Course Offerings

FIRST YEAR REQUIREMENTS

During the first year of study, you will be introduced to the art and business of creating and selling recorded music. You will receive introductory music business training and will learn about the history and culture of creative entrepreneurs in recorded music. You will also be introduced to the tools and techniques of recording and will begin to use the recording studio as their creative laboratory.

REMU-UT 0001 Creativity in Context

This course is required, 0 credits.

Clive Davis Institute majors only. Prerequisite: None.

This course will contextualize the holistic core curriculum of the Clive Davis Institute. By linking the Institutes academic disciplines, philosophy and culture to creativity and discovery in practice, a more tangible frame of reference will emerge. The course will offer several colloquium conversations with senior faculty, working artists in music, fine arts, architecture, journalism, fashion, and technology. This exposure will lead students to a better understanding of the relationship between academics and artistic and commercial achievement.

REMU-UT 1020 Fundamentals of Audio Workstations I (FALL ONLY)

This course is required, 2 credits.

There is a lab fee for this course. Clive Davis Institute majors only. Prerequisite: None.

During this course, students will acquire an in-depth, theoretical and practical knowledge of Digital Audio Workstations using the industry standard Pro Tools software through a weekly, lab-based workshop. Each class will be a combination of lecture and immediate application.  An emphasis will be placed on getting to know Pro Tools, getting inside Pro Tools, creating sessions, working with media in sessions, audio recording, audio editing, file management techniques, MIDI recording, editing techniques, mixing techniques, backups and stereo mix-down.

REMU-UT 1040 Engineering the Record I (FALL ONLY)

This course is required, 2 credits.

There is a lab fee for this course. Clive Davis Institute majors only. Prerequisite: None.

Engineering the Record I familiarizes students with the practical aspects of the recording process in the studio by examining the theory, techniques, and science of sound recording.  Students will be introduced to the basics of recording studios and sessions through lectures, demonstrations, supplemental reading and assignments carried out in the studio.  In tandem with learning the mechanics of the process, students begin to develop their critical listening skills and audio vocabulary.  Topics include: the propagation of sound and instrument radiation patterns, hearing and perception, microphones and microphone technique, analog signal flow, and signal processing. 

REMU-UT 1106 Musicianship: Theory & Construction (FALL ONLY)

This course is required, 2 credits.

There is a lab fee for this course. Clive Davis Institute majors only. Prerequisite: None.

This course emphasizes a no-nonsense and demystifying presentation of the three elements of music — rhythm, melody, and harmony. You will review and analyze a variety of musical examples — written and recorded — to demonstrate these concepts with a focus on contemporary western music (everything from the Beatles and Stevie Wonder to Wilco, Radiohead, and Katy Perry). The second half of the course is a practical application of the tools. You will learn how to transcribe rhythms, hear chord progressions, and arrange and compose at a basic level. The goal of the course is to enable you to break down a song competently and have a fuller appreciation of what producers/arrangers/composers/songwriters do — skills you will undoubtedly need for a career in the music industry.

REMU-UT 1201 Creative Music Entrepreneurs in Historical Context (FALL OR SPRING)

This course is required, 4 credits.

Clive Davis Institute majors only. Prerequisite: None.

This 14-week course introduces students to the history of innovative entrepreneurs and institutions in American recorded music. We look at famous executives, managers, producers, performers DJs, and journalists/publishers like Les Paul, Berry Gordy, Florence Greenberg, Phil Spector, George Martin, Quincy Jones, David Geffen, Clive Davis, Sylvia Robinson, Rick Rubin & Russell Simmons, Jay-Z and Steve Jobs. We study how and why the fiefdoms and empires built by these impressive and sometimes controversial icons have transformed the course of popular music. Along the way, students become well versed in the history of 20th and 21st century recorded music, and about various music genres and styles; and we place the art and business of creating and selling recorded music in historical, political, cultural and social context. Throughout, we look at approaches to crafting successful essays on popular music with clear, compelling writing about sound.

REMU-UT 1215 The Business of Music: Industry Essentials (FALL ONLY)

This course is required, 2 credits.

Clive Davis Institute majors only. Prerequisite: None.

This course provides a comprehensive overview of the music business as a business, its structure, day-to-day business activities, contemporary trends and developments, deals, key players and companies across different business segments. The application of contemporary business practices in creativity & innovation, leadership, marketing, branding and finance are explored in relation to music business activities and settings. Focus is also given to music industry career paths and opportunities, preparation, and planning. The end imbues you with a foundation of knowledge, practical, real-world understanding and strategic direction to take your career to the next level.

REMU-UT 1021 Fundamentals of Audio Workstations II (SPRING ONLY)

This course is required, 2 credits.

There is a lab fee for this course. Clive Davis Institute majors only. Prerequisite: REMU-UT 1020 Fundamentals of Audio Workstations I, with a grade of C or better.

Engineering The Record II builds upon the fundamentals of sound recording established in ETR I.  Through a series of discussions, hands-on exercises, and recording sessions, students will refine their skills in the recording studio from the organizational, technical, and creative/artistic points of view. Integrating skills from Critical Listening for The Recording Studio and Writing the Hit Song, student teams will reverse-engineer a well-known recording and reproduce it as a “sound-alike.” Emphasis will be placed on critical listening, preparation, class participation, and teamwork.

REMU-UT 1041 Engineering the Record II (SPRING ONLY)

This course is required, 2 credits.

There is a lab fee for this course. Clive Davis Institute majors only. Prerequisite: REMU-UT 1040 Engineering the Record I, with a grade of C or better.

This course builds upon the fundamentals of sound recording established in Engineering the Record I. Through a series of discussions, hands-on exercises, and recording sessions, you will refine your skills in the recording studio from the organizational, technical, and creative/artistic points of view. Integrating skills from Audio Ear Training and Songwriting for Producers, student teams will reverse-engineer a well-known recording and reproduce it as a “sound-alike.” Emphasis will be placed on critical listening, preparation, class participation, and teamwork. 

REMU-UT 1102 Critical Listening for the Recording Studio (SPRING ONLY)

This course is required, 2 credits.

There is a lab fee for this course. Clive Davis Institute majors only. Pre-requisite: REMU-UT 1106 Musicianship: Theory and Construction, with a grade of C or better. 

In order for the budding producer to realize their potential in the studio, the ability to describe what is being heard and the skill to articulate possible audio issues is a necessity. Critical listening skills take years to develop and this course is designed to speed up the process of creating "Golden Ears" and give the student a head start. Through listening exercises, students will develop critical listening skills.  Using pink noise, students will learn to identify frequency ranges, boosts and cuts in the theoretical as well as in the practical using music.  Weekly drill sets will include: A/B Drills, comparing original recordings with altered versions, identification of time delay, and the onset of reverberation. The course will use the David Moulton's Golden Ears CDs and The Producer as Composer - Shaping the Sounds of Popular Music by Virgil Moorefield as texts. 

REMU-UT 1216 The Business of Music: Creativity, Innovation, & Entrepreneurship (SPRING ONLY)

This course is required, 2 credits.

Clive Davis Institute majors only. Prerequisite: REMU-UT 1215 The Business of Music: Industry Essentials, with a grade of C or better.

The broad aims of this course are to introduce students to the practical aspects of entrepreneurship in the music industry, the skills and innovative thinking that empower music entrepreneurs, and the processes and strategies that contribute to entrepreneurial success. Strong emphasis is placed on the development and reinforcement of business knowledge and applied skills through group project work, in-class and out-of-class assignments, interactive class discussions, and self and peer assessments. Students engage with successful music entrepreneurs and gain valuable insights and inspiration to help them pursue their entrepreneurial ideas. Key course themes include: learning to forge music-based ideas in to workable business concepts, failure as an essential prerequisite for learning.

SECOND YEAR REQUIREMENTS

In the second year, you will deepen your understanding of the art and business of creating and selling recorded music. You will have the opportunity to study the “artist,” how musical talent is identified and cultivated, how material is selected and arranged, how a complete album is constructed in the studio, and how the audience and artist have historically influenced each other. Upon completion of a sophomore year review, you will work closely with your faculty advisor to develop a personalized course of study focusing on your area of interest.

REMU-UT 1003 Producing the Record: Side A (FALL ONLY)

This course is required, 4 credits.

There is a lab fee for this course. Clive Davis Institute majors only. Prerequisite: REMU-UT 1041 Engineering the Record II, with a grade of C or better.

This course provides students with the creative skills and theoretical information to work successfully with artists in the recording studio toward the conceptualization and completion of a short EP or full-length LP. By the end of the course, students have the necessary skills to communicate with and produce excellence from musical performers in the recording studio. To that end, this course instructs students in the selection of appropriate musical material, arrangement of the material, the construction of the sound in the studio, and the artistic ensemble of the recorded sound on the completed album. Working first in small groups and then individually, students gain practical experience by recording and mixing sound with professional artists in the studio, under careful supervision. In preparation for the third year, students are asked to consider possible distribution modes for the final product and a range of identifiable publics.  This class also arms students with a working knowledge of the recording techniques of specific genres of popular music. We analyze the recorded repertoire of a diverse range of genres' such as rock, pop, R & B, hip-hop, jazz, blues, country, and electronica, as time permits and according to student needs. Students are asked to purchase a number of "classic" albums in the genre in which they intend to pursue their work, and they deconstruct those albums for aural clues to imagine how they might have been put together in the studio. As time permits, we also visit creative producers in the recording studio to monitor how they work with artists and develop recorded material. 

REMU-UT 1022 Producing Music with Software & Midi (FALL ONLY)

This course is required, 2 credits.

There is a lab fee for this course. Clive Davis Institute majors only. Prerequisite: REMU-UT 1021 Fundamentals of Audio Workstations II, with a grade of C or better.

We live in an age of digital production where so much of today's music is produced with comparatively few tools, and at the heart of the modern production set up, whether in the bedroom of the studio, is software that uses MIDI. One of the most versatile of today’s platforms which can be used in production, live performance, and even as a visual tool is Ableton Live. Ableton is unique amongst the contemporary software programs making music in that it is the only one that was created by working musicians who were looking for a tool that allowed for both the seamless creation of ideas and could also serve as a performance instrument. In the past 15 years, Ableton has played an important role in creating countless tracks and records in numerous genres and the go-to software for live performance, whether for vocalists and bands or for massive spectacles like Cirque du Soleil.  In this course, we will cover Ableton's unique abilities to manipulate audio which make it the preferred platform for remixing and mash-ups. We will cover the fundamentals of the software, explore techniques to program beats, chordal and melodic ideas, as well as cover creative workflow - how to use Ableton to quickly generate ideas for producers and songwriters. Finally, we will discuss its use as a live performance tool for use with live instrumentalists and vocalists, as a DJ tool and even as a VJing tool. 

REMU-UT 1105 Writing the Hit Song (FALL ONLY)

This course is required, 4 credits.

There is a lab fee for this course. Clive Davis Institute majors only, after the song submission process. Prerequisite: None.

Tens of thousands of songs are written every year, yet only a handful of them will live on in the minds of the general public. In three magical minutes, a song can touch millions of people, completely transform the life of the writer, and become the soundtrack of a generation. These are what we call hit songs. In this course, you will explore what differentiates these rare creatures of music from the rest, and most importantly, try to write them. You will creatively and critically discuss songwriting, arrangement, and the logistics of writing a song. This class will draw parallels of successful songs from every generation and genre by treating songwriting as a reliable, learnable craft that emphasizes musical and textual clarity, economy and depth. You will write, co-write, and analyze songs in order to establish and engage your own unique songwriting voice. Class activities include discussion, listening, analysis, creative exploration, collaboration, peer evaluation, arranging, and lots of practice. 

REMU-UT 1203 Artists & Audiences in Historical Context (FALL OR SPRING)

This course is required, 4 credits.

Clive Davis Institute majors only. Prerequisite: REMU-UT 1201 Creative Music Entrepreneurs in Historical Context, with a grade of C or better.

A follow-up complement to the first year required Creative Entrepreneurs in Historical Context course that focused on trailblazing entrepreneurs and producers, Artists and Audiences, like the name implies, considers the history of 20th and 21st century popular music seen through the lens of iconic performers/recording artists, and their dynamic audiences. Through reading and research, we listen to the music and consider the careers and lessons of the pioneers who changed the course of popular music—from Billie Holiday and Louis Armstrong, Frank Sinatra and Elvis Presley, through the giants of Rhythm & Blues, rock, funk, rap, and other genres of the 20th Century, up to today. The course also doubles as a creative music writing course, in which students read some of the most exemplary—at times groundbreaking—samples of music reportage and criticism about performers/recording artists, and then practice critical/creative writing themselves. Every student, regardless of his/her area of specialty, can benefit from learning how to better communicate about pop music performance. With readings and music playlists, in-class discussion and a variety of in-class and out-of-class writing assignments designed to improve technical skill as well as listening, and research abilities, students will enjoy a semester of musical discoveries and writing accomplishments.

REMU-UT 1217 The Business of Music: Creative Marketing Strategies (Fall Only)

This course is required, 2 credits.

Clive Davis Institute majors only. Prerequisite: REMU-UT 1216 The Business of Music: Creativity, Innovation, & Entrepreneurship, with a grade of C or better.

This course introduces music marketing concepts, principles and approaches that musicians, songwriters, record producers, executives and music companies use to optimize their visibility, analyze, target and sell directly to customers and fans. Traditional and nontraditional marketing approaches for retail, distribution, radio, touring and publicity will be examined with an emphasis placed on online tools and strategies, including website and mobile optimization, smartphone and desktop apps, seo, crowdsourcing, live streaming and crowd funding, and their applications. Topics covered include customer behavior, segmentation, research design, market strategy, and branding. Through case studies, discussions, research, lectures, guest speakers and individual/group assignments, students develop industry-focused knowledge and skills that will assist them in formulating a winning go-to market plan for tan entrepreneurial music venture of choice.

REMU-UT 1004 Producing the Record: Side B (SPRING ONLY)

This course is required, 4 credits.

There is a lab fee for this course. Clive Davis Institute majors only. Prerequisite: REMU-UT 1003 Producing the Record: Side A, with a grade of C or better.

The purpose of Producing The Record: Side B is to teach technical proficiency, business self-sufficiency, and creative methodology, in the area of studio music production - better stated as realization. Students are exposed to a variety of complimentary realization methodologies through case studies, traditional lectures, and hands-on exercises. The curricular approach is holistic; with lessons presenting pure music, technical and engineering skills, project management, and historical reference in equal parts. The course is complimented by +/- 40 hours of independent studio time for students (in pairs) to develop their skills as engineers, producers, and discoverers & developers of talent.

REMU-UT 1218 The Business of Music: Incubation & Launch (Spring Only)

This course is required, 2 credits.

Clive Davis Institute majors only. Prerequisite: REMU-UT 1217 The Business of Music: Creative Marketing Strategies, with a grade of C or better

This course provides students with essential knowledge, a framework, the inspiration, and courage to translate their ideas involving music into new business opportunities and startup ventures. Through case studies, project work, reading, research, self-reflection, and interactions with guest speakers, students learn and experience entrepreneurship as a way of thinking and acting, and as a process that leads to new venture creation. The principal focus of this class is on the start-up process and the creation of new ventures that produce value. Students learn key factors associated with venture success and critically evaluate their own prospects for entrepreneurship. Emphasis is given to design thinking approaches, methodologies and tools that can be used to help accelerate ideas and opportunities that students are most passionate about.  

 

The different elements of a business plan are learned in class and through skill-building exercises and writing assignments.   Working alone and in collaboration with others, students take their ideas from concept to launch. By the end, students gain the skills and confidence to effectively communicate, present, and defend their ideas, and a solid methodology to put their ideas into action.

