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MUSIC COURSES    

Regular Block Courses (taught in month-long blocks)
​Click each course for a description

Ensembles and Lessons (semester-long, after class)

MUS 101 Basic Music Instruction
MUS 201 Intermediate Music Instruction
MUS 202 Chamber Singers of South-East Iowa
MUS 206 Musical Artist Development
MUS 207 Creative Music Ensemble
    

MUS 205 A New Approach to Music Theory: Musicianship Through Creativity and Personal Growth

This is a hands-on introduction to creative musicianship. Students explore the language of pitch and rhythm — not by passively absorbing the rules of music theory, but as active listeners and creators of tone, pulse, and pattern. Our faculty use a well-proven, user-friendly approach to improvisation that enables anyone to create with confidence and joy, including students who have never improvised before. Through listening, composing, and improvising assignments, students develop a profound and practical understanding of pitch, interval, melody, pulse, meter and time-feels, analysis, musical form, and a beginning knowledge of modal/tonal/post-tonal systems. Included are basics of music software, notation, and keyboard technique. (4 credits)

MUS 210 Songwriting: Sharing Our Stories of the Song of Life
We write and sing songs in order to communicate our thoughts and feelings in an artistic and meaningful way. In this class we will hear, sing, discuss, and especially write songs that tell the stories of life and growth as individuals and as societies.  Topics will include: finding inspiration, capturing a story, matching melody to mood, the art of editing, and more. Guest professional singers and songwriters will share their songs, songwriting methods, and advice for getting your songs out into the world. The course will culminate in a performance of the songs we have created. Prerequisite: a music fundamentals course such as MUS 205, 220, 221, or 240, or consent of the instructor. (4 credits, may be repeated for credit)

MUS 215 Music, Consciousness, and Veda: The Inner and Outer Dimensions of Sound

In this course we explore the nature of sound as it relates to human experience. Topics include frequency, rhythm, pitch, timbre, hearing, speech, light, touch, form, and proportion, in terms of musical expression. We approach these topics from a modern, scientific perspective, as well as from the view of the ancient Vedic tradition, especially Maharishi Gandharva Veda music and the philosophy of Vaisheshika. Aural training is an integral component of the course, and reaches beyond traditional diatonic structures. Students have daily opportunities to explore the various dimensions of sound through creative assignments. (4 credits, may be repeated for credit)

MUS 216 Sacred Music, Chants, and Recitations: Diving Deeply Into the Power of Sound

This course investigates sacred music from a rich diversity of ancient traditions, including Native American, African, Hebrew Chant, Gregorian Chant, Gandharva Veda ragas, Vedic recitation, and others. Students explore new ways of musical self-expression through listening, chanting, creating, performing. There will also be readings and discussions on music as a vehicle for communication, health, community, and spirituality. We locate these universal themes within ourselves through self-knowledge — the experience of our own innermost field of consciousness, accessed directly in our daily Transcendental Meditation program practice. Prior training in music or Sanskrit is welcome but not necessary. (4 credits, may be repeated for credit)

MUS 217 The Power of Sound: Ultimate Quest of Both Artist and Scientist (Critical and Creative Thinking Seminar)

 What is sound? How does it work? What gives it meaning; what makes it "musical"? These are some of the fundamental questions explored in this course, from the perspectives of music, science, and the spoken word. We study the properties of sound, explore masterworks in music and poetry, consider the perspectives of great artists and philosophers, examine research studies, and discover our own responses to sound through daily creative assignments. (4 credits)

MUS 220 Music Appreciation: Listening for Meaning at the Source of Sound

The goal of this course is not only to develop musical literacy, but also to awaken and inspire the innate musical intelligence of every student. We examine a variety of masterworks in terms of melody, harmony, rhythm, instrumentation, and form; discover connections of western music to its contemporary art, architecture, and historical culture; and learn to identify major musical styles. A brief exploration of music beyond the western classical tradition is included. These listening skills are supported with basic theoretical analysis, keyboard lessons, and creative activities. (variable credits)

MUS 221 Developing A Musical Ear: Gaining the Tools to Express the Finest Levels of Perception 

