Small Group Musicking


Event Responses

SSU Concerts

Listening Responses

How to Listen

Multimedia Resources



TU-TH 4:00-5:15

Ives 119


Will Johnson


Ives 17





OFFICE HOURS: , Tu 2:15-3:00; Thurs 11:00-12:00 or by appointment

If you are having difficulty with the material, or with any aspect of the class, or just want to speak with me for any reason, please come in and discuss the situation. I also urge you to connect with me via e-mail; I check the above address daily and respond immediately. If you must see me in person and cannot come at one of the assigned times, see me before class, call me or send an e-mail to arrange another time.


Music 270 satisfies 3 units of lower division General Education in category C4 (Comparative Perspecitves); it can also be a lower division elective for Music Majors. Music majors wishing to count the course as a lower division elective in the major must take the course for a grade; non-majors may take the course CR/NC.


Allaudin Mathieu: The Listening Book

Christoph Cox and Daniel Warner (editors): Audio Culture

Both texts are available in the campus bookstore.

Other readings, listening and video required are on the web. Supplemenatary class listening and video resources are housed in the Multi-Media section of the Tech Center.




to use music making as a tool for learning


to examine underlying relationships between the organization of, practice of and value given to music in a culture and that culture's social organization and values


to explore a number of approaches to musical making, drawn from Western and non-Western cultures past and present


to study ways in which music is used, and has been used, as both a means of preserving and a means of challenging various aspects of social organization


to explore the significance of the radical changes in musical style, in the uses of music in society and in the dissemination of music that have taken place in the last 100 years



This class does not exist in a textbook! Participation in class music making activities and in-class listening and discussions provide an essential part of your learning. For that reason, I take attendance every day with a sign-in sheet. See Attendance Policy below.

Individual Musicking

At the beginning of the semester, the Doodling Piano Piece Response Paper (2 % of your class grade) sets the stage for much varied individual musicking.

The Listening Book includes a number of activities--some simple, some more complex, but none demanding any prior music background--designed to seduce you into individual musicking . These activities also provide a point of departure for small group or class music making activities..

Small Group Musicking

At the beginning of class, you will be assigned to a small group of 5 students to to work together making music throughout the semestec. Each group will present your music twice during the semester to the class. See Small Group Musicking for more information.

Class Musicking

Frequently throughout the semester, we will use class time to make music together; this is our opportunity to explore how a large group of people making music acts as a society in miniature.

Event Attendance

You must attend ten events involving music during the semester and write a response to each. See Event Responses for guidelines and format for responses.

Outside Listening

You are expected to do 2 hours per week of listening to music appropriate to our work that week (except for weeks devoted to Small Group Presentations). You submit 10 Listening Responses during the semester to your outside listening; . See Schedule for due dates for Listening Responses. See Listening Responses for details and format for the responses.

I encourage you to use online resources for your listening. I have also provided material in the library on reserve for each week.

To receive credit for Listening Responses, your weekly listening must be to material related to our week's activities. Check the Multimedia Resources for list of recordings and videos appropriate for each week. If you do your listening online, make sure you choose similar materials online.


The Listening Book is is the basis for weekly responses. Doing the actitivies in the book and writing responses to both the text and the individual activities is a part of the Journal.

Essays in Audio Culture are assigned throughout the semester to complement--or often to confound--class activities.


An on-going response to readings, individual musicking and special listening activities, and the place you keep all other work for the class. The Journal is submitted twice during the semester. See Journal for details.

Personal Essays

Explorations of how you use music. See My Most Memorable Musical Experiene, and My Most Common Musical Ritual on the Journal. page for specific requirements. Personal Essays are submitted as a part of the Journal.


Musicking--making our own music music, individually and in groups, by listening and by joining in, as a model for living as an individual and in society--is the work of this class. There are no exams or term papers. Assignments are process oriented rather than product oriented. What you submit in written form, or what you do in a class performance, will be viewed as a record of, or presentation of, a learning through personal experience, rather than a demonstration of acquired knowledge or skill. Thorough and thoughtful completion of assignments on time and as described will earn you the points for that assignment assigned above.

