Maximillian Schmeder

This professor has earned a CULPA gold nugget

Jan 2012

Max’s is so good that I cannot put down leisure in this cozy Friday night and write this review. He is the best instructor I’ve had in Columbia, not one of. If you are in his section, I would think you are really blessed. His class is great in 2 aspects. 1.The Evaluation Structure: A concert report is a required component for music hum. Students in some sections may have headache how to write it. In Max’s class, I do not have such agony. Max does not expect you to write a mellifluous paper that may provoke him, or bash you how bad you appreciate music. So when you are in concert(whose attendance is required for music hum), you can really enjoy the concert or opera without distraction of finding clues how to fill in several words in report. The grade is based on attendance, participation, midterm, final, quizzes and homework. Homework is not hard and very useful. It helps you understand the pieces.(fugue) His penalty to absence is harsh but I promise his class is so interesting that you would enjoy every class. Almost each class has a quiz: one for assigned reading and one for listening. There are a lots of quizzes but it is not hard if you keep up to his schedule. Reading is not long at all. He usually writes reading by himself, with pictures of his choice. It not only saves you lots of money but also his reading handout is very neat! Listening quiz is to give an answer if the music he plays is assigned or not. This may sound daunting. But trust me, if you use his method how to get familiar with music, you would find the answer comes spontaneously. So quiz part of evaluation can easily earn full mark. A bit complaint is that he is a merciful person that when many students are wrong in a quiz, he may blame himself for tricking students and announces the quiz will not count. I am just a bit vexed that I was not wrong when many were wrong while I slipped in some quizzes where most of others got correct answers. Last parts are midterm and finals! There are two parts: definition of music vocabularies and music identification. No essay question! He would give a clear list of words you need to remember. He asks for the word, not asking you to explain the word, which is much easier. The music recognition part could be tricky, as he may choose some ambivalent period. But it is not hard. It is just a bit not easy to get full mark. 2. the content of class: Max is a knowledgeable, “talkative” instructor. It is unfortunate truth that if a lecture spends 100% of time on the same topic, like music, it will definitely become boring. Max is adept in teaching as he digresses a lot, to the end that is still related to the class and interesting. Such as, in the class of High Baroque Period, he show pictures how noble people stand, pose, in picture. He gave interesting insights and observation comments, which made the class not only a music hum class but also a class of digging history minutes. In a class, we digressed to a philosophical question, whether there is a sound when a tree falls in an azoic place. In my class, it is funny that both the president and vice president of CCSC are in my class and they defended different opinions. It is a nice touch to Philosophy, broadening my knowledge in college, although I have no Philosophy class. In addition, Max often described his feeling to pieces of music, which is one of my favorite parts. I always find it hard to express music. What he said often expresses what I feel(Beethoven, Mahler), or intrigued me why the piece has the power(Prelude to Tristan and Isolde). I feel like I have much to say but I have to be out. I hope Max would keep up the passion of teaching. I really wish Columbia would hire him after he graduates. He already finishes his study and would graduate soon. If Columbia does not give Max Tenure, Max may let us know, we would occupy low to petition. If you want to fraternize with Max, you may call him Maxi, that is what he said his mum called him. And the second piece of music ( sounds like African ) is very good and he said he would post but did not post to courseworks. If you really want to read some cons, I would say he is a bit laid-back. He may return graded midterm late and uploaded your final grade late. That is it. At last, I want to say that Max’s assigned pieces of music are so great that I am still listening to them. If he could do twitter to keep giving assignments, I’d like to take more!

Jan 2011

He was one of the best professors I've met in my several semesters at Columbia; making involved into materials for even non-music majors. No writing and no reading materials, unlike other Music Hum professors. Study guide is given for exams, and exams are fairly easy if you just study the guide thoroughly. Also, he's a nice guy with humors. Strongly recommended professor. One note: His lectures might be difficult at first. Also, there are lots of terminology you should know for the exam. But you can rely on the study guide, which means that even you are lost during his lectures, no need to be scared of. Because the exams are only based on the study guide. I'm a non-music major, this was my first time in my life to actually take a course in music, and frankly speaking, didn't study at all for this class (except doing the weekly listening assignments). But I still ended up with an A-. This is probably the only course at Columbia that I didn't study at all (except the study guides and listening assignments) an was still on the A range.

Nov 2009

Max was a great teacher and his lectures were always engaging. I had his class in the Spring 09, it seems like he toned down the work load a bit from the previous review... If you are looking for a great experience and to learn something, then this is the class for you. If you are just looking to fulfill your Music Hum requirement and get an easy A - this is NOT the class for you.

Dec 2008

Max is an engaging (and fun) lecturer, and he's always willing to meet with you (and on pretty short notice) if you're having trouble with anything he assigns. I liked him and liked going to the class. However, the class he teaches is really much too freaking hard for a core class intended for non-majors. I constantly felt like I was in a 2000-level music theory class. From talking to friends, I figured out that no, it wasn't my imagination, Max's class is actually just about the hardest music hum. For example, 20% of his final is a 19-page, 12 point font list of terms (with paragraphs, not sentences defining them) that you need to memorize (in addition to the rest of the final, which is two hours of music you need to spend about 20 hours learning, and timelines you need to memorize, and class notes you need to review). I mean, I felt like it wasn't a class taught at the level non-majors should be expected to do well in, and also like it should have been a 4-credit class, not a 3-credit one. However, maybe this isn't all THAT bad since he's one of the most helpful, available professors I've had. Yet, I probably would be getting a MUCH better grade had I chosen a less demanding professor who teaches a less comprehensive class.....

Jan 2007

Max Schmeder made Ear Training an extremely enjoyable class. I had never taken a music class before and Max made me feel really comfortable. He is really funny and really interested in his students, often going on wild tangents about something a student brings up. His classes usually involve him asking students to sing or tap some of the homework exercises and then doing dictations or interval training. His tests are tough but fair and he gives you a lot of time to prepare. He could do a better job teaching intervals because he puts them on the tests but makes you learn them from this interactive website,