THIRD YEAR REQUIREMENTS

During the third year, you will begin to pursue advanced-level study in business, production, writing, history and emergent media, or musicianship and performance via courses offered through the Clive Davis Institute, as well as through the Stern School of Business; Steinhardt School of Culture, Education and Human Development; and the College of Arts & Sciences.

As a third-year student, you will also have the opportunity to participate in the Institute’s required internship program and become a better citizen of the world by participating in either Recorded Music's mandatory study abroad program in Berlin or one of many study abroad opportunities offered through NYU Global and Tisch Special Programs. If you study abroad in the Fall semester of your third year, you should plan to take the below courses in Spring of your third year, or vice versa.

REMU-UT 1196 MASTERING THE EMERGENT MEDIA LANDSCAPE: PROFESSIONALIZING YOUR WRITING AND STORYTELLING SKILLS (FALL OR SPRING)

This course is required, 2 credits.

Clive Davis Institute majors only. Prerequisite: REMU-UT 1203 Artists & Audiences in Historical Context, with a grade of C or better.

Despite the name of the course, writing about popular music goes far beyond penning a five-thousand word cover story for an established outlet. And no matter if you want to be a music journalist, an artist, or a producer (or some combination of the three), you need to know how to tell a good story across a variety of media. In the age of personal branding, everyone needs to be able to pitch themselves and have a co- herent narrative -- and if you make it big, tell your own story before others tell it for you.

This class can be broken down into roughly three parts. We’ll start off with the basics -- what does the landscape look like in 2018, and what are the outlets available to tell stories? We’ll cover constructing a narrative, pitching that narrative, and how to give and get a good interview -- all skills that artists and jour- nalists need. Part two explores other media -- mixed reality and podcasting -- as a means for telling a story. Finally, we’ll focus on longform writing, essays, and oral histories.

This class is structured around a series of assignments that are all essential skill sets for any student. We will go over each assignment in more depth as the class progresses.

Classes will include a mixture of lectures, small group discussion, large group discussion, guest speakers, and writing workshops. Bring a laptop if you have one, pen and paper if not. Class participation is required; if this poses a problem please see me. Discussions are meant to encourage debate but any disre- spectful or bullying behavior will not be tolerated.

 

Clive Davis Institute x Berlin: Future Pop Music Studies (Fall or Spring)

Currently experiencing a major renaissance, Berlin is a historic world capital and an electrifying cultural center for artistic creativity. The city has long been an inspirational haven for artists from all over the world, and in the aftermath of its 20th century political turbulence and upheaval, Berlin boasts inexpensive rent and a vibrant nightlife scene featuring world-class clubs like Berghain and Tresor. Having long attracted and inspired American musicians like Lou Reed and British artists like David Bowie, Berlin has a distinct and mythic musical history.

Drawing on the strengths of Berlin as a multicultural world capital and a preeminent destination for a wide range of musical and sonic innovation, the Clive Davis Institute of Recorded Music has created a unique and groundbreaking study abroad program that focuses on pop music experimentalism and the avant-garde. We push the envelope to consider the future of music production, business, technology and emergent media, performance, songwriting and journalism.

You will be able to learn about the fascinating past, present and future of music making in Germany and Europe at large, and you’ll be able to practice your craft and learn about the arts and emergent media scene while meeting and working with influential Berlin-based industry professionals. 

Students must enroll in core program courses, as well as additional complementary general education or elective courses, in order to complete a full-time, ~16-credit semester.

Recorded Music majors are required to take: 

  1. German Language (4 units)
  2. REMU-UT 9810 Conversations in the Global Music Business: From Cryptocurrency to Big Data to Surviving the Future (2 units)
  3. REMU-UT 9817 Classic Albums: The Berlin/Germany Edition (2 units)

PLUS, ~8 additional units that may be fulfilled with any of the below elective courses or other general education or elective courses offered via NYU-Berlin.

More information can be found online.

REMU-UT 1210 Conversations in the Global Music Business: From Cryptocurrency to Big Data to Surviving the Future

2 Credits; This course is for Recorded Music majors only. This course is the Washington Square section of REMU-UT 9810, and is required for all juniors who are unable to study abroad in the mandatory CDI x Berlin program.

With sales of more than 1.3 billion, the German recorded music market is the third largest in the world: it is larger than the UK music market and behind only the USA and Japan. Beyond just numbers, the Berlin music business is unique: it’s home to hundreds of powerful independent and D.I.Y. record labels; it’s historically been ground zero for innovative electronic and dance music; and it’s a burgeoning tech hub for innovative software/hardware companies like Native Instruments, Ableton and Soundcloud. In this colloquium series, students will meet and hear each week from key creative entrepreneurial figures and innovators in the German and European music business.

 

This course has several purposes. First, students will consider how ongoing economic and technological changes might be impacting the worldwide music business, as speakers discuss controversial trends like the rise of cryptocurrency, block chain and cashless systems, customization technologies like 3D printing and developments in robotics, and radical, disruptive approaches to copyright. Second, students will develop a greater understanding of the chief similarities and differences between the traditional European and US music business operations, particularly with regard to label operations, publishing and copyright, touring and festivals, and nightlife promotion.

 

Third, students will become more informed about the D.I.Y.  music business in Berlin itself, as they hear from speakers about the promises and challenges one faces in launching innovative music start ups in Germany. And finally, students will get to meet and network with key movers and shakers in the Berlin scene, past and present. In anticipation for a guest class visit, students may be required to investigate websites, read biographical or contextual material, or attend events outside of class time. Students will be expected to ask informed questions of the guests and to develop responses throughout the course of the class.

 

Students should leave the class with a greater understanding of how the European and German music businesses work and how they themselves might make a business or sales impact on a global scale.

FOURTH YEAR REQUIREMENTS

The fourth year culminates with the capstone project in which you will professionally develop a full creative plan to launch yourself as an entrepreneur. Projects have included launching a record label, creating a production company, developing a new media company, and starting an innovative music venue, to name a few. You may also use the fourth year to intern or find a job in the music industry, complete liberal arts requirements, or concentrate on your advanced studies in production, writing, history & emergent media, business, or musicianship and performance in order to complete your capstone professional development project.

REMU-UT 1401 Professional Development (FALL OR SPRING)

This course is required, 2 credits.

Clive Davis Institute majors only. Prerequisite: Senior-level status. This course is offered in both the fall and spring semesters, but is not repeatable. Students must also register for an accompanying recitation section.

The colloquium course, in conjunction with individualized recitation sections, is designed to help you complete your senior Professional Development project and prepare for post-graduate life. 

The business plan, panel presentation, media deliverables, and any final performances will be workshopped and completed as appropriate to each student’s goals. The small class sizes are designed to allow for highly focused meetings wherein mentoring and advising are enhanced through individualized group discussion and collaboration. Advisors will set agendas based upon your area of expertise and may focus on specific themes from week to week as appropriate and based upon assessment of your specific goals and needs. Those graduating seniors with the final tools to properly articulate and present their projects will do so to a panel of full-time faculty members and are invited to pitch their capstone project to industry professionals their final semester. 

In tandem with this course, students completing production-based projects or desiring studio time must also enroll in REMU-UT 1010 Content Development for Performers, Producers, & Songwriters. Students who are performers or desiring more one-on-one instruction on stage presence and performance skills must also enroll in REMU-UT 1312 Creating a Compelling Live Concert Experience. Students who have an interest in music writing, journalism and/or curation and desire the opportunity to draft, write and rewrite clips (reviews, blog posts, artist profiles, interviews, etc.) and have those clips routinely edited by a professional instructor must also enroll in REMU-UT 1164 Advanced Workshop for Music Journalists, Writers, & Curators. Students who would like to continue the development of professional projects as well as for live-testing marketing and launch plans must enroll in REMU-UT 1207 Independent Project Management, Product Launching, & Breaking the Artist, a course that caters equally to aspiring executives, tech and social entrepreneurs, performers, producers, songwriters, and journalists.

You will also have the opportunity to meet with special industry advisors for additional help outside of class, as well as your regular advisors. 

REMU-UT 1402 Professional Development: Mentorship (FALL OR SPRING)

This course is required for all seniors who take REMU-UT 1401 in their penultimate semester, 0 credits.

Clive Davis Institute majors only. Prerequisite: Senior-level status, and successful completion of REMU-UT 1401 Professional Development, with a grade of C or better.

This 0-credit colloquium course is required for all seniors who completed REMU-UT 1401 Professional Development in their penultimate semester and is designed to help students complete their senior Professional Development project and prepare for post-graduate life. 

The business plan, panel presentation, media deliverables, and any final performances will be workshopped and completed as appropriate to each student’s goals. The small class sizes are designed to allow for highly focused meetings wherein mentoring and advising are enhanced through individualized group discussion and collaboration. Advisors will set agendas based upon your area of expertise and may focus on specific themes from week to week as appropriate and based upon assessment of your specific goals and needs. Those graduating seniors with the final tools to properly articulate and pitch their capstone project to industry professionals in their final semester. 

In tandem with this course, students completing production-based projects or desiring studio time must also enroll in REMU-UT 1010 Content Development for Performers, Producers, & Songwriters. Students who are performers or desiring more one-on-one instruction on stage presence and performance skills must also enroll in REMU-UT 1312 Creating a Compelling Live Concert Experience. Students who have an interest in music writing, journalism and/or curation and desire the opportunity to draft, write and rewrite clips (reviews, blog posts, artist profiles, interviews, etc.) and have those clips routinely edited by a professional instructor must also enroll in REMU-UT 1164 Advanced Workshop for Music Journalists, Writers, & Curators. Students who would like to continue the development of professional projects as well as for live-testing marketing and launch plans must enroll in REMU-UT 1207 Independent Project Management, Product Launching, & Breaking the Artist, a course that caters equally to aspiring executives, tech and social entrepreneurs, performers, producers, songwriters, and journalists.

BUSINESS & TECHNOLOGY ELECTIVES

REMU-UT 1104 CDI MUSIC INCUBATOR

4 Credits. This course is open to non-majors (sophomores, juniors and seniors only).

This course is an independently funded incubator where enrolled students will serve as the support structure for selected Clive Davis Institute artist projects. By augmenting or acting as the selected artist’s team, students work closely with the instructor, the artist and invited music industry collaborators to provide real time support which may include management, label services, marketing and promotion, publicity, A&R, creative direction, branding and vision, social media, business planning, content creation and day-to-day logistics. Students will be given a budget to coordinate and execute agreed and defined strategies and plans created in conjunction with the artist, with the goal of furthering the artist's career development.

REMU-UT 1170 Women as Entrepreneurs in Popular Music

2 credits, open to non-majors.

Pre-requisite for majors: REMU-UT 1215 The Business of Music: Industry Essentials or REMU-UT 1202 Introduction to Music Business, with a grade of C or better.

Women are making significant contributions as creative and business leaders in all areas of the music industry. In this course, students will learn about entrepreneurship as a process that can be applied to launching and sustaining a successful creative business enterprise in the music industry. Students will first engage in a historical and critical examination of the role that women have played, and the skills that have enables them to succeed, as creative and business leaders in popular music.  Class discussions will focus on helping students identify and develop the skills and strengths they need to become future artistic and business entrepreneurs. Guest speakers will include women entrepreneurs who are leading companies and who have successfully started their own business ventures in the music industry. Students will learn the circumstances and strategies behind their success. By the end of the course, students will put together an individual short term and long term plan to advance their careers as future executives and leaders in the music industry.

REMU-UT 1189 THE SOUND OF FASHION: MUSIC’S INFLUENCE ON ICONIC FASHION BRANDS FROM SONG, TO RUNWAY, TO THE STREET

2 credits, open to non-majors.

Raf Simons. Supreme. Undercover. Rick Owens. Takahiro Miyashita The Soloist. Helmut Lang. Number (N)ine and many more have built collectible fashion empires and massive secondary resale markets with soaring price points for rare items inspired by the attitudes, and in collaboration with, the greatest music and artists of all time: Bowie, Cobain, Jagger, Yeezy, Public Enemy, and many more. This course will look closely at the timeless iconic brands, artists, and spirit which transfers from song, to runway, to street. We will look at rare and collectible pieces, the resellers marketplace, limited collaborations, licensed images, and the new generation of designers who carry the torch of music in the pieces they create.

REMU-UT 1207 Independent Project Management, Product Launching, & Breaking the Artist

2 credits

Clive Davis Institute majors only. Prerequisite: REMU-UT 1218 With a C or Better.

This practicum course is for students to continue the development of projects as well as for live-testing marketing and launch plans and caters equally to aspiring executives, tech and social entrepreneurs, performers, producers, songwriters, and journalists. Utilizing project management techniques, students will be responsible for accomplishing weekly milestones that will move them towards product-market-fit and building an audience. Lessons from Creative Marketing and Incubation & Launch will move student projects from theoretical to applied, with the professor available to reiterate any difficult concepts and provide regular individualized guidance. 

REMU-UT 1223 Music Contracts & Dealmaking

2 credits, open to non-majors.

Pre-requisite for majors: REMU-UT 1215 The Business of Music: Industry Essentials or REMU-UT 1202 Introduction to Music Business, with a grade of C or better.

The course provides a comprehensive and practical overview of the music contracts that you -- and every artist, musician, songwriter, record producer and other music business professionals -- need to launch and grow an entrepreneurial music venture.  Learn proven strategies for navigating conflicts when they arise and how to safeguard your rights and interests in music that you create.   Practice and apply newly acquired drafting and negotiation skills to current projects you are working on with personalized instructor and peer feedback.

REMU-UT 1225 Leadership in the Music Industry

2 credits, open to non-majors.

Pre-requisite for majors: REMU-UT 1215 The Business of Music: Industry Essentials or REMU-UT 1202 Introduction to Music Business, with a grade of C or better.

The intention of this course is to expand students’ knowledge about leadership and their leadership skills in preparation for their assumption of music industry leadership roles. It is geared to all students who aspire to lead, whether as musician, performer, critic, fan, influencer, entrepreneur or within an organizational context.  This course focuses on the skills and competencies necessary for effective leadership and how they can be developed and applied to the pursuit of students’ personal and professional goals in music. Students will meet successful leaders across the music industry, learn about the complex moral, ethical challenges they face, and distill important lessons that they can be apply to leadership challenges they may confront in the future. By the end, students are equipped with increased self-confidence, and an understanding of their leadership strengths that will better prepare them when presented with the first opportunity to lead. 

REMU-UT 1226 Funding Your Music Venture

2 credits, open to non-majors.

Pre-requisite for majors: REMU-UT 1215 The Business of Music: Industry Essentials, REMU-UT 1216 The Business of Music: Creativity, Innovation, & Entrepreneurship or equivalent , with a grade of C or better.

How am I going to fund my project? What are the funding sources available to me? What type of funding works best for my music venture idea? These are among the range of challenges that every creative entrepreneur faces when planning the start up of a new music venture. The good news is that there is money out there and there are more opportunities than ever for music entrepreneurs to fund their start up music ventures. Having the ability to find and leverage funding opportunities is a skill that every music entrepreneur must have to succeed.

This class proposes to demystify the funding process and provides an overview of the main sources of music business funding: Grants, Investments, Crowdfunding, Friends & Family, and Bootstrapping among others. Among the course topics that will be covered are: choosing the right funding option for your needs and understanding the range of music funding sources, and how to access them. The class will culminate through a blend of readings, class discussions, collaborative projects and guest speakers from different parts of the music funding world. Students will, by the end, have the knowledge and a strategic plan they can execute to approach funders and find funding for their music venture ideas.

