.

Feb 2004

Milarsky is one of the best professors I have ever had. He is a passionate, lively and energetic person who communicates the subject matter really well. Music Hum. is a broad course that covers history of music chronologically from the middle-ages to nowadays. It might be hard to enjoy if the professor is not good. As an Econ major I feared this class was going to be a waste of time, but instead I discovered a passion for classic music. If I wasn't a senior I would have majored in music as well. Being around passionate people is what makes Columbia so special and professors Milarsky is one of them; his comments are original and interesting and he managed to get our brainpower even at 9AM. If you hang out in the back of the class he wonÂ’t ask you anything but youÂ’ll get into it anyway. He is also easy-going and open-minded and interacts a lot with the students while accepting every opinion. We also had a great TA who plays violin and we had the school's Chorus sing for us. We saw one opera (Carmen) and the professor invited us to a really modern percussion concert he conducted. It was a really entertaining class on top of being culturally fulfilling and intellectually stimulating. I highly recommend Milarsky if he teaches Music Hum. again.

Feb 2004

A ++ to Deborah Bradley. Professor Bradley's course Masterpieces of Western Music was one of the best learning experiences of my college career at Columbia. She is always interesting, informative and well- prepared. The consummate professional. Since this class is a requirement for most students, I highly recommend that you try to take it with her. The coursework and assignments are interesting and not overwhelming. In addition, Dr. Bradley is a very very fair grader- this class will definitely boost your GPA if you apply yourself.

Jan 2004

Really cool guy, very laid back. Very knowledgable about music; incorporates fun material into class. Really good looking too. Gets you interested. He's funny too.

Jan 2004

A truly fantastic teacher, and an intelligent man to boot. If he doesn't inspire you to fall in love with the major classical works, I don't know what else will. You will leave the class proficient in the basic lexicon of classical music, relaxed enough to prep for your other finals, and, if you allow yourself, as a more intelligent and enlightened person.

Jan 2004

Professor Bradley made Music Humanities the best class I've taken at Columbia. I entered her class with a distaste for classical music. Now, I attend operas regularly and listen to classical CDs all the time. Professor Bradley is an extraordinary piano player and knows music very well. She forces her students to think outside the lines, while still managing to teach the fundamentals of classical music and form. As a student in her class, you will gain an understanding of how the music works as well as how to appreciate it, and these lessons will be lasting impressions. Her collaborations with various outside groups (such as opera companies) allow special advantages for her students and glimpses at the professional world of music. She always manages to make time for her students and their questions. If you want to have a truly wonderful and lasting Core experience, take Music Humanities with Professor Bradley.

Jan 2004

The review that was on before that got erased was completely accurate. If you know what's good for you, switch out of this class. I seriously walked out of it not knowing anything- it was an exercise in futility. Bradley is ok, but I found her unresponsive to emails and unclear in the assignments. I also thought she was joking when she made us study over 70 songs, and ended up giving us 5 or so that we had never heard before. I don't know if rock and roll can even be listened after the Eroica, but she didn't see a problem with it. Columbia gives you the impression that you're getting a world-class education. If you get into this class, that whole illusion just flies right out the window. From what I've heard, this class can be spectacular (when taught by someone else) and I was dismayed by the simplistic, seemingly dumbed-down approached used by Deborah. The syllabus had so much potential, but all I ever got down cold was that Berlioz was kind of nutty and Beethoven was deaf. I wouldn't recommend this class: when you take a Core you want it to be as painless as possible. This doesn't fit the bill. I certainly tried to appreciate it, but I couldn't help but be disappointed. Overall not a pleasant experience. Good luck with this one.

Jan 2004

I was disappointed with this class. She started the first class by explaining meter, rhythm, and tonality to a class in which a majority of the students had no musical experience- she was stumped when a student proposed an unusual but legitimate rhythm in triple meter. It seemed like the class was genuinely interested in learning about different composers, but their interest was somewhat smothered by adherence to a listening technique that concentrated on technical aspects as opposed to emphasizing the unique contributions each made. The first time we listened to a piece without interruption was Beethoven's 5, but besides one day of Beethoven, it seemed like she didn't want to be in class. She repeatedly degraded the importance of Bach and called him "over the top" and even claimed that minimalism creates a trance "to make you forget life." Some basic facts were also incorrect, for instance she said that Mozart's Requiem was composed in 1740. These things wouldn't have bothered me so much if she had at least let the music speak for itself without narrating pointless and sometimes mistaken musical theory during the pieces to a class that for the most part could not grasp the technical commentary. Also, she often changes what she originally said when a student asks a specific question about what she had just explained. This class is bearable, but I feel students who want to experience classical music should look elsewhere.

Jan 2004

Keith is peacing out to Greece for a semester so he won't be teaching until Fall 2004 at the earliest. On the first day of class, I literally wanted to shoot myself in the head at the sound of Keith's monotonous voice explaining to the class how the sound hits various parts of the ear. Added to that, music hum is a two hour class (a 2 hour class that the CORE can very easily do without). Anyway, I stuck with the class (few did). Class always droned on (thank god for the Spec's daily crossword puzzles), Keith continued to mumble and I learned relatively little for a class of that length. He's probably one of the more boring teachers, but he knows his material. He is extremely knowledgeable about all aspects of music, but seems to have difficulty conveying that passion.

