Course Topics

MUS 238: Composition Workshop

A workshop for students interested in exploring composition and improvisation. No prior composition experience necessary, but facility on an instrument or voice is helpful. Students also participate in a weekly composition seminar and interact with guest composers. Class culminates in a concert of new works.

MUS 338: Composition: Private Lesson

Individual composition lessons designed to develop compositional facility in a variety of styles and media. Students also participate in a weekly composition seminar and interact with guest composers.

MUS 249: Listening Live in London and Glasgow

This is a course about broadening the contexts that inform our musical listening experiences. It is intended for students from all majors—the wider variety, the better. Taking full advantage of the range of musical performances available and the rich musical history and cultures of London, we will spend the first 14 days attending concerts in the evenings and spend the afternoons visiting sites that help provide the context for the music we hear. Daily morning class time will be devoted to discussions not only of music, but of art, literature, and historical and current events as they relate to the cultural climate of the musical works. Every few days the group will gather for an informal discussion over afternoon tea. For the remaining seven days of the course, we will travel north to Scotland, focusing on less formal musical venues ranging from Cathedrals to pubs and folk clubs in Cambridge, Nottingham, and York—as a contrast to the concert experiences in London and as a way of exploring different audiences, functions, and styles of British music making. The course will culminate in attending events at Celtic Connections, a highly-renowned folk festival in Glasgow. Through reading, writing, and discussion, we will explore the ways in which our knowledge and differing perspectives affect the experience of listening to musical performances and how our own individual musical identities interact with the many musical cultures we encounter through concert music, musical theater, folk traditions, church music, and other modes of live music making.

MUS 344: History of Music: Contemporary

A survey of musical life and literature from the late-nineteenth century to the present: tonality in its luxuriant-chromatic phase; the fin-de-siecle in Europe and America; jazz, atonality and serialism; mid-century symphonic music; popular music, concert music, and performance art since 1945.

MUS 239: Music in the Shape of a Pear

This course will offer students the opportunity to explore the music of our time through rehearsal, performance, research and creative work, with approximately half of the course devoted to the preparation of contemporary repertoire for performance, and half the course devoted to guided independent research and/or creative work. Repertoire will be chosen based on student enrollment, with an eye towards representative works that introduce students to common contemporary instrumental and vocal techniques not typically encountered in applied lessons or ensembles. Following several initial classes which will orient students to the language of contemporary concert music, students will undertake guided explorations into specific works, composers, or genres and begin their own independent projects, resulting in research papers, presentations, and possibly additional performance opportunities. Students with a particular interest in composition will also have the option of completing a creative project that stems from their research. Final projects and performances will be featured in a new music festival to be held in early February, a joint venture with the Iowa Composers Forum.