Paul de Castro
Based on 28 Users
This is definitely an ESAY A GE, and it is the EASIEST CLASS I've ever taken at UCLA.
Let me put it in this way: I only went to the lecture ONCE this quarter, and I literally didn't study for this class throughout the entire quarter, and I end up with an A+. You can find answers very easily for the quizzes and the exams. You DONT NEED TO STUDY FOR THIS CLASS, literally! The only time-consuming thing is the paper, but should take you less than three nights. Overall, this class is a guaranteed A class and you dont need to spend a single minute on the material. Easiest class ever, and absolutely worthy to take!
This was perhaps the easiest yet most interesting class I’ve taken so far. Besides the fact that it was a morning class which made me and others quite tired, the content is kind of interesting especially if you like music. Every lecture is mainly about a style of music, different artists and their history, and the music they composed. He also plays some documentaries which aren’t important to watch but can sometimes be interesting. The midterm and final are really easy as all the questions are identifying songs that he plays by their title, style of music or composer/performer. Just make sure to know your music, which ends up being about 70-80 songs by the final. Besides a 5-10 page essay which was graded very generously, the only work you have to do is listen to music and remember the songs. It’s helpful to review lecture notes before the exams but the music matters a whole lot more. My TA Juan was also very nice and doesn’t assign much work. He focuses on the actual music and the way its played, which is interesting and different from what is taught in class. The TAs also assign different work so this may be different for some. Overall, I absolutely loved this class as it was probably the easiest and wasn’t even that boring. 10/10 would recommend
This class is super easy. Literally no homework and the weekly quizzes you get unlimited tries so its not even hard lol. You did have to buy some online textbook which was about 60 bucks and that's where you took the quizzes/ read the textbook.
There's one short essay worth 10% where you had to respond to a prompt in 5-6 pages. It was graded pretty leniently and could be done in one setting. My TA Juan was very chill and gave no additional work compared to some of the other TAs.
Midterm and final was mostly just some history questions and song recognition where you had to know the name of song, compose, or singer/ instrument player. As long as you copied the slides word for word and study those you'll literally be fine. Just memorize the songs too and the exams are easy As.
Definitely recommend this course to fulfill a GE though topics in the class was pretty boring and Professor De Castor didn't make it super interesting either lol. However super light work and easy A so 10/10 recommend.
Easiest class ever. Very interesting material if you appreciate jazz. Prof. de Castro doesn't post the slides online, so it's best to attend the lecture. During the lecture, he plays music that you must memorize (the music is posted online). The grade is based on participation, an essay, a midterm and a final. The midterm and final both consist of multiple-choice questions about general facts from the slides or who composed or performed a piece. Those questions correspond to music that he plays during the exams. Fun class, fun discussion, easy GE!
This class is a really great GE and Professor De Castro was an amazing lecturer. Since it was a 9am class, I agree that at times it was a little boring, because all we did was copy the slides down , watch documentaries, and listen to music. The music that we get to listen to in this class is fantastic. Before every lecture of every week, he will post listenings that we have to know, and make sure you know them by the midterm and final. You will be responsible for knowing about 70 to 80 songs when finals roll round. Quick advice: stay on top of the listening because some of the songs are harder to distinguish from others. But all in all, this class was an easy A. You will get to learn cool stuff , get an A, and worry more about your harder classes. Also, depending on your TA, you will also have an assignment every week due before discussion or you do an activity in discussion. It can get annoying sometimes with those activities, but the class is worth it.
Like every other comment, this class was very very easy if you try. Textbook is low key useless. prof puts all the important info on the slides anyways. Participation is 20% and quizzes are 20%. Participation is just graded on attendance to section and the quizzes have unlimited attempts. So that's essentially a free 40%. The other 60% was comprised of a final, a midterm, and a 5-6 page paper. Midterm/Final were mostly song recognition question sprinkled in with history questions. Just memorize the songs and take notes and you should be fine. The paper also wasn't that bad. Rorke was my TA and he did a very good job of explaining the week's content. De Castro's lectures were sometimes kinda dry, but it's zoom school so I don't blame him. Overall, this GE was super fun and easy. As a person who knows close to nothing about jazz, it was interesting seeing the evolution of jazz and how the genre of music changed throughout the US.
