University Teaching

"thanks for being an actually engaging professor... It was always a great time!" --- a former studenT

"Great Professor! Takes The time to create assignments and make sure they are relate-able and instructional"...Another former student

"it was cool because (being a music producer myself) i actually felt like country music was able--to my surprise--to contextualize so many important events on a side of/century of the recording industry that i never really studied in my major or paid much attention to before thanks again for helping me...really take something away from your class." --. Yet another former student

 

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I developed this course with Syracuse University's student population in mind. "Go Orange!" drives a lot of student life, so why not offer a course that harnesses this student interest and uses it for their educational good!

Course Description:

We often think about sports visually, but music creates an invisible and powerful connection between athletes, fans, officials, and audiences. Music can motivate sports, from pump-me-up workout playlists and rock-and-roll half marathons to team fight songs and pep bands. Music also has commercial relationships with sports, such as the Super Bowl halftime show and the Olympic opening ceremonies. While all sports have a degree of aesthetics to them (“Wow, that was a beautiful shot!), the presence of music sometimes highlights the fuzzy lines between sports and art forms like figure skating, ice dancing, synchronized swimming, and gymnastics.

 

This course considers what we can learn about the sensory, emotional, and social connections between sound and sport. We will delve into the theory and science behind questions like “Why do soccer fans sing during matches but American football fans do not?” and “How exactly does my MP3 player impact my 5k time? Can music really make me faster or stronger?” We'll address questions like these through a combination of theory and hands-on practice (Don’t worry – no athletic ability is required!) We will explore readings in the ethnomusicology and anthropology of sport, cognition, and popular music. We will also go out into the world of sports to conduct ethnographic fieldwork in order to test theories and observe music and sports in action. In the end, we'll learn strategies for research and writing to investigate, critique, and analyze the sounds of sport in North American public life.

 

 

Syracuse 2015 Music and Sports class gets a behind-the-scenes tour of the Carrier Dome.

Syracuse 2015 Music and Sports class gets a visit from the Syracuse Capoeira Club. http://www.syracusecapoeira.com/

Learning Outcomes:

By taking "Music and Sports" with me, students:

·         Have a broader understanding of historical, social and political developments regarding music and sports

·         Learn the significance of various music repertories, traditions, and significant artists

·         Develop analytical tools, critical thinking, and effective means of writing about music and culture

·         Learn to engage in scholarly dialogue and debate with academic colleagues

Music, Religion, and America

Studying music without considering religion is just as impractical as studying religion without considering music. From rock bands to church choirs to Buddhist monks, this course examines multiple intersections between religion and music in the United States. What can we identify as distinctive about the American experience of music and religion? How do the terms “music,” “religion,” and “American” shift across sacred sonic practices? We will compare the use of music and sound in a number of different religions found in this country, from Native American practices to immigrant traditions based in Christianity, Islam, and more. Outside of specific faith communities, we will also explore the religious as a theme within US popular music. By the end of the course, students will have a broader understanding of a representative selection of American religions and their musics, as well as a deeper engagement with fundamental questions arising from the study of sacred sounds.

 

I enjoyed the hands on experience we had through each subject whether it be musical examples, outside guest, interactive activities and group work. The instructor had a very good knowledge of the material of each religion and religious themes discussed. She is very eager to teach and makes the discussions interesting.
— Syracuse University Student
I liked the actual analysis of music and history of actual songs/examples....Eye-opening. Never really looked at music like that.
— Another Syracuse University Student
My professor is very straight-forward and passionate about what she teaches....I liked the variety of subjects we learned. I can’t really think of any changes [I would make to the course].
— Yet Another Syracuse University Student

 

 

 

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Overall, Dr. Justice is very knowledgeable about the history of American music. She is able to communicate her knowledge to students in an interesting way that made it fun to learn.
— Syracuse University student
Dr. Justice has a passion for the material and is engaging.
— Another Syracuse student
Enjoyable class with reasonable and worthwhile assignments.
— Yet another Syracuse Student

Course Description:

This course celebrates the rich history of music in the United States from the earliest times to the present.  We will look at cultivated, vernacular, and folk traditions as reflections of the American musical landscape. We will also ask questions about the idea of American music. Can we talk about “American music” as a useful category? What can we identify as distinctive about the experience and development of music in America?

