Based on 15 Users
If you are looking for an easy A GE, this course is no longer the case.
Last year, every student has 49% of the final grade devoted to homework portion, which is an online quiz system that can be repeated several times to get 100%.
This year, 10% is for attendance and 90% is for exams. So if you don't spend time studying this course, you can't get an A. If you have some background in music, you probably end up with an A-.
Here is some stats:
Last year: | This year
97+ A+ 33 | 3
93+ A 85 | 58
91+ A- 39 | 59
And he misleadingly wrote to us that "If you are above 88, you are in good shape." for the first midterm. I thought he would curve the class to give the same amount of A, but it turned out that I was so wrong about this and I should really PNP this class before it was too late. Remember 5 units have a huge impact on your GPA.
For every physical science and engineering majors:
IT'S STUPID TO WASTE YOUR GPA ON THIS CLASS!!!!!!
However, if you do PNP, you don't need to study at all to pass this course.
Oh BTW, I talked about the distribution issue with the professor, and he mentioned that students from Winter 16 performed better. Wow! But students with better performance received lower grades!!!! He refuse to accept this fact.
I suggest him to cap the maximum score to somewhere slightly lower than 100 to boost everyone's grade slightly. For example, if I score 90 / 100 in the exam, I would receive 94.7% of the score if the max score were set to 95. This is a very common strategy in math classes using absolute grading scheme.
However, he refused to change anything. I feel sorry for myself and for every other one who took the class this quarter. You should have taken it in Winter 15. LoL.
if you have a background in music, this will be an easy A for you. if you have a background in music AND know basic music theory, this will be rediculously easy for you. if you have no musical background, this might be a bit of a challenge. still worth taking regardless
I have to agree with the previous evaluation that this course might be a little rough for those who have not had any musical experience before (like studying some sort of musical theories, or at least playing an instrument).
However, I personally do not think that it should be a considerable factor in how well you will do in class.
Reading: At least read part 1 thoroughly. You can skim other parts, but at least read thoroughly part 1 because the terminologies in part 1 will be very important to you in understanding the concepts of other parts.
Homework: 40% of the grade, and the only time you cannot get 100% on the homework is to not do it or do it incompletely... The homework is lengthy, but it is free points...
Tests: 25% for Midterm, 35% for Final. The final is considerably easier than the midterm (midterm is actual multiple choice(s), when the final is true/false). Each test composes of two parts: listening and theory parts. So, how can you do well in tests? Take very detailed notes during lectures and study thoroughly the study guides. The study guides are important because they contain everything you need for the theory portion of the test (yes, everything! Okay, like 90%). And pay attention in lectures. Take detailed notes, especially notes about the songs played in lectures because those will be played again for the listening portion of the test. Get familiarized with the songs! In addition, the theory portion also contains a couple of questions about things that are happening in lectures.
Note: the grade distribution curve shown above is very misleading. Here is the grade distribution for my class (Fall 2013):
A : 33.1%
B : 23.8%
Below B: 2.1%
In overall, great class! I would highly recommend it! But remember, study thoroughly the study guides, take detailed notes in lectures, and get familiarized with the songs played in lectures! Do not miss any lectures!
I hope this evaluation helps!
First of all, this class is a relatively easy class to get an A in, IF YOU HAVE PRIOR EXPERIENCE IN MUSIC. I personally have training in piano and violin, so the actual musical theory & history portions as well as most of the vocab was familiar to me.
However, this class is not for you if you like to skip lectures. You MUST attend lecture because a lot of what you are tested on is only covered in lecture. Both midterm and final exam have listening and MC portions, with the listening being worth more points per question, but only comprising maybe 1/4-1/3 of the questions. The midterm is actually harder than the final exam, because the final is COMPLETELY T/F questions. I would say that my biggest problem with his exams are that some questions are kind of ambiguous. For example, an example of a question that asks if there is ostinato might sound "kind of" like it, but not really. If something like this happens, er on the side of yes, that there is ostinato.
For me, my biggest problem was that I kept falling asleep because of all the relaxing music Rutenberg kept playing. This is bad. Do not do it. Take good, detailed notes. When he is playing a piece, he will talk about it. TAKE DOWN WHAT HE SAYS AS NOTES. THIS IS WHAT YOU GET TESTED ON DURING THE LISTENING PORTIONS. I personally found it easier to use a computer for the class because Rutenberg sometimes jumps around or goes on tangents, so it's easier to go back and edit.
