A Music Experience Like No Other

By Sherrie Negrea, August 25, 2020
Sara Haefeli adapts case-study approach for Music History course.

The students who signed up for MUTH 355 this fall will quickly learn that this is not your typical music history class. 

The course, which covers music after 1900, kicks off this fall with a unit on Beyoncé and then moves to Igor Stravinsky’s “The Rite of Spring,” music banned during the Third Reich, the development of Lincoln Center, experimental and camp-style music.

Instead of merely listening to lectures, students will work in small groups to explore six particular moments in music history and then collaborate to create projects for each unit. Their projects will use digital platforms such as podcasts, videos, or websites.

“I’ve really thought about how to accommodate all students in a virtual classroom.”

Sara Haefeli, associate professor

The case-study approach is easily adaptable to a virtual format, says Sara Haefeli, an associate professor who teaches three sections of the course. Each week, students will participate in an online discussion group to prepare for their Zoom class. They will work on their projects in online breakout rooms and then meet as a group with Haefeli to workshop their ideas.

“This is a class that you can easily do online,” Haefeli says. “I’ve really thought about how to accommodate all students in a virtual classroom.”

At the end of each project, students will reflect on their work, and their self and peer assessments will determine their grade.

“I no longer teach facts, because research shows we just can’t download facts into students,” says Haefeli. “It’s more important to teach students how to ask good questions.”