REMU-UT 1228 THE VISUAL MUSIC EXPERIENCE

3 credits, open to non-majors

Can you listen to Michael Jackson's "Thriller" without envisioning the zombie transformation? What about Beyonce's "Single Ladies" without seeing the accompanying choreography? Both of those songs, along with countless others, have benefited from the groundbreaking visuals that have accompanied them. From the Classic Rock films of the 1960’s to the MTV revolution of the 1980’s and 1990’s to the innovations of YouTube and Virtual Reality, this class will examine how the convergence of visual and auditory mediums has created some of the most impactful art. We’ll extract the great lessons from the pieces we study and utilize our production skills to create videos, on-stage visuals, and songs of our own. We’ll also investigate how the creation of videos alongside songs has disrupted the marketing and sales fates for the music industry multiple times. The weekly class structure will alternate between one 90min lecture/discussion course and one 90min production course where we will be collaborating on creating new content for each assignment together.

REMU-UT 1229 ARE FRIENDS ELECTRIC?

4 credits, open to non-majors

Historically the music business has generally relinquished the most significant inventions and innovations to third parties. And while many can recite the contemporary Pavlovian catch phrases of the moment, what about the next wave of science and thinking that will impact music? This class will seek to identify, understand and predict the latest advancements in science that will serve to influence and transform music consumption in the next 20 years.

 

REMU-UT 1231 The Future of the Music Streaming Economy

2 credits, open to non-majors.

Pre-requisite for majors: REMU-UT 1215 The Business of Music: Industry Essentials or REMU-UT 1202 Introduction to Music Business, with a grade of C or better.

Streaming Economy represents a great paradigm shift in the music industry and its monetization. In 2013, digital streaming of music replaced the CD as the main source of music sales and has provided economic hope to a – commercially speaking - weakening industry. However, with artists such as Thom Yorke, The Black Keys, David Byrne and many others speaking out against the royalty of streaming services like Spotify, streaming, in its current structure, as a permanent replacement for CD and digital download sales remains a controversial subject.

Through this course the student will be guided through the history of streaming, the controversies surrounding its business model, and the technology that made it possible. Students will be introduced to the new storefront of online music and be shown how the digital marketplace is changing music marketing and artist development. Streaming offers exciting new opportunities along with serious and complex challenges. This course will examine the pros and cons of the current streaming status quo.

The student will practice techniques of releasing music online through a hands-on workshop, which will lead them through the beginning steps of registering, and releasing their own project via Phonofile and WiMP on all major platforms and services.

REMU-UT 1234 3D Printing & the Music Industry

2 Credits

This course will introduce students to the basic concepts of 3D design and capture through the use of apps and other tools. Through examination and discussion of the current state of 3D printing technology we will explore current and future implications for music and the music business, including but not limited to, live and recorded music, music publishing, innovative tools, part and instrument fabrication, licensing, management, touring, copyright, distribution and marketing. Extra focus will be given to existing and potential merchandise platforms, as well as how 3D can lead to the growth of new industries and new opportunities for cross-pollination with a variety of sectors. Students will be encouraged to pursue both practical and abstract concepts in the furtherance of dynamic and newly inventive ideas - and will be required to develop and submit a concept and plan for their final project.  

REMU-UT 1235 The Business of Music Publishing

4 credits, open to non-majors.

Pre-requisite for majors: REMU-UT 1215 The Business of Music: Industry Essentials or REMU-UT 1202 Introduction to Music Business, with a grade of C or better.

This course focuses on the business of music publishing, which has served as a powerful engine fueling the growth of the music business since the first decade of the 20th century. Song copyrights are among the most important and valuable assets that musicians and songwriters have. Knowing how to protect, manage and monetize these rights is more critical than ever. This course is targeted to students who aspire to careers as recording artists, songwriters; record producers, artist managers and music executive, among others Course topics include: roles and responsibilities of music publishers identifying new markets for songs, structure of the music publishing companies, different music publishing deals and their terms, music publishing revenue flow, practical aspects of music publishing administration and licensing, and music publishing as an investment. Students leave with a practical understanding of music publishing as a business; and with tools and strategies for turning songs into sustainable sources of income.

REMU-UT 1241 Music Licensing Lab

2 credits, open to non-majors.

Pre-requisite for majors: REMU-UT 1215 The Business of Music: Industry Essentials or REMU-UT 1202 Introduction to Music Business, with a grade of C or better.

Music supervision and music licensing are two of the hottest topics in the music business. This class will introduce you to the creative, financial, legal, and technical sides of music supervision as well as teach you the nuts and bolts of music clearance and licensing. We will look at the many different facets of a music supervisor’s job, and the services they provide for all types of media projects, including film, television, advertising, video games, online/apps, and more. If you aspire to have a career as a music supervisor, licensor, publisher, artist, songwriter, composer, producer, and/or creative entrepreneur, this course is for you. Some of the topics include: breaking into the field, opportunities for music placement, how to pitch and get your music placed, different parties involved in all sides of the licensing transaction. You will be exposed to complex business challenges that music supervisors face and learn the mindset and strategies needed to successfully overcome. Through readings, discussions, lab assignments, and case studies like Straight Outta Compton and Broad City, as well interactions with special guests, you will gain a real-world understanding of the music supervision field as well as the many opportunities that music creators, and rights owners can leverage to take their career to the next level by understanding music licensing.

REMU-UT 1250 Branding: Sponsorships, Endorsements, Cross-Promotion, & Beyond

4 credits, open to non-majors.

Pre-requisite for majors: REMU-UT 1215 The Business of Music: Industry Essentials or REMU-UT 1202 Introduction to Music Business, with a grade of C or better.

Brands generate loyalty, trust and familiarity with consumers. Those well versed in branding have the ability to successfully capture the attention of their customers or audiences and speak to them in clear and persuasive terms. Creative branding is the key to understanding what makes audiences/consumers tick and to increasing sales performance. Before a brand becomes a household name it is a tried a true product that has been through several critical steps of research and development, consumer segmentation, positioning and distribution. This hands-on course will introduce you to the world of brand development, cross-promotions, endorsements, sponsorships, and more as it relates to today’s ever-evolving music industry. You’ll do exercises in analyzing and developing brands, and you’ll study why some brands succeed where others fail by reading key books and articles, studying branding theory and talking to guest speakers. You'll work to demonstrate your understanding of the course concepts through dialogue with brand professionals, class discussion assignments and a final project and presentation.

REMU-UT 1251 THE BASICS OF BRANDING: Sponsorships, Endorsements, Cross-Promotion, & Beyond

2 credits, open to non-majors.

Brands generate loyalty, trust and familiarity with consumers. Nearly anyone can release an artist, or an album, or start their own MP3 download site, but those versed in branding have the ability to successfully capture the attention of their audience and speak to them in clear and persuasive terms. Creative branding is becoming the key to understanding what makes audiences tick and to increasing sales performance. Reading key books and articles and talking to guest speakers, students will learn the ins and outs of branding theory and consider why some brands succeed where others fail. We will then narrow the focus to consider branding as it relates to today's music industry, and for the final assignment, students will write a paper analyzing a brand of choice.

REMU-UT 1261 Artist Management Lab

2 credits, open to non-majors.

Pre-requisite for majors: REMU-UT 1215 The Business of Music: Industry Essentials or REMU-UT 1202 Introduction to Music Business, with a grade of C or better.

Artist managers are the central focus of the music business, the dealmakers behind the latest industry developments, and the brokers of power, influence, and revenue streams for not only recording artists, but creative entrepreneurs and technology startups as well. The role of the artist manager is to help creative talent find commercial success. We will study the basics and fundamentals of artist management, and its many different functions. We will learn about the different roles that artist managers play as well as understand how artist managers build and develop their teams, and the different kinds of leadership positions that they assume. We will look at different styles of artist management, and discuss best practices by reviewing case studies, and speaking with special guests. Through a class lab, we will analyze various potential problems and scenarios, and develop techniques and skills for forming solutions, simulating the artist management experience. We will hypothetically take over the management duties for an existing artist and help them re-organize his/her career in a comprehensive final project. Artist managers now serve as the gatekeepers of commercial and brand value in the talent food chain, and they not only help grow careers, they create many new ones along the way. From Troy Carter and Scooter Braun, to Amy Thomson and Kelly Clancy, artist managers are the thought leaders of this business and catalysts for industry change.

REMU-UT 1262 The Basics of Artist Management

2 credits, open to non-majors

This course is specfically designed for students who want to (i) explore artist management as a possible career path; (ii) learn about the day-to- day creative and business sides of artist management ( e.g., what managers do and how they do it) before starting to manage and (iii) manage themselve as a DIY artist , songwriter , producer and take control of the creative and business aspects of their career.

A manager’s job is to nurture, oversee and promote their clients’ careers —from independent, DIY artists to multi-platinum superstars. Through readings, case studies , written assignments and guest, the students will learn about key principles and creative, business, legal and sides of artist management, the training , knowledge, skills and preparation required to step into the role, and the process of artist management that includes developing a vision , finding the right artist to manage or deciding to self-manage and getting business affairs in order. The next course in sequence, Artist Management Lab, REMU-UT 1261 offers students the opportiunuty to implement the knowledge and strategies learned.

 

REMU-UT 1269 The BASICS OF SOCIAL ENTREPRENEURSHIP IN THE MUSIC INDUSTRY

2 credits, open to non-majors.

Pre-requisite for majors: REMU-UT 1215 The Business of Music: Industry Essentials or REMU-UT 1202 Introduction to Music Business, with a grade of C or better.

This introductory course is targeted to all students who have a strong sense of their individual purpose and are motivated to change the world through music. In this course, students learn about social entrepreneurs, how they think, the problems they address, the business tools they leverage and the strategies they employ to create social change. Through readings, participatory class discussion, class activities, self-reflection and occasional guest speakers, students examine current issues, opportunities and challenges that social entrepreneurs and their ventures face. In addition, they acquire skills, actionable tools, and practical approaches to help advance their social change agenda now and in the future. Ultimately, the aim is to inspire and empower students to put their ideas for social change in to action and to start manifesting the change they wish to see in the world.

REMU-UT 1321 Producing Live Music Events

2 credits, open to non-majors.

Pre-requisite for majors: REMU-UT 1215 The Business of Music: Industry Essentials or REMU-UT 1202 Introduction to Music Business, with a grade of C or better.

This course is geared to all students interested in live music event production and the technical and business aspects involved in planning, developing, and producing a live music event. Topics included: talent and venue contracts and negotiations, primary and secondary revenue streams budgeting, marketing, best practices for promotion and more.  Course work includes lectures, interactive class discussion, peer and self-assessments, short answer analytical responses and hands-on collaboration on the production of one live music event. By the end, students have the skills and a framework to book and oversee all aspects of a live music event--whether for themselves or for any artists with whom they work.

PRODUCTION ELECTIVES

REMU-UT 1010 Content Development for Performers, Producers, & Songwriters

2 credits, Clive Davis Institute majors only.

This course can only be taken in your final two semesters. And for a student to enroll in this course, he or she must be working on a senior Professional Development project.  Pre-requisite: REMU-UT 1004 Producing the Record: Side B. There is a lab fee for this course.

This course provides artistic and technical guidance to students pursuing production based capstone projects and will assist students in creating a cohesive and comprehensive recording and production plan. It is through this course that production capstone seniors receive their studio allotment. Production mentors will advise and monitor your progress, and keep you focused on the task at hand: successful realization of your capstone studio production component.

REMU-UT 1011 Advanced Production for Songwriters and Artists

2 credits, Clive Davis Institute majors only.

Pre-requisite: REMU-UT 1003 Producing the Record: Side A and Producing Music with Software & Midi, both with a grade of C or better. There is a lab fee for this course.

The “Producer” has become an extremely nuanced role in the music industry. From at- home beat-making with pre-recorded soundbanks, to executive producing in a studio with a full orchestra, or even recording atmospheric sounds on your smart phone, this class is designed to approach a deeper relationship to the sonic choices made in regards to instrumentation and production. Not only have the lines blurred for producers, but between the role of the artist, songwriter and musician alike. We are in an era where we have the opportunity to become self-sufficient in our practice, and take charge of our sound from a deeper perspective. The relationship we have to the production, as well as the technical and aesthetic control of that production, will help us to maintain a better communication with our practice. The pillars of this class are experimentation and conceptual production for recording, and how those ideas can transfer to stage applications. The student will create a language and story for their compositions that will develop throughout the semester and eventually follow from the studio to the stage (and vice versa), using technology that meets the students’ requirements. This is a class where the student will become comfortable with their work, from a variety of angles and magnifications, so that they have more clarity of their capacity as artists, songwriters, and producers.

 

REMU-UT 1013 Advanced Engineering

4 credits, Clive Davis Institute majors only.

Pre-requisite: REMU-UT 1003 Producing the Record: Side A and Producing Music with Software & Midi, both with a grade of C or better. There is a lab fee for this course.

This course builds upon the techniques of the recording studio and the techniques of producing recorded music begun in Recording the Record I, II and Producing the Record Side A and B, and will explore advanced techniques used in large ensemble recording, surround sound recording and mixing, and remote recording. By using the Institute's studio facilities, you will further learn to operate the API Vision recording console, ancillary outboard equipment, and record in the live room of Studio 510.

REMU-UT 1016 The Virtual Producer: Beats & Beatmaking

2 credits, Clive Davis Institute majors only.

Pre-requisite: REMU-UT 1003 Producing the Record: Side A and Producing Music with Software & Midi, both with a grade of C or better. There is a lab fee for this course.

This course will cover various professional music production techniques and strategies such as: sampling (and sample chopping), drum programming/drum design, synthesis and sound Design, music theory (in the context of music production), MIDI editing, as well as numerous mixing techniques. Over the course of the class, through the utilization and knowledge of these various skills, you will learn how to create original music compositions and productions. The primary DAW platform for the course is ProTools. While a beatmaker/composer/producer must be well versed in the application of various software and hardware tools (as well as the many production skills and techniques), he or she must also have artistic vision and creative efficacy. So while the course is about music/beat construction and the tools involved, there will also be a strong emphasis on innovative vision, inventive mobility, and how to think/strategize like a music producer.

REMU-UT 1017 The Virtual Producer: Live Performance with Laptops & Software

We are currently in the midst of a generational shift in the fundamental instrumentation of the live performance of many styles of music. As in the 1950’s when live groups shifted from woodwind and brass lead instruments to the electric guitar, today live groups are increasingly moving away from electric guitars and other traditional rock/pop instruments toward digital instruments. Today’s performer in many styles of music will often find themselves either performing with or alongside a laptop/computer, usually running Ableton Live. The “laptop” person in a band has become an integral part of live groups and having the skills to fill this increasingly important role will make our graduates more in demand in live performance roles, particularly if they are also accomplished instrumentalists and/or vocalists.

People who know and understand techniques for synching computers with live performers and visuals are also in demand as designers and engineers for large scale concert tours and spectacles like Cirque du Soleil. Having visited the set of Broadway musicals, it is clear that programming and running laptops to coordinate music, visuals and lights is becoming integral to musical theater performances as well.

This course will teach some of the techniques required to utilize laptops in live performance, integrate the technology into bands with live instruments and vocalists, as well as multi media applications (i.e sync to visuals, lighting, etc.). It will focus on using the Ableton Live software which has become the industry standard for live performance tasks. 

This course will culminate in a live performance at the end of the semester in which students will be required to do a performance incorporating live instruments and vocalists, laptops, MIDI controllers and visuals. 

REMU-UT 1052 Mix Intensive

2 credits, Clive Davis Institute majors only.

