Carl Bettendorf

This professor has earned a CULPA silver nugget

May 2013

Bettendorf is a really great guy. He's a pretty solid teacher, but he tends to get very distracted and subsequently wastes a lot of time and ends up holding the class for 5 minutes or so at the end. He is very available to meet outside of class, and he really takes the time to get to know each student. He does a great job of clarifying the material and even of helping to better explain things we learn in Diatonic. I will definitely miss him next year in ET III.

Apr 2012

Carl Bettendorf is the best. He's a great teacher and composer (he writes some really cool contemporary/new music, so if you're into that stuff you should take a listen!), and extremely friendly and approachable. He is also very chatty, always a fun person to talk with! If you ever need help he's really nice about it and will give you a detailed explanation of what he expects from you and how to do it. Even though he knows his stuff and is an awesome musician, he is a great, down-to-earth guy. In addition to music, you'll learn a lot about soccer. You'll also learn about his life; he tells hilarious stories. Ear-training with Carl was a rewarding experience. He is very lenient and does not take off many points if you get things wrong, but tests are very straight-forward and if you can do the exercises in class, you'll get an A+. So if you want a very funny and cool professor, take a class with Carl, you'll love it :)

Dec 2011

Carl is hilarious. Such a cooky, entertaining guy. He's a really chill professor and doesn't assume an air of superiority, even though he is a fantastic composer. For Ear Training, I can't imagine anyone better. He's very clear about the work and is pretty generous on quizzes and listening examples. For fundamentals, same deal, though the class was a little boring, but that's just because the class itself is a bit boring. Carl did a good job of keeping his energy up, though.

Jan 2011

Having Carl as a teacher has been one of the most rewarding experiences Columbia has given me thus far. In his class you will assuredly learn as much about life (a lot about Carl's life, which is highly entertaining) as you will about ear training. I was always impressed that even with all the hysterical anecdotes and conversations, we did get through every exercise we needed to in every class. In addition to all the life stories, Carl also sometimes throws in interesting background information regarding other compositions or his own work which is always cool to hear about. Take the class with Carl. Take any class with Carl if you get a chance. Its worth it!

Dec 2010

I imagine there are plenty of people at Columbia who think the Core is a good idea (or at least who thought so when they came), but I doubt that anyone is glad for the chance to take Music Hum. Don’t get me wrong, I think music in the curriculum is a good idea. But does anyone really need three hours a week to learn what Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony sounds like? Or what a major scale is? Really? How did you get through eighteen years without hearing Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony somewhere? Didn’t your parents have a TV? Didn’t you see “The Breakfast Club”? Or that movie about the dog named “Beethoven”? Or what about the major scale? Did you never see “The Sound of Music”? Did no one ever sing “Happy Birthday” to you in your whole life? It’s hard to get excited about a course designed to introduce you to the ten most famous pieces of music of all time (all of which you will know if you’ve ever seen “Fantasia” or been in the same room with a radio), along with some medieval music that pretty much nobody cares about and some electronic music that absolutely nobody cares about. But there may be some of us who need this sort of thing: for example, when we were told that Schubert’s “Erlkönig” sold a large number of copies shortly after its publication, one kid in the class—I think he was an athlete—asked if the copies were sold on vinyl. (That was 1821.) But the point of this is to demonstrate that there is no hope of enjoying Music Hum, because either you will already know most of the music on the syllabus, or (if you somehow managed, maybe by wearing earplugs since you were born, never to hear the pieces playing every minute on every radio in every waiting room in the universe) then you probably don’t want to know anything about classical music. Which means the goal is to get the highest grade possible for the least commitment possible, and if that’s what you’re after, then Carl Christian Bettendorf is your man. The workload consists of a midterm (45 minutes), a final (also 45 minutes, miraculously) and a three-page concert report in which you can say anything you like as long as you refer to the piece, the composer, or the style of performance (and really, what else would you say?) That’s all. But it gets better: when he plays pieces for you to identify on the exams, he drops hints like crazy. Just in case you never did the listening assignments, he picks opera passages in which you can hear the characters’ names distinctly, and just before that happens he says something like “Now listen carefully, so you can hear the character’s name, coming up,” and then points to the stereo just when it happens, in case there was any doubt. Also, he’s a wonderful guy. He’s very sweet, and has a mellifluous German accent, and a sweet little tufty haircut, and sometimes gets excited talking about modern composers. You should absolutely take his class, because he’s a lovely fellow whom you should get to know, and because if you’re clever enough to tie your shoes you’ll get an A+. And if not, you’ll probably get an A.

Jan 2004

this class was just about as good as music hum could get. carl is an eccentric young german composer. aside from the fact that he is biased towards wagner and electronic music (he also hates philip glass), he is a great teacher. he's funny and entertaining and i definitely learned as much or more than i would in any other music hum class. he just made it more interesting. the first day he wrote "masterpieces of western music" on the board, played purple haze and asked the class what we thought constituted a masterpiece. so maybe the class wasn't quite that philosophical, but it was a good class. i totally recommend carl.