This page focuses on the course 21M.295 American Popular Music as it was taught by Teresa Neff in Fall 2014.
This course surveys the development of popular music in the United States during the last two hundred years.
Course Goals for Students
This course introduces students to music they have never heard before while also deepening their understanding of the traditions on which the popular music they hear today is built. In addition, it helps students hone their analytical listening skills.
There are no prerequisites for this course.
Offered every other fall semester.
The students' grades were based on the following activities:
Instructor Insights on Assessment
Beyond written papers, presentations, and exams, I find class discussions are an effective way to gage student participation. Discussions can take on many forms including group work, commentary on lyrics or video, or a response to the assigned reading.
Breakdown by Year
The majority of students in the class were seniors. There were also some juniors and a few sophomores.
Breakdown by Major
The majority of students were from Engineering fields including Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, Mechanical, and Biological Engineering. There were also a number of Materials Science majors.
During an average week, students were expected to spend 12 hours on the course, roughly divided as follows:
- Met 2 times per week for 90 minutes per session; 26 sessions total; mandatory attendance.
- Students actively participated during each session, as well as led discussions about specific pieces of assigned music.
Out of Class
- Prepared for in-class discussions, presentations, and exams.
- Researched and prepared written assignments.
- Listened to assigned music.