Pre-requisite: REMU-UT 1003 Producing the Record: Side A and REMU-UT 1022 Producing Music with Software & Midi, both with a grade of C or better. There is a lab fee for this course.

As with literally every facet of music production, mixing audio had been hugely impacted by the paradigm shift created by digital technologies. That said, the architecture and function of virtually all digital software and hardware is based on the models developed through analog hardware and processing. The objective of this seven-week intensive course is - using the best and most appropriate of both the digital and analog tools - to refine our mixing skills and expand our repertory of techniques. This will include both digital in-the-box processing and analog processing console (via SSL and API) and outboard equipment, and combinations of the two.

REMU-UT 1061 Mastering the Record

4 credits, Clive Davis Institute majors only.

Pre-requisite: REMU-UT 1004 Producing the Record: Side B and REMU-UT 1022 Producing Music with Software & Midi, both with a grade of C or better. There is a lab fee for this course.

Mastering is the last creative step of production and the first technical step of manufacturing, broadcast, or distribution. Artists, producers, and record labels demand proper mastering to insure that their product holds its own in the marketplace and insist that none but the most qualified ears master their music.  Now, with the rise of music downloads, Internet radio, high-resolution discs, streaming and many other forms of distribution, a solid understanding of mastering techniques and new media is vital to the music professional. The course provides an in-depth exploration of the tools and techniques involved in professional mastering. The course will endeavor to illustrate the powers of mastering as well as its limitations. A wide range of processing techniques and advanced editing methods will be demonstrated and compared. Tools of the trade will be surveyed with emphasis on what distinguishes hardware and software as truly "mastering grade." Critical listening and the psychoacoustics of decision-making will be explored. Students are taught how to better master their own productions, as well as to recognize when to turn to a mastering professional. Emphasis will be on listening and objective comparison in guiding the mastering approach and in judging its success. Ample real-world case studies will be used to demonstrate approaches and results. Students will do their own mastering on material supplied by the instructor, as well as on each other's music, for critiques and comparisons. Attention will be given to how to prepare for a professional mastering session and how to interact with the mastering engineer. Assignments are drawn from the instructor’s day-to-day work as a mastering engineer. For the final assignment, students will be grouped into two-person teams. Team members will trade positions as “client” and “mastering engineer,” each mastering the other’s production. Students will visit the instructor’s commercial mastering studio to hear their work and to observe the instructor’s approach to some of their productions.

REMU-UT 1097 Enveloped in Sound: Critical Listening in Immersive Environments for Tweakheads

2 credits. Clive Davis Institute majors only.

Prerequisites: REMU-UT 1102 with a grade of C or better

Immersive Sound is one of the most significant developments in years, rivaling previous developments in visual and aural formats. From monaural sound to stereophonic sound, analogue to digital audio, or NTSC and high definition television to virtual reality, the audience is now provided with a natural, life-like three-dimensional aural experience. Unlike anything heard before, immersive audio creates the sensation of height all around the listener, transporting them into a more thrilling and deeper audio experience.

Surround sound works because of the four ways humans perceive sound: audible, binaural, spatial, and cognitive. A surround sound mix often allows for more intimate, quieter overall sound as there are more point sources to deliver unique sounds for the ear to perceive. Compared with two-speaker, conventional stereo, surround sound offers better perception of object and sound location. Listeners more readily identify the general direction from which sounds are initiated with more accurate perception of tone due to the additional placement options of sound sources. There is also a significantly greater perception of ambience, since the listener can be more immersed in the listening field.

But, what does all of this mean? Only by listening with a tuned and critical ear can one make critical evaluations.

 

REMU-UT 1300 Arranging the Record

4 credits, Clive Davis Institute majors only.

Pre-requisite: REMU-UT 1003 Producing the Record: Side A and REMU-UT 1022 Producing Music with Software & Midi, both with a grade of C or better. There is a lab fee for this course.

On the most fundamental level, arranging can be referred to as who plays what, and when they do it. The introduction of the modern recording process necessitates changes in the way we approach musical arrangement or orchestration. Often, what works well for a live performance doesn't necessarily translate into a good recording, and visa-versa. This course will address the development of arranging styles through classic studio recordings, and different approaches the studio arranger can utilize. Our studies will differ from a "traditional" arranging or orchestration class in that fluency in reading and writing music, although helpful, will not be required, nor emphasized, as the elements of weight, density, range timbre, layers of focus/interest, rhythmic and melodic activity, and dynamics remain the same. 

WRITING, HISTORY & EMERGENT MEDIA ELECTIVES

REMU-UT 1107 Topics: Punk

2 credits, open to non-majors.

In this course we'll look at how punk exploded in both London and New York in the 1970s, and how the two scenes, though widely divergent in ideals and sound, nonetheless helped shape one another. Discover the tactics that shook up a complacent music industry, overthrowing 1960s rock gods with the raucous, amphetamine punk revolution that still resonates in the sound and style of bands today. The proliferation of independent labels, spearheaded by Rough Trade, became a DIY (do it yourself) model that would be followed round the world and is particularly relevant today as musicians increasingly turn to the Internet as the most immediately effective outlet. Music we'll listen to may include The Sex Pistols, the Clash, and the Slits; film screenings may include The Great Rock 'n Roll Swindle and Rude Boy; and readings may be culled from books by Steve Blush and others.

REMU-UT 1111 Topics: Miles Davis

2 credits, open to non-majors.

Miles Davis—legendary trumpeter and bandleader, pioneer of multiple musical pathways, and enduring icon of all that is hip—stands as one of the most influential and revered musicians of the 20th Century. His career figures as an historical roadmap of modern improvised music: with an unerring ear, he drew freely from jazz, classical, R&B, rock, funk, hip hop, electronic and other sources, creating singular sonic fusions, effectively changing the course of an entire musical community seven times.

 

Every aspiring performer, producer, songwriter, composer and creative entrepreneur searching for success in today’s popular music industry can learn from the genius of Miles. Some of the greatest pop musicians of the last 50 years, from Joni Mitchell to Fela Kuti to D’Angelo, have enriched their music by engaging with the profound musical innovations that Miles helped bring to the fore.

 

Offered to students in what would have been Miles’s 90th year, each class in this ambitious seven-class course is divided into two components: the first half of each session focuses on historical-critical studies. While completing focused readings, and undertaking listening and viewing assignments, students investigate the social, cultural, musical and business aspects of Miles’s monumental accomplishments. The second half focuses on musicianship, performance, composition and production. Listening closely to Davis’ music and completing in-class and out-of-class assignments under careful mentorship, students deconstruct Miles’s compositional and studio choices, and work collaboratively to create, refine and produce their own original musical works.

REMU-UT 1115 Topics: Led Zeppelin

2 credits, open to non-majors.

In name alone, Led Zeppelin carries mountains of meaning: the most successful and arguably the most influential rock band of all time. The creators of a mythic, mystical, guitar-based style that gave birth to the sounds and iconography of heavy metal. Song-crafters whose studio mastery, utilizing recording technology of the day, generated some of the most enduring rock recordings of their era, establishing standards that still define a stylistic and emotional extreme of popular music. The four British musicians who came out of the electric blues scene of the late ‘60s, recording and touring as a unit for a mere twelve years, together achieved a legendary stature that requires much study to fully appreciate more than thirty years after their demise.

This course will consider the history of Led Zeppelin from a variety of perspectives: social and stylistic context; the nuts and bolts of their music—live and in the studio; the hows and whys of the band as a business. Using books, articles, videos, and a generous sampling of music, the course will follow their arrival in the final, psychedelic heyday of swingin’ London of the ‘60s; through their roots in folk and acoustic blues and later experimentation with Indian and North African music, and their rise in an era that was hungry for a heavier, more bombastic sound. The course will include special focus on the group’s technical leader and visionary, guitarist Jimmy Page, who came with prior credits as a sessionman and guitarist in the blues-rock band the Yardbirds, as well as other major players in the Zeppelin story—engineer Glyn Johns, manager Pater Grant—who helped build the sonic and popular juggernaut that the band became. In-class guest speakers will be featured, many who participated or witnessed the Led Zeppelin phenomenon, as well as a screening of the group’s concert film The Song Remains The Same.

REMU-UT 1116 Topics: Aretha Franklin & Soul Music

2 credits, open to non-majors.

In the world of popular music, the word “soul” has come to mean so many things – a style, a sound, an attitude, a way of singing, a way of belonging. And a way of categorizing music for the sake of bringing it to market. Yet, there was a time that “soul” referred to a very specific kind of music in a very specific time and place.

This course will trace the exciting history of soul music and the enduring culture that sprang from it, beginning with the rise of rhythm and blues in the ‘50s, through the turbulent ‘60s, to its crowning moment in 1967 with the arrival of its best-known avatar, the Queen of Soul -- Aretha Franklin. Through reading, discussion, listening sessions, guest speakers and video presentations, we will consider: the various definitions of “soul”, the roots of soul music and the stars of the style. How the music reflected the social and political spirit of the ‘60s, and predicted the triumphant future of black music in America. How the consideration of soul music necessarily raises issues of racial identity, conflict, and dialogue. How the continuing dialogue between white and black America takes place in a musical arena that we still label “soul”. We will also trace the gospel birth, “pop” musical development, and explosive arrival of Aretha Franklin – the “Natural Woman” whose voice delivered Soul into mainstream popularity and brought African American authenticity into the popular realm. We will look at the many ways that soul music morphed after the ‘60s,giving rise to  black musical styles like funk, disco, and hip hop, and focus on the evolving relationship of soul music and American race relations as well. This path of inquiry will offer a means to understanding the continuing impact of the music and culture of the soul era, as well as Ms. Franklin’s continuing reign.

REMU-UT 1119 Topics: Bob Marley & Postcolonial Music

2 credits, open to non-majors.

Often described as “a prophet,” the pioneer Bob Marley transcended the genre he helped develop, Jamaican reggae, to become a musical and revolutionary leader of the 20th Century.  On the way, the bi-racial Marley smashed restrictions of race and class imposed on his generation by the colonial system. How did Marley, an effectively fatherless child from a tiny village, achieve his rise to global authority and influence, musically, socio-politically, spiritually, personally and in terms of the industry?

Vivien Goldman was Bob Marley’s trusted chronicler and has written two books about him. We will examine the history of Jamaica, its  culture and connection with Britain; Marley’s evolution as a writer and musician; his creative partnerships with artists like The Wailers and dubmaster Lee Perry; his lifelong battle to control the business of his music; and his commitment to pan-Africanism and Rasta as a way of life. There will be Special Guests and Screenings. Experience this rare opportunity to learn about Bob Marley from someone who first worked with him at his record company, Island, then wrote about him at home, on the road and in the studio.

REMU-UT 1122 Topics: Diasporic Sounds

2 credits, open to non-majors.

In the early modern era, the movement, migration, and dispossession of Europeans and Africans to the “New World” encouraged the transmission of diverse cultural practices within new contexts. In particular, the “African Diaspora” was forged, as multiple tribes and ethnicities were forcibly transported throughout the Americas during the Atlantic slave trade. In the Americas, varied forms of traditional African life and culture were both preserved and transformed within the confines of enslavement, while distinct ethnic practices converged in newly formed communities and settings, as well as in relation to (ethnic) European Diasporic practices. The topics of this course will travel across the Atlantic and three centuries, as we explore how the sounds of the African Diaspora have been (per)formed, transmitted, circulated, and commodified within the development of popular sounds in the Americas.Diasporic Sound will begin by engaging the spiritual, improvisatory, rhythmic, and corporeal aspects of how sounds of the African Diaspora were (re)created throughout the New World. Focusing on the United States, the Caribbean, and Brazil, this course will continue to explore the ways in which these diasporic sounds both related and differed across regions and contexts, reflecting the diversity implicit within how we investigate (Africa’s) Diaspora. While the course considers the specific contexts of Africans throughout the Americas, students will gain an understanding of the relationship between identity and popular sound by considering how sounds of the African Diaspora became thematized, commodified, and circulated in the context of an increasingly industrial and globalized world economy during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. As we explore the range, singularity, and hybridity of (African) Diasporic sounds, we will also cover a number of genres and their performers, including (but not limited to) the folk spiritual of the U.S., Haitian Compas, blackface minstrelsy, samba, Hip Hop, Bomba, Cuban jazz, and reggaeton, in addition to styles such as bluegrass, techno, and British soul.    

REMU-UT 1123 Topics: Paul Simon & Graceland

2 credits, open to non-majors.

No single album engendered more debate in the 1980s than singer-songwriter-producer Paul Simon's culture-crossing Graceland. Controversially recorded in 1985 (and released in 1986) in a collaborative format in South Africa in defiance of the UN cultural boycott, the album is a highly complex amalgam of Simon's trademark cerebral, interior lyrics super-imposed upon pulsating Africa rhythms played by South Africa's top instrumental musicians; Louisiana zydeco; and special cameos by artists ranging from Linda Ronstadt to the Everly Brothers. Gracelandwon the Grammy for album of the year, bolstering Simon's career in the process but serious questions were raised about the nature of the cross-cultural/cross-national project. Was it a genuine collaboration that benefited both Simon and his African colleagues, or was this the latest form of musical exploitation and colonialism? 

As the album that inaugurated the world music debated that still remain with us, Graceland - now celebrating its 25th anniversary - is worthy of in-depth academic scrutiny. This class proposes to put the album and its associated debates in full cultural, political and musical context. We will look at Simon's prolific pre-Graceland career and the rise of world music and globalization in the 1980s - also paying some attention to the volatile cultural politics of south Africa in the 1980s. We will then study Graceland itself and delve into the controversy. And finally we will look at world music, culture and politics in the aftermath of Graceland. Students should expect to leave the class with an enriched understanding of the role that Western musicians play in an increasingly complex trans-national world system, where forms of collaboration and artistic exchange are fraught with as much promise as they are with challenge.

REMU-UT 1124 Topics: John Coltrane

50 years after his death at the age of 40, John Coltrane still stands as one of the most legendary and celebrated African-American cultural heroes of the 20th Century, revered as a patron saint of creative discipline and artistic commitment far beyond the realm of modern jazz, the musical arena in which he excelled. His compositions are widely known and his saxophone sound often imitated, and instantly recognizable: brittle, dark, and deeply searching—a sonic signature that has become a standard for the ideals of musical freedom, personal expression, and spiritual priority in popular music. Today, Coltrane’s influence stretches throughout the musical sphere—from rock and hip hop to classical and electronica—pushing a sense of individual identity and political stance. Yet, despite universal adoration, Coltrane’s life and music remain an enigma: more praised than examined, more acknowledged than fully understood.

Offered to NYU students as a means to understanding and learning from John Coltrane’s musical path, each session in this ambitious, two-credit, seven-class course will include readings, listenings, multimedia presentations and performances, plus a variety of special guests, to help penetrate his music and life from a variety of perspectives—including musical, spiritual, historical, and through his production and business experiences.

REMU-UT 1125 Topics: Stevie Wonder

2 credits, open to non-majors.

One of the great recording artists of the 20th century, Michigan-born Stevie Wonder started as a child prodigy on Motown in the 1960s before emerging as a visionary and socially conscious performer-producer-songwriter. Merging r&b, jazz, rock, classical and pop sounds in innovative and melodious ways, Wonder – who today boasts 22 Grammy® Awards to his name – released in the 1970s an acclaimed string of albums (Music Of My Mind, Talking Book, Innervisions, Fullfillingness’ First Finale, Songs In The Key Of Life) that set the bar for artistic achievement in recorded music. This course introduces students to the life and work of Stevie Wonder, giving students insight into the artistic, business and technological forces that inform his creative output. In learning about Stevie Wonder, students will discover the under-researched black singer-songwriter movement of the ’60s and ’70s. Running parallel to the widening of the album rock market in the early 1970s, which inspired the rise of such artists-songwriters as James Taylor, Carole King, Neil Young, Joni Mitchell, Paul Simon, Jackson Browne and Laura Nyro, was the rise of the black singer-songwriter-auteur, keyed by the success of Wonder, Curtis Mayfield, Bill Withers, Donny Hathaway, Marvin Gaye, Aretha Franklin, and others.

