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Course Materials

What You Should Already Know

In this course, I assume I’m sharing ideas with highly intelligent students who know absolutely nothing about music. Of course, I’m wrong—about you knowing nothing about music, that is! In truth, you probably know lots about music. So when I talk about something you already know, it’s for someone else who might take this class, who hasn’t had the same experiences as you.

Learning Outcomes

When you have completed this course, you should be able to:

  1. Describe music’s influence in society and in your own life.
  2. Listen to and appreciate music more deeply and fully.
  3. Trace the development of music as an art form through the major periods of artistic history, with emphasis on each period’s most influential composers.
  4. Discuss the major trends and performers of jazz.
  5. Help others appreciate the music of other cultures.

This course won’t teach you how to play an instrument. And there’s almost no conversation about music theory, either, which you’re better off learning as part of private lessons on a musical instrument. I hope this course inspires you to make music someday as a performer, but this course emphasizes only the kind of musical experiences you’ll have as an active listener.

Course Materials

No textbook nor additional materials are required for this course.

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This course is organized into nine units, with each unit emphasizing four to seven main lessons. As you work through each lesson, you can monitor your own understanding of new concepts by answering the Self Check questions sprinkled throughout the unit. The Self Check questions are computer processed, so you can be sure you’re on the right track before you move on. Most of the units also feature short musical examples of composers or styles. Don’t rush through these. Enjoy them over and over as you prepare for the final exam.

Each unit ends in a computer-graded unit quiz. These assignments are all multiple-choice questions and allow you to demonstrate how well you’ve mastered the concepts and terms from the completed unit. If you’ve done well on the Self Check questions and you’ve reviewed the unit again before completing the unit quiz, you’ll be highly prepared to do well on the assignment. The unit quiz questions are basically the same in content as the Self Check questions.

The course encourages you to become very familiar with all of the musical examples included. Listen to the tracks over and over until you are familiar with each example well enough not only to recognize it, but to identify it. The listening section of the exam works like this: you’ll hear an excerpt of music, and then you’ll identify the composer, title, or performer of the composition from a list of choices. The sound clip may or may not start at the beginning of the composition.

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The final exam contains both listening and non-listening components. The exam allows you to demonstrate how carefully you have studied the musical excerpts and material from the course. You must recieve a 60 percent or higher in order to pass the final exam. To help you prepare for the listening portion of the exam, you’ll find a non-graded practice exam at the end of the course; however, you may take the practice exam at any time.

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Your course grade is comprised of the following:

Assessment Percentage
Unit 1 Quiz 10%
Unit 2 Quiz 10%
Unit 3 Quiz 10%
Unit 4 Quiz 10%
Unit 5 Quiz 10%
Unit 6 Quiz 10%
Unit 7 Quiz 10%
Unit 8 Quiz 10%
Unit 9 Quiz 10%
Final Exam 10%

You will be given a letter grade for each assignment, which corresponds to the following grading scale:

Grade Scale
A 100-94
A− 93-90
B+ 89-87
B 86-84
B− 83-80
C+ 79-77
C 76-74
C− 73-70
D+ 69-67
D 66-64
D− 63-60
E (fail) 59 or below

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Copyright Notice

The materials used in connection with this online course are only for the use of students enrolled in this course for purposes associated with this course and may not be retained or further disseminated. Any copying or further dissemination of these materials may be subject to applicable U.S. Copyright Laws. For questions or more information, please visit the BYU Copyright Licensing Office website.

“Members of the BYU community who willfully disregard this Copyright Policy or the BYU Copyright Guidelines place themselves individually at risk of legal action and may incur personal liability for their conduct. The unauthorized use or distribution of copyrighted material, including unauthorized peer-to-peer file sharing, may subject individuals to civil and criminal liabilities, including actual and statutory damages, costs and fees of litigation, fines, and imprisonment

Violations of the Copyright Policy may result in university disciplinary action including termination of university enrollment or employment.” (Emphasis added. Excerpt taken from the BYU Copyright Policy)

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Accessibility Notice

BYU is committed to providing a working and learning atmosphere which reasonably accommodates persons with disabilities who are otherwise qualified to participate in BYU's programs and activities. In this spirit, BYU Independent Study aspires to improve web accessibility for users. While not required by law, the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0 Levels A and AA provide a wide range of helpful recommendations to make Web content more accessible. BYU Independent Study strives to apply WCAG 2.0 recommendations where feasible, but may deviate from any recommendations that would result in an undue hardship to BYU Independent Study or alterations to program and course content and objectives. If you have questions about accessibility, or if you need to report problems with any accessibility features please see our Accessibilities and Accommodations Web Page.

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Course Policies

These policies are specific to this course. For additional information about general policies, please refer to Independent Study Course Policies page.


Summary: 9 computer-graded assignments, may be resubmitted once for a fee

Final Exam

Summary: 1 proctored computer-graded exam, may retake once for a fee, must pass with at least a sixty percent to earn credit for the course

Course Duration

You have 1 year to complete this course. You may purchase one 3-month extension if you need more than a year to complete the course. 

Getting Help

Please use the help menu in this course to contact Independent Study or your instructor.

University Policy - Title IX Statement

Preventing & Responding to Sexual Misconduct

In accordance with Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, Brigham Young University prohibits unlawful sex discrimination against any participant in its education programs or activities. The university also prohibits sexual harassment—including sexual violence—committed by or against students, university employees, and visitors to campus. As outlined in university policy, sexual harassment, dating violence, domestic violence, sexual assault, and stalking are considered forms of "Sexual Misconduct" prohibited by the university.

University policy requires all university employees in a teaching, managerial, or supervisory role to report all incidents of Sexual Misconduct that come to their attention in any way, including but not limited to face-to-face conversations, a written class assignment or paper, class discussion, email, text, or social media post. Incidents of Sexual Misconduct should be reported to the Title IX Coordinator at or (801) 422-8692. Reports may also be submitted through EthicsPoint at or 1-888-238-1062 (24-hours a day).

BYU offers confidential resources for those affected by Sexual Misconduct, including the university’s Victim Advocate, as well as a number of non-confidential resources and services that may be helpful. Additional information about Title IX, the university’s Sexual Misconduct Policy, reporting requirements, and resources can be found at or by contacting the university’s Title IX Coordinator.