The Art of Listening (MET2239.01)

Joseph Alpar

Composer Pauline Oliveros once said, “Listen to everything all the time and remind yourself when you are not listening.” In this course, students will develop their musical knowledge and active listening skills through the examination of diverse musical practices and sounds in varied social, cultural, and historical contexts. Rather than organizing the course according to genre, each week we will focus on a particular theme—the natural world, spirituality, nationalism, celebration, storytelling, emotion, protest, and much more. We will build a musical vocabulary with which to describe the music and sound that we hear with greater precision and nuance. Class sessions will involve extended periods of listening to recordings as well as live performances and occasional field trips. Although any prior knowledge of music will be useful, this course is structured so that a student without a previous musical background can be successful in it. For example, although music notation is explained, you do not need to be able to read music to complete the course. All that is necessary is an open mind and a desire to listen to music and sound with intention and creativity.


Learning Outcomes:
• Students will develop active listening skills through sustained and guided listening sessions.
• Students will build a lexicon of musical terminology and grow comfortable using this vocabulary to accurately describe the music they listen to in class and in homework assignments.
• Students will research specific musical forms and genres and learn to identify specific musical features through careful listening.
• Students will collaborate on designing original sound walks in which they will observe and map the soundscape around them.


Delivery Method: Fully in-person
Corequisites: Students must attend three music events (Wednesday evenings in the Deane Carriage Barn) during the course of the term.
Course Level: 2000-level
Credits: 2
W 2:10PM - 4:00PM (Full-term)
Maximum Enrollment: 18
Course Frequency: Every 2-3 years

Categories: All courses , Updates , Fully In-Person , Ethnomusicology
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