It’s a story overlooked by most chroniclers of the era, as R&B and soul music historically has been deemed dance and/or party music; yet the contributions made by these “triple-threat” artists opened the door for a whole new sound – sometimes without leaving the dance floor behind. Students will also learn of the technological advances in recorded music that allowed Stevie Wonder a forum for his singular vision. In specifically looking at Wonder, and the range of issues surrounding the creation and release of his 1973 album Innervisions, the class will document this movement, incorporate the artists of this movement into the larger pop music history, and illuminate their contributions as vital to the work of those who followed – Prince, Rick James, El DeBarge, Babyface, Sade, Maxwell, D’Angelo, India.Arie, Mary J. Blige, John Legend, Jay-Z and more.

REMU-UT 1128 Topics: James Brown

2 credits, open to non-majors.

Variously referred to by such luminous titles as “the hardest working man in show business” and “soul brother number one,” James Brown may well be the most important figure in 20th century recorded music. His thrilling stage and recorded performances starting in the late 1950s helped elevate expectations for soul music. And in the 1960s he became the chief innovator behind funk music, creating the singing‐and‐dancing template that inspired later‐day luminaries like Michael Jackson, Usher and Justin Timberlake. In addition to his multi‐decade chart successes and his major contributions to the soundtrack of the civil rights movement (“Say It Loud, I’m Black and I’m Proud,” for instance), Brown excelled as an entrepreneur, emerging as one of the first African‐Americans to own his own record label and retain control of his publishing income. This unique course will investigate the early career of James Brown and the changing musical and sociopolitical context of the 1950s and early 1960s that informed his celebrity. Students should walk away from the course with a more sophisticated understanding of one of the great musical innovators in the history of recorded music and a greater sense of how those innovations tied into changing musical field and identity politics of the latter half of the century.

REMU-UT 1129 Topics: The Motown Legacy

2 credits, open to non-majors.

Started in 1959 in Detroit by the songwriter and budding entrepreneur Berry Gordy, Motown Records was boldly named “Hitsville USA," and through Gordy’s leadership it lived up it its name, serving as home to such artists as Diana Ross and the Supremes, the Temptations, Mary Wells, Smokey Robinson & the Miracles, Stevie Wonder, Martha & the Vandellas, the Jackson 5, the Four Tops, and many others. Motown literally changed the concept of the record label and redefined the very idea of entrepreneurship in recorded music, serving as core inspiration to artists from the Beatles to Beyonce. Motown's success served a crucial role in helping to integrate popular music and thereby helped to rewrite the narrative of race and class in America.

One of the greatest examples of an artist expanding the boundaries of his art, of his company’s limitations, of the public’s expectations, and subsequently of what it meant to be a pop artist, is the album What’s Going Onby Marvin Gaye, issued by Motown in spring 1971. As we narrow our focus to study this album – its roots, its creation, the difficulty with its release, its triumph – students will be introduced to the legacy of Motown Records. Readings, class lectures, guest speakers, video and audio clips will answer the questions, What was Motown Records? How did it operate? Who was Marvin Gaye? How did he get to a place where felt he needed to create this album? Why was it difficult for him to get the song and the album released? What was company policy that created an issue around the album content? What did it mean to be an artist and a producer at Motown – or not?

REMU-UT 1130 Topics: Nirvana & the Culture of Indie Music

2 credits, open to non-majors.

Nirvana's Nevermind is often listed alongside The Beatles' Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band as one of the most important albums in rock history. Spearheaded by the late Kurt Cobain, Nirvana also helped shape the development of alternative independent rock in the 1990s. This unique course will consider the music and culture that shaped the rise of Nirvana, and the music and culture that Nirvana gave rise to. We'll examine the development of semi-popular music in the 1970s and its relationship to popular music; the development of the self-sufficient independent rock underground of the 1980s and its rejection of popular music; and Nirvana’s explosion into the mainstream in 1991 and popular music’s embrace of the rock underground. As we read texts like Michael Azzerad's Come as You Are and watch documentaries and music videos, we’ll investigate broader issues of subculture and bohemia, and their relationship to each other as well as to the pop mainstream. Students will consider why punk values triumphed in America in 1991, why Nirvana were the band that made it happen, and how the repercussions still shape the ambitions of bands and their audiences today.

REMU-UT 1136 Topics: Freddie Mercury

2 credits, open to non-majors.

As the lead singer and songwriter of of rock group Queen - and famous for songs like "Bohemian Rhapsody," "Killer Queen," "Somebody to Love," "Don't Stop Me Now," "Crazy Little Thing Called Love," and "We are the Champions" - Freddie Mercury is arguably the most gifted and flamboyant of 20th century rock stars. As a musical auteur, frontman and visual genius, Freddie Mercury found creative ways to merge the avant-garde and the mainstream in pop, to the tune of 300 million in album sales. Often neglected in discussions of Mercury's stardom, however, are his Asian heritage and African roots (he was born Farrokh Pluto Bulsara to parents Bomi and Jer Bulsara in Zanzibar, Tanzania), his interest and work with black and Asian musicians, and his bisexuality. The multiple (open) closets in which he worked and his subversive musical and visual content demand a total re-examination of the assumed whiteness, Western-ness and straight-ness of the rock front "man" mythology. But the often fraught journeys of contemporary queer pop stars like George Michael, Mika, Adam Lambert, and Lady Gaga suggests how far and not so far the music industry has come. 

This course proposes to deconstruct Freddie Mercury's impact on popular music, with a special focus on issues of race, gender, celebrity, post-coloniality, globalization and the hidden aspects of his public image. Among topics for consideration: Freddie Mercury's early Bollywood and Hendrix influences; Tanzanian and Bombay pop culture of the 50s; the politics of flamboyancy (Liberace to Elton to Morrissey and Mika); post-colonial super-stardom; Mercury's impact on contemporary artists like Lady Gaga; his influence on glam rock and the ways that his trans-national identifications complicate our notions of "white" male rock singing; Queen's '70s multi-tracked vocal excess; revisiting Queen's critical reception by the rock press. 

REMU-UT 1141 Topics: Classic Albums

2 credits, Clive Davis Institute majors only.

The concept of what gets constituted as “classic” or “canonical” is a vexed issue in popular music, as it is in literature and other fields. On one hand, “classic” suggests pre-eminent status, high standards, top quality. A classic album is one that has been deemed by many – or even just a select, influential few – as a standard bearer. On the other hand, the term classic can infer elitism and exclusion, and can signal a sort of inflexible members’ only club: too often, the work of American and British white male rock artists is often venerated in this tradition at the expense of women and people of color and non-first world subjects among others.

Taking this ongoing debate around the idea of classic as a starting point for discussion rather than an impasse, this unique course investigates the concept of the "seminal” album. For our purposes we can define a seminal album as one that has managed to further influence, in a groundbreaking way, the development of future forms of artistic expression.

During the class, students will take a subjective look at one or several "classic" albums, and deconstruct how and why a particular album has come to be considered as seminal in the trajectory of popular music. In particular, students will deconstruct the music, the production and the marketing, putting the album in full social and political context and exploring the range of reasons why it has garnered classic status. We do this, of course, at a time in which the very meaning and future of the album is up for grabs given the ubiquity of digital retail formats that put an inordinate emphasis on the value of the single.

REMU-UT 1142 Topics: Funk

2 credits, open to non-majors.

Funk can be described as an African-derived aesthetic, an approach to embodied rhythm. By the late 1960s, it evolved from early roots in styles like jazz to become a powerful and influential standalone genre and culture popularized by figures like James Brown and Sly Stone. In many ways, funk has become the dominant sound of popular music in the 21st century. In this course, students will study the history, culture and politics of funk, as we track its crossover rise in the 1960s and 1970s, its relationship to disco and sampling in hip-hop, its ability to engage protest and subversive politics, and the way the music continues to be informed by issues of race, nationalism, class, gender and sexuality. This particular iteration of the funk class will focus primarily on the cultural contributions of two of funk's greatest visionaries: George Clinton, bandleader of musical group/army Parliament-Funkadelic, and Maurice White, the under-recognized architect of multi-format crossover band Earth, Wind & Fire. As we listen to audio and watch video clips, read scholarly and journalistic writing on funk, and conduct original research projects about the music, we'll see how the turbulent politics of the 1970s found unique expression in EWF and P-Funk's respective recordings, lyrics, artwork and stage shows.

REMU-UT 1143 Topics: David Bowie

2 credits, open to non-majors.

David Bowie’s life and work offer a template for how to survive and continue to evolve as a musical artist. David Bowie has kept the music industry, his fans and the world guessing throughout a career that spans over four decades. Bowie himself put his secret best in his prophetic 1972 song, “Ch-ch-ch-ch Changes”; a multi-talented performer, writer and visual artist, Bowie has played his career like an instrument, selecting trends of every generation to process, absorb and adapt into successive phases of his ever-evolving chameleon persona. In this day of ceaseless multiple media, Bowie’s most recent, and typically perverse, coup was keeping secret the recording of his 2013 album, The Next Day, over a two-year recording period. The manipulative bravado of knowing when and how to keep a star’s inaccessibility and mystery, or to expose oneself, as Bowie did on TV in his own darkest days, has given David Bowie a singular, enduring mystique, glamour and respect. 

Examining the arc of his work is a window into significant scenes of every decade since the 1950s, and offers insight into: the British Blues scene that produced the Beatles and the Rolling Stones; the hippy free festival counter-culture; r’n’b; futurism; electronica;glam and gender games, improvisation; soul; funk; dance; disco; minimalism; ambient; avant-garde theater; and above all, the endlessly evolving sound of US and UK young clubland, including recent jungle and garage, to which Bowie consistently returns to recharge and find a new direction to make his own. 

REMU-UT 1144 Topics: The Talking Heads

2 credits, open to non-majors.

Rarely does one group capture the sound and spirit of an era, then expand their original music concept—through songs, film, and even the business of music itself—to a degree that their echoes can be clearly heard forty years later. The Talking Heads, the New York foursome that were born in the cultural maelstrom of New York’s punk scene of the 1970s, achieved all of that and much more in their fifteen year history. Led by forward-thinking frontman David Byrne, the group were the apotheosis of what an “art band” should sound like, driven by musical curiosity while rocking hard and maintaining popular embrace. The band’s timeline encompasses the musical development of popular American music from the ‘70s until now, touching upon groundbreaking trends (punk, disco, World Music and hip-hop), technologies (synthesizers, sampling), musical approaches (song constructionism, lateral thinking), themes and arguments (artist-as-producer, musical imperialism.) That Byrne’s own career continues to produce singular music is further proof that the enduring impact of the Talking Heads is due for serious academic study. 

The course will cover the Head’s history from the heyday of punk and New Wave; to their experimentations with funk, African music, and side projects that delved into disco and hip-hop (Tom Tom Club) and ambient, electronica and musique concrete (Byrne’s groundbreaking collaboration with Brian Eno, My Life In The Bush of Ghosts). Also meriting focus is: the band’s impressionistic songwriting and constructionist approach to recording (as on the album Fear of Music); the group’s role as a harbinger of World Music (Remain In Light); Byrne’s extracurricular projects in the worlds of film (Stop Making Sense with Jonathan Demme, his own full-length feature True Stories), literature (Bicycle Diaries), theater (Knee Plays, CIVIL warS with Robert Wilson and Phillip Glass), photography (Arboretum), dance (The Catherine Wheel with Twyla Tharp) and the establishment of the music label, Luaka Bop. Byrne’s views on the role of music and current state of the music business are expressed in his latest book How Music Works; it will serve as a primer to this course, along with a wealth of other readings, music and documentaries that relate to the world the Talking Heads and David Byrne have created.

REMU-UT 1145 Topics: Prince

2 credits, open to non-majors.

One of the top-selling and most gifted and musically versatile artists in the history of popular music, Prince remains an enigmatic and visionary multi-talented performer, songwriter and producer. Prince’s unique history is worth deconstructing: when the 19-year-old shopped his music to recording companies in 1977, he demanded creative control. In a striking move Warner Brothers Records, with no precedent, gave it to him, kicking off a longstanding, groundbreaking, genre-straddling career that continues to this day. To this day, Prince’s music addresses sexuality, politics, social issues and personal identity in a way unseen in previous generations of popular music. He confounded his core R&B audience with New Wave experiments; angered his rock following with gender-bending displays; caused the government to force the recording industry into parental advisory labeling; frustrated his label with non-commercial choices, challenging the notion of what is commercial; established his own label; melded the live and recording business with unique delivery systems of his output, and much more.
 
Prince’s trailblazing path was a prime example of the strength of a new generation of Midwestern, baby boomer performers who carried a bold “Gen X” attitude: Prince (from Minnesota) was born in the same three-month period as Madonna (Michigan) and Michael Jackson (Indiana).

This class, through readings, music listening, video clips, film screenings, special guests and performances, will explore the joys and contradictions of Prince’s music and business practices.

REMU-UT 1147 Topics: Sound Studies & Pop Music

2 credits, open to non-majors.

In the past few decades, “sound studies” has emerged as an official field of critical inquiry: it is best defined as the study of the production, circulation, and materiality of sound and its historical, social, cultural and political effects. Investigating sound — beyond investigating music alone — is a fascinating and rich way to engage in the power and politics of pop music performed by artists as wide ranging as the The Velvet Underground, The Smiths, Nina Simone, Sun Ra, Kendrick Lamar, and FKA twigs, and to delve into the powerful writing of scholars like Daphne A. Brooks, Alexandra T. Vazquez, Gayle Wald, and Alexander G. Weheliye. This course offers an overview of the sound studies with a focus on how the burgeoning interdisciplinary field’s diverse range of issues and methodological questions contribute to ways of writing music criticism on popular music.  Students will specifically consider how becoming more aware of our relationship to sound in its various forms creates new ways of understanding how race, gender, and sexuality are heard, felt, and experienced in popular music. 

Topics and approaches to sound studies discussed in the course include the following: how theories and concepts of listening, of the voice, of noise, and of affect and/or emotion relate to the formation and production of racial, gender, and sexual difference and vice versa; understanding sound reproduction in relation to technology and audiovisual media; and how sound or soundscapes structure everyday life. Students will be asked to experiment with their writing in weekly response papers on music that both students and the instructor will share with the class as well as with critical karaoke presentations.  At the end of the course, weekly response papers will be collected into a portfolio, which will include an introduction by students that summarizes their writing for the course. Additionally, students will have the opportunity to create their own experimental sound pieces as well as attend a music performance in New York City, for which students will write reviews that incorporate sound studies theories and concepts.

REMU-UT 1148 Topics: Failure

2 credits, open to non-majors.

The dictum says that you have to learn to fail before you can truly succeed. And so failure has recently become a buzzword with regard to contemporary creative endeavors in the arts, humanities, business and science. In 2014, the New York Times announced the rise of “The Failure Age:” the flipside of our relentless push toward entrepreneurial achievement and innovation is the tragic reality of companies that have gone bust and seemingly bright ideas that have imploded or ended in catastrophe. 

