David Bird

May 2021

Take his class!!! You won't regret it. Bird is genuinely a great human being. His lecture is informative and clear, so it's easy to do well in exams if you pay attention to all the lectures. His lectures have this great balance between talking about the material and playing examples of the genre or era, keeping them interesting and easy to follow. The assignments encourage you to really think about and appreciate the pieces chosen, and I honestly find the topics interesting to write about. He always provides useful feedback while being supportive and encouraging. The exams are typical, 3 listening IDs, multiple choices, and short essays. He sends out review sheets before exams. The review sheet includes keywords (for the multiple choices section) and possible essay topics. Again, if you pay attention in class, there is no reason you can't do well in the exams.

Jan 2021

An awesome person all around! Prof Bird caters to people from a range of musical backgrounds and never fails to make classes interesting. He also balances discussion and providing important information very well (a lot of tenured profs cannot do this lol). Definitely a very caring and genuine person in general. If you have the opportunity, TAKE HIS SECTION! Core classes are really a coin flip but you can't go wrong with Bird.

Dec 2020

David Bird is the GOAT. Sweetest human alive, light workload, passionate about music. Even with light coursework, you will learn the info well. My mom listened in on a class once and raved about how wonderful he was. Better than a lot of actual professors at Columbia IMO.

May 2020

David is a really great professor. He is laidback but cares a lot about the course and his students, and he is clearly very knowledgeable in music. The class is three hours long and the studio is on 125th, so trekking there and back and sitting for so long can be pretty painful, but the class is well worth the effort if you're interested in music production. We learned the basics of using Logic Pro X (but you're allowed to use any software you like), microphones, recording techniques, and editing tools. The class is friendly enough for complete tone-deaf beginners and flexible enough to accommodate the most intense musicians. Most students are music majors/grad students and the class is small, so it was super cool to meet everyone. When else and how else will you have free access to an actual recording studio? The minimum workload was reasonable. We had one mini project per week, which was basically recording some kind of sound, applying an editing technique we learned that week, sometimes writing a paragraph or two about it, and presenting in the next class. Some people got really in to it, which was neat. We had a midterm project (a paper analyzing the recording techniques of any song you want) and a final project (editing a 3-5 minute song, either by recording the tracks yourself, using software instruments, or finding recordings online, and a 2-3 page double spaced paper). Highly recommend the class, especially for music majors.

Feb 2018

David is a wonder, adorable human being. He's a PHD student, so he's quite young and not that strict. He teaches using organized, detailed powerpoints and plays fun selections of music during class. Once, he even had the choral group come and sing to us when we were learning about Renaissance music! He is laidback and kind. He even asked us if we had any conflicts before scheduling the midterm. We haven't had the midterm yet but I can't imagine it will be that hard.

May 2016

David is a true baller. He's a PhD student, so he probably won't be teaching at Columbia for too long, but you should definitely take Intro to Digital Music with him if he's teaching it. At the risk of being obtuse, this class is mainly an introduction to digital music production. A lot of class time is spent going through the basic functions of Logic (the main software for production on Macs). If you already have a background in production, this might get tedious. Most people in the class don't, so this time is well spent—and David is really good at going into the right amount of depth about each topic and giving a flavor of the history behind certain production techniques. However, there are a couple things that make this class so much more than just a string of tutorials: 1. We had an excellent guest lecture on the history of reverb (at least 10 times more interesting than it might sound) 2. an up-and-coming indie band (Salt Cathedral) came in to show us a session of a professionally produced song and talk about production techniques 3. we spent some time talking about sound design for film and how to use Logic to work with film Also, David was extremely helpful and eager to share his knowledge. He's done a lot of amazing things and was very inspiring to work with. If you already have some proficiency as a producer, this probably isn't the right class for you. But for anyone else with even a peripheral interest in music of all kinds, this has the potential to be a life-changing class.