Techniques of 20th Century Music

Mar 2021

Got an A- in this class, and was frankly harder to do so than a 3000 level Physics course. Absolute snobbiest man on earth; zero sense of humor, and does not let you know how you are doing in class. Very boring class and DeGraf WILL randomly pick you, so you have to come prepared, and even so, there's no guarantee you'll even get a B in the course. AVOID at all costs.

Dec 2009

Fabien is a great teacher and very engaging. As others have said, his English isn't great and his accent is very strong, but you'll get used to it quickly (it's easy to cut him some slack when you learn that he speaks four languages). Taking a class with him is a great privilege, as he is truly a brilliant and accomplished guy whose knowledge of all things musical is pretty ridiculous. Despite his already impressive career (he's pretty young), Fabien is humble, kind, pretty laid back, and always cheerful. Assignments are quick and easy and he grades easy on them as well. Even if he doesn't, you can always redo it to improve your grade. Exams are also pretty straightforward, just go over ALL your notes.

Apr 2007

Terrific, terrific teacher. Fabien is one of the most knowledgeable teachers I've had at Columbia. He knows all of the material inside out, seemingly without limitation. Take a class with him, and you'll quickly realize that the man could probably teach music history, theory, composition, analysis, electroacoustics or any other music course offered by the music department. Sometimes it seems like he could handle philosophy, economics, French, German, or Russian as well. If you're taking a class with him, you are probably a music major or very strongly interested in music, so classes will generally be engaging, and he highly encourages participation. It's particularly interesting taking music courses with an active composer. He has strong opinions about all the music we study, but is always interested in hearing yours. He has a good sense of humor about himself and the course and always understands if you need an extra couple of days to do a homework assignment. (They are not particularly hard, but sometimes are substantially long.) His style of analysis might take a little getting used to, and he will insist that you use his methods of analysis, but he means well and genuinely likes teaching.