course
Fund. of Western Music

Apr 2011

Prof. Tarantino is a kind of guy who always expects prepared students and therefore he never lingers in a specific topic and moves forward to the new thing just right before we can understand the previous topic. Sometimes I have a feeling that he is a genius that does sort of things (composing music LIVE--in the class) that I can't understand, but actually he can explain things really clear and easy if you talk to him after the class. Basically, he just loves to talk fast in class. If it were not professor Tarantino, I would have hated this way of teaching already. For some reason, having to catch up what he teaches becomes a very fun thing to do. Every time I come into his class I would expect myself to understand almost nothing, note down everything he puts on the board without much understanding, but then some self-study will combine with my flashbacks and everything will just 'click'. This way, I learn new things in this class really really quickly. From basic knowledge of music like intervals, chords, and key signatures to the complicated things like identifying roman numerals and harmonizing the whole song by myself, I learn them all in one class! It is not just like memorizing them for exams and forgetting them all afterward, but I feel like this is the real knowledge I will integrate it in my life. This is the first class I've taken in music, but I already feels like minoring in music! Great class. Great professor. Great inspiration.

Dec 2010

This is by far the worst professor Columbia has to offer. I should have followed my instincts and do like many did drop the course. You are warned, if you see his name drop it. He would make your life miserable for an introductory music class. Again, if you want to save yourselves a lot of headache skip his class. Or you can chose to be like me and try it out and bite your fingers at the end

Apr 2010

First of all: TERRIFIC! Definitely worth taking classes. I've had Peter Susser for two semesters and he is absolutely wonderful! Aside from the fact that his is both hilarious and brilliant, he cares about his students and his subject. One is never bored in his class, that would be impossible-- it's fun and always full of laughter. It is possible to feel overwhelmed in his class as the individual levels of people in music classes vary greatly, however he is always willing to answer questions as long as one speaks up. Don't be fooled by the lightheartedness of the class, he can be a harsh grader so it is necessary to study and pay attention.

May 2002

Professor Susser is honestly passionate about music, and his knowledge of complex music theory and meaning in music is obvious in his classes. He has a dry sense of humor; though quite enjoyable, and he is overall a very positive and caring teacher. I went into Fundamentals having studied 6 years of violin when I was younger, and having studied voice for about a year. The pace of the material was insane, and despite the title of the course (which made it seem like it would be just basics), it went very in-depth into music theory. Very little actual music was played (he'd sometimes illustrate theoretical concepts on the piano), and music dabblers might find this approach to be a little out of reach. Overall, the course taught me a lot, and though many who'd consider taking it because of a basic interest in music would struggle, I think the payoff would make taking this course worthwhile.