Jan 2004

The other 2 reviews about Prof. Cody are pretty accurate. He is not a terrible professor, and for the most part he knows his stuff, however he is completely uninterested in teaching the course (and he doesn't hesitate to express these feelings to the class). This lack of interest is often manifested in his weak preparation. He is very hard to follow when he gives notes, because he is very "jumpy"--always going from one topic to another. He is an interesting lecturer, though. He does sometimes just take his notes from an online music encyclopedia, but he expands on those notes to tell interesting stories. I didn't feel like I learned much music theory, because Prof. Cody often taught above my knowledge...he never really went over the basics. Luckily, though, he didn't require that we all understand the music theory. Like the other reviewers said, he is a pretty easy grader, and he is a nice guy (although he never took the time to learn the names of the students in the class). I'm sure you could find a better (and more dedicated) music hum teacher, but I'm sure you could find worse ones.

Jan 2004

this class was just about as good as music hum could get. carl is an eccentric young german composer. aside from the fact that he is biased towards wagner and electronic music (he also hates philip glass), he is a great teacher. he's funny and entertaining and i definitely learned as much or more than i would in any other music hum class. he just made it more interesting. the first day he wrote "masterpieces of western music" on the board, played purple haze and asked the class what we thought constituted a masterpiece. so maybe the class wasn't quite that philosophical, but it was a good class. i totally recommend carl.

Dec 2003

OK. This guy really does know his stuff. However, because he's so into music theory and the philosophy behind the music, he changes Music Hum from an introductory survey course of western music history to an advanced music theory course. This is great for those kids who already know all their stuff because of past experiences in music; they eat it up. However, for those of us who have never taken a class like this before, it SUCKS. To illustrate my point, he not only added extra reading, but an entire extra BOOK to our syllabus. When I showed this book to people in several other music hum sections, none of them had ever even seen it or heard of it; all they ever had to read was the regular music hum text, which we had to read in addition to the other book. So, if you know western music already, have a blast. You'll get a lot from this guy's class. If not, if you're like me, and are just trying to pass, you may want to look elsewhere.

Dec 2003

The two words to describe him are not engaging. He just simply does not seem interested to teach the course at all. I suggest you search for someone else. His exams, you never know what to study for.

Dec 2003

Ms. Hemmasi (or Farzi as she prefers to be called) is a phenomenal music hum instructor. She makes the class engaging and interesting (even at 9:00 in the morning!), and does not intend to trick you on her tests. If know the music she wants you to know even remotely, and you understand the basic concepts, this class should be a breeze. That is not to say you should not take it seriously. But if you do take it seriously, you will do well. And considering I believe I am tone-deaf, that is no small thing. Definitely the Music Hum you want to be in to fulfill the core. :)

Dec 2003

Thank God I took MusicHum with Professor Lependorf. First, it's obvious he loves music and knows so much about it... his passion was just overflowing and that made his lectures cool. In terms of accessibility, he was ALWAYS available via email to have questions answered. I was terrified of this class (I'm not into the math behind the music, so some of the concepts were really just impossibly hard for me) and Professor Lependorf was very accomodating in terms of helping me figure out stuff. Can't say enough good things.

Dec 2003

Imagine the most boring two hours you have ever spent in your life and multiply it by a trillion and this how boring Rebecca's class is. She will give you the lecture notes before every single lecture. Because she know that you will never listen to her. She will ask weird questions and wait for 5 minutes and then say how disappointed she is since noone has the energy and knowledge to answer her stupid questions. Anyway, I have never done the readings or listening assingnments. You only need to work before the exams. Some of the material is interesting. However, the way she presents it makes this class unbearable. It is simply a waste of time. She almost made me hate music. Music Hum is a boring course and she makes it worse. At least her section is not hard which is the only good thins about her...

Dec 2003

Andy is fine. He's not great, but he successfully teaches the material. He will not be helpful out of class, or on the midterm and final, or on the paper. He's also an enthomusicologist, which means he makes a lot of shit up about music's relationship with society. This wouldn't really be a problem, except that he makes you write a 6-8 page paper in which you make the same shit up. He's also into 20th century music, which is bizarre, 'cause it sucks. His class on Jazz was great. I kind of wish we did more. you will not love the class, but it is not a bad way to get through music hum, and he really does know what he's talking about.

Dec 2003

Maryam is probably the nicest person in the world, but her class is rough to get through. Lots of people dropped it. She expects us to learn a lot more than most of us can. She is always available and willing to give you a dissertaion on music history if you e-mail her a question. If you're strong musically Maryam would be great to have. Otherwise, you'll be straining to hear key changes that are impossible to find.

