If you're looking useful tricks to help you with pitch recognition, sight-singing, and dication, look elsewhere. If you're looking for two hours a week of dedicated practice time for sight singing and dictation, this is your class. Johan is funny and usually cheerful, chock full of endearing idiosyncrasies. He certainly made us laugh a lot. He is also a generous grader.
I arrived on Francoise's doorstep in the middle of first semester, a refugee from the horrible atmosphere effected by Professors Francisco Iovino (really boring) and Eric Sewell (really Darwinian). Immediately I was seduced by her continental bon-vivant charms, transferred to ET III, and had such a great time for the remainder of the term that I registered for ET IV in the spring as well. Learning in Francoise's class is pleasant, natural, and painless: merely by sitting in her room and doing the inane tasks of sight-singing and dictation that she assigns to you, you will osmote the knowledge and come out a better at the speciously defined field of "Ear Training." But I'm not really sure how much I actually learned, and I'm pretty sure I could have learned more -- an example of Francoise's frivolity is assigning weird modern music for sight-singing/dictation even after it was made abundantly clear that we needed several play- throughs to do dictation of a simple, logical passage by Mozart. It was fun, though. The bottom line is: Ear Training through either IV or V is compulsory if you're a music major; you shouldn't be a music major here, but if you are, then take Francoise; also give serious thought to skipping out of ET I and II (an effortless process expedited by Francoise) because those classes are hell and III is not that much harder and even if it is you'll be brought up to speed by the innocuous midterm. Francoise's favorite grades are A+ and A, which shows how enthusiastic yet delusional she is about her students' abilities. But it's Ear Training, so who cares?
The best guy to take for ear training, especially if you consider yourself to have a pretty good ear already (hint: you don't). Alex is really smart, a good composer and an AMAZING jazz improviser, though he's super-modest about all of these things. He's also just really cool, like you'd wanna hang out with him in your spare time, which I'm not sure is something we'd say about Francoise (thought that's not fair- I've never had her except once as a substitute for Alex- what a weirdo!) Alex has a very broad approach to ear-training- all music, everything, is just sounds, vibrartions in the air. A semester with Alex and he will have you listening for the overtones in a humming air conditioner. So expect to listen to a lot of really modern ugly music but to learn to appreciate it. Alex will also totally turn around and whip out a Bach chorale or even some medieval/ Renaissance stuff. You also do practice with extremely complex irregular rythms and cool jazz harmonies! I feel like I've understated Alex's coolness. He's really REALLY cool. And Brazillian.
VictoriaÂ’s teaching style is not rigorous, but it is certainly the most effective method of ear training. Her class is geared to the theory courses, but at the same time, is able to meet the needs of individual students even during the short class time (50 min). She is extremely nice about absences, and very flexible with the few outside assignments of the semester (nothing hard at all). YouÂ’ll definitely want to take Victoria if youÂ’re in any of Prof. CohenÂ’s classes Â– because sheÂ’ll really improve youÂ’re intuition in harmonic function and progression Â– CohenÂ’s pet peve.
I don't get how people could not like this woman. She's so into the music that it's impossible not to get into it yourself. Class was always entertaining, and you leave humming tunes you never thought you'd hum (like Stravinsky or Messiaen). Class is amazing as long as your not tone-deaf.
This class is like an absurdist play. Most of the time, it was bizarre enough to keep me somewhat entertained, but other times, it was just incredibly slow and frustrating. Francoise is a wonderful person but a horrendous teacher, incapable of gauging the level of her students. The class is easy as sin, but feels like a waste of time. Only take it if you must for the requirement.
Alex is so so so great! On top of the fact that he's a good teacher, he's just a really nice guy. He doesn't quiz people in front of the whole class the way the other ear training teachers do, but you still learn the stuff because he manages his time well. Very easy class; his section parallels Francoise's, so it doesn't really matter which one you take. But Alex's class compared to Francoise's is the difference between an A and an A-, and you don't really mind going to class.
I love Francoise! Never before have I met someone with so little command of English who managed to still get her points across so well. She's energetic and engaging with a great sense of humor. She loves her students and would bend over backwards for them. Best of all, the material is challenging, but the grading is super-easy, so you really learn, and bolster your GPA ever so slightly while you're at it. Well worth sitting through the first three semesters of ear training to get to her.