 

We live in an age dominated by reality television winners and losers; by television shows like Flight of the Conchords, Girls, Bunheads and Shameless, and films like Birdman, that delve into personal failure in unprecedented and sometimes hilarious ways; and by social media videos and memes laced with hashtags like #fail and #epicfail that promote people’s embarrassing mistakes and failures, whether staged or otherwise. Yet, we hold fast to the belief that there is an art to failure: we’re routinely encouraged to fail as long as we glean inspirational lessons from our mistakes, gaffes and foibles and self-correct toward ultimate success. Every high-achieving artist and entrepreneur has some sort of relationship to failure; in fact, fear of failure is a chief driver that underwrites creative success.

 

This class considers failure as it relates to the contemporary popular arts. What is it exactly that we think we can learn from failure? And more to the point, what does our amplified 21st century interest and obsession with failure say about us? We take a deeper look at case studies of failures in popular music, movies, theater and beyond as a way to further our understanding of the complexity of the creative process, especially as it comes into tension with pressures of industry and commerce.

 

As we do so, we’ll take a look at Lauren Berlant’s theory of cruel optimism as well as Jack Halberstam’s work on the queer art of failure. George Lipsitz’s ideas about creative miscommunication in popular music come into play, as do Sara Jane Bailes’ studies of failure in theater and performance art. We branch out from there to focus on feature films about the deeper recesses of artistic failure like The Coen Brothers’ Inside Llewyn Davis, documentary features like Jodorowsky’s Dune, and sour mockumentaries like I’m Still Here. We look at under-researched areas in popular music like one-hit wonders, sophomore slumps, also-rans, bankrupted record labels and tech start-ups, and more. Among the case studies we may tackle: Milli Vanilli, Rebecca Black, “American Idol’s” William Hung, Brian Wilson’s collapsed Smile, Britney Spears’ mid 2000s meltdown, and Kanye West’s award-show speeches. Along the way, we’ll consider our culture’s changing ideas about ambition, hubris, excess, disappointment, resentment, self-destruction, burn-outs, interruptions, misunderstandings, communication breakdowns, industry obstructions and creative blocks. We stop to consider how failure is not a static concept but gets articulated diversely in different cultures, nations and time periods; and we think about the rise of racialized concepts of failure like “ratchet” in popular culture and television shows like Empire.

 

Students should leave the class with greater understanding of changing definitions of success and achievement in a downturned 21st creative economy, and richer ways to consider the varies of artistic ambition and achievement in a culture that valorizes winning while both trashing and fetishizing failure. 

REMU-UT 1149 Topics: Music + Robots

2 credits, open to non-majors.

You’ve already made use of ‘artificial intelligence’ if you’ve ever received a recommendation from a service like Pandora or Spotify or Netflix, or if you’ve asked Siri for directions. These streaming services are virtual agents designed to make our lives more efficient and pleasurable. Still, most of us don’t stop to deeply consider how much we make use of algorithms on a daily basis.

 

Presently, drones can autonomously perform music, algorithms can write, produce and recommend songs, and we live among a range of other interactive multi-modal systems, bots and human-machine hybrids and interfaces. In the coming years, these innovations will exponentially develop. The future of how we make and consume art and entertainment is sure to be impacted by our controversial relationship to increasingly intelligent — and potentially sentient — bots and machines. Though it may take time to fully accept, humans are not necessarily the only beings that can spontaneously create music.

 

This ambitious course provides students with a sweeping introduction to robotics especially as it relates to popular music. We investigate the history and present of robotics, and we take a special interest in how metaphors of humanoid robots, cyborgs, and androids in 20th century science fiction have deeply influenced our thinking about these matters (not to mention dystopian ideas of the coming ‘robocalypse’). Beyond the work of writers like Isaac Asimov and Philip K. Dick and film directors like Stanley Kubrick and Ridley Scott, robot tropes show up the work of musicians like Kraftwerk, Devo, Gary Numan, Rammelzee, Daft Punk, Janelle Monae, Squarepusher and Roger & Zapp. Electronic music inventor Ray Kurzweil’s ideas about the Singularity — that future moment when machines think for themselves— are a reminder that innovators working in the music space have long been at the pioneering forefront of questions about robot intelligence.

 

As we consider the differing development of robots in Japan, the US and the African continent, we’ll touch on how innovations in the field are impacting labor; war and the military; spirituality and ethics; and ideas about transhumanism related to race, class, sexuality and gender. PLEASE NOTE: This is not a ‘making’ class; it is a theoretical course in which students are expected to think deeply and intellectually about the past, present and future of robotics in relationship to changing ideas about art, entertainment and technology.

REMU-UT 1150 Music Recommendation and Discovery: History, Criticism & Culture

4 credits, open to non-majors.

Because the storage capacity of the web has made a seemingly infinite amount of recorded music products available and accessible, the “problem” of how everyday people find out about music — and how they spread the word to others — has become more important than ever. Music discovery and recommendation refers to the formal and informal processes through which audiences learn about new and existing songs, artists, styles, and events, sometimes through suggestion and influence. This course will focus on the history, future, and culture of music discovery and recommendation: how consumers become exposed to music through criticism, retail, fanzines, gossip rags and blogs, radio, live music festivals, social networking sites, and online radio and recommendation engines, to name a few. This course will explore the social theories of crowds and networking science as well as “old school” (or pre-digital) processes of discovery, and will through the lens of markers like class, race, gender, and age, to consider the taste-making function of well-connected and knowledgeable “influentials” like journalists, bloggers, and curators as well as the often surreal existences of enthusiastic music connoisseurs, vinyl record collectors, mixtape- and playlist-makers.

REMU-UT 1152 Conversations with Technology Entrepreneurs

2 credits, open to non-majors

Terms like “techpreneur,” “technopreneur” and “e-preneur” all refer to the same subject: entrepeneurs who specialize in work in new or emergent media or entrepreneurs who have created pioneering ventures for mobile or the Internet or beyond. In this weekly discussion series, students will meet and hear from key entrepreneurial figures and innovators in music technology, with a focus on New York based tech figures who have launched recognized or profitable music-focused startups. The idea is for students, many of whom are aspiring entrepreneurs, to hear directly from, and ask questions directly to, established tech entrepreneurs, in moderated conversation. In anticipation for a guest class visit, students may be required to investigate websites, read biographical or contextual material, or attend events outside of class time. Students will be expected to ask informed questions of the guests and to develop responses throughout the course of the class. All events and speakers are subject to change. 

REMU-UT 1153 Race in American Popular Music: From Blackface Minstrelsy to Hip-Hop

4 credits, open to non-majors.

Contrary to the suggested notion of a “post-racial” U.S., unrest and protests against racial profiling and policing in places such as Florida, Ferguson, and New York highlight the persistent impact race has upon contemporary society. This impact is furthered by how racial identity is portrayed, performed, and understood by the masses through popular media, both historically and at present. In an effort to highlight the more covert ways that race continues to shape identity and society, we will explore its construction in the development of global popular music and the culture of sound in and before the 20th century in the United States. We will focus on music of the global African diaspora, produced primarily in the U.S., from the late nineteenth century until the civil rights era. Beginning with the sounds and performance of blackface minstrelsy, you will learn how racial identity has been constructed through the development of popular American music, ranging from Tin Pan Alley to blues and jazz, as well as to country and rock and roll. Irving Berlin, Big Momma Thornton, Elvis Presley, The Supremes, Johnny Cash, Mick Jagger, Tina Turner, and Jimi Hendrix are but a few of the many artists who will be considered in relation to the history of American popular music and (racialized) sound.

REMU-UT 1154 Revisiting 1950s Rock and Roll

4 credits, open to non-majors.

The 1950s are widely known as a time of unprecedented prosperity and stifling cultural conservatism. But they were also a time of intense racial strife, rising youth consciousness, rampant consumerism, and rapidly expanding concepts and industries of leisure — all of which meshed with the birth of rock and roll and the countless popular music styles that followed directly or indirectly in its wake. This course will contextualize the '50s by focusing on rock and roll and the music that fed into it and examine seminal artists from Elvis Presley and Chuck Berry to Ray Charles, James Brown, and Johnny Cash. It will consist of lectures, group discussions, guest speakers, and numerous audio and video clips. You will walk away with a much richer understanding of a defining decade that shaped the lives of their parents and grandparents and continues to inform the contemporary moment.

REMU-UT 1156 Topics: DubNation

2 credits, open to non-majors.

Created in the early 1970s, Dub is an often overlooked Jamaican music genre (and an off-shoot of reggae) that was among the first to use the recording studio itself as an instrument; and the DJ’s who “toasted” atop the re-imagined, deconstructed tracks became the inspiration for America’s first hiphop DJ’s, many of whom were of Jamaican extraction. Dub, spearheaded by iconic figures like King Tubby and Lee ‘Scratch’ Perry, has grown from an experimental eco-minded recording strategy to become the source, inspiration and foundation of generations of global music, such as punk, hip hop, ambient, techno, rave, drum ‘n bass, grime, dubstep and today’s EDM and dubstep. 

 

Part of this course will look at the unique and undiscovered connections between punk, dub and the start of hip hop, all of which began within the same few late 1970s-early 80s years. All three genres were shaped by greater availability to recording equipment and shared an enterprising, activist attitude that the punks called D.I.Y. As we’ll come to discover through readings, lectures, and guest visits, the idea of Dub Nation is to envision how the music became a powerful unifying force for various sub-cultures and communities all over the world. Just as it did in beleaguered 1970s downtown Kingston, dub music became integral in defining a sense of place and identity for cities reeling from urban blight, such as Chicago and Detroit, homes of House and Techno. It fulfilled a parallel function for tribes such as the gay community, for whom music has long been a rallying-flag.  Students should expect to walk away from the course with mastery of the transnational history and culture of dub music, greater knowledge of the music’s key players and a greater understanding of how dub culture, technology and aesthetics inform contemporary music scenes and industries.

 

REMU-UT 1157 POPULAR MUSIC AND PROTEST IN THE 21ST CENTURY

2 credits, open to non-majors.

The aim of this course is to explore how popular music has been used as an instrument of protest, with a special focus on twenty-first century developments. Although the 1960s is often regarded as the “golden era” of protest music in the United States, many events that have occurred in and outside the nation since 9/11 have led contemporary pop musicians to accept the charge left by musician and activist, Nina Simone: “An artist’s duty, as far as I’m concerned, is to reflect the times.” Thinking through significant American events—including, but not limited to, September 11th 2001 (“9/11”), the re-election of George W. Bush in 2004, Hurricane Katrina, the 2008 financial crisis, same-sex marriage debates, global warming debates, the Presidential election(s) of Barack Obama, the #BlackLivesMatter movement, the nomination of Donald Trump as the 2016 Republican Presidential candidate, and—this course will consider the following questions: What constitutes “protest music” in contemporary popular culture? How do artists create music that inspires others to resist, exist within, or even recognize structures and systems that limit the freedoms of individuals and communities throughout society? How are “isms” and “phobias,” such as racism, sexism, classism, homophobia, Islamophobia, etc., addressed in popular music, and what are the aesthetic, lyrical, and performative characteristics that contribute to the creation and reception of that music? How have technological developments (i.e., the Internet, social media, streaming music, etc.) impacted the way in which artists, producers, and consumers use music as a tool for social activism and protest? What are the possibilities and limitations of protest music within the global capitalist economy in which popular music circulates?

REMU-UT 1158 TOPICS: J DILLA

2 credits, open to non-majors.

This 7-week course explores the career, impact, and legacy of music producer/composer James Dewitt Yancey. Known variously as “Jay Dee,” “J. Dilla” or simply “Dilla,” Yancey’s professional music career was short, spanning a dozen years before his death from a rare blood disease in 2006. But his influence in that period shifted the sound of popular music; and in the decade since the passing of the Detroit-born artist, his ideas have compelled a new generation of musicians — both in the electronic and traditional realms — who have drawn inspiration from Yancey’s music and seized upon his rhythmic and compositional ideas, chief among them a unique conception of time. 

REMU-UT 1159 Recycling Pop Music: Innovation, Imitation & Originality

4 credits, open to non-majors.

In music, is anything really original? The cry of “All music sounds the same these days!” is not just a contemporary critique; it has been a perennial complaint throughout the history of pop music. This class – a collaboration between the History, Writing & Emergent Media and Performance and Songwriting areas of the Clive Davis Institute – will grapple with the vital role that recycling plays in the creation of music, and thus offer divergent and often counterintuitive perspectives on creativity and originality. Through the course of 14 weeks, we'll look at the nature of creation and creativity, and also the way that ideas are reused and renewed; from classical interpolation of folk songs; to basic chord progressions; to cover songs; to the rise of remix; to the cultural thunderclap of digital sampling and its legal implications; to technological trends and fads. Each class will work through a pertinent cultural case study. Part history, part songwriting and production course, the work will be both mental and physical, philosophical and creative, as students will be asked to not only read, write, and debate, but also to complete several music and media composition and production exercises. By exploring the real nature of musical influence and innovation from historical example and through personal practice, students will discover liberating notions of authorship and artistry, enabling them to relinquish the quest for the new, and empowered with techniques to create the good and the vital. 

REMU-UT 1160 Queer/Popular/Music

Queer theory is a scholarly field that might be applied to the study of popular music to illuminate how queerness shapes and is shaped by popular culture. This scholarly field emerged out of LBTQ and queer studies to destabilize normative categories of gender (male/female), sexuality (heterosexual/homosexual), and their power relations that have structured American society. Even though queer identities, experiences, and lives have become more accepted in contemporary culture, queer performers still remain largely marginalized in popular music. However, queer performers and queer performances have always been central to popular music and culture, contributing to the destabilization of systematic gender and sexuality norms.

This course will explore the relationship between queer theory and popular music, as we consider ways that the spectrum of queer identities has been articulated, constructed, performed, and consumed within popular music and society at large. In addition to introducing students to foundational texts in queer theory and identity studies, we will critically consider how the lives, performance, music, and reception of selected musical figures have contributed to the conversation of queer identity and sexuality in popular culture—from the blues of the 1920s to trap music of the contemporary era. While the class will focus on specific eras of popular music and selected artists, each class will concentrate on a topic that considers queer theories, reading practices, and performances to explore the myriad ways queer identities are central to and impacted by popular culture and society at large. We will also consider how queer identities in and out of popular music are mediated by culture and societal norms, and how these identities are further impacted by race, class, gender, and religion. Bessie Smith, Rosetta Tharpe, Billy Strayhorn, Little Richard, Fanny, Sylvester, Annie Lenox, George Michael, Prince, Meshell Ndegeocello, Ru Paul, Frank Ocean, Lady Gaga, Young Thug, Azalea Banks, and Tyler the Creator are but a few of the artists and cases we will consider within our application of queer theory to the analysis of popular music, sound, and culture in this course.  

REMU-UT 1162 TOPICS: JONI MITCHELL

2 credits, open to non-majors.

Joni Mitchell looms as one of the most adventurous, literary and iconic songwriters of the last century. Though reductively known for hippie-era, folk-pop touchstones like the starry-eyed anthem “Woodstock,” the ecology-theme’d “Big Yellow Taxi” and the broadly philosophical “Both Sides Now,” Mitchell’s work far transcended any quaint ‘60s ideologies or styles. As a musician, and songwriter, she is regarded by her peers as second only to Dylan in influence and awe.

Mitchell’s honed her skills in the politically-charged, Bleecker St. folk revival of the mid-’60s, then perfected them amid the Laurel Canyon, introspective singer-songwriter movement of the late ‘60s and early ‘70s. Even amid those forward-thinking milieus, Mitchell stood apart. From the word choices in her lyrics to the chord structures of her music, Mitchell’s songs have resisted categorization at every turn.

