Syllabus

Last updated on August 30th, 2019 at 06:00 pm GMT.

Inclusivity in Learning

Your success in this class is important to me. We will all need accommodations because we all learn differently. If there are aspects of this course that prevent you from learning or exclude you, please let me know as soon as possible. Together we’ll develop strategies to meet both your needs and the requirements of the course.

I encourage you to visit Disability Services to determine how you could improve your learning as well. If you need official accommodations, you have a right to have these met. If you have a documented learning disability or other condition that may affect academic performance you should: 1) make sure this documentation is on file with Disability Services (SUB I, Rm. 4205; 993-2474; http://ds.gmu.edu) to determine the accommodations you need; and 2) talk with me to discuss your accommodation needs.

Course Information

Goals

  1. Review techniques of analysis that music theorists commonly use
  2. Critique and apply academic music theory literature
  3. Develop several crucial skills for the professional musician: a) analysis skills, through your assignments; b) writing skills, through your weekly responses; c) presentation skills, through your video presentations

Prerequisite

MUSI 501, 502, and 516 or appropriate score on graduate placement exam.

Schedule

Organization and Pace

This is a fully online course, with different “venues” for different activities.

  • Information is distributed through this website, www.musi611.meganlavengood.com.
  • Individual assignments are submitted/graded on Blackboard.
  • Collaborative work will be done through our Slack page, musi611f19.slack.com. You can also use Slack to ask questions to the whole class about assignments, etc.

Due dates are typically Wednesdays, Fridays, and Sundays—more details are given below in Assignments.

Check your email at least once per day. Remember that email is my primary way of communicating with you.

Calendar of Topics

Instructor Info

  • Name: Dr. Megan Lavengood
  • Email: mlavengo@gmu.edu
  • Office: deLaski Performing Arts Building (PAB) A-421
  • Drop-in or virtual office hours: Tuesday and Thursday, 11:00–12:00 PM, or by appointment. Schedule a time at this link calendly.com/mlavengo or use your phone to scan the QR code to the right.

Course Materials

  • There is no required text. Materials will be accessible online or on our readings page.
  • You should have access to a microphone and camera for video chatting and making videos of yourself.

Recommended (not required):

  • Spotify (app)
  • An app for making black-and-white .pdf scans from your phone. I recommend ABBYY FineScanner, which has a free version suitable for our purposes. I have also used CamScanner.

Grading

Your grades and rubrics will be on Blackboard.

Weighting

Expand each category for more details on how the grade is calculated.

20% – virtual participation
Participation is pass/fail. Posting your response is one grade, and posting your peer comments is another separate grade.
20% – weekly assignments
  • Weekly assignments are graded pass/fail, where anything above 70% is a passing grade.
  • Your assignments grade will be equal to the percentage of assignments you passed. For example: if there were 4 assignments, and you passed 3, your homework grade would be 75% (3 ÷ 4 = .75).
10% – symposium participation
Symposium grades have two components: 1) your individual submission, and 2) your participation in the group meeting.

  • Your individual submission will be given a grade according to a rubric; then, you may revise and resubmit your individual analysis to improve your grade. The final grade will be averaged together.
  • Your participation in the group meeting is another separate grade.
  • Your analysis symposium grade will average these together.
50% – final project (15% video, 35% paper)
The final project is the majority of your grade, so your grade may change significantly bsaed on your performance on this project.

Letter grades

93–100: A
90–92: A−
87–89: B+
80–86: B

Assignments

Weekly assignments

With few exceptions, each week will have the same assignment structure and due dates, as follows.

By Wednesday, end of day

Most weeks, you will have two readings to complete. On Wednesday, you should submit a reading response that discusses these readings, posted to your group’s “blog” on Blackboard.

Responses should be about 500 words. They are NOT to summarize the readings, but rather to provide your personal take on the readings. While these may be written somewhat conversationally, be sure to remain diplomatic and professional. Feel free to use the first person (I, my, me, etc.).

By Friday, end of day

You will write ~250-word replies to the reading responses posted on Friday by other students in your group. You should write one comment for each person. Address your comments directly to the author, like a letter.

By Sunday, end of day

You will submit your weekly analysis assignments on Sundays. Assignments are submitted on Blackboard, in .pdf format.

Symposia

A few times during the semester, we will have group projects that I call “analysis symposia.” On symposium weeks, you will not have any additional reading. Instead, you will practice implementing the techniques you have already learned.

For each symposium, I will assign two pieces. Groups will be formed based on your availability, so that synchronous meetings can be scheduled. Within each group, half will do one piece, and half will do the other. You will begin with individual analyses that you submit to each other and to me. The individual analysis earns a grade independent from the group work.

The next assessment occurs during a virtual meeting with your group and myself that occurs over video chat. Prior to this meeting, you should look over the work of the other group members to prepare for a fruitful discussion. During the meeting, I will ask each group member to discuss how their findings interact with those of the other members. Your participation in this discussion will earn another grade.

After the discussion, I will grade both your discussion and your individual analysis. If you wish, you may revise your individual analysis in light of what you learned during the group discussion. You must accompany your analysis with a paragraph explaining how the discussion influenced your analysis. Your revised grade will be averaged with your original grade.

Late work policy

This course has a heavy workload, so I encourage you to keep up with the assignments. I often do not accept late work, but I will work with you if you need to turn in an analysis assignment late due to extenuating circumstances provided that you contact me in advance.

Late work can compromise the activities that rely on group work, so I cannot accept late work for reading responses, blog comments, or certain symposium assignments.

Final project

In the final project, you will analyze a piece of your own choosing, demonstrating your understanding of techniques learned in class.

The final project has two components: a video and a final paper.

Details on the content of the project may be found here.

Mason policies

Honor code

Mason is an honor code university. Read the honor code here.

Title IX

As a faculty member and designated “Responsible Employee,” I am required to report all disclosures of sexual assault, interpersonal violence, and stalking to Mason’s Title IX Coordinator per university policy 1412. If you wish to speak with someone confidentially, please contact the Student Support and Advocacy Center (703-380-1434), Counseling and Psychological Services (703-993-2380), Student Health Services, or Mason’s Title IX Coordinator (703-993-8730; cde@gmu.edu).

Privacy

Students must use their MasonLive email account to receive important University information, including communications related to this class. I will not respond to messages sent from or send messages to a non-Mason email address.