Summer 2020 Courses

Summer 2020 Courses

Session I (May 18-June 12)

MUSI 3559 New Course in Music
Topic: Talking in Music

John D'earth
3.0 credits
Lecture: MTWRF / 1:00-3:15pm / OCH B018
Class Number: 12509

This online summer course in jazz listening and practices, originally designed for the classroom, has moved online and morphed into a hybrid that welcomes musicians (at any level) and non-musicians, alike. Jazz is intimately connected to the art of improvisation. The ability to improvise is a defining human trait. (For example, almost all of our conversations are improvised.) Jazz improvisation is “talking in music.” From where does the unconscious command of all the rules of verbal and social interaction arise?  And what must the musician command, unconsciously, to be able to improvise and create greatness, spontaneously, in the manner of a Louis Armstrong, a Billie Holiday, a Charlie Parker, or a John Coltrane?  How do these spontaneous gems of creativity come about?

Session II (June 15-July 10)

MUSI 2340 Learn to Groove

Robert Jospe
2.0 credits
Lecture: MTWRF / 1:00-2:30pm / OCH B018
Class Number: 10639

This is a hand drumming class open to all students including music majors. The course requires that students have a hand drum of their own as well as the course book Learn To Groove. Congas, djembes, doumbeks are appropriate. The class will focus on simple hand drumming technique and time keeping along with understanding and playing syncopated patterns. The history, geography and artists associated with the rhythms presented in the course will be included. The course is designed to help students achieve fluency with syncopated patterns that are associated with dance rhythms from West Africa, the Caribbean, Brazil, and the United States.

MUSI 3400 Ecoacoustics

Chris Luna
3.0 credits
Lecture: MTWRF / 10:30am-12:45pm / OCH B012
Class Number: 12508

This course explores the translation of environmental sounds into music. It studies the process in which listening to and recording sonic environments under a scientific and cross-disciplinary lens becomes a creative foundation for electronic and/or instrumental music composition. We use specialized audio recording techniques and equipment to sample sounds for later analysis. We analyze the spectral and temporal characteristics of soundscapes with a software suite. The process culminates with editing, processing and mixing software to make environmental sound-based compositions.

Making music with the environment understands every sound that we engage with as musical material and indicator of the state of our surroundings. We will make music as we examine the interconnected fields of soundscape studies, spectral analysis, science, sonification, composition and performance. 

The areas covered in this course are theoretical, technical and creative: 

1. History, theory and examples of environmental sound-based composition and ecoacoustics studies, covering thought and work by composers, acoustic ecology scholars and scientists

2. Listening / Recording / Analysis / Processing

3. Electronic and instrumental composition using the materials derived from the soundscapes 

The class requires no theory, musicianship or orchestration experience and  is suited for students from diverse musical backgrounds. The materials of this course are adjustable to different skill levels in musicianship, technology and composition, allowing enrollment of both non-major and major levels.

Session III (July 13-August 7)

MUSI 2120 History of Jazz Music / 3120 Jazz Studies (combined section)

Rami Stucky
3.0 credits
Lecture: MTWRF / 1:00-3:15pm / OCH 107
Class Number: 12399 / 12400

This course is designed for music students interested in history and history students interested in music. Although the class will analyze music over the course of the semester, proficiency in music notation or musical terms is not a class prerequisite and anybody is welcome to enroll.

This course will ask the question, “how can we understand what occurred during the modern Civil Rights Movement by listening to jazz created at the time?” In this regard, there are two objectives for the class. First, the class will chronicle the protests of African-Americans, roughly beginning with the Montgomery Bus Boycotts (1955) until Martin Luther King Jr.’s death (1968). We will trace the various political, social, and economic tactics that many Americans embraced to achieve civil rights at that time. The second objective will revolve around understanding how jazz music at the time evoked these tactics, hopes, aspirations of African-Americans during the Civil Rights Movement. In order to achieve this second objective, we will listen to jazz, study jazz musicians’ biography and relate jazz theory to the social upheavals occurring between 1955 and 1968. Attention will be given to jazz scholarship written by University of Virginia professors.

MUSI 2307 Play Guitar!

Michael Rosensky
2.0 credits
Lecture: MTWRF / 1:00-2:30pm / OCH B012
Class Number: 10864

Fundamentals of playing the guitar: left and right hands, chords, strumming, and scales. We'll also incorporate rhythmic training, music theory, song form, pop/rock styles and accompanimental textures. The course is designed to improve guitar performance.

The course will work with a range of experience levels. Please email the instructor, Mike Rosensky ( and give a brief description of your guitar experience when you register for the class (or if you have questions).

Students must provide their own guitar.

MUSI 2559 / 3559 New Course in Music (combined section)
Topic: Introduction to Making Beats / Make Beats

Ted Coffey
3.0 credits
Lecture: MTWRF / 10:30 am - 12:45 pm / OCH 107
Class Number: 12683 / 12684

Make Beats introduces students to technologies, techniques, and histories of beat making.  The course covers hardware such as turntables, microphones, drum machines, synthesizers, samplers, mixing boards, and recorders, as well as software applications (e.g., DAWs) that model such technologies ‘in the box’.  While previous experience with computer science is not required, the course will require students to synthesize and sequence sound from scratch via the cross-platform Max programming language, learning about acoustics and computer music along the way.  We will practice critical listening to exemplars across genres, and work to reverse engineer what we hear.  Key projects will focus on creative practice, applying course content to the composition of original beats and tracks.

MUSI 2559 / 4559 New Course in Music (combined section)
Topic: Introduction to Listening to Film / Listening to Film

Anna Nisnevich
3.0 credits
Lecture: MTWRF / 1:00-3:15 pm / TBA
Class Number: 12507 / 12510

Why do our favorite films have such a hold on us? What helps us engage with virtual reality, be pulled into the unfamiliar worlds on screen, and all but forget about the physical distance between the everyday life and a fantasy? In this class we will explore diverse ways in which film music – and, more broadly, sound – interacts with film image and in so doing creates meanings and effects not accessible through other media. We will learn what to listen for in film, but also how to put to words the results of our focused listening. By the end of the course you should gain access to some secrets of cinematic trade, but also acquire a more acute appreciation for the magic of cinema.


UVA Department of Music
112 Old Cabell Hall
P.O. Box 400176 Charlottesville, VA 22904-4176