Welcome to Music 204, your introductory course on jazz. In this course we will survey the history of one of the most popular and influential genres of music in the 20th century. Although born in the United States shortly after the turn of the century, jazz quickly gained devoted followers in Europe, Asia, Africa, and elsewhere. Even in Nazi Germany and Communist Russia diehard fans collected American jazz records in defiance of national ideology and edict. Now at the turn of a new century, jazz is, more than ever, a music belonging to the whole world. I hope you enjoy becoming more familiar with this rich musical heritage, which the United States Congress recently pronounced “a national treasure.”
There are no prerequisites for Music 204. This is a General Education course and assumes only that you have had a fairly broad exposure to American history and popular culture, most of which you will have gained as a natural result of growing up in this country. International students may need to brush up on their United States history in the 20th century, but if they have had access to American radio and television they should be well prepared otherwise. No musical training is assumed for this course.
By the end of this course you should be able to do the following:
There are six lessons in this course. Be sure to coordinate your study of the lessons with the textbook readings and the listening assignments. Do the Self Check questions as you go to assess your comprehension of key points. Here’s an outline of the course and the objectives for each lesson:
BYU MUSIC 204 music list on Spotify (you will need to create a Spotify account to access the music). Or you can buy the 3 CD set to accompany Jazz: An American Journey.
As you prepare for the Speedback Assignments, focus particularly on musical style and form, historical context, and important musicians’ lives and careers. Memorize the meanings of all names and terms highlighted in bold in your textbook. In addition, pay close attention to all information in sidebars, boxes, and so forth. Study and learn the information in the Listening Charts—as well as the boxed, shaded commentary—for each assigned recording.
Note: The schedule for turning in your written assignments is more flexible. Just keep in mind that you need to complete the assignment before you take the corresponding Speedback assignment. Assignments are to be submitted electronically.
|Lesson||Speedback Assignment||Written Assignment Deadline|
|Lesson 1: Fundamentals of Music/Origins of Jazz
|Lesson 2: Early Jazz
|Speedback Assignment 1||Written Assignment 1: Early Jazz|
|Lesson 3: Swing
|Speedback Assignment 2||Written Assignment 2: Swing|
|Lesson 4: Bop
|Speedback Assignment 3||Written Assignment 3: Bop|
|Lesson 5: Free Jazz to Fusion
|Speedback Assignment 4||Written Assignment 4: Free Jazz to Fusion|
|Lesson 6: Postmodern Jazz
|Speedback Assignment 5|
You will submit your completed paper electronically through your course. To make sure that I can open and read your paper, please save it as an .RTF (rich text format) file. Here’s how to do it:
There are two exams in this course—a midcourse and a final. They are each made up of a “listening” and a “written” component. For the listening section, you will be held responsible only for recordings assigned in the lessons. Be prepared to identify, by ear, recordings by title and bandleader (or band), to recognize important soloists and styles, and to distinguish among various elements of style and structure. For the written section you will be tested on factual and interpretive material in the lessons and textbook readings. The midcourse exam covers the first three lessons, and the final covers the last three lessons.
As the following table indicates, there are five computer-graded Speedback Assignments—one for each lesson 2 through 6—plus a midcourse exam and a cumulative final exam. In addition, you will complete four written assignments, each a 2-3 page long response to a given essay question.
The breakdown of your grade will be as follows:
|Assignments||Percentage of Final Grade|
|Lesson 2: Speedback Assignment 1||4%|
|Lesson 3: Speedback Assignment 2||4%|
|Lesson 4: Speedback Assignment 3||4%|
|Lesson 5: Speedback Assignment 4||4%|
|Lesson 6: Speedback Assignment 5||4%|
|Written Assignment 1||5%|
|Written Assignment 2||5%|
|Written Assignment 3||5%|
|Written Assignment 4||5%|
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5 computer-graded assignments, 4 written assignments, may be resubmitted once for a fee.
1 proctored, multiple-choice, computer-graded midcourse exam, may retake once for a fee.
1 proctored, multiple-choice, computer-graded final exam, may retake once for a fee.
All assignments must be submitted and graded before requesting the final exam; must pass the final exam to pass the course.
Please use the help menu in this course to contact Independent Study or your instructor. You can find a list of free tutors available to BYU Independent Study students on the Free Tutoring Services website.
Note: The Harold B. Lee Library website provides a number of online resources and librarians are available via phone, chat, and email to answer questions about library-related issues.
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Department of Independent Study
Division of Continuing Education
Brigham Young University
Provo, Utah 84602-1514