This course is a laboratory for musical exploration and expression, designed to develop basic musicianship, build musical vocabulary, and learn to recognize and play music by ear. In a very hands-on atmosphere that nourishes imaginative expression, we explore pitch, intervals, scales and modes, chord structures, rhythm and time-feels though daily sight singing, notation drills, dictation, keyboard applications, and guided listening of specific musical patterns in a variety of styles. Included are lots of creative projects, both individually and in groups. (4 credits)

MUS 223 American Roots Music: From Richly Diverse Heritage to Strong Cultural Unity (Critical and Creative Thinking Seminar)

This course celebrates the confluence of several distinctly American music traditions: Gospel, Blues, Appalachian Folk, Bluegrass, and Native American. Our goal is to develop a deep understanding and appreciation for the inner workings of the artistic, cultural, historical, and spiritual underpinnings that have shaped so much of today's music. Listening, playing, and singing songs are a daily part of this exploratory journey, as are research, writing, and discussion. (4 credits)

MUS 225 Creative Music Technology: Capturing Creativity Through Technology

This is an introduction to modern computer-based music composition, audio and MIDI recording, editing, mixing, and production, utilizing industry-standard software. The goal of the course is an overview of the basic skills necessary to initially capture, then organize, and finally polish the music that each student will create. More in-depth skills and techniques are offered to students who demonstrate readiness to go beyond the basics.Prerequisite: A music fundamentals course such as MUS 205, 220, 221, or 240, or consent of the instructor. (4 credits, may be repeated for credit)

MUS 227 Introduction to Soundtrack Design for Film: The Art of Integrating Sound and Form

This course explores the relationship of sound and the moving image. We study examples by great film composers and start working with different approaches of using music to enhance a film scene, finding and purchasing music from sound databases, and collaborating with film composers. Included is a hands-on component where students create their own soundtrack for a short film or video clip.Prerequisite:A music fundamentals course such as MUS 205, 220, 221, or 240, or consent of the instructor. (4 credits, may be repeated for credit)

MUS 232 The Musical Evolution of the Beatles: Boundless Creativity in Action
In this course we will explore the music of one of the most influential musical groups of the 20th Century. The rich musicianship and boundary-breaking creativity of The Beatles songs will be studied through creative projects, an introduction to analytical listening, cultural/historical readings and presentations, research and writing. Guest speakers will share their personal and professional perspectives.Prerequisite: A music fundamentals course such as MUS 220, MUS 221, or MUS 240, or basic knowledge of music theory with instructor's consent. (4 credits, may be repeated for credit)

MUS 233 Music of the Indigenous Americas: Culturing Our Awareness
This class focuses on music from various indigenous tribes in North, Central and South America. Students study the musical structure, instrumentation, and cultural significance of different indigenous American musical traditions. They also participate in drum and flute circles, and create original music based upon the music traditions studied. Students research one indigenous American music-culture in depth, write about it in their listening journal, and present their discoveries to classmates. (4 credits, may be repeated for credit)

MUS 240 Basic Harmony and Keyboard Skills: Gaining the Keys to Musical Knowledge from Inside and Outside

This course covers fundamentals of keyboard application for beginning musicians, as well as for intuitive composers and performers who wish to demystify music theory through basic piano skills. Topics include reading treble and bass clef, fingering techniques, posture and hand coordination, pedaling, common rhythm patterns, scales, chord progressions and arpeggios in common keys. All this is set within a supportive environment where lessons come alive through creative assignments and group improvisations. (Variable credits)

MC 330 Radio and Web Broadcasting: Informing, Educating, and Transforming the World with a Vision of Unbounded Possibilities
This is a practical course, emphasizing hands-on production for radio and Web broadcasting. Student will research, write, record, produce and edit original radio projects. Students may work on journalistic or creative projects with a commercial or non-commercial orientation. They will develop on-air skills such as presenting, reporting, and interviewing. Sound is a powerful form of expression; through sound alone we can tell a story which moves an audience or takes them to another world by stimulating their imagination. The creative power as well as the story telling power of radio will therefore be fully explored in this course. A unique feature of this course is that it offers students the opportunity of broadcasting their radio projects on KRUU-FM. Lab fee $40. (4 credits)

MUS 399 Directed Study

This course is for self-directed, disciplined students who are unable to take the regular course due to extraordinary circumstances.Prerequisite: consent of the Creative Musical Arts faculty. (variable credits)

