professor
Christopher Park

May 2012

Christopher Park is excellent. My Diatonic class came in with different backgrounds, both in terms of instrumental and theory experience, but Park did an excellent job making sure everyone was challenged, but not drowning. There are three main goals for the course: Counterpoint, Harmony and Keyboard Skills; these are pretty much the same whichever professor you have. Park introduces Counterpoint and Harmony right off the bat—he'll begin with one or the other and then transition in the middle of class. I liked this approach: the difficulty of assignments grows more gradually with your skill level, you don't get bored with one or the other, and it's pretty easy to see the connections diatonic harmony has with species counterpoint. Don't worry about the Keyboard Skills, especially if you're not a pianist. They're simple exercises, and even outer voices was acceptable for most of them—the TA will have you play one or two during the lab sessions, which were Friday afternoons both semesters for my class.

May 2010

Professor Park is a musical equivalent of Dr. House- he has the same beard, the same attitude, and the same roundabout approach to his profession. He didn't give out a syllabus (which I heard was a big deal, but I'm not sure if anyone ever addressed formally) and he only gave out homework (which mostly consisted of theory exercises that never lasted more than 30 minutes) for about 4-5 classes. His lecturing style was basically ranting about different aspects of music theory until class time was over- I couldn't tell whether or not he actually had any set plan when class started. I had a great deal of previous experience from a jazz band in high school, but I suspect it would have been hard without that. Many of my classmates were struggling because he didn't spend that much time on basic stuff like scales and how to get around the circle of 5ths (he actually didn't spend much time connecting seventh chords to the circle fifths if at all). Syllabi and other major problems aside, he was a nice guy and he was always available for extra help. He made time for people that were still struggling with the basics and I think by the end everyone knew music theory a lot better. I would recommend him if you are okay taking a step away from conventional teaching styles.