Dec 2003

In the words of a great swedish composer "Bingo!" - you've lucked out if your in Johan's Music Hum class. He is just an all around nice guy, is very easy to talk to, and really cares about his students. Whats more important, though, is that he really does know a great deal about the subject - you will come out of the class with a much greater appreciation and understanding of music. Although it is sometimes difficult to understand his accent, Johan's cheerful demeanor, generous nature, and odd, yet funny habits make his class really great. Take it!

Nov 2003

Stuart is very knowledgeable, cool, and lively. I was completely nonplussed by classical music before taking this class and he helped me really appreciate it. The only problem was that we had a lot of other people in the class who were intent on wasting time with administrivia, asking dumb questions, and not understanding simple points (e.g. is a piece minor or major). Nevertheless, if you want someone who will really take you deeply into music, go with Stuart. You can joke around with him and have fun at the same time. He brings in movies and filmed operas. He also sends out an email update the day before each class telling you what to expect and being funny at once. I give him an A+.

Nov 2003

When I first began taking this class with Cohen, I was overwhelmed by his attention to deal and all the technical stuff he was going over. By the time I finished the course, I was astounded at how much I had learned. The bottom line is, this class may seem like a lot of work in comparison to other Music Hum classes, but if you would rather discuss what's actually happening in pieces of music rather than discussing what you think you hear or feel about it, this is the way to go. Cohen isn't the warmest of people, and he can have a bit of a temper sometimes, but all in all he manages to get you to love the music as much as he does; that is, if you want to love it.

Sep 2003

What is wrong with all you people who are hating on Keith Moore? I mean, yeah, if you really want to learn about music, you might be disappointed, but if you want an A, Keith is the way to go. Keith is such a baller, it's ridiculous, he brings all these awesome Europeans in to class who scream and claim its music. Personally, I want a teacher who is always on his celly rather than blathering on about Western Music. Dude, he gave us Halloween off.

Aug 2003

I had Kate Dacey for Music Hum. On the first day she passed out a musical knowledge assesment sheet. I debated whether or not to divulge that I had been playing music since a young age. I was truthful on the assesment sheet and Kate Dacey irrationally assumed that my ability to read music had granted me a wealth of musical history knowledge. Since I had never had musical history, this was a false assumption, but she graded me according to this assumption. If you find yourself in her class, pretend you've never heard what a piano, an opera, or bad teacher is. By the end, I assure you'll understand all three.

Jul 2003

Stuart, in my opinion, is essentially a graduate student who knows his material, but lacks teaching skills. His class is run like a TA's study group. If you treat him as one of the class and your best buddy you will do fine. An easy class, and he is a pretty easy grade; but he makes each class feel like a life time.

May 2003

Toby is good instructor overall that is hampered by the poor materials that the Music Hum. course is taught with. He tries to be accessible to students and is pretty funny at times. The learning experience probably varies with your own personal background in music. You will probably meet some people completely unfamiliar with anything he says, and others who dominate the material (this writer included ^_^ ).

May 2003

A nice man and an easy teacher. His quizzes and papers are easier as is the grades. He's a substitute teacher so don't expect a high level of Music Hum instructor, but if you're like most students, Music Hum is one of those undesirable requirements you have to fulfill. The class is very boring, especially at 9 am when I wished I was sleeping, and Murat did nothing to liven it up, but you can't really blame him, that's just Music Hum.

May 2003

If you know relatively nothing about music and want to take care of the music hum requirement in the easiest way possible, this is exactly the teacher for you. He was funny, friendly, reasonable, and I learned a lot from him because he is an actual professor, not a TA (although most TA's are not bad themselves). Taking music hum at 9 in the morning with Murat was well worth it. He usually teaches as a replacement, but if you find out he's available, take his class in a heartbeat.

May 2003

This is a core curriculum class, which is mandatory for everyone. She made that experience feel more like a choice than an enforced obligation. Professor Bradley is very open to studentÂ’s opinions and perceptions, creating a non-judgmental environment, where it is comfortable to discuss anything. Her enthusiasm is contagious and I felt that she opened a new world for me. She introduces musical eras, concepts and definitions by playing examples. If anything was unclear, she was open to going over it either in class, or during office hours. If the entire class had difficulty, she skipped the concept entirely. What more could you want from a professor?

May 2003

if you have him you are incredibly lucky. he's really smart and really cool and so enthusiastic about the subject matter. he's also easy, very little work, generous grader. there should be more profs like him at columbia.

May 2003

Excellent teacher. She makes the course a lot of fun, and is very open minded to suggestions of the students. The workload is more than manageble, she is very flexible and accomodating to students needs, and I feel she made the overall experience of learning music fun and enjoyable. She is definitely high on my list of recomended teachers for this course.

May 2003

At first glance, he may look and speak like Dudley Moore, but Prof. Frisch knows his stuff. He's the head of the Music Hum department and an expert on music history, and he also is sensitive to how daunting all this may seem to someone whose only contact with the music world was that time you played the recorder in sixth grade. He's very patient and has a way of making the most difficult musical concepts relate to the real world and lay- person understandings, and he's flexible if you have legitimate conflicts with workload. Don't take advantage of his kindness, though; he's no doormat and doesn't appreciate it any more than you would. Grading is fair, and you'll do fine if you show up to lectures and read the textbook occasionally.