Your homework is absolutely useless other than giving you free points. All you have to do is open a tab with the outline, and then do your quiz on another one. I seriously did not use the homework for any studying and still got an A. For studying, look over your notes, and especially notes taken during listening portions. Just keep on rereading.
I really enjoyed this course, but despite having 10+ years as a musician, I still found it a bit challenging. It's not easy, but I felt that it was fair. There is still a fair amount of reading and studying that needs to be done to do well in the course. Grade breakdown for the class - 40% final, 25% midterm 1, 25% midterm 2, 10% section attendance. Exams were fair - each consisted of a listening portion and a conceptual portion. The first midterm was slightly more difficult as it was mostly multiple choice with some true/false questions. The second midterm and final were all true/false, and were much easier. Professor Rutenberg also made study guides for each unit that were extremely helpful in studying for the exams. The tips for doing well in this class are:
1. Go to lecture - Professor Rutenberg presents the listening examples and explains what to listen for in lecture. I don't understand how people could not go to lecture and still expect to get an A. It doesn't work for this class. During lecture, I highly advise taking detailed notes on what he says about each listening example.
2. Take some time to understand basic music theory. You should at least know what major/minor scales and what the tonic/dominant/leading tones of a scale are. Intervals are also important to know too. Professor Rutenberg covers a lot of this in class as background as to what to listen for. Basic music theory (basically melody, rhythm, harmony form, color, texture) is important for understanding each historical era.
3. Don't be late to exams. Professor Rutenberg has a strict on time policy for his exams. If you are late, he has the right not to let you take the exam. Alternatively, he could let you take the exam while having a TA mark a portion of the exam that you are not allowed to answer.
4. Don't expect a curve. He never mentioned one, and I studied hard as if there were no curve. It's hard to justify one when no one failed the course, 120/246 (48.7%) received an A- or higher, and another 121 students received a B-, B, or B+. Also, I didn't get 100% on all the exams. 89/100 on exam 1, 94/100 on exam 2 (90/100 on 2A, 100/100 on 2B)*, and 97/100 on the final. Still got an A. The questions aren't that difficult, as long as you study the study guides, listen to the examples closely for the concepts discussed in lecture, and go to lecture and discussion.
*The professor added a second part to the second midterm which was taken right before the final because too many people bombed the listening-only portion of the second midterm. Exam 2A was weighted as 60% of exam 2, and exam 2B was weighted as 40% of exam 2.
Rutenberg is a decent lecturer, though he can sometimes be a little too subjective and go off on tangents. He seemed rather stuck-up, but was overall approachable and did offer many opportunities for struggling students to catch up.
In terms of the difficulty, coming from a full musical background with a large amount of theory and history knowledge, this class was completely manageable for me, even without studying. I got 96/100 on Midterm 1, 75/100 on Midterm 2A, 100/100 on Midterm 2B, and 95/100 on the final, with minimal effort. In the quarter that I took this class, Rutenberg removed homework from the grading scheme altogether. Even though he said that homework was necessary to do to succeed in the class, there were only a few concepts that weren't covered in lecture that were on the exams.
On the other hand, the curve is rather tough. If you're looking for an easy A, this might not be the class for you if you don't have a musical background. The cutoff was 92-93%, and missing a few listening questions could prove to be a huge problem to your grade. Also, watch out for curveballs in the exam structure. Due to unforeseen circumstances, Rutenberg changed the exam date of our second midterm to 9th week, and made it 20 T/F questions. This caught me off-guard and I ended up receiving a lower grade on that exam. However, he did make up for it by having us take a "Midterm 2B" on the day of the final, which was designed to boost our grades from that midterm.
Discussions are quite helpful, and honestly, they were pretty fun. The TA was engaging and explained things clearly, and played lots of musical examples to help guide us in what to listen for on the exams, and one even took the time to hold review sessions during the middle of finals week.
Overall, I would recommend taking this class regardless of whether you're a musician or not, because it's a very interesting insight into musical history and the nuances of the music you hear every day. However, it probably won't be an "easy A," so make sure to review things if you're not getting them the first time.
Not an enjoyable class for students without a musical background. If you do not read notes and have familiarity with the lingo, then its gonna be a rough 4 hours every week (2 hours lectures get long and only brighten up with the occasional Beatles song or something). All in all it is doable because HW is easy and a large portion of your grade but it will take days to finish and it will force you to learn some things but pretty much just wastes your time. Soooo if you have a music background, go for this class, if not consider elsewhere.