Note, though, that excessive absence from class, work not completed, late work or work poorly presented (not proofread, not following directions, without prior preparation) will, of course, lose credit. See Attendance and Grading Guidelines below


  Doodling Piano Piece Response Paper 02 points


--event responses (10 @ 1 point each)

10 points

--listening reports (10 @ 1 point each)

10 points


--Listening Book Responses (2 @ 8 points each)


--Symphony of Place (2 @1 point each)

02 points

--Intensive Listening (2 @ 3 points each)

06 points

--personal essays (2 @ 5 points each)

10 points

--music and education questionss (second submission only)

04 points

--group musicking reports (10 @ 1 point each)

10 points

GROUP PERFORMANCES (2 @10 points )

20 points


10 points



Making music together, in-class listening to and discussion of heard music, and in-class exploration of ideas about the diverse and changing relationships between music and society are a crucial part of this class. If you are not in class, you neither contribute to that part of our work together nor derive the benefit from it.

I take roll each day by having you sign in, using your student ID

If you must be absent, send me an e-mail before the class. If you let me know by e-mail before the next class meeting,, you will be excused from the class. Of course, like work, you are expected to be in class. If you miss more than three classes, I will be contacting you to find out what is happening.

NOTE: If I do not hear from you by the next class meeting, your absence is unexcused. Each unexcused absence subtracts two points from your final grade..


The attendance roster is kept online; you are identified by your student ID number. You should check it periodically to make certain it is accurate. If there are discrepancies, let me know by e-mail.

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All written work for Music 270 is to be submitted online to mus270s07@aol.com.

Send your work to me as an e-mail (NOT as an attachment). This eliminates all problems with different word processors or operating systems.

It is your responsibility to make sure I receive the work you send to me. I cannot give you credit for work I do not receive.

Make sure you keep TWO copies of the work you do for this class. One should be on your hard drive; the other on a CD or other external storage device. This insures that if you have a computer failure, you have a backup of your work.

The grade roster is kept online; you are listed by your student ID number. I will try to send a confirming e-mail as i read your work; but I will often be overwhelmed by the volume of work coming in. If you have submitted work but do not hear back from me within a week of submission, check the grade roster. If the work is not recorded, send me an e-mail inquiry about it. I will always answer these e-mails as soon as I see them.

Though you are submitting your work for this class in e-mails, the style of writing should be the same as for written work submitted in hard copy.

In particular, e-mail-speak is NOT appropriate for work you submit. The tone of your writing need not be formal, especially for book responses, Symphonies of Place and Intensive Listening; but all written work should be carefully proofread and should conform to standard rules of grammar, punctuation and syntax.

Please be sure to include your name in any e-mail you send to me. Your e-mail address may or may not include that information--it saves considerable time if I do not have to look up your name on the e-mail list. Thanks in advance for your help.


Written work should be submitted by class time on the date it is due. I accept all work, no matter how late; but work submitted after the due date is subject to loss of credit.

Written work which does not follow guidelines for presentation--format, what is to be included--will lose credit. Make sure, before you complete any assignment, that you have read and understand the instructions for completing that assignment.

Poorly written or poorly proofread written work will lose credit.

In-class small group presentations cannot be made up; in case of illness, they may be excused.

There is no student-initiated extra credit available in this class.


If you have a disabling condition that may substantially limit your ability to participate in this class, please contact the Disabled Student Services office in Salazar 1049, phone at 664-2677, for confidential assistance and accomodation authorization.



If you have never made music before, do not be alarmed. You will discover in this class that you are a musicker-- a music maker--even if you don't know it! There truly are NO prerequisites for the class. You do not need to have ever played any instrument; you do not need to be able to read music, or sing, or keep a steady beat; nor will your grade depend in any way on your level of musical skills acquired during the semester. Our approach to music making will focus on processes for making music--musicking--rather than on finished products.

My goal is that every student leaves this class knowing, throught their own experience, that musicking--active music making--is a life-sustaining activity open to everyone, and that each of you decides to make musicking an important part of the rest of your life.