If you had any interest in jazz, this class will kill it. Yes, you read that right. It will KILL IT. I was very fascinated by jazz and its influence and place in music and history, but even though I learned more after attending every single lecture in this course and reading the course material, it was the way the material was taught that made me turn my interest and liking towards jazz into dislike.
The lecture is not mandatory, but the professor does not post the slides online. If you are lucky, you can get the notes from someone else in the course. I personally attended every single lecture, even though it really dragged on. More than half of the lecture time was spent on the professor playing these long compositions. Another portion of the lecture was towards archival footage and documentaries, and only a short amount of time was spent on the content. The professor didn't add too much information apart from what he read off of his slides.
The discussion section was lame. It felt like a true waste of time because it didn't prep us for the tests. My TA was nice though. There are assigned readings for the course via the textbook, but they were unnecessary. You can find the book online for free.
I took this class because I thought the grade distribution looked kinda nice. After the midterm, I had fooled myself. The midterm consists of multiple-choice listening examples. It seems easy enough, but if you are just getting familiar with jazz and the various musicians and styles, it can become very confusing. Hence why people say that all jazz sounds the same. I listened to at least over 200 hours of jazz for this class. I'm going to push it and say over 300 hours, at least.
If you want to save your sanity and be able to listen to other music other than jazz for an entire quarter, DO NOT TAKE THIS COURSE, and yes, I know that I got an A+, but it was not worth any of my time. If you need this class to fulfill a major requirement, go ahead.
10%- 5-7 page paper (this should be worth at least 25% IMO)
30%- Midterm Exam
40%- Final Exam
If you have any interest in jazz music, I'd recommend taking this class. I took it as a GE, and I discovered some really great music. The 2 hour lectures in the morning can be draining, but usually there's not too much in the way of notetaking. A good chunk of each lecture is taken up by the professor playing a song or a portion from a documentary. The lectures aren't podcasted and the slides aren't posted online though.
In terms of workload, it's pretty light. There's a paper due towards the end of the course that was graded pretty generously. You do have to keep track of the songs the professors posts though, as they make up the majority of the exams. In the end, the amount of songs amounted to a little over 80, so it is quite a bit, even though most of them are really enjoyable. I'd suggest making a Spotify/Apple Music playlist for easy studying and listening.
Overall, I'd really recommend this class as an easy GE, especially if you have an interest in jazz music.
I found this class very interesting. I knew nothing about jazz coming into class, and now know much more than I thought I would. Be prepared to memorize songs. Most of the questions on the midterm is listening examples. I think there were around 90 songs by the end of the class. This was manageable as long as you listened to them throughout the course and did not wait until the last minute. The lectures were a little boring at times, especially when he played the entirety of a song. Mos to of the questions from the midterm come straight from his slides. The essay was not bad. It was 5-7 pages and you had like 5 prompts to choose from. There was an extra credit opportunity to go see a free jazz concert at UCLA. You get an extra 5 points added to your grade for attending this and writing one page about it.
If you’re looking for an easy, light course load GE I 100% recommend this class. Grades are made up of a 5 page paper (10%), discussion section participation (20%), weekly quizzes (20%), a midterm (20%) and the final (30%).
Lectures are recorded so if you’re in a different time zone or just don’t feel like showing up it won’t count against you. There are required readings almost every week and you have to pay for the book through ucla because it’s the only way you can take the quizzes. As long as you read actively the quizzes are easy, and besides that you can take them an infinite amount of times before the deadline (a week) so there’s no reason to not get all the points. Midterm and final are all MC and mostly ask about the songs you have to memorize.
I had Rivera for discussion and he was okay, I think he took it a little too seriously given that most of us weren’t musicology majors. Each discussion usually consisted of a short easy assignment, sometimes individually and sometimes in break out rooms. As long as you do these you should be fine.