Syllabus (F22)

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.

Community Agreements

Adopted by Mason School of Music faculty on August 17, 2022

I am committed to being respectful I am committed to respecting the personhood of all community members across sociocultural identities, social status, and affiliation in the School of Music, CVPA, and at Mason. This includes using community members’ preferred names and pronouns. I am committed to respecting others’ artistic professionalism with open and timely communication and input on decision-making whenever appropriate. This atmosphere of respect applies both in-person and across digital media platforms.
I am committed to being an active participant I am committed to participating as actively as I can and will communicate when something is taking away my attention. I understand that active participation may look different for each community member and I trust that each member is showing up to the best of their capacity.
I am committed to using “I” statements and hearing “I” statements I am committed to speaking from my own experience and feelings by using “I” statements rather than generalizing. (I think, I feel, I believe) I am committed to practicing hearing the experiences of historically and institutionally marginalized community members individually. And seeing each community member as individuals who represent themselves and not the whole socio-cultural groups to which they belong.
I am committed to practicing empathy I am committed to appreciating how others may be feeling and thinking. Practicing empathy also means considering how internal and external context, such as societal issues, affects how community members may show up.
I am committed to acknowledging intent, and addressing impact Not all harm that is experienced comes from an intentionally harmful place, often bias-based harm is rooted in stereotypes and prejudice formed through socialization. This doesn’t mean that the harm feels any less hurtful. I am committed to acknowledging the harm intentional or unintentional, tending to the hurt person, and working to prevent future harm. I recognize that there is both burden and value in the contribution of community members with historically marginalized identities.
I am committed to acknowledging the liveliness of language Language and the way we engage with language are contextual and constantly evolving. Our community includes individuals with various cultural identities, ethnic and racial identities, religions, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, and intersecting backgrounds. Having sensitivity to language is essential in cultivating the conditions of inclusion for all community members. As an example, “guys” is often used in addressing groups of people however the phrase is not gender-neutral and may feel exclusionary to some non-binary members in our community (recommended replacements, folks, y’all, everyone).
I am committed to being okay with agreeing and disagreeing respectfully and challenging my assumptions I am committed to the practice of separating the point of view or statement with which I disagree from the person when actively engaging in moments of disagreement. I am committed to the practice of calling in (suspending judgment without shame) instead of calling out (shaming). I will lead with curiosity, listen to understand, and ask for clarity. I recognize that meeting people where they are, requires each of us to do the internal work to challenge our assumptions and build self-awareness of our socialization that is connected to those assumptions.
I am committed to seeking harmony While I will do my best to show up for and with other, I understand that there may be moments of disharmony. I am committed to self-reflection and concern for others and being an instrument of positive change. When moments of discord, dissent, or disagreement happen, I am committed to doing the individual internal work for the co-creation of peace.

Instructor Information

Name: Dr. Lavengood (she/her), pronounced “LAY-ven-good”
Email: mlavengo@gmu.edu
Office: deLaski Performing Arts Building (PAB) A-421 
Communication: I will answer emails within 24 hours. I am also happy to use Teams to chat with you in a channel or one-on-one.

One-on-one appointments

  • Schedule a time here
  • Tuesdays/Thursdays, 10:30–11:30 (no appointment needed), in person or on Zoom
  • Thursdays, 4–5pm (by appointment only)

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:
    1. Analysis skills, through your assignments
    2. Writing skills, through your weekly responses and final paper
    3. Presentation skills, through your video presentations

Prerequisite

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

Organization

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

  • This website is for distributing information about assignments.
  • Microsoft Teams is for communication and collaborative work. You can also use Teams to ask questions to the whole class about assignments, etc.
  • Blackboard is for submitting assignments and receiving grades/feedback.

Schedule

Calendar of Topics

Pace and workload

Due dates are typically Thursdays and Sundays unless otherwise noted—more details are given below in Assignments.

Please keep in mind that a 3-credit-hour class can mean up to 6 hours of work outside of class—this is what is normal and expected across all classes at a university.