May 2003

Poor misunderstood Rebecca! An obvious product of the "highlighter and flashcards" method of teaching, she actually GIVES YOU HER NOTES for each class, and if you don't feel like reading, she puts the most important points IN BOLD TYPE. I found it took the mystery and inconvenience out of studying. Yyes, she counted awkwardly when she played blues ("one... two..., one... two..."), but she's no-nonsense and gets things done. She focuses on musical forms, a bit of history, etc., over the "How did you feel when you heard this?" approach, but having taken other Hum classes, I was not disappointed.

Apr 2003

This man is the best teacher I've ever had. All you do is listen to music: music Brad likes, music he doesn't like, and music you'll both like and dislike. It's fantastic. He wants to give you an A, and you'll have to really screw up not to get one. But it's not just about the grade; you'll love going to class, you'll love listening to Brad and his stories, and you'll love (some of) of the music you listen to. He's also a very talented composer, and an all around great guy. Consider yourself lucky if you got Brad for Music Hum.

Apr 2003

Chad Jenkins is a nice guy, very into music. He knows what he talks about so it's not easy to bullshit in this class. From what i hear, he assigns the most reading of any music hum class, although i cant' say for sure because he's the only music hum teacher i will ever have. His readings are helpful to gaining more knowledge about philosophical arguments in music, but they arent' the most important part of the class.His class can become boring after a while but overall, he's a good teacher and a fair grader.

Apr 2003

Josh is an extremely articulate and engaging guy; his only problem is that he assumes his students already have a working knowledge of music theory. Half of my class had studied music before, and he mainly taught to them; the rest of us just tried to keep up. Compelling talker, though.

Mar 2003

everyone loves Brad--he never dresses up like other profs but students love him more than all others,,perhaps the best prof. in music dept. after Ian Bent. most of all--he wants you all love the music, that's it. he is really down to earth, and it is one of the relaxing classes of the week--i tell ya, if you lucky take his class.

Mar 2003

Professor Gerbino is an excellent teacher. He knows a lot, especially about the romantic period. He is extremely nice as well. It was a positive experience to be in his class.

Mar 2003

not the worst teacher, but not the best either....i think her biggest problem is probably that in my class, we had a group of people with extensive musical background, and she definately directed the class more towards those people than towards those (like myself) with no background whatsoever. at the beginning i found her incredibly boring, altho towards the end, i found at least her sense of humor (if not her presentation of the subject matter) improved.

Feb 2003

I blame the class, not Rebecca, whom I thought was nice enough, and actually very funny in a dry, dry way when she let her guard down a bit (her mock ? panic when we crowded into her space to examine a John Cage piano preparation was priceless). That being said, Music Hum is rotten in that, "If it's Tuesday, it must be the Renaissance" kind of way. And Kim may have added to the problem when she chose a textbook of secondary historical readings instead of the standard "Listen," so we were reading Beethoven's suicide note and excerpts from "Song of Songs" instead of material that would have actually aided in appreciating the music, especially for novices. I was one of the people in the class who did have a music background, and I was very, very thankful that I did--I can't imagine trying to succeed in that class without some basic background on major and minor chords, orchestration, etc.

Feb 2003

Rebecca Kim, although a nice enough woman, runs an awful class. Many of the musical works that you will be responsible for are wonderful, but she successfully manages to make everything horribly boring. Much of the fault lies with the way that Music Hum is structured. Half your class will be comprised of people who know every bit of music theory and the other half will not, leading to imbalanced discussions and high levels of annoyance. Rebecca expects non-musicians to understand enough theory after two classes to be able to understand Shoenberg's 12 tone row...and her "explanations"--though she seems to be trying--don't simplify anything at all. Indeed, she gears her teaching to the people who seem to need her help least of all. I did pretty well in her class, so I'm not ranting because of my grades. I was simply disappointed that a class I was looking forward to in the hopes of learning more about music theory and the the history of music was utterly boring and didn't teach me much of anything besides how to regurgitate information on class handouts.

Feb 2003

He teaches material that is too deep and comprehensive for anyone in the class to understand. His tests, however, are ridiculously easy. He grades papers viciously, but those scores are curved and basically do not factor into your final grade

Jan 2003

I completely disagree with the previous review. Jenkins knows his material, and more than just music. He covers art, philosophy, criticism,history and ties it all together so you get a deeper appreciation for the piece and composer. He is tough and sometimes technical with the music so that it helps to have experience playing an instrument. But he's fair and will take the time to explain stuff. If you just want to sit around and listen to Beethoven's 5th, take someone else's class. If you want to get it, take it with Professor Jenkins.

