Chromatic Harmony and Counterpoint

Nov 2009

I agree with the reviewer below on one point- his classes are difficult. But if you try hard and won't be devastated by a B, you really learn the subject thoroughly. If nothing else, the difficulty of the homework makes you better able to appreciate how great some composers were at counterpoint/harmony... I personally found that he was always willing to go over homework and to review any points that were unclear. You just have to ask, and not in a whiny, annoying way! He doesn't really do the "compliment sandwich" thing, and sometimes comes across as a bit harsh, but he's honest, means well and knows his stuff.

Oct 2009

This guy made me dislike music so much, that I switched music. Pedantic, mean spirited, and a harsh grader with equally harsh words. ABOID AT ALL COSTS!

Jan 2009

I know it's been said, but I'll say it again: RAMIN IS THE MAN. HE IS FANTASTIC. HE IS WONDERFUL. HE IS THE BOMB. I never thought anyone could ever make me ENJOY music theory, but Ramin has made me love it. His classes are discussions - there's always a general goal in mind, but he leaves lots of room for questions and tangents and explorations. There's always enough time for another question. He is a piano god and is always willing to play something the class has been working on... We also sing many of the phrases we construct, which is surprisingly helpful. He is very good at clarifying concepts and explaining complicated ideas, and can ALWAYS come up with an example - he'll write one right there in front of you, or play something from the classical literature (from memory, half the time)... He also has an amazing sense of humour. Come on - the man has referred to various classical composers as bad@$$es WITH A STRAIGHT FACE. How can you not love him? Take Chromatic with this man. If possible, get him for both Diatonic and Chromatic. And then see if you can talk the department into hiring him to teach more classes. He is incredible.

Dec 2005

Ramin is an unusual teacher, who spends a lot of time thinking about exactly how to teach the class (often in front of us). The result will sometimes make you feel like the class is dragging on for hours while nothing happens, though it also leads to some very interesting insights that you wouldn't find in a conventional by the book theory class. Whether you like the class will depend a lot on your personal opinion. As a music student, I thought it was a valuable experience, though I also found it hard to pay attention.

Aug 2005

I honestly cannot even imagine how a music professor could be better than Currier. There were people in the class who got annoyed that they were sick or busy and missed a class. If I didn't realize that he is completely devoted to his students and classes are discussions, I'd be in a daze for 2.5 hrs a week as to how amazing this man is. A welcome contrast to the Diatonic way of teaching, Currier uses his class to explore real music in every aspect from theory to history to even the science, math, and philosophy behind it. To echo a previous review, Currier is one of the nicest professors I've ever met and genuinely treats his students with respect. He definitely does seem unaware of the absolute affection everyone in that room feels for him. Take every class Currier teaches if you can and talk with him as much as possible. Go to office hours and pick his brain. He is a rare gem in the otherwise inconsistent Music Dept.

Feb 2004

I've had many good professors at Columbia, and some really great profs. And I've had Currier...who will stand out in my mind as one of my Top 5 favorite teachers/professors of all time. The man really knows how to teach and how to make his class enjoyable. Additionally, he is the nicest guy on earth....I'm fairly convinced he is also unaware as to the degree that he is adored by his class. Highly, highly, higly recommended

Jan 2004

Fantastic professor. Currier knows everything about Bach inventions, preludes, and fugues that could ever be said or written, and heÂ’ll make you great at analyzing music to death. Even better, there is little homework, and if youÂ’re enthusiastic about the class all the way through, the projects are no problem. Very laid back, canÂ’t say that about many professors I had this term. Take Susser or Kramer and youÂ’re just slitting your own wrists.

Dec 2003

Possibly one of the best professors I've had. Currier knows how to explain material clearly, and is a very interesting lecture. His assigned homework isn't bad, and the midterm and final aren't particularly difficult. It's a theory class, but amazingly enough, it's a fun theory class.

May 2003

Professor Currier allows you to get out of the class what you put into it. That's really comforting if you aren't confident in your skills, and if you are confident, then you can do some really hard-core work. He will not disappoint you. Just don't expect to follow the syllabus.

May 2003

Second semester only. Currier's big mistake was passing out a syllabus, because he only got about halfway through it. But when you ignore the expectations that he set up, this is a great class on its own terms. You won't be doing endless counterpoint exercises in here, you'll be looking at real music and analyzing it to death. Currier is very thorough, extremely intelligent, and a nice guy who genuinely wants everyone to do well. He teaches theory chronologically so that we can see how the concepts and techniques developed instead of looking at them in isolation, making the course far less dry than your average music theory class. He's definitely the best theory teacher at Columbia; Kramer does an outstanding job imparting the basics, Edwards is a waste; but Currier will really get you thinking about music in a new and more systematic way. Highly, highly recommended.

May 2003

Once you figure him out, you'll come to realize that you can get more out of his course than you might have initially thought. He is a rather shy fellow, so sometimes conversations are a little awkward. However, he is quite obviously a brilliant man who knows countless interesting facts about whatever score you hand him, so go to class and participate in discussions about the music you're analyzing. You WILL become better at analysis. There's no work involved in this course, so simply sit back, let him play each piece for you a couple hundred times, and appreciate the music (and the course itself) for what it is.

Dec 2002

Currier is a really solid professor. Sometimes he moves too quickly through material without realizing that the majority of his students are staring blankly at the board, trying to figure out what in the hell he's talking about, but this problem stems from that fact that he's just a really brainy guy as well as an enthusiastic professor. He's incredibly nice, laid-back, and available if you need help with anything. If you ask him to clarify a concept that you're having trouble understanding, he will make things clear for you right away. Furthermore, the TA [Hiroya] is cool as all hell - smart, enthusiastic, helpful, and a great teacher. I regret that I cannot take the second semester of this class with Currier due to scheduling conflicts, because I really like him as a professor and as a person.

Dec 2002

I don't know if it would be fair to call Edwards a bad teacher, as he made no attempt at teaching the entire semester. (You can't judge that which doesn't exist!) After a diagnostic test that the class didn't do so hot on, he gave us this bizarre lecture about how we should have been practicing our counterpoint every day over the summer. We then proceeded to spend the rest of the semester reviewing stuff from Diatonic. What this meant was that we would spend the entire class doing exercises--stuff that one would think would be, oh, I don't know, homework--while he and the TA walked around and checked them. Then one day we broke from that mold and discussed a Bach piece, he would literally stand there for 20 minutes waiting for someone to talk rather than guide the discussion. Oh, and best of all, he canceled class for the entire last month of the semester (!!!) so we could work on our final projects. This would lead one to believe that the final project was very difficult. One would be sadly mistaken. You had the choice of either a composition or an analysis. The composition was just writing a new Goldberg variation, something anyone who's been through Diatonic could do in a couple of hours. As for the analysis... well, when he handed it out in class, he said simply, "analyze this piece." But when I went to his office hours and asked him what exactly it was he wanted us to do, he seemed unable to provide me with any guidance. "Well, do you want a paper?" "Yes, you could write a paper." (awkward pause) "Um, OK, thanks, Prof. Edwards." This class is a pathetic, bewildering waste of tuition money. Edwards is the adviser for the department, so it's not a good idea to switch out midyear unless you have a scheduling conflict--so TAKE CURRIER BOTH SEMESTERS. On the upside, Edwards is the nicest guy in the world, always available to meet with students, and if you're looking for an easy A, they don't come any easier...but damn, I feel ripped off.