ENSEMBLES OFFERED SEMESTER-LONG

 

MUS 202 Chamber Singers of Southeast Iowa: Creating Harmony of Individuality Within a Larger Wholeness

For students with choral experience or singing experience who can read music. This group performs two concerts annually and affords an opportunity to further develop musicianship skills, listening skills, vocal technique, and professionalism in an advanced choral ensemble. Students will have exposure to a varied repertoire and a cappella literature. Opportunities for solo and small ensemble work are available. Students will develop confidence and a deeper connection to the self as they appreciate their role in the context of a larger musical wholeness. This ensemble meets weekly with occasional extra rehearsals during the semester and preceding concerts. Audition is required. (1 credit, may be repeated for credit)

 

MUS 207 Creative Music Ensemble: Accessing the Creative Flow

The goal of this group is to develop our personal musical voice. Musicians from all backgrounds and genres are welcome. We play and study masterworks of diverse styles, and also practice creative techniques using a very “user-friendly,” trans-stylistic method that easily elicits the creative flow. This allows today’s musician to access the invaluable expressive skill of improvisation, which exists at the root of all of the world’s music traditions. The only prerequisite is an open mind toward one's own latent abilities to be creative. (variable credits; may be repeated for credit)

MUSIC LESSONS OFFERED SEMESTER-LONG


MUS 101 Basic Music Instruction: Music is an Experience of Bliss

The goal of music lessons is the experience that music is ultimately and fundamentally an experience of bliss. In the words of Maharishi Mahesh Yogi: "Music originates where unity starts to swing in the bliss of its own unbounded existence." This semester-based course in instrumental or vocal instruction is for students who are committed to practicing a minimum of 30 minutes per day. This course generally includes 12 lessons, although instructors may vary this structure as needed. Audition may be required. (0.5 credit; may be repeated for credit) Fees vary according to the instructor

MUS 201 Intermediate Music Instruction: Music is an Experience of Bliss

The goal of music lessons is the experience that music is ultimately and fundamentally an experience of bliss. In the words of Maharishi Mahesh Yogi: "Music originates where unity starts to swing in the bliss of its own unbounded existence." This semester-based course in instrumental or vocal instruction is for students, who are committed to practicing a minimum of 1-2 hours per day. This course generally includes 12 lessons, although instructors may vary this structure as needed. Audition may be required. (1 credit; maybe repeated for credit) Fees vary according to the instructor; some scholarship may be available

MUS 202 Chamber Singers of Southeast Iowa: Creating Harmony of Individuality Within a Larger Wholeness
For students with choral experience or singing experience who can read music. This group performs two concerts annually and affords an opportunity to further develop musicianship skills, listening skills, vocal technique, and professionalism in an advanced choral ensemble. Students will have exposure to a varied repertoire and a cappella literature. Opportunities for solo and small ensemble work are available. Students will 
develop confidence and a deeper connection to the self as they appreciate their role in the context of a larger musical wholeness. This ensemble meets weekly with occasional extra rehearsals during the semester and preceding concerts. (1 credit —may be repeated for credit) Prerequisite: audition

MUS 206 Musical Artist Development: Developing More Refined Levels of Expression Through Musicianship, Singing, Songwriting & Performance

This course is meant to help students access deeper levels of creativity from within and apply it to their musical art/craft. It is for serious students who want to progress by taking a holistic approach. We will focus on improving vocals, enhancing levels of songwriting, performance, and musical self-accompaniment. The goal is to help each student become a better artist by developing an understanding of who that “artist” is, exploring aspects of his or her unique vision, and creating self-realization through self-expression. The course also will include live performances, recorded to gauge ongoing success and introduce the concept of self-video recording. (variable credits; maybe repeated for credit)

MUS 207 Creative Music Ensemble: Accessing the Creative Flow
The goal of this group is to develop our personal musical voice. Musicians from all backgrounds and genres are welcome. We play and study masterworks of diverse styles, and also practice creative techniques using a very “user-friendly,” trans-stylistic method that easily elicits the creative flow. This allows today’s musician to access the invaluable expressive skill of improvisation, which exists at the root of all of the world’s music traditions. The only prerequisite is an open mind toward one's own latent abilities to be creative. (variable credits —may be repeated for credit)
 
 
 
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