This Course at MIT

Course Overview

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 Outcomes

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.

 

Curriculum Information

Prerequisites

There are no prerequisites for this course.

Requirements Satisfied

HASS-A

Offered

Offered every other fall semester.

The Classroom

  • View from the back of the classroom toward the screen and two pianos in front.

    Seminar

    Music classroom equipped with modern tablet armchairs, two pianos, CD/DVD player, cassette deck, turntable, plasma screen, laptop connections, and a wireless network.

 

Assessment

The students' grades were based on the following activities:

The color used on the preceding chart which represents the percentage of the total grade contributed by exams. 20% Two exams
The color used on the preceding chart which represents the percentage of the total grade contributed by a research essay. 20% Research essay
The color used on the preceding chart which represents the percentage of the total grade contributed by listening guides and presentations. 20% Two listening guides and presentations
The color used on the preceding chart which represents the percentage of the total grade contributed by a final project and presentation. 30% Final project and presentation
The color used on the preceding chart which represents the percentage of the total grade contributed by participation. 10% Participation
 

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.

Student Information

On average, around 20 students take this course each time it is offered.

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.

 

How Student Time Was Spent

During an average week, students were expected to spend 12 hours on the course, roughly divided as follows:

In Class

3 hours per week
  • 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

9 hours per week
  • Prepared for in-class discussions, presentations, and exams.
  • Researched and prepared written assignments.
  • Listened to assigned music.
 

Semester Breakdown

WEEK M T W Th F
1 No classes throughout MIT. No classes throughout MIT. No session scheduled. Lecture session scheduled. No session scheduled.
2 No session scheduled. Lecture session scheduled. No session scheduled. Lecture session scheduled. No session scheduled.
3 No session scheduled. Lecture session scheduled. No session scheduled. Lecture session scheduled. No classes throughout MIT.
4 No session scheduled. Lecture session scheduled. No session scheduled. Lecture session scheduled. No session scheduled.
5 No session scheduled. Lecture session scheduled. No session scheduled. Lecture session scheduled. No session scheduled.
6 No session scheduled. Lecture session scheduled; assignment due date. No session scheduled. Lecture session scheduled. No session scheduled.
7 No classes throughout MIT. Lecture session scheduled; exam held. No session scheduled. Lecture session scheduled. No session scheduled.
8 No session scheduled. Lecture session scheduled. No session scheduled. Lecture session scheduled. No session scheduled.
9 No session scheduled. Lecture session scheduled. No session scheduled. Lecture session scheduled. No session scheduled.
10 No session scheduled. Lecture session scheduled. No session scheduled. Lecture session scheduled. No session scheduled.
11 No classes throughout MIT. No classes throughout MIT. No session scheduled. Lecture session scheduled. No session scheduled.
12 No session scheduled. Lecture session scheduled. No session scheduled. Lecture session scheduled; exam held. No session scheduled.
13 No session scheduled. Lecture session scheduled; student presentations held. No session scheduled. No classes throughout MIT. No classes throughout MIT.
14 No session scheduled. Lecture session scheduled; student presentations held. No session scheduled. Lecture session scheduled. No session scheduled.
15 No session scheduled. Lecture session scheduled; student presentations held. No session scheduled. No classes throughout MIT. No classes throughout MIT.
16 No classes throughout MIT. No classes throughout MIT. No classes throughout MIT. No classes throughout MIT. No classes throughout MIT.
Displays the color and pattern used on the preceding table to indicate dates when classes are not held at MIT. No classes throughout MIT
Displays the color used on the preceding table to indicate dates when lecture sessions are held. Lecture session
Displays the symbol used on the preceding table to indicate dates when assignments are due. Assignment due date
Displays the color used on the preceding table to indicate dates when no class session is scheduled. No class session scheduled
Displays the color used on the preceding table to indicate dates when students presentations are held. Student Presentations
Displays the symbol used on the preceding table to indicate dates when exams are held. Exam