Course Materials

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

Recommended (not required):

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 and based on your engagement in the Slack channel each week.
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 you passed 8 of the required 11 homework assignments, your homework grade would be 72% (8 ÷ 11 = .72).
10% – symposium participation
Symposium grades have two components: 1) your individual analysis, and 2) your participation in the group discussion.

  • Your individual analysis will be given a grade according to a rubric; then, you may revise and resubmit your individual analysis as a second attempt. The final grade on your individual analysis will be an average of these two attempts.
  • Your participation in group discussion is another separate grade.
  • Your analysis symposium grade will average individual analysis and participation grades together equally.
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

By Thursday, end of day EST: weekly reading and responses

Most weeks, you will have two readings and/or videos to complete.

On Thursday, please check in on Teams in the Reading Responses channel with some type of response about the readings/videos. You may either make a new post or reply to someone else’s post (both count for this participation grade). You can approach this in a bunch of different ways! You might ask clarifying questions about the reading, summarize an important bit of it, share a related personal anecdote…anything counts, as long as it relates to the reading in some way.

By Sunday at noon EST: written assignment

Most weeks include a written assignment. Assignments for a given topic are due at noon on the Sunday of that week unless otherwise noted. Assignments are submitted on Blackboard, in PDF format.

I ask that you complete seven out of eleven total assignments in this course:

  • The first two assignments (Broadly Applicable Techniques) are required for everyone. There are two other activities associated with the final project that are also required for everyone.
  • The remaining three assignments are up to you to choose. I refer to these as Student Choice Assignments, and they are marked with asterisks (*).
    • You will communicate your selections to me by signing up for exactly three (no more, no fewer) assignments on Blackboard.
    • Consider several factors when you decide which three Student Choice Assignments to take (and feel free to talk things over with me):
      • What topics interest you?
      • What repertoire might you like to study for your final project?
      • Do you have any personal conflicts with the due dates on a specific week that would make it hard for you to complete the assignment?

Analysis 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 and divide students into groups. Within each group, half will do one piece, and half will do the other.

  1. You will begin with individual analyses. Make a video explaining what you discovered in the piece.
    • The video should be at least 5 minutes long, but no more than 10.
    • I would like to see your face in the video, because in an online class, I think that’s helpful for understanding that we’re all humans and not just names on a screen (but if you can’t do this for some reason, just discuss with me).
    • Note that this is an individual analysis, so you should not be collaborating with your group mates yet.
  2. By Thursday end-of-day, submit this video in two places: uploading/linking in your designated Teams channel and uploading on Blackboard (read more on submitting a video on Blackboard). The Teams channel is for discussion with your peers, while Blackboard is for evaluation and grading by me.
  3. After submitting their individual analysis, each group member will discuss how their findings interact with those of the other members. Use the chat function in the Teams channel to do this.
    • Approach discussion like a chat conversation rather than a response essay—ask people questions, wait for their replies—just have a conversation! Don’t be too stiff.
    • Try to do this as soon as possible after all videos are submitted, to allow plenty of time for back-and-forth interactions. Your group may find it helpful to set expectations for when people will submit initial responses (i.e., make sure not everyone submits at the last minute).
    • Be sure you have something to say to each person that shows that you understood their analysis.
    • I’ll evaluate these discussions on Sunday afternoon, but again: please do not wait until the last minute to do this—everyone needs time to receive, understand, and respond to discussion. Timeliness in responding is part of your grade.
  4. If you wish, after discussion, you may revise your individual analysis in light of what you learned during the group discussion.
    • Submit your revisions in the same place as your original on Blackboard, as a second attempt.
    • Your revised content can be a new video if you like, or you may submit something written if that’s easier.
    • Separate from your analysis, in the “comments” box on Blackboard, you must accompany your analysis with a paragraph explaining how the discussion influenced your revisions.
    • Your revised grade will be averaged with your original grade.

Late work policy

In general, I can work with you on late work as long as you communicate with me ahead of time. That said, weekly responses need to be timely, as discussion can’t flourish if everyone waits until the last minute. One other caveat is that if you submit something late, I cannot promise a prompt grade.

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.