professor
Adriana Helbig

Apr 2006

I took Prof. Helbig's class trusting the previous Culpa reviews about her, saying she's an "easy A"... well - she did not give anybody ANY A's in the Midterm, which was a nightmare, made up of three sections, with one section made up of terminology questions - she asked us terms we did not even discuss in class! Do NOT take Helbig's class unless you're very knowledgeable already! She is anything but an easy A! TAKE ANOTHER MUSIC HUM TEACHER WHO IS really LAID BACK - WHO WANTS HIS/HER STUDENTS TO GET GOOD GRADES!!! and I am not a bad student, I am pretty hardworking and I'm obviously not stupid since I go to Columbia - and I'm getting my first C+ at Columbia from Helbig's class! And I'm not the only one who's getting such a low grade! I don't know what made her change since the wonderful reviews in 2002 and 2004, but she is NOT the desrcibed person in previous reviews anymore. Yes, she is a very nice person, yes, she is very laid back, yes, she makes herself available if you need her- but she is definitelt NOT laid back really - and you see it from what she expects you to know in her exams - if a teacher is laid back in class and expects a lot from you in the exam (stuff you should cover on your own), then that teacher is NOT a great teacher.. she's a good person - no doubt - but she's not a great teacher. TAKE ANOTHER MUSIC HUM TEACHER WHO IS really LAID BACK - WHO WANTS HIS/HER STUDENTS TO GET GOOD GRADES!!!

Nov 2004

I have to strongly disagree with the one critical review of Adriana. I am very surprised because I thought that actually, she really let the music speak for itself. She spends a lot of time generating discussion on the class' reaction to the music. She would teach the technical stuff, but she would keep it simple and understandable. If you know a lot about music history and theory, then you're probably not going to enjoy this class. Adriana is teaching this class to people who really don't know anything about music, and want an interesting class. She allows you room to explore and apply yourself to the work, if you want, but if you really just want an easy A, then she'll give that to you too. I find her extremely engaging and knowledgable (although I'm no music history expert and I can't verify every fact that she says, I'll have to say that when people did challenge her on questions, she never shut them down). The one long paper in the class was analyzing a classical piece used in any movie, and she wanted emphasis on how the music conveys emotion of the movie/scene that it is paired with. I had a lot of fun with the paper and I definitely have a newfound appreciation for ancient, classical and contemporary music. Also, my class got to have a jazz lecture and demonstration from Prof. Christopher Washburne - a real treat for a guest lecture in a core class.

Jan 2004

I was disappointed with this class. She started the first class by explaining meter, rhythm, and tonality to a class in which a majority of the students had no musical experience- she was stumped when a student proposed an unusual but legitimate rhythm in triple meter. It seemed like the class was genuinely interested in learning about different composers, but their interest was somewhat smothered by adherence to a listening technique that concentrated on technical aspects as opposed to emphasizing the unique contributions each made. The first time we listened to a piece without interruption was Beethoven's 5, but besides one day of Beethoven, it seemed like she didn't want to be in class. She repeatedly degraded the importance of Bach and called him "over the top" and even claimed that minimalism creates a trance "to make you forget life." Some basic facts were also incorrect, for instance she said that Mozart's Requiem was composed in 1740. These things wouldn't have bothered me so much if she had at least let the music speak for itself without narrating pointless and sometimes mistaken musical theory during the pieces to a class that for the most part could not grasp the technical commentary. Also, she often changes what she originally said when a student asks a specific question about what she had just explained. This class is bearable, but I feel students who want to experience classical music should look elsewhere.

Oct 2002

She is WONDERFUL! As the previous reviewer said, she is extremely laid back, easy going and helpful. She wants to share her love of music with her students and disregards the petty music vocabulary and other stuff that most teachers require. I had her class during September 11th and she planned an extremely thoughtful lesson, brought in cookies for us, and (although we didnt know each other very well...) offered her support and encouragement for anyone who needed it. But dont confuse her "easy going" nature to a boring class...she spices up the lectures and tries to actively engage everyone if they feel comfortable participating. Since we all have to take Music Hum. (at Columbia atleast), sign up for her section - she's incredible!

Apr 2002

Adriana is great. The class is very fair and if you go to class and pay attention you'll do fine. Basically an easy A.

Jan 2000

Great class! She's a really good teacher, and encourages opinion and discussion. She doesn't really stress knowing the terms, but wants to know what you think about the music. Agrees that a lot of it is boring, but does a pretty good job of making things interesting. Does expect attendence, but class is usually interesting, and very informal.