Prep

2012 has obviously begun and my teaching load suddenly lightened with the cancellation of a course. I was a bit bummed because I was looking forward to teaching that class but I have two other courses that I’m really digging. Remember how much I love teaching counterpoint last semester? Sure you do. Well I’m teaching Form this semester (it is what makes up our Theory IV class) AND I’m teaching “Contemporary Compositional Techniques” to boot. That course is a grad level class and I’m like a kid in a candy store.

Form is no big deal to prep, we are still using the standard theory textbook they’ve had for the past 3 semesters, but the content is so much more fun! I spent 45 minutes discussing 16 measures of Mozart today. Not even really interesting Mozart, just the theme of one of his variation movements of a piano sonata. I’ve got 30 students in the class and they are all on the ball, they’ve had classes with me before and know my modus operandi and we seem to be clicking. It is going to be great.

The contemporary techniques course is going be a lot of fun, too. We are offering a contemporary analytical techniques course this semester, the hour before my class, and we decided to use the same text (the anthology of the Roig-Francoli post tonal book). And heavy supplementation, of course.

I am determined not to turn my class into a set theory composition seminar and not to give undue attention to the whole twelve tone system. Will we talk about it? Sure. Will they write some serialized music? You bet! The R-F book is really, REALLY interested in set theory and serialism whereas I want students to interact with lots of composers not in the anthology. And we’ll talk about multimedia composition, too.

I’m also going to have them read the Babbitt “Who Cares if you Listen” article, the Zappa address to ASUC, the intro to No Such Thing as Silence, and other fun thought provoking reads.

I teach beginner courses quite often and I’ve been teaching them for so long that I really get fired up to get into deeper content. There is a lot to enjoy about teaching beginners but I feel like I stagnate. I need to constantly shake things up or else I’ll stagnate. I never teach my intro to music tech course the same way because I’ve been teaching it since the fall semester of 1997 and I think I’ll be teaching 2 sections of it every semester at CMU until I die. I need to keep myself entertained. This semester, I get two new courses to keep me going.

It’s going to be awesome! I’ll have more fun than my students. That is the sign that I’m doing it right.

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