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Extremely boring class. Professor Upton's lectures were always on a tangent and never directly related to the class material. This class was more like a history/sociology course rather than a music history class and there was more discussion on issues such as modern notions of medievalism, the KKK, history, etc. than actual music history. Sure, it's an easy class, but if you want to actually learn something and feel like you want to listen to some interesting lectures, I wouldn't recommend it. On the other hand, our TA Kacie was great!
As a person, I think Upton is wonderful. She was very enthusiastic and friendly and clearly loves music and teaching. Lots of the music we listened to in class was pretty interesting and she posts it on the website to download/study so that's cool. However, this class was organized rather poorly. By the end of the quarter I still had no idea what "medieval music" really was, and I'm not sure how half of what we learned even related to the class.
The class is still fairly easy though. Pretty much everybody got an A on both of the papers you get credit just for posting a on the forum. The midterm consisted of a few music IDs, and they chose fairly obvious pieces to identify. The final was extremely frustrating to study for. She gave us a list of about 60 songs to memorize and 5 essay questions to prepare, which is way more difficult than it sounds. In the end, it's not a hard class and you learn some interesting things, but it's not very fun to study for.
First off, I got an A+ in this class and worked for it. Overall, I think anyone can get and A in this class if they go to lecture and put some effort. I basically agree with the person below. Professor Upton is a good person who obviously loves and geeks out about music; however, she is a bit disorganized and could use improvement for this course. The course is called "Getting Medieval" and by the end of the class I still didn't know what "medieval music" really is. She plays interesting music in class including pop songs and soundtrack music, but half the time I would think "why are we learning/listening to this again?" But she does post her powerpoints after lecture.
Also this class was a bit more work than I imagined (I took Music History of Bach and loved it way more that this one). We have readings (sometimes 60+ pages!) and forum posts regarding the readings due every week. This is around 20% of your grade I think so they basically are easy points if you put the effort into it. There are also 2 papers which the grade is totally dependent on how your TA grades it. My TA was extremely nice with the grades and mostly everyone got As on their papers. Then there is the midterm and final that have listening portions. The midterm was extremely easy compared to the final because the final also involved short answers.
I loved this class. I've always loved the Beatles' music, and this class made me like them even more.
This class isn't super hard, but you have to attend lectures to get an A; the things she goes over is on the midterm/final, and I thought it was pretty predictable what she was going to ask, based on what she emphasized the most during lecture. Again, GO TO LECTURE!
As for the book, I did some of the reading, but not all of it. You do need it for your essay though.
Your grade definitely depends on your TA. You don't really get an opportunity to see how hard your TA grades, because there's only one assignment - the paper which is worth 25% of your grade. I thought my essay was pretty terrible, but I didn't have time to revise it so I just submitted it as is, and I ended up with a 95 on it. Other TA's might not have been so lenient.
How to study for the midterm/final? They gave us a study guide with a list of key terms and a list of songs. The thing is, 80% of the stuff on that study list is not going to be on the test. I realized this after the midterms. For the songs, you're going to have to know them all, because the song selections aren't as predictable as you think. I suggest making a youtube playlist, and put it on shuffle. Every time a song comes on, guess the title, album, and year it was released. I did that for a good 2 hours, and that part of the test was taken care of. You have to describe the song, either historically or musically, but I'm a musician, so I kinda have an advantage over everybody else, because I basically just analyzed what I heard, and put it on paper. For the key terms, I didn't bother looking at them at all. Instead, I downloaded all the powerpoints, and looked over them. If you went to lectures, things will start coming back to you, and this will help you on writing the short/long answer questions. That's pretty much all I did, and I got a 94 on the final.
Overall, the class was awesome. I missed 2 classes, and missing 2 lectures is a lot of information, so I was a little bit worried, but you're going to have to read the book if you missed lectures. Oh, and of course look at the powerpoint slides. She also had somebody who worked on the Beatles Rock Band game come and talk about the making of the game, which was totally rad. If you like the Beatles, take this class. If you're a songwriter, I really really recommend taking this class - you learn a lot about how the Beatles wrote songs, and actually hear the transformation of a song from a demo, to the finished product. I didn't bother giving a detailed evaluation, because there are plenty of those, but I hope I gave a different viewing angle of the class. Cheers!
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