Jan 2003

Probably the best professor I could have had for this class. I have no interest in music, have never studied music, do not play a musical instrument, and could die fairly satisfied if none of those things changed. Prof. Bulliet definitely peaked my interest in music, and because of his non-threatening method of teaching, made the class quite enjoyable. I actually listen to classical music now in my spare time, though I still have no idea what I'm listening to... He's very honest with how little he knows about forms, themes, and the specifics of how music is constructed, and made no attempt to force that knowledge on us... I think he's probably a great professor in his own field, but was wasted on this class. It's obviously not his passion. Despite that, he was able to fill up a 2 hour class quite easily with stories and random information that was never tested. One can only imagine what he would be like if he was teaching a class in his field... I would recommend him as a professor in other fields (i don't think he's teaching music again) because he's obviously incredibly intelligent, and if you take the time, very interesting.

Jan 2003

If on the first day of the semester you find out that the name of your instructor is Katherine 'Kate' Dacey, then do as follows. Run! Do not pass GO, Do not collect $200, just RUN. And you'll thank me. If Core Classes are like academic roulette, then getting her section is playing with the chambers full. Excessive you might be thinking. Actually I think I'm being nice. More than two unexcused abecenses constitutes 2 points off your final grade per absence. Her lecturing style is boring. She had to give out candy to keep us awake. This class managed to kill what little appreciation for classical music I had prior to taking it.

Jan 2003

Richard Bulliet does you a huge favor by claiming not to know anymore about the subject than you do. This makes the annoying Music Humanities requirement a complete cakewalk. Class consists of listening to pieces that you really dont ever have to know, and discussion meanders with no particular aim. He's really lax about deadlines, which won't really matter since you don't really have to do any work outside of class, save the few papers. Read the stupid textbook to get all the info you might ever need for tests, especially since attendance is seemingly optional.

Jan 2003

Smalley, who is pursuing a phd on the subject of John Cage and visual art, really came alive in the second half of the semester. The first few weeks of the course were a bit of a drag, mainly due to the neccesary explanations of several extremely basic concepts of music, which I guess are unavoidable in this type of required survey class, but are extremely boring to anyone with any previous musical experience. I wonder if it wouldn't be worthwhile to create two separate music humanities sections, one for musicians and one for non-musicians...Anyways, Smalley exhibited much enthusiasm and I found it to be a very interesting and engaging course. The nightly reading assignments seem to be more of a formality than anything else; one soon learned that doing the 10 or 15 pages of textbook reading everynight was not only unneccesary, but sort of irrelevant to what information Smalley expected us to know (which he gave to us during class). Unfortunately, we had a T.A. who taught class this semester on several occaisions who was quite possibly the worst teacher I have ever encountered. Ms. REbecca Fan, though a very kind individual, seemed to have difficulty communicating in English to the students, seemed painfully nervous and unprepared every day she taught class, and seemed unable to doa simple analyzation of any piece of music (with the possible exception of the theme from austin powers, which she brought in one day...) Anyways, nothing was learned from these sessions, and at nine in the morning on a monday, learning nothing for 2 hours is not a pleasant ordeal to endure. Anyways, Smalley's a great teacher, so take his class, just be wary of lurking first year T.A.'s.

Dec 2002

I usually try to start off reviews by saying something nice, but the only thing that I can think of in this case is that this class is pretty adequate. I left feeling dissapointed, not because of Kate, who is genuinely enthuistiac about the subject, but because you are not really expected to learn anything about music. This is a cocktail course, so just bunker down and start memorizing the first 15 seconds of the classics and some dates to go along with them. And try not to think about why this class is required or why it needs to be 110 minutes long, you'll stay saner that way.

Dec 2002

eccentric and hip, if a bit aloof to the idea of teaching. He has a great command of the material, but he also directs films and conducts, so you get the feeling that Columbia acts as a bit of a sideshow to his "real life" (quotes mine). easy grader and a down to earth, hysterical guy. you have to want to learn to learn in his class. he is very approachable and wants everyone to get it, but his enthusiasm is sporadic...you can sleep in his class if you are a worthless piece of shit and want to do that sort of thing...either way, you're doing well.

Dec 2002

Smalley is not a good teacher. You can tell that music is his life, and if it's not yours....you're screwed! He boasts of having a photographic memory and will force you to memorize all song titles in their original language. He won't start songs at the beginning, but insists that starting them right in the middle of a movement is a good way to learn (or to drive you crazy). I agree with the other review. He DOES wear the SAME CLOTHES every single day. Moreover, Smalley is the single most boring man on the face on the earth, and he kinda has a nervous head bobbing habit that is really annoying. Nobody participates in class because nobody is awake.

Dec 2002

The most awful experience I have had in school since kindergarten. Professor Boynton, although very knowledgeable and serious about her work, is unbelievably condescending, to a degree you only see on television. She wastes a lot of class time on petty little details, like checking to see that we did workbook exercises which ask us to fill in the exact minute and second at which the trumpets enter in a certain piece, etc. She is also incredibly boring, and will not only wither up any enthusiasm you have for music, but also any enthusiasm you have for life. In my opinion, she is too rigid and arrogant. She cannot tolerate the TA teaching because the TA was a wonderful woman who got really good responses from the students. Professor Boynton is also not very good at explaining things. Students were usually confused by what she said, but when the TA explained it, they understood immediately.