Beyond her free approach to genre, Mitchell’s work has stirred controversy for her examinations of women, her representations of race and her commitment to the politics her lyrics seem to espouse. Fascinating contradictions abound: Mitchell has expanded the roles, and perception, of women in music while disavowing feminism. She helped bring to pop aspects of African-American jazz and African music while also appearing on the cover of her album “Don Juan’s Reckless Daughter” in black face. She has written anthems of the environmental movement and the counter culture while looking askance at the role of pop stars in politics. In “The Boho Dance” she detailed her own bourgeois values, as well as the hypocrisies of rebellion.

The course will unpack these contradictions while also detailing the artist’s impact on popular music and her uncommonly intimate role in the life of her fans. The course will illuminate the scope, and specifics, of Ms. Mitchell’s poetry, while establishing her placement at the pinnacle of modern wordsmiths. Unlike her closest peers, Bob Dylan and Leonard Cohen, Mitchell never leans on abstractions in her writing. She’s amazingly literal, yet still manages to achieve poetic leaps. By detailing Mitchell’s verbiage, the course will be of special use to students interested in lyric writing.

REMU-UT 1163 TOPICS: The 1980s

2 credits, open to non-majors.

This class will analyze how specific changes in the way popular music was produced, distributed, promoted and categorized during the 1980s led to the economic and legal challenges which began to erode existing business models within the entire multinational music industry from the 1990s on. We will often look beyond major label hits to see the profound influence underground dance clubs and emerging trends had on the mainstream. As we listen to songs like Blondie's "Rapture"(1981), The Clash's "The Magnificent Dance," (1981), "Sweet Dreams" by the Eurythmics (1982), Talking Heads's "Slippery People" (1983), Run DMC's " It's Like That" (1983), Shannon's "Let the Music Play" (1983), Dhar Braxton's "Jump Back" (1986) and Keith Sweat's "I Want Her" (1986), students are expected to become familiar with the pivotal changes in musical taste and production techniques that occurred during that landmark decade. This will include the innovative role that specific digital drum machines and sampling keyboards (Linn, Juno, Casio, Roland) played on breakthrough singles like Devo's "Whip It" (1980), D Train's "You’re the One for Me" (1981), Soul Sonic Force's "Looking for the Perfect Beat" (1983),) and Janet Jackson's "What Have You Done for Me Lately" (1986). Digital instrumentation and storage mediums comprehensively transformed the dominant sound of '80s studio recordings and remixes. 

Students are expected to assess how bedroom MIDI studios, affordable sampling technology, and the cost of commercial CDs vs. rampant bootlegging would later bring troubling new legal concerns to bear upon record companies during the 1990s. We’ll consider how these intellectual property issues culminated in battles over the paradigm-shifting file sharing software that prefigured today's music streaming systems. From a business perspective, students will also learn about the significance of shifting regional and national trends in music radio through the 1980s (as measured by “R&R” magazine ratings and ad rates). This will lead to a better understanding of how music video outlets, major label promotion strategies, and multiple recording formats (vinyl, cassette, CD,) popularized new artists. (Hello, mixtape culture!) 

 A major aim of the class — which will focus on changes in R&B and rap music due to dance clubs and remix culture— is for students to develop a greater understanding of the impact of socioeconomic factors on '80s pop music trends. By the end of the class, students should also have a greater general recognition of the volatile dynamic of systemic racism on national chart position, radio formats, and record sales. Feminist initiatives will be viewed through a more culturally inclusive Post-Colonial Womanist lens. The rising popularity of reggae and other “world music” will see us discuss issues of cultural imperialism, authenticity and appropriation. We’ll also look at the impact British post-punk and new wave artists like The Clash, The Specials, Joy Division, Art of Noise, Soft Cell and Adam Ant had on both classic and college rock radio in the U.S., as well as how AIDS and multiple drug epidemics reshaped the American dance music market. Students should be able to trace how multimedia documentation and corporate sponsorship by companies like Swatch Watches (Fresh Fest) and Budwiser (Superfest) helped mainstream the hip hop underground. Students will recognize and appreciate how a sudden pivotal influx of black music executives facilitated more artist-owned imprints and more artist rights.

REMU-UT 1164 Advanced Workshop for Music Journalists, Writers, & Curators

2 credits, Clive Davis Institute majors only.

Pre-requisite: REMU-UT 1201 Creative Music Entrepreneurs in Historical Context.

In this intimate upper-level workshop, students with a demonstrated interest in music writing, journalism and/or curation will have the opportunity to draft, write and rewrite clips (reviews, blog posts, artist profiles, interviews, etc.) and have those clips routinely edited by a professional instructor. The objectives of the class are for students to: improve their own writing via detailed professorial line editing and thematic guidance; to learn how to incorporate negative critique and line edits to produce more robust writing samples; and to professionalize their writing by developing a portfolio of competitive writing samples (or a longer, sustained work) that can be pitched and submitted for publication. The workshop is also relevant for entrepreneurial writers, journalists and curators who are in the process of launching writing-centric business ventures (including, but not limited to: ad-supported blogs, online music hubs, documentary video projects or album box sets with a strong written / liner notes component).

REMU-UT 1165 Topics: The Clash

2 Credits

Emerging from the bohemian pubs and squats of mid-1970s West London, The Clash went on to define the political face of punk worldwide with world-famous, genre-defining songs like “White Riot,” “White Man in Hammersmith Palais,” “London Calling,” “Rock the Cashbah” and “The Call-Up.” Though the band employed various drummers and guitarists, the core trio of Strummer, co-writer Mick Jones on guitar, and bass player Paul Simonon, became as familiar to fans as individual Beatles had been in the previous decade. With two former art students in the band, their agit-prop aesthetic, extended from their early flyers to their DIY style, rooted in combat or utilitarian clothes. Musically, their aesthetic was also inclusionary, and the band allied themselves with fellow rebel musics, reggae and early hip-hop. Positioning themselves on the front line, The Clash was also pro-female, championing peer band The Slits, and they were always eager to promote an anti-racist, rebel culture agenda which remains instructive in today’s fraught political climate.

 

In this unique course, students will consider the first wave of UK and US punk at the dawn of multiculturalism; how The Clash became such defining figures within it as they confronted social and political issues plucked live from the streets. Amid the seeming collapse of hippy dreams, the traditional class structure, and the privileges of colonialism, first wave UK punk was the soundtrack for a fractured time that arguably reflects our own: IRA bombs, anti-police street riots, anti-Fascist/racist demonstrations and festivals, strikes, power cuts. Plus, we’ll examine the contradictions of the band’s role as radicals in the American charts and the internal conflicts that tore apart the group. Their choices and legacy as activist artists will be considered in terms of its meaning in today’s fractured and fractious political climate.

REMU-UT 1166 TOPICS: HIP-HOP/JAZZ CONTINUUM

2 Credits. Enrollment into this course is by special request only.

On the surface, hip-hop and jazz might seem to be different genres, born of different histories. Jazz emerged in the 1920s and prioritizes traditional musicianship; hip-hop emerged in the 1970s and favors non-traditional approaches, such as its inaugural trope of two turntables and a microphone. But it’s more progressive to consider jazz and hip-hop as two interrelated personas of black music, connected by a shared interest in black aesthetics—including improvisation, flow, groove, vibe, antiphony/call and response, emotionalism/feeling and percussive attack.

This unique course sheds a light on the ongoing and intertwined historical relationship between jazz    and hip hop: early 70s artists like The Last Poets and Gil Scot Heron broke new group by conducting early prototype rapping over jazz grooves; by the late 1980s, intrepid hip-hoppers like Stetsasonic, Jungle Brothers, A Tribe Called Quest, De La Soul, and Public Enemy crafted original rhythm tracks drawing on jazz samples from the likes of Maceo Parker and Lonnie Liston Smith. The alternative hip hop movement known as Native Tongues—groups like ATCQ, De La Soul, Gang Starr, Black Sheep, and Digable Planets) forged new bohemian ground, toying with low-end rhythm and sonics. R&B visionaries of the 1990s like D’Angelo, Erykah Badu, The Roots, Slum Village and J Dilla, and Lauryn Hill fused R&B, soul, hip-hop aesthetics and jazz into a seamless  ‘neo-soul’ movement, paving  ground for today’s music leaders operating at the nexus of jazz and hip-hop like Anderson.Paak, Badbadnotgood, Robert Glasper (and his various bands), Kendrick Lamar and Chance the Rapper.

Each class is divided into two components: the first half of each session focuses on historical-critical studies about the relationship between jazz and hip-hop. While completing focused readings, and undertaking listening and viewing assignments, students investigate the social, cultural, musical and business aspects of the relationships between hip-hop and jazz. The second half focuses on musicianship, performance, composition and production. Listening closely to music and completing in-class and out-of-class assignments under careful mentorship, students investigate compositional and studio choices at the nexus of hip hop and jazz, and work collaboratively to create, refine and produce their own original musical works.

REMU-UT 1167 Topics: Kendrick Lamar & 21st Century Hip-Hop in Cultural Context

2 credits, open to non-majors

To date, few 21st century recording artists have had as much galvanizing impact as Kendrick Lamar. The Compton, California reared rapper/MC first gained mainstream public attention in 2012 with his groundbreaking major label debut Good Kid, M.A.A.D City, a character-driven concept album matching rich, near-literary storytelling with complex rhyme flow and melancholy beats. His two follow-up studio albums have each set standards: 2015’s Grammy winning To Pimp a Butterfly was wildly praised by critics and listeners as a hip-hop masterpiece, mixing fiery radical black politics with cinematic, neo-jazz production; and 2017’s dazzlingly complex Damn continued down that path, exploring political activism and mental health, among other issues. For its part, Damn became the first ever hip-hop album to be awarded the prestigious Pulitzer Prize for Music, perhaps signaling a new phase of establishment respectability for the genre. Besides his studio albums (including his impressive curatorial contribution to the 2018 Black Panther soundtrack), Lamar has excelled at mixtapes, music videos and acting performances.

This course puts the work of Kendrick Lamar in the context of post civil-rights, post-9/11 and post-2008 economic crash hip-hop culture and criticism. In particular, students can expect to address topics like: the rise of resurgent radical black politics (Black Lives Matter, NFL football protest, etc.), the growing popularity of Afro-Pessimism and black existentialism, as well as burgeoning interest in black power aesthetics, neo-negritude and other cultural initiatives. We’ll also look at Lamar’s deployment of religion and faith in his music and videos, as well as his take on masculinity. We'll think about the larger context in which Lamar’s music resonates: that includes thinking about how his music has unfolded in different ways through the Bush, Obama and Trump presidencies; the 21st century impact of technology and social media on popular music; musical and sonic changes revolving around emo rap, electronic dance music, country, indie rock, and R&B; and it includes thinking about Lamar’s work in relation to the work of peers like Kanye West, Drake, Nicki Minaj, 50 Cent , L’il Wayne, Jay Z, Frank Ocean, Lupe Fiasco, 2 Chainz, Migos, Wacka Flocka Fame, Young Thug, L’il B. Danny Brown, Chance the Rapper, and Gucci Mane.

Over time, Lamar’s work has engendered substantive critical reflection by scholars and journalists that can bear weight to, and give context to, his music. Students who take this course will be required to think deeply about those critical responses. Each session in this two-credit, seven-class course will include readings, listening, multimedia presentations and performances, plus a variety of special guests, to help explore the music and life of Kendrick Lamar from a variety of perspectives.

REMU-UT 1168 Topics: Amy Winehouse/Erykah Badu

2 credits, open to non-majors.

British singer-songwriter Amy Winehouse had a relatively short musical career in the 2000s and 2010s before her passing — only two studio albums in total — but the impact she left on global popular culture remains revelatory. Merging vintage jazz and old school R&B with contemporary trends in pop, and hip-hop songwriting and production, vocalist Winehouse broke provocative new ground as a fledgling songwriter on her first album Frank (perhaps most notably on the genius single “ Fuck Me Pumps” co-written by producer Salaam Remi);  then rose to prominence on the heels of her Mark Ronson produced 2007 Back to Black, a Grammy-winning album featuring trenchant autobiography, Motown and Phil Spector era girl-group sounds, insouciant dance tunes, and stark heart-torn balladry, delivered with Brit-punk irreverence. Though her life was cut tragically short by addiction issues, Winehouse is emblematic of several trends coming together at once: the Brit-pop resurgence of the late 2000s (Lily Allen, Corinne Bailey Rae, Adele, Duffy, etc.), the decade’s retromania for nostalgic sounds, the return of a neo Ronnie Spector ‘bad girl’ culture in pop music, a post-feminist appropriation of punk rock arrogance, and the insurgence of a stylized all-genres approach to pop consistent with the “anything goes” rise of YouTube and streaming service culture. 

However, Winehouse did not rise to popularity in a vacuum. Though jazz songstresses like Billie Holiday are often cited as Winehouse’s influences, she herself has cited Mahalia Jackson, Dinah Washington, and Texas-born Young Disciple expat Carleen Anderson, as singers she admired; moreover, the so-called “neo-soul” and black bohemian artists of the late 1980s and 1990s created the immediate template that made space for the ascent of Winehouse in the 2000s. In particular, Dallas-reared singer-songwriter Erykah Badu deserves significant recognition for fusing together jazz, R&B, and hip-hop in the late 1990s around old-school solutions. Late 1990s and early 2000s classic albums like  Baduizm and Mama’s Gun created the stylistic arena in which those aforementioned singers of the late 2000s would experiment, and Badu’s underappreciated late 2000s New Amerykah sets — to say nothing of her iconic fashion and boho-spiritual Soulquarian style — would provide the template for Black Lives Matter informed, art-as-activism, albums which would arrive in the next decade by artists like Solange, Beyoncé and Kendrick Lamar. 

From different sides of the pond, and born of different eras, Badu and Winehouse can be seen as symbolic sister rebels cut from the same punky, irreverent, revolutionary spirit. This class primarily juxtaposes the two icons, illuminating the historical tensions between whiteness and blackness; between vaudeville and the black chitlin’ circuit, between Tin Pan Alley and the Brill Building, between an individualistic, anarchic British Jewish woman and a collective-minded, post-Hip Hop Dallas-born African-American “race woman.”

Each session in this two-credit, seven-class course will include readings, listening, multimedia presentations and performances, plus a variety of special guests, to help explore the music and life of both of these icons, and where they intersect, from a variety of perspectives.

REMU-UT 1169 TOPICS: Paul McCartney

2 credits, open to non-majors.

This 7-week course explores the remarkable — and in some ways overlooked — six-decade-long career of Paul McCartney. That many of his achievements happened while a member of The Beatles should not obscure a holistic view of McCartney’s particular genius and ample innovation, which includes: forging a new role for the bass guitar in pop music; transforming popular songwriting; introducing electronic instrumentation and avant-garde composition to the mainstream; merging the functions of artist and entrepreneur; and modeling a blueprint for longevity in the arts and popular culture. We study McCartney in all these dimensions, and revisit important critique as well; in so doing, we seek to understand the meaning of being an artist, a partner, and a professional; and the means of making artistry a lifelong endeavor, with stages of growth, decline, change, and rebirth.

REMU-UT 1191 Sound, Copyright, & Intellectual Property

4 Credits

Music copyright laws were developed in the 19th century to protect sheet music, and continued to protect the “legible” aspects of music in the wake of developing recording technologies at the turn of the twentieth century. Thus, sound is often one of the most contentious aspects of music copyright cases, as copyright laws have historically been based upon a score, lyrics, or specific aspects of a recording.