 

Learning Outcomes:

In this class, students will:

    Have a broader understanding of a representative selection of American music within a rich historical, social and political context

    Learn the significance of the music repertory, traditions, and artists we are studying

    Develop analytical tools, critical thinking, and effective means of writing about music and culture

      •     Engage with fundamental questions arising from the study of music and culture

      •    Learn to engage in scholarly dialogue and debate with academic colleagues

 

  Required text and listening media:

Crawford, Richard, ed. 2013. An Introduction to America's Music (Second

Edition). New York: W. W. Norton & Company. ISBN-13: 978-0393935318

 

Crawford, Richard, ed. 2013. Recordings for An Introduction to America's Music

(Second Edition). New York: W. W. Norton & Company. ISBN-13: 978-0393921403

 Note: The recordings are available via CD, online, or online streaming. See textbook or website for details.

 

 


  

Congregational Music as a Social Setting

Developed by Dr. Deborah Justice for the Institute of Sacred Music, Yale University 2012

Course Description: What impact does Traditional hymn singing have on congregants’ and musicians’ social relationships? Do these dynamics differ from those within Contemporary praise choruses? Why does music so often become the figurehead for strife within congregations? Within churches and other faith communities, music moves beyond written notes and sounds to facilitate powerful interactions between individuals, institutions, and the divine. Understanding church music as a combination of sound, social relationships, and sacred action facilitates leaders’ helping congregations to articulate their identities and move towards their potentials.

Focusing on church congregations, this course teaches students to consider the social settings created as musicians and congregations approach the sacred through music and worship. Students will gain applied experience in analyzing congregations and their musical dynamics through three units: foundations, fieldwork, and ethnography. First, we will compare pertinent approaches to qualitative analysis of congregational music from the fields of sociology, anthropology, ethnomusicology, and liturgical studies. We will consider the different questions asked by each of these fields about sound within faith communities and the reasons behind these contrasting foci. Second, we will apply these approaches to analyzing music and worship in local congregations. After a brief introduction to ethnographic fieldwork (emphasizing interviewing skills and a phenomenological hermeneutic that values individual congregants’ worldviews), students will design and carry out small-scale ethnomusicology research projects within New Haven churches. Lastly, as consolidation, students will incorporate their findings into an ethnographic final paper centering on the role of musical practices in both articulating and forming congregational identity.

 

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INTRODUCTION

This course description is drawn from the HOM/MHL 167 "Introduction to Music History" course that I designed for Syracuse University. The repertoire for this course draws primarily upon the past 1,000 years of the European and American concert music tradition. The course is designed to be an overview and serves as the first part of a four-semester music history sequence. It fulfills degree requirements in the Setnor School of Music, as well as in the College of Arts and Sciences.

LEARNING GOALS

Students will:

·         be introduced to critical thinking about primary and secondary music history sources.

·         gain practice using theoretical concepts in historically sensitive ways.

·         gain practice integrating aural skills with theoretical concepts.

·         learn about the ways in which music might fit into broader cultural movements.

·         gain familiarity with basic style periods of the European concert music tradition.

 

COURSE MATERIALS

The textbook for this course will be Mark Evan Bonds, Listen to This 3rd ed. (Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson, 2015), REVEL Edition. This is an e-book, in a handy computer/tablet format. It also comes with a unbound paper copy of text book. This means that students can read the text traditionally, go online to read and use interactive audio/visual features, or listen to the e-text read to them. I chose this package to appeal to students with different learning styles and familiarity with the materials. 

 

 

 

 

 

Course Description:

This course traces the history of country music in the United States. We will consider sonic and cultural features that fall under the umbrella term “country music.” Starting with the early days of hillbilly music and early American fiddle tunes, we will move through the chronology of country music. In addition to developing an understanding of particular artists and sub-genres, we will analyze how the idea of “country” has evolved. What does this title mean? What values does it convey? How have these meanings and associations changed over time?

 

Learning Outcomes:

In this class, students will:

·         Have a broader understanding of a representative selection of country music within a rich historical, social and political context

·         Learn the significance of the music repertory, traditions, and artists we are studying

·         Develop analytical tools, critical thinking, and effective means of writing about music and culture

·         Engage with fundamental questions arising from the study of American popular music

·         Learn to engage in scholarly dialogue and debate with academic colleagues

 

Course Materials: 

Neal, Jocelyn R. 2013. Country Music: A Cultural and Stylistic History. New York and Oxford: Oxford University Press.

 

I actually really enjoyed this project. The format ...[of tracing a theme over a century] honestly made me feel like i was in a time machine. I learned a lot more about events that shaped sound engineering from a different side of what I’m used t. just wanted to say it was cool because (being a music producer myself) i actually felt like country music was able—to my surprise—to contextualize so many important events on a side of/century of the recording industry that i never really studied in my major or paid much attention to before thanks again for helping me...really take something away from your class.”
— A former student