Dec 2002

As another reviewer stated, Prof. Boynton is a very boring and, in my opinion, condescending teacher. To both the class and the TA, she would talk as if we were all 6 year olds in her music appreciation class. She values pure memorization and pointless facts over actual listening and analysis of music. Quizzes were given every single class because she didn't trust us to read the material at home. She would play pieces on the piano for long periods, some reaching 30 minutes, and with her back to the class there was nothing to stop sleeping. The TA taught incredibly well and involved the class, something Prof. Boynton didn't, couldn't, and wouldn't do. But the TA was cut off most times and wasn't given the opportunity to really teach the class like we all wished she would. I was very disappointed with this class and hope Prof. Boynton changes her attitude and style toward the material and her students in this class.

Dec 2002

On the first day of class, Keith seemed excited to teach us all about music. This enthusiam, however, quickly disappeared. He became distracted and rambled through lectures. Gradually, his behavior became more erratic and, at one point, he stopped coming to class altogether. The several papers we handed in were not returned, and our TA had no idea what had happened to them. In the last week of class, Keith returned for two good lectures. These were the only classes in which I learned anything. Overall, this was a huge waste of time.

Dec 2002

Stuart is excellent, engaging, and understanding. However he could be classified as being almost overly sensitive and intensely into the philosophical grounding of music. With the majority of the focus on 'interpretation', one could possibly get away with bsing yourself through the class. He is not one to spend a lot of time on the technical so if you are rusty, or have little bearing on that -- that is definitely on your own time. Hilariously funny and laid back, stuart is one of the best. Every day, he comes in with a cup of coffee..." today's going to be on the light side" or something along that effect. you'll be very lucky to get him....

Dec 2002

My God! Although Keith had a promising start, something serious must have happened to him somewhere mid-semester, like being abducted by aliens, because he became a walking space case. Not only do his monotonic and horribly boring 2 hour lectures (no break) invoke physical spasms of cramping pain in your back from sitting for so long, but at the end of class you realize that you have learned absolutely nothing! He didn't return our first paper(we had 6) until the second to last class, so we had no idea if we were doing them completely wrong or not, and he would mysteriously disappear for weeks, usually out of the country pursuing his career, which was obviously much more important than his professorial responsibilites. Halfway through every class Keith would take out his cell phone and place it on his desk, watching it obsessively. Honestly, I became worried about him when he abruptly left class in search of his missing backpack. If you want a hari-kari inducing experience and to totally hate western music, then take this class.

Nov 2002

this woman is bright enough and clearly knows her material, but make sure you bring your pillow to EVERY CLASS. she seems to associate scholarship with a corpse-like demeanor, and i was continually amazed by her complete and utter lack of a personality. granted, the material may be tiresome for some, but i am actually a musician, and she managed to virtually suck the life out of the music studied. someone, please, give this woman some B12 and perhaps some confidence-- maybe her soporific effects will diminish one day.

Nov 2002

I took this class at 9am, and dang was that PAINFUL. She's just really boring. Her lectures consist of outlining the textbook chapter by chapter, as if the textbook wasn't boring enough on its own. Going to class was a waste, yet she took very careful attendance. I was impresed by how she knew all of our names by the second class, though. She's a nice person...just a really boring teacher.

Nov 2002

THIS GUY IS COMPLETELY HORRIBLE. RUN, NO REALLY, RUN REALLY REALLY FAST. He put me to sleep and basically ruined my life. Every moment of the class was timed to a T, We had 2.5 minute breaks at the hour, and he just read a bunch of useless information straight out of the text book for 2 hours. I am a pretty smart person but I learned ABSOLUTLY NOTHING in his class. This was a complete waste of time. I thought this class would turn me onto music and now I never want to hear classical again. His TA was equally as bad and he had this german accent that was barely understandable. He would also go off on tangents about things you would only know if you could play 6 instruments fluently and no one had any idea what he was saying. I could not bring myself to do the work, so I didn't do well, but this class was not worth my time at all. Prof Jenkins is hard and ridiculous, DON'T even think about taking his class even if you are a spring semester senior who will not graduate without this course.....it is worth a 5th year at Columbia, trust me!!!

Oct 2002

She is WONDERFUL! As the previous reviewer said, she is extremely laid back, easy going and helpful. She wants to share her love of music with her students and disregards the petty music vocabulary and other stuff that most teachers require. I had her class during September 11th and she planned an extremely thoughtful lesson, brought in cookies for us, and (although we didnt know each other very well...) offered her support and encouragement for anyone who needed it. But dont confuse her "easy going" nature to a boring class...she spices up the lectures and tries to actively engage everyone if they feel comfortable participating. Since we all have to take Music Hum. (at Columbia atleast), sign up for her section - she's incredible!

Sep 2002

Are you kidding? How can you not want to wrap Jason Freeman in a polarfleece blanket and hand him an artisanal mug of steaming cocoa? He is so shy and adorable but sooo eager to teach. He brought in really insightful snippets of articles and such, and also some ancillary musical listening which really informed what we were studying. He is always available if you need help and he knows a lot. Watch out for his secret sense of humor-- sarcasm and dry wit abound if you haven't stopped listening just because he looks like pinocchio.

