Giuseppe Gerbino

This professor has earned a CULPA gold nugget

Nov 2011

It's pretty obvious I guess that classes will be more interesting if you do the work and are willing to pursue the subject a bit. On that view of things, I probably didn't do Giuseppe justice, and especially after reading his other reviews, I'm a little hesitant to pin my experience of his class solely on him. But I really hated the class. I listened (mostly), I did the readings (sometimes after the classes, I'll admit), and I got solid grades. Despite all that, I just couldn't get into it. There were glimmers of something interesting which poked through occasionally (like when he talked about Greek musical philosophy), but we mostly moved excruciatingly slowly and focused on fairly banal structural points. It felt like we were learning obscure historical terms by rote rather than actually engaging with the ideas. My fault, perhaps, but it seems fair to say: it was unbearably god-damn boring. That said, Guiseppe is one of the nicest people I've had the good fortune to spend time with. He's flexible, friendly, thoughtful—great all around.

Jan 2011

Giuseppe is just a really great guy. The class is quite straightforward, but there are occasional moments that are just straight-up fun. I also have to give him a great deal of credit for learning the name of everyone in a 35 person LECTURE. The very beginning of the class was kind of slow due to the material, Ancient Greek perceptions of music; the problem is that only a few fragments of Greek music survive, so the majority of this section was devoted to Plato's writings on the subject, plus a few more ancients. We then moved on to the medieval period, which is more my style than most students, so in my opinion this material plus the Renaissance could have easily occupied a full semester. In the middle of this, we took a slight detour forward to Monteverdi, as the department brought the stellar Baroque ensemble Tenet to St. Paul's Chapel to be the subject for our class's concert reports. We jumped back and forth once or twice because of this, ending with Bach. The material is presented in a straightforward manner, more or less like Music Hum, but with some time devoted to looking at scores and discussing smaller details. But anyway, Giuseppe is just awesome.

Jan 2009

I still don't quite understand how Gerbino managed to make this subject interesting, but he did. I never found myself bored in class, even during the discussion of plainchant. Maybe it's his awesome Italian accent, but I think it's largely because he's just a good lecturer. I stopped doing the reading about halfway through the class and still came out with an excellent grade. Take really good notes and only study what he tells you to study and you will be fine. The reading is very interesting, however, and is worth your time if you have it.

May 2006

Professor Gerbino is WONDERFUL and the class is very, very interesting. Get ready for a crash course in counterpoint if you are a music theory novice (as I was, but I picked it up really quickly thanks to "real life" examples)... however, as this is an upper-level elective, it is not a class for a non-music major (or for those without extensive musical background -- it is necessary for the level of analysis that is done). The syllabus is packed with beautiful music and some interesting reading (some more dense than others, obviously). Prof. Gerbino is so passionate about Bach that it is almost impossible not to love it as much as he does. He is very concerned that his students are learning and understanding the material and is very eager to answer/leave time for questions in class. Overall, this was a wonderful experience; I learned so much and had a great professor. I would highly recommend this course, and I personally look forward to hopefully taking another class with Prof. Gerbino before I graduate.

May 2004

at first, i thought the class would be a bit boring because we were moving through the material at a slow pace. but prof. gerbino is so nice, smart, and interesting that the class wasn't boring at all. he is such a likeable person! what made the class so interesting, though, is that he always connected the music we were studying with the relevant time period in terms of historical events and the philosophy around at that time and place. two thumbs up!

Sep 2003

Prof. Gerbino's class is more about opera as theater than on the musical specifics of opera. I would have liked to see more of a focus on the music and less studying of plot summaries and memorization of characters. The readings are heavy, but if you do the minimum, exams won't be too hard. There are a lot of operas to cover, too many infact. That's my main complaint. You can't really analyze an opera with any depth when you spend two classes on it and one class focuses totally on plot summary. If you like opera though, you'll like this class.

Jul 2003

A really nice guy with a good sense of humor and a kick-ass accent. He always makes himself available for office hours, responds to emails in a timely manner, does his best to answer all of your questions, and never gets angry or impatient. The subject can be a bit dry, but he keeps it interesting with lots of musical and a/v examples and historical anecdotes. I'd take another class with him (if the music department were *ahem!* making any electives available ... )

May 2003

This class was fantastic, and Professor Gerbino is the nicest teacher I've had in all my 4 years at Columbia. He's so enthusiastic in his teaching of the course, and it's really interesting. He's such a sweet person, and very fair with the grading. His lectures are so fun and enjoyable, and you get to watch parts of the operas in class.

May 2003

Absolutely awesome professor, my best class of the semester. If Santa Claus were young, Italian, and kept his beard neatly trimmed, he would greatly resemble Giuseppe Gerbino. Gerbino's jolly, energetic teaching and love for the music enlivened what could have been a terrifically boring 9 am class. He really cares about his students, too, and he's great to chat with during office hours. Best of all, unlike some of the other classes in the history sequence (ahem... BOYNTON), Gerbino puts all the music in a social framework instead of just blandly wading through a laundry list of pieces, making every lecture interesting and enlightening. Sure, the histories can be a little dry in terms of actual course content, but Gerbino makes them more than bearable. I'll definitely try to take an elective with him next year. Oh, and he has by far the coolest accent of anyone I've ever met. Prof. Gerbino is a rising star in a department filled with excellent teachers. Two thumbs up.

Mar 2003

Professor Gerbino is an excellent teacher. He knows a lot, especially about the romantic period. He is extremely nice as well. It was a positive experience to be in his class.

May 2002

Prof. Gerbino is an awesome professor, especially for a course like Music Hum. I had no musical background at all but he made sure that he taught at a reasonable pace, fast enough to keep the course interesting and slow enough to teach concepts. Funny and relaxed, he's always more than willing to talk to students and tries to make the course less bland. He is also very accessible and understanding about academic and personal problems.

May 2002

Feel lucky if you get Professor Gerbino for music hum. He's a very nice guy, is extremely knowledgeable (mostly about Romantic music, though he knows his earlier music history too), is very approachable outside of class, and has an awesome Italian accent. He's also very understanding of students' perspectives on grading, thankfully. He'll often ask for student input when it comes to paper topics, due dates and grading. Gerbino puts a lot of emphasis on Bach and the Romantic periods, with some of the other topics seeming a bit rushed. In all, though, you'll learn a lot in this class and probably get a pretty good grade, too, if you put in a bit of an effort.