Hicham Chami

May 2021

Professor Chami is highly knowledgeable in the material and also cared greatly about his students -- a combination that makes for an incredible learning experience. He wanted us all to think critically and apply theoretical concepts across our exploration of different cultures and aspects of music. Provided critical historical background, and wasn't shy about talking through different political perspectives regarding those histories, which I really appreciated. He makes a very welcoming environment to express different opinions (as long as they weren't super dumb), as well as express a lack of understanding of a topic so that you may be filled in (very much the opposite of most elitist Columbia experiences). Assignments were geared towards learning necessary skills, such as writing abstracts and describing sound. Additionally, when we did not do so well on an assignment, he would devote part of the next class to talking through how to do it better. My only qualm is that he never performed his own instrument for the class. I will just look him up on youtube. Also -- you don't have to know the technical aspects of music at all! very accessible. you should absolutely take this class!

May 2020

Hicham Chami is a wonderfully dedicated and engaging professor. He's hilarious and approachable, and really centers the conversation around diverging perspectives. Because he encourages discussion, I've never been bored, and would even say that it has pushed me to participate more, even in my other classes . I came in with no knowledge of the subject, and he really made me want to know more and continue researching and listening to a music I had never been exposed to. One of the best part of the class was the fact he really underscored the importance of thinking critically and questioning what could otherwise be perceived as innocuous academia. Professor Chami is also deeply empathetic and will allow for extensions if asked in a timely manner.