Aug 2002

What a great professor! He's very knowledgeable, funny, and makes music a fascinating study. I enjoyed that he was down to earth and focused more on the periods of music we were studying than memorizing smaller details. Class lectures are well-prepared, moving more towards student interaction and participation as class moves forward, which can be challenging. Highly recommended.

May 2002

Prof. Gerbino is an awesome professor, especially for a course like Music Hum. I had no musical background at all but he made sure that he taught at a reasonable pace, fast enough to keep the course interesting and slow enough to teach concepts. Funny and relaxed, he's always more than willing to talk to students and tries to make the course less bland. He is also very accessible and understanding about academic and personal problems.

May 2002

Her arrogance is her biggest problem. She is very pretentious, and that was most evident in her condescending treatment of our TA. I think that Prof. Boynton's attitude-- echoed in her NPR-style voice-- was rather off-putting. It seemed like we muddled through class discussion twice a week and never really learned to appreciate the material. Seldom have I heard someone praise a Music Hum teacher, so I guess in the grand scheme of things, Prof. Boynton was not bad. The other reviews are generally positive, and no one the class really disliked her. However, it would be a mistake to put her on the Gold List.

May 2002

Feel lucky if you get Professor Gerbino for music hum. He's a very nice guy, is extremely knowledgeable (mostly about Romantic music, though he knows his earlier music history too), is very approachable outside of class, and has an awesome Italian accent. He's also very understanding of students' perspectives on grading, thankfully. He'll often ask for student input when it comes to paper topics, due dates and grading. Gerbino puts a lot of emphasis on Bach and the Romantic periods, with some of the other topics seeming a bit rushed. In all, though, you'll learn a lot in this class and probably get a pretty good grade, too, if you put in a bit of an effort.

May 2002

I think that Professor Frisch is the best professor for Music Hum. I was just placed into this section by the lit hum office and i am very thankful that I was. He really cares about his students and knows his stuff. He explains everthing very well and is open to students' comments and opinions. Although the class may be boring sometimes, if you participate and speak then you'll really enjoy class and have a great music hum experience. He's a pretty easy grader and the midterms are very easy. He really looks out for his student's best interests and he's good with deadlines. He calls the midterms quizzes because I don't think he even cares that much about them. Basically, he expects you to memorize some music (not even so much), identify a few terms and do fill-ins for each midterm. MAny of my friends had horrible teachers and after sitting through a music hum marathon before the final and having five random music hum teachers teach me, i was very happy to have Professor Frisch as my teacher. I would recommend him to anyone!

May 2002

All of the other reviews seem extremely exaggerated. Washburne is good in that he is a fairly enthusiastic lecturer. Also, he knows a fair amount about music itself; he was good at explaining basic musical concepts. However, there were several downsides to his class. He presented a simplistic view of history; he often just repeated truisms to explain historical periods. He told several stories, that while amusing, simply weren't true. For instance, his description of how Berlioz came to compose the Symphony Fantastique was just totally wrong. What's more, the correct version is in the textbook. Another example is he presented a theory of the origins of Beethoven's deafness as fact; nobody is actually sure why Beethoven went deaf. This led me to wonder whether other implausible sounding stories he told both about his personal experience and about the lives of composers were also untrue. Also, he really didn't challenge the class very much, it could have been taught at a much higher level. While I did learn a fair amount about music, I felt like I could have learned a lot more. Far too often, Washburne seemed willing to simplify things rather than deal with a more complex, but more accurate version of reality. On the whole, a decent, but not terrific professor.

May 2002

A very nice person, Prof. Boynton makes a tedious class bearable. She's quite formal, but the class is taught with little lecturing and much listening and discussion. She understands that most people don't have a strong music background and doesn't take for granted that you know, say, major vs. minor before the first day of class.

Apr 2002

If you're looking to actually learn a few things in music hum and occasionally even enjoy yourself, take Keith Moore's class. Though his voice isn't always condusive to staying awake (it's soft and sort of soothing--at times you'll want a nap), his lectures convey he's knowledgeable and interested. Lectures sometimes go off on tangents, but don't worry; he eventually clarifies the confusing topics and tests mostly from the book. He's very approachable, too.

Apr 2002

Professor Washburne is one of the best professors I've ever had at Columbia. He's humorous, approachable, and interesting. He's obviously knowledgeable, and I learned more in that class than I have in most classes at Columbia. His lectures are interesting and informative--when he lectures, he tells a story; I never fall asleep in that class. I know much more than just music history; I know now the personal lives of the musicians, the politics behind the music, and so on. He's an excellent teacher.

Apr 2002

Adriana is great. The class is very fair and if you go to class and pay attention you'll do fine. Basically an easy A.

Feb 2002

Brad rocks. He is a genius (he'd hate that appellation). Brad's also sweet and kind and generous...he'll do anything to make you love and understand music. This includes forgetting all about the textbook and the rest of the BS.