This class will study significant cases of copyright infringement in the history of American popular music. After an introduction to the history of copyright laws developed in the 19th century, each week will be devoted to deconstructing the songs in question and their production, the specifics of the legal case/trial, and both the impact and meaning of the verdict within the history of copyright law in the U.S.  Cases that we will cover include disputes around songs such as “Ta Ra Ra Boom De Ay” from turn-of-the-twentieth century, to “Hound Dog” (Big Momma Thornton vs. Elvis Presley) and “Come Together” (Chuck Berry vs. The Beatles) of the rock and roll era, to Vanilla Ice (vs. Queen and David Bowie) and De La Soul (vs. The Turtles) in 1990s hip hop, to Beyoncé’s “Baby Boy” (Armour vs. Knowles) and Robin Thicke’s “Blurred Lines” (Marvin Gaye vs. Robin Thicke) of the twenty-first century. We will study the legal cases themselves, along with invited (legal) scholars and guests, to investigate how copyright law and ideas of intellectual property in music and sound within popular culture have developed through these cases. We will also deconstruct the relationship between the original and contested recorded sounds, as well as how this relationship was considered within each case.

REMU-UT 1193 IMMERSIVE EXPERIENCES

4 credits, open to non-majors

If you've been to a 3D or Imax movie, if you've tried Google Cardboard or Oculus Rift, if you've listened to music on surround sound

speakers or noise-canceling headphones, if you’ve explored an interactive website, visual album, pop-up store or app, seen a Punchdrunk show or visited the Burning Man Festival, you are by default a consumer of immersive experiences.

One of the main drivers of culture and technology in the 21st century, immersion is defined as the process by which one or more of the senses become saturated as environmental objects surround envelope or come in closer proximity to us. Virtual and augmented reality, innovative video games, and the idea that consumers area always “plugged in” via mobile devices are just some of the ways we experience immersion in contemporary commercial terms. But the concept is not new: scholars like Benjamin, McLuhan, and Debord have long been concerned with theorizing the “sensorium” and media spectacle. Immersion underwrites so many developments in media and elsewhere: film close-ups, site-specific theater, photography, moving panoramas and dioramas, haunted houses, houses of mirrors, and certain forms of installation art. Immersion is also widely considered to be the key to learning new languages or mastering different cultures and tourism, so it plays a key role in 20th and 21st century globalization.

This class looks at the history and culture of immersion and how emergent technology has impacted immersion. It also considers how our ongoing demand for proximity has shaped contemporary entertainment and technological needs; immersion is now a multi-billion dollar global business. We especially look at immersion in popular music – spanning everything from Satie to ambient music to surround sound, panoramic sound and Dolby to theme parks to 21st century ‘experience websites,’ spectacular live shows, app culture, brand experiences, pop-up stores, holograms and holophonics. Students should leave the class with greater understanding of immersion as a cultural principle and a better knowledge of how entertainment industries will be meeting consumer need for immersion in the past now and into the future.

 

REMU-UT 1199 Music, Politics, & Culture in the 1960s

4 credits, open to non-majors.

Fifty years after 1960s, the tumultuous events of that decade haunt our consciousness. Music is the most obvious example of how the “spirit of the 60s” still fascinates us. But no one can grasp the power of ‘60s music without understanding its political and aesthetic context. The style and substance of rock are intimately related to broader social currents of the time. This course will help you to understand those connections, and the logic that informed the music.

We will explore major movements associated with the ‘60s, including the counterculture, the sexual revolution, the New Left, Black Power, Second-Wave Feminism, and Pop Art. We will consider the roots of 60s sensibility, from the Beats, hipsters, and existentialists of the postwar era to the folk revival of the early part of that decade. We will examine the philosophical currents of the ‘60s through some of its leading literary figures, including James Baldwin, Allen Ginsberg, Marshall McLuhan, Herbert Marcuse, Susan Sontag, Ellen Willis, and Tom Wolfe. In addition, we will discuss the aesthetic strategies of Andy Warhol, who influenced everything from rock music to cinema and art. We will discover how the rebellion against distinctions between “highbrow” and “lowbrow” culture produced a new aesthetic sensibility central to the rise of rock. These artifacts will be examined alongside music with a similar spirit, so that they can be experienced contrapuntally. Iconic songs will be presented against material from other media so that their congruencies are evident. I will use my own experiences as a prominent rock critic in the ‘60s, and my personal interactions with important rock creators—such as the Beatles, Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, and Jim Morrison—to bring the era alive, leaving you with a new perspective on how the music and the values of that generation were related to your life. And hopefully it will be groovy.

MUSICIANSHIP & PERFORMANCE ELECTIVES

REMU-UT 1088 New Perspectives in Latin Music: Styles & Rhythmic Training

4 credits

Integrating aspects of music appreciation and rhythmic training, this course will explore the broad stylistic diversity of Latin American music today by tracing the roots of some of its most impactful styles and connecting them with its newest manifestations. From North to South America, from Mexico to Argentina, the instructor will provide an overview of vocal styles, rhythms and musical forms of genres such as cumbia, Cuban son, salsa, reggaeton, Afro-Peruvian festejo, Brazilian samba and Uruguayan candombe, analyzing the new trends and cross-overs that this music is experiencing now. The course will also discuss the fluid exchange between these new movements, American popular music and the global scene.

All class meetings will incorporate critical listening sessions combined with rhythmic training that will include body percussion, circle singing and improvisation. All new skills and elements will be directly applied in performance, composition and production assignments, including exercises on vocal phrasing and freestyling, looping, beat making and songwriting. The instructor will provide a new library of original samples to draw from.

Throughout the semester, the students will have a chance to interact directly with internationally renowned percussionists, producers, vocalists and songwriters who will provide their own original approach through guest lectures on selected topics.

REMU-UT 1090 ADVANCED MUSICIANSHIP: PRIVATE INSTRUMENTAL

2 credits, Clive Davis Institute majors only.

Pre-requisite: REMU-UT 1106 Musicianship: Music Theory & Construction with a grade of C or better.

This course is the “hands on” continuation of REMU-UT 1106 Musicianship: Music Theory & Construction. It is designed to guide students through the process of applying all of the concepts taught in the classroom to their particular instrument.  Students will work with the instructor to design a personal program that will focus on one or more of the following 6 areas of study: performance guitar lessons, advanced guitar lessons, piano lessons, theory application (performance focus), theory application (songwriting and composition focus), theory application (production focus).

REMU-UT 1091 ADVANCED MUSICIANSHIP: SMALL GROUP INSTRUMENTAL/MUSIC THEORY APPLICATION INSTRUCTION

2 credits, Clive Davis Institute majors only.

Pre-requisite: REMU-UT 1106 Musicianship: Music Theory & Construction with a grade of C or better.

This course is the “hands on” continuation of REMU-UT 1106 Musicianship: Music Theory & Construction. It is designed to guide students through a sonic exploration of all of the concepts taught in the Musicianship: Theory and Construction classroom.  Students will work in a small group setting exploring the following 2 areas of study: theory application (songwriting) and theory application (digital production).

REMU-UT 1093 Advanced Songwriting Workshop

2 credits. Clive Davis Institute majors only.

Building on the concepts and techniques introduced in Writing the Hit Song, this course will provide students with a platform to write, co-write, and exchange constructive feedback on songs in a more advanced, workshop setting with opportunities  to discuss the instructor’s personal perspective on songwriting method, theory, and motivation. Small class size will enable the instructor to provide individualized and in-depth critical analysis, and lead a free exchange of creative ideas among the student writers in the class. Through group meetings and one-on-one consultations, this course will impel students both to find and hone their own voice as songwriter and to move well beyond their familiar topical and stylistic approaches. Students will fine-tune their skills through creative experimentation, individually designed assignments, analytic discussions, and intensive workshopping in a supportive critical environment.

REMU-UT 1100 Advanced Songwriting Workshop

4 credits. Clive Davis Institute majors only.

Pre-requisite: REMU-UT 1105 Writing the Hit Song, with a grade of C or better. There is a lab fee for this course.

Building on the concepts and techniques introduced in Writing the Hit Song, students in this class will fine-tune their skills in song and lyric writing through creative experimentation, individually designed assignments, analytic discussions, and intensive workshopping in a supportive critical environment. Through group meetings and one-on-one consultations, this course will impel students both to find and hone their own voices as songwriters and to move well beyond their familiar topical and stylistic approaches. Students in this class will also have opportunities to collaborate with members of the musicianship workshop and advanced engineering classes to produce fully realized recordings.

REMU-UT 1301 Studio Performance Workshop: Songwriting, Arranging, & Performance

2 credits. Clive Davis Institute majors only.

Performing on the stage and for recordings share many similar attributes and both rely on proficient musicianship and listening skills — but the art of performance in the recording studio requires a unique skill set that at times runs counter to the logic that dictates live performance on stage. In order to create a timeless, memorialized performance that the listener will desire to hear repeatedly requires a specific set of talents. This course addresses those talents and, through practical application, teaches those talents. This course is primarily for two types of students: the performance musician and the studio arranger producer/engineer. Both will develop their craft, in a studio setting, simultaneously. While production courses teach students how to distill and refine a song down to its most functional and aesthetically please rhythmic, harmonic, and melodic construction, this course focuses on developing the performance skills, listening skills, musical and technical vocabulary, as well as the hard-to-define improvisational skill set of musicians in a recording studio setting. Through practice, this course will cultivate instinct and professional etiquette, as well as technique. In a musical production, producers, performers, and engineers have a symbiotic relationship and rely upon each other’s individual talents and artistic contributions. Each is highly dependent upon the other throughout the production process, and positive interaction can insure a project’s success.

REMU-UT 1310 Creating a Compelling Live Concert Experience

2 Credits, Clive Davis Institute majors only.

Pre-requisites: REMU-UT 1312 Artist Development, A&R, and Personal Branding and REMU-UT 1327 Performance Essentials: Introduction to Stagecraft. There is a lab fee for this course.

This course will provide students an all-encompassing look at what it means to both perform and create as a performer and caters equally to vocalists, DJs, bands, and multi-media performance artists - anybody who performs on a stage in front of an audience or anybody who is listed as the chief artist or one of the chief artists on a distributed recording. Within pop music performance, the more you personalize and strategize the development of your holistic performance, the more opportunity you will have to build and maintain an upward artistic trajectory. The course will cover a combination of repertoire, vocal technique, theatrics, production, instrumentation, and staging of live performance, as well as (both in practice and via historic overview) choreography, narrative storyline, fashion, lighting, and set design, performance art, and most importantly, the intention of the artist. The goal of the course is to guide students towards a better understanding of who they are as stage performers, and assist in realizing their chosen aesthetic in the context of a live show. The course culminates in an open to the public live performance.

REMU-UT 1311 The Body & the Stage: Developing the Artist's Persona and Conceptual Performance Ideas

2 credits, UTREMUBFA majors only.

PREREQUISITES: REMU-UT 1312 and REMU-UT 1327 with a C or better

As the music industry diversifies, many artists are developing conceptual and layered stage performances to help magnify their work as performers. There is a rich history of collaboration and multi-media elements within mu- sic performance that has defined many artists, and subsequently, entire gen- res of music. This class will build on each student’s persona and stage per- formance ideas through exercises in collaboration, creative music direction, and experiments in multi-media design. In addition to focusing on the above elements, the students will gain more comfort in performing their songs within differing applications of music direction. With the above practice, stu- dents will grow significantly towards a more comfortable place on the stage, in their own body, and in communication with others. This course was de- veloped in conjunction with CDI Berlin’s performance class, “Experiments in the Future of Performing” and exists as an excellent companion course for the performance student.

 

REMU-UT 1312 Artist Development, A&R, & Personal Branding

2 credits. Clive Davis Institute majors only.

A&R divisions at record labels were historically responsible for finding, signing, developing and cultivating performing talent (especially singers
that did not write or produce for themselves) to become competitive in the music marketplace. The transformative rise of the Internet in the 1990s—as
well as the rise of ‘social’ media in the ‘00s, and the resulting changes in music distribution—has meant that artist development is increasingly left up to artists themselves (and sometimes their managers).

This class is a practical, “get on your feet and do it” workshop designed to put aspiring performers and recording artists through a compressed development workshop. Students will be performing in and out of the class and brainstorming attention-grabbing musical and visual content as they develop customized and comprehensive ‘public identity’ workbooks. These
workbooks are blueprints for how you will craft and construct a transcendent public identity or personal brand. We also take lessons from product development and packaging in corporate branding, and apply them,
where and when they fit, to artist development. The ultimate objective of the class is that each student performer fully conceptualizes and inhabits a powerfully compelling audio-visual public image that can command
visibility in today’s bustling marketplace. Every student should be able to leave the final week of the course able to confidently answer the following two questions: “who am I?” (what is my dramatic storyline with which my
fans/the public can connect) and “what do I have to say?” (how can I position my public image to emerge as
different/unique/transcendent/impactful). Students will meet with/network with/ receive constructive criticism from successful A&R executives at top labels and management companies.

REMU-UT 1326 Performance Essentials: Pop Singing Techniques

2 credits. Clive Davis Institute majors only.

This is an introductory course designed to guide the developing performer through the essential physical elements of singing. Methods taught will include a balance of muscular engagement with a careful study of breath support and release. Students will be introduced to the basics of practice and warm up, along with established methods to achieve vocal health through proper physical maintenance. By observing and listening to others, each student will learn the importance of proper physical placement and adjustment. Each student will develop a daily warm-up, based on the content of each class, and will be expected to practice these warm-up routines between class meetings. Students will also be expected to prepare material to sing for each class, allowing the practical application of techniques to be experienced in class, in real time.

REMU-UT 1327 Performance Essentials: Introduction to Stagecraft

2 credits. Clive Davis Institute majors only.

There is a lab fee for this course.

This class introduces the essential skills required for a performing artist to take stage and be effective in a professional setting. For the first five weeks of the semester the instructor will teach rudimentary skills every two weeks to give the student ample opportunity practice and implement the material covered. Week six the class begins to build on the work covered introducing more complex skills and concepts. Each week, every student will be assigned to prepare a song for the following class, and the performances will be discussed as opportunities for learning.

REMU-UT 1330 VOCAL COACHING: PRIVATE INSTRUCTION

2 credits, open to majors only.

Geared for contemporary artists and popular music, this one-on-one private vocal instruction will help students work to develop their singing voice for both the studio and the stage - to explore the geography of the human voice, the application of the how and why of technical exercises, and the development of the vocal instrument tailored to each individual student. Through various methods and means, tailored to each individual student's needs, the exercises used in the lessons are tried and true ways to develop various aspects of vocalism, enabling a deepened connection to the mind-body relationship within one’s self in regard to the singing voice. Students will delve in to the art of song interpretation from both a performance and production standpoint and will build performance instincts, allowing the student to make a piece of music blossom. The result should be a marked improvement of the overall relationship to the student’s vocal instrument, the understanding of the mechanics and physiology of the voice, the vocal registers and how to negotiate and connect them, an understanding of optimum breath control, body alignment, vocal and physical strength, stamina, timbre, range, general vocal health and overall freedom of vocal expression.

COLLOQUIUM ELECTIVES

REMU-UT 0002 CREATIVITY IN CONTEXT, A DEEPER LOOK

2 credits

Clive Davis Institute majors only. Prerequisite: None.

As with Creativity in Context 1 in which the purpose of the course is to contextualize the core curriculum of the The Clive Davis Institute to incoming first year students, this course delves deeper into the exploration of creativity throughout various disciplines and career structures. In opening this course to the NYU community, we will be linking academic disciplines, philosophy, and culture to creativity and discovery in practice. The course will offer seven workshop style lecture/conversations with senior faculty, and working artists or professionals who have traveled an varied journey throughout their careers. This exposure to, and opportunity for a deeper conversation, will lead students to better understand the relationship between academic study & self-development, artistic & commercial achievement, as well as coupling art and industry with politics and current events.