Art, Music and Culture is collaborative with the art department and is a requirement for all students. Our goal is that students can learn to appreciate the arts through art making and music making and the projects are largely student led. Students work in groups throughout the semester to create projects that explore the ideas of identity, expression, storytelling, impact, and reaction. Since the entire study body takes this course, we have a large variety of students from those that are highly involved in the arts to those who have never taken an arts course before and don’t plan on taking any! During the identity unit, I have students work in groups to make a song cover and to write their own song. Most of them are performing instruments for the first time and it’s amazing to see what they do! By the end of the semester, the students develop their own final projects using a medium explored in the course or something they’ve never done before (i.e. film-making, drama, live music performance, stop motion creation, painting, sculpting, etc…). A lot of the projects are also collaborative with a visual and aural component.
For guitar, I wrote the curriculum and it’s a combination of a lot of different resources. As popular music is constantly evolving, so is the course! I used to teach with a mostly equal emphasis on classical and popular but found that most of the students who take that class only want to learn popular styles. Now, we only spend two weeks working on notational reading and classical styles.
Thanks for the questions! I am also interested in finding others who teach alternative courses.