Jan 2002

Feld's class isn't very hard and if you like music, especially classical, you will find this class pretty interesting. His class is not hard to do well in as he doesn't expect much, just try to act like you feel just as strongly for the music as he does. He strongly encourages class participation, and although it's not hard to get in a word every now and then, he somewhat nags the people that don't say much to also engage in discussion. But all in all, you can coast through this class and not do really anything for it and EASILY get a B, and if you write well you can easily get an A.

Jan 2002

Jason, a Yale graduate, is eager to teach music hum. That doesn't necessarily mean he's that good at it. He tries his hardest to keep everybodys attention, but unfortunently he doesn't quite get there. The midterm was very hard, but by the final he realized that he needed to ease up and it wasn't nearly as difficult as the midterm. His best asset was that for the midterm and final he gave us a list of the pieces that we had studied.

Jan 2002

Jason managed to make the second half of music hum tolerable. That alone is impressive. He found fun ways to teach us about the things we had a hard time considering music, and was very open to our ideas. He was readily available to the students. Very thorough, very interesting. He expects a lot from your essays, and you'll do better if you have a good ear, but if you don't you can still ace the midterm and final and walk away with at least an A-.

Jan 2002

She was a very good teacher. I would definitely recommend u keeping her. She is really big on participation and really wants everyone to be involved. I had no complaints about her at all, the course could be boring at times, and it is a straight lecture, but she tries to make it interesting, and is always trying to figure out what people dont understand so she can explain it better. You'll take a lot of notes, and she really wants you to do the readings, but she is real nice.

Jan 2002

Boring and slow. That's all I remember.

Jan 2002

This is what Prof is supposed to be. He LOVES teaching, even in a course that he knows most people are being forced to take. He makes the topics very exciting, demands participation. Even if you don't care about music you'll like his class. He should run a seminar on teaching for all the depts.

Jan 2002

Smalley is not a good teacher. He's about the most unenthusiastic, boring music teacher I could imagine. His 9 o'clock music hum class was just death. I actually know some things about music and was looking forward to this class, but Smalley did absolutely nothing to make this class interesting. And I'm not one to criticize a man's dress, but Smalley wore pretty much the same clothes (a black shirt and charcoal pants) for every class. Does he own several of the same item of clothing? Does he do his laundry every night, just so that he can keep wearing the same clothes? Or does he just go ahead and wear the same clothes day after day without washing them? If you get into his music hum class, switch out, if you value your time and your GPA.

Jan 2002

Students in Prof. Sisman's class should be ready to work. Sisman is very knowledgable, and she expects her students to learn and participate alot. It may seem like a pain during the semester, but learning from her definitely pays off on the midterm, final, and class reports.

Jan 2002

If you're looking to get a real expert on modern music, you'll love Moore. His lectures are not the most engaging in the world, but they are very relaxed.

Nov 2001

Kate was a good teacher, and maybe she has matured (I took her class spring 2001), or maybe she just read her own culpa course review! At any rate, she was very energetic in class, fun (and funny) in her lectures and classroom activities and quite understanding of the less musically oriented students. The text hardly mattered, and the major downside was when Kate was occasionally busy/sick and the rather tedious TA taught instead. The tests were based almost entirely on class lecture and listening, and if you took halfway decent notes, and could identify the music, you'd do fine. I came away from the class feeling very nicely (not overly or bitterly) informed about the history of western music. I'd definately recommend her!

Nov 2001

Kate must have matured as a teacher since the other evaluations because I find her fantastic. She is lively and interesting (though a 2 hour class 2x a week for 3 credits gyps us). The text she uses is worthless and hard to find but that is the only fault I have with her. If you attend class and memorize the beginnings of the pieces you listen to, you'll do fine. I don't expect that my grade will significantly drop insofar that she has a specific grade distribution and her exams are graded out of a set number of points. I definitely recommend her.

Aug 2001

I expected an A and she gave me a B. The class was really boring and I (who knew nothing about music before taking the class) still know nothing about music. Her method of teaching runs against the learning process and there's no way to know how you're really doing. Nonetheless, she's a nice woman and she'll help you out if you go to her. It's no worse than the average music hum section, but there's nothing noteworthy about it.

Aug 2001

It sucks that they don't post music hum teachers until after early registration, because staying clear of McQuiston is a great idea. She's young and seems cool, but she's just as much out to screw students as the next guy. The class is really boring and she doesn't make either musicians or non-musicians appreciate western art music. And even though she's a grad student, her T.A. teaches a lot of the classes.

Aug 2001

Takes the class seriously, but makes a good effort to make it interesting to students. She knows a lot about music, and she tries to encourage class discussion both on particular pieces and on the greater issues of music and music hum. Generally, class was relatively interesting, and students were involved. She was always trying to give us opportunities to explore more contemporary music, as she realized that the course didn't really cover that at all. The workload is fairly light/moderate, and the grading is fair. Doing the short written HW assignment every night became a little annoying after a while, but it did help you to actually absorb something from the reading, which was helpful for the midterm and final. She was also always open to suggestions and comments from the class. Like most music hum sections, the class can start to feel a little long at times, but overall, it was ok.