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It’s Time! Register to Spend the Spring Semester with SMTD

The School of Music, Theatre & Dance is offering courses during the spring semester in a variety of disciplines. These courses offer students the opportunity to continue their education in performance theory and practice through one-on-one mentorship, group discussion, project-based work, and remote instruction.

Course registration is open now through May 4 online via Wolverine Access. For more the most up-to-date information about course offerings, visit the Office of the Registrar’s schedule of classes.

Available courses include:

Intro Dance – Contemporary (Dance 100.101)
Instructor: Melissa Brading

The main purpose of this class is to find joy in full-bodied movement. Rooted in modern dance, each class will consist of conditioning, a thorough warm-up and exploration of movement through longer dance phrase work. This is an open level class and material will be tailored to the needs of the students. This class will be taught in a hybrid format and students may choose to be in-studio or remote.

Intro Dance – Essence of Groove (Dance 100.102)
Instructor: Elisandra Rosario

This course will explore the nature of movement in spaces inspired by rhythm and expression of emotion. These spaces include nightclubs, festivals, and social gatherings. The terms groove and groovin’ have various meanings that still continue to evolve over time. We will experiment with these definitions and their relationship to movement and interaction. This class is not defined by any particular movement style, but will have influences in funk, jazz, soul, disco, hip-hop, West-African, Afro-Caribbean and anti-pop. Dancers will be asked to utilize improvisation and to exercise creativity as they learn choreography and movement scores. Along with online participation, students will be required to complete written assignments and a solo choreography assignment.
*All of our classes are scheduled to be remote. Your camera video must be turned on during movement activities, unless otherwise requested.

Intro Guitar (Guitar 111.201, 111.202)
Instructor: Jonathan Edwards

Designed for both music majors and non-music majors, this introductory course in popular guitar style will teach students essential performance skills as well as build a deeper understanding of the cultural importance of the guitar in popular music. Led by instructor Jonathan Edwards, students will learn to read standard music notation, guitar tablature, develop a knowledge of common chords and rhythmic strumming patterns on the instrument, and perform a variety of popular songs utilizing techniques introduced throughout the term.
*No instructor approval needed to enroll.

Intermediate Guitar – Popular Styles and Improvisation (Guitar 112.201)
Instructor: Jonathan Edwards

Designed for both music majors and non-music majors, this intermediate course in popular guitar style will teach students continued performance skills as well as build a deeper understanding of the cultural importance of the guitar in popular music. Led by instructor Jonathan Edwards, students will learn to read standard music notation and tablature, develop a strong chord vocabulary of movable barre chord shapes and extended chords, expand on rhythmic strumming and finger-style patterns on the instrument, learn improvisation techniques with movable scale patterns, discover alternate tunings, and perform a variety of popular songs utilizing techniques discussed throughout the semester. Important music theory topics related to the guitar and improvisation will also be discussed through creative exercises.
*No instructor approval needed to enroll. Prerequisite: Guitar 111 or equivalent guitar experience recommended.

Contemplative Practices Seminar (Jazz 450.101, 550.101)
Instructor: Martha Travers

This seminar introduces sitting meditation.  Students follow a daily practice through video instruction by Martha as well as guided meditation audios.  In addition, there is a course book.  Each student receives one-on-one feedback from Martha regularly throughout the semester via written reports and responses.

Jazz Special Topics: Finding Your Way (Jazz 454.201, 554.201)
Instructor: Martha Travers

Through reflective writing, contemplative reading, and guided meditation, this course helps students explore life-path questions.   Areas of reflection include: career goals, relationship, values, awareness of the natural world, intentions for participating in community, the role of the arts, and personal priorities. 

Each student receives one-on-one feedback from Martha regularly throughout the semester via written reports and responses. 

Creativity & Consciousness: Nature-based Contemplative Practice (Jazz 455.101, 555.101)
Instructor: Martha Travers

This course teaches practices that deepen our connection with the natural world by expanding our conversation with nature. Students learn the practice of ‘reciprocity’ with the elements of air, fire, water, and earth.  These practices renew the connection between humans and their environment and help activate the ‘feeling-state’ of being a member of an earth community.  Students follow audio guidance from Martha with each of the four elements, write reports on their practice, and receive one-on-one feedback from Martha.  The course book is Robin Wall Kimmerer’s Braiding Sweetgrass.

History of Music – Introduction to World Music (Musicology 345.201)
Instructor: Charles Lwanga

This course is an introduction to world soundscapes and cultures through the lens of ethnomusicology – the study of music in the context of culture. The course emphasizes meanings of particular musics to the people who practice them. By investigating the music of selected world cultures, the course critically reflects upon the complexity of soundscapes. We draw attention to the ways in which religious, political, and economic factors shape various identities among performers and music participants. Positioning varying music traditions within a broader context of postcolonial, technological, and transnational development, this course analyzes the ever-changing balance between traditional and modern ideas of music – in systems of learning, performance techniques, as well as ways of writing and recording music.

History of Music – Music & Animation (Musicology 346.201)
Instructor: Juan Velasquez

Animation has been a field for creation and experimentation where music and image converge to tell histories and convey messages. From the pioneering work of Walt Disney Studios to the ideological undertones of the animation produced in Soyuzmultfilm Studios during the Soviet era or the combination of Eastern and Western mythologies and narratives by Studio Ghibli in Japan, the interaction between music and image has shaped animators’ styles and audiences’ tastes. This course combines history, media studies, and cultural studies to explore the role of the changing relationships between sound and image in animation and how they have shaped different audiovisual cultures. Through a selection of readings, cartoons, and animated films, students will analyze such audiovisual cultures. The course’s work involves synchronous and asynchronous activities, including readings, listening exercises, and analysis of texts, cartoons, and animated films. This lecture is open to scholars, musicians, performers, singers, composers, music theorists, and anyone interested in the relationship between music, image, and media.

History of Music – Music & Society (Musicology 346.202)
Instructor: Ryan Bodiford

Engaging the discipline of ethnomusicology, this course examines how various folk, popular, and art music traditions have developed in relation to disparate cultural and social contexts around the world. Through a series of case studies, students will explore how music constructs and conveys meaning, how it serves to shape and maintain social interactions and identities, and how it evolves in relation to shifting performance contexts, technological developments, and socio-political circumstances. Case studies include considerations of musical practices originating in Indonesia, North India, Africa, South America, and the Caribbean, among others. Course requirements will include lectures, written reflections on assigned audio/visual/reading materials, discussions, and online peer engagement.