My music criticism class

I’ve been preparing for tomorrow’s session, so this class is on my mind. It’s a graduate course at Juilliard, about music criticism. Last year my students were half classical musicians, and half jazz musicians; it looks like the mix this year will be pretty much the same. Which, if I’d expected it, might have led me to change what I teach a little. But on the other hand, the curriculum I made up seems to work, and the jazz students last year seemed to get into it. And apparently they recommended the course to their friends, which is really flattering.

If you’d like go see what goes on in the course — and even do the reading yourself — go here. You’ll find the class schedule, with links to the reading. I haven’t finished putting all the reading online yet, so if you want to read something that isn’t yet there, check back in a couple of weeks.

I love teaching, by the way. I probably learn more from doing it than from anything else. And, also by the way, what I was preparing tonight was to talk about some of my own writing that I assigned. I don’t hold myself up as a model; that’s not why I start by assigning my own work. I just think that the students — since we’re going to be dishing criticism all semester long — have ought to know (for better or worse) what kind of critic their teacher has been. And you, too, can read my old reviews, if you follow the links.

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  1. brett says

    Greg: your students are lucky! Nice mix of classic and recent criticism. I wanted to read your outline of how to write a music review but the link in your syllabus just took me back to the syllabus. A couple of other links in the syllabus produced 404s, so you might want to double check all of them. And when I hit the preview button below the comments box, it gave me a blank page. The perils of technology….

    Thanks for the warm words, and the heads-up. I’ve fixed the lnks.

  2. Angie says

    What an interesting class, and not just for music students! It would be great to have something like that for students like me in an arts administration program. So much of an arts manager’s job entails talking about music (or theater, or dance…) without having the actual experience available to reference, yet being convincing enough to gain support.

    Thanks, Angie! One thing I stress in the class is talking about music — we really work on doing that, much more than on writing criticism. Each week I bring in a CD (sometimes the students do), and I ask them to describe the music they hear on it. Not as they’d do it for publication, if they were writiers, but how they’d talk about it to a friend. We really try to sharpen the way we do this, and I say “we” because it can often be hard for me, as well as for the students, and I learn a lot from these exercises.