I had heard a lot of bad things about music hum in general, but I truly enjoyed this course. Aaron is an interesting lecturer and a very sweet and funny man. Topics and theoretical concepts that could have easily been tedious were made interesting and accesible. He really wants you to get the concepts and puts a lot on the board and prepares notes before hand. He also brings in other mediums like visual art to give you a better grasp on the full scope of the artistic world these composers were living in. You have to do your work, but the text book is actually really interesting (it's not Listen, it's a collection of primary source texts) and the chapters are incredibly brief (like 2-3 pages). He's not an easy grader as much as an understanding one...he knows not everyone is into music and music theory. I showed up on the first day dreading this class, and it became a highlight of my semester. Aaron's enthusiastic without going overboard, and it's easy to catch it. I really came to appreciate a lot of new music, and I felt like I really learned a lot without breaking my back. This is what music hum should be.
I still had a huge case of high school senioritis when took this course. Slacked off hard, did not read the book, exchanged my one page musical journals for half page ones, missed class instruction multiple times, didn't set time aside for studying for finals, started writing my five-six page essay the day before it was due, and I still walked away with my GPA unscathed. How did I accomplish these feat? I have absolutely no idea, but at the end of the day, I still learned a lot. Professor Einbond is also a renowned composer with a huge passion for music. His lectures are never boring and allows one to think about music on a different dimension. You will have bi-weekly quizzes that will be hard if you haven't been religiously listening to the music. But don't let this discourage you since the average class grade for the quizzes was around 20-40 percent, even with a few peers that knew everything about music. Despite these unforgiving quizzes, the overall effect on the final grading seemed unaffected. Take this class, you will thank yourself for it.
Professor Einbond is an exceptionally good music hum teacher, and his course will be especially satisfying for students with some musical background. He is a composer, and thus brings a musicianâ€™s perspective to the course. He includes more music theory than most sections, which nonetheless is not too challenging for musical novices and is very enriching to the study of the various works. His comments on various composers are often quite funny, and he frequently demonstrates a point on the piano. His class is engaging without being excessively difficult. One way in which his section differs from many others is the emphasis on modern music as well as avant-garde, which is the field in which he composes. This may be a good or bad thing depending on your tastes and interests.The sections on baroque, classical and romantic music were a bit rushed in order to include more modern music on the syllabus, including things like spectral music as well as composers like Varese, Ligeti, Feldman and Berio. This focus may make the class frustrating to traditionalists, but more interesting to the musically open-minded.