Magdalena Baczewska

Dec 2020

TAKE HER CLASS! Prof Stern-Baczewska is so passionate about music and a fantastic professor! I loved listening to her play the piano almost every class- I am constantly blown away by how she is able to transcribe any piece that we listen to for homework on the piano. She also really cares about her students and is so encouraging. Yes, she cold calls sometimes but this is because she really values listening and engagement. She always praises students for what they say and never criticizes/ admonishes them if you say something wrong. Although she's a concert pianist, she never made you feel like you're inferior or like you don't know as much as music as she does (which obviously she does). Her class is always so welcoming, enjoyable, and full of compliments and praises. She grades SO GENEROUSLY and the workload isn't too bad. I learned a lot and am so grateful to have taken her class!

May 2019

It's true: she's the best. Great conversation facilitator, knowledgeable professor, incredibly talented musician. All the demonstrations and her concert at the Italian academy added so much to my semester. You can tell she really cares about her students. I'm so glad I took this class with her.

Jul 2015

Professor Baczewska is truly one of the best professors I've had in my four years at Columbia. I left Music Hum until my 2nd semester of senior year and was not looking forward to it. However, after taking Music Hum with Prof. Baczewska, my perspective on both music and Music Hum have changed dramatically. Let me start with the Professor. She is a classically trained pianist who runs the Music Performance Program at Columbia. First of all, in class, she will demonstrate certain principals of music by playing piano. Even I, as someone who does not have an ear for music (despite years of piano and violin lessons), could appreciate how amazing her piano playing was. It is really quite rare that you have an expert practitioner at Columbia show you his/her skill with such grace and interweaves it so well with the lessons. Also Prof. Baczewska is a very supportive and kind person. She really helped us through learning the songs and musical concepts in a very fun way. Very available via email and office hours and just a really great presence in class. She clearly loves teaching Music Hum and you will learn a lot from her. Also she really stresses discussion which makes the class more active. It is important to note that she will never let the discussion get too far off topic and will always make some to inject insight if the discussion gets derailed by tangents. She is a great discussion facilitator and just an incredibly wonderful human being. The class itself is pretty aligned with the rest of the Music Hum curriculum. The one really cool thing though is that we had student performers come in for about 3 or 4 classes. Because Prof. Baczewska runs the Music Performance Program, she got a few different performers into our class (one on jazz, one on Ravel, one on classical music) which I thought was really cool for a few different reasons. (a) You get to learn how talented some of your classmates are. (b) Hearing music live from really high-level performers is definitely a different and more enriching experience than listening to it over the speakers. (c) You get to learn more about how musicians play through and feel about the music they perform. Anyways, I definitely would advise you take this class. It will not be your hardest nor your most time-consuming class (although, you definitely do have to invest some time). However, it is a very enjoyable class and one that will truly enrich your Columbia experience. I think the way Prof. Baczewska teaches the class is a real embodiment of what the Core Curriculum is supposed to be.