Music 1510: Jazz/Pop Appreciation (4 credits)

Professor: Dr. S. Cowan

T/Th 12:30-1:50 PM   Office: 1205 Dalton Center
Room: 3502 Knaus Hall
Phone: 269 387-3904

Email: Graduate Assistants will be introduced in class. Please email course questions to MUS 1510 appointed Graduate Assistants. GA's email addresses will be made available in class.

            scott.cowan@wmich.edu (as a last resort)

            (Do not expect e-mail responses in less than 24 hours)

Office hours: By appointment (see me after any given class to schedule an appointment)

MUS 1510 Website:  http://www.wmich.edu/mus-history/mus151/mus151.html

                        What is available on line:

                                    1. Syllabus

                                    2. Lecture notes

                                                -found in outline form only. 

                                    3. Extra Credit CD Review Information

                                    4. Link to Ken Burns "Jazz" Website PBS


General Course Information (i.e. Course Schedule and Extra Credit Concert Schedule) will be handed out the first week of classes.


Graduate Assistants:
 GA's will assist:
–responding to emails  -in lectures -through demonstrations  -administering exams/technical support



Course Description and Objectives:

This introductory course is designed to increase your understanding of America's indigenous musical genre-Jazz. Material is presented through a combination of audio examples, lecture/demonstrations and visual supplements. You are responsible for all material covered in class, assigned readings, musical examples played in class and live concert presentations.

Required Textbook/Recordings:

   1. "Concise Guide to Jazz" - Mark Gridley (current edition in the bookstore)
   2. "Demonstration Compact Disc" - compiled by Mark Gridley (current edition in the bookstore) 
   3.  "Jazz Classics Compact Discs" - compiled by Mark Gridley (current edition in the bookstore)
        Smithsonian: Classic Jazz Recordings will be on reserve in the Music Library for

review by students.

You must have your own current version of these materials for use in class.
The instructor is not responsible for replacing or giving special consideration for lost, stolen or defective textbooks.
If you have a textbook problem, please visit the appropriate bookstore.

Exams, Quizzes & Late Assignments:
One quiz, three exams and a class final will be administered during the course of the semester. Tests will be primarily multiple choice accompanied by listening examples. The listening examples will be taken from your listening discs (see above). Exams grow incrementally more challenging throughout the semester.

Quiz & exams:
Students with medical documentation are eligible to make-up a quiz or exam.  A make-up quiz/exam will be accepted only if it is completed and turned into the instructor within 1 week of its original due date.  In order to be eligible for a make-up quiz, it is your responsibility to contact the instructor BEFORE THE END OF THE DAY (5 pm) of the scheduled quiz/exam—regardless of the circumstances. (If you cannot contact the instructor yourself, then have someone do it for you.) phone number 7-3904 or main office 7-4667 (OK to leave msg./24 hrs). 


Grading and Testing Policies

Final grades in this course are based on a 1000 point scale:
100 points possible = Quiz (definitions, introduction material)
650 points possible= Exams #1-#3  - (50 questions) approximately 217 points per exam
250 points possible = Final Exam (77 questions) (small cumulative element)
1000 points possible


Distribution of Final Grades:
A   = 930-1000 points (93-100%)
BA = 880-929 points (88-92%)
B   = 830-879 points (83-87%)
CB = 780-829 points (78-82%)
C  = 730-779 points (73-77%)
DC = 680-729 points (68-72%)
D   = 600-679 points (60-67%)
E   = 599 points or below (59% or below)


Exams include multiple choice/matching questions, as well as a "listening test" based on examples from: Concise Guide Demonstration (CD) and Mark Gridley Jazz Classics for Concise Guide to Jazz (CD). The only quiz of the semester will consist of pertinent musical terms. The Final exam has a minimal cumulative element. Exam dates are listed on the "Schedule of Lectures/ Assignments." A number 2 pencil is required for all tests and quizzes. It will be assumed that students caught whispering or talking during a quiz/exam are cheating. Those students will be dealt with accordingly.  
Note for late-comers on exam days: If you arrive more than 10 minutes after the start of the test, you will not be allowed to take the exam and will automatically receive a failing grade of a zero, no exceptions.


Class attendance is not mandatory. However, material from lectures and live concerts will be included on exams.


Live Concerts:

Student fees for MUS 1510 fund two to three professional jazz concerts each semester. These concerts take place at specified class periods (see class schedule). Most of the time (99.9%), live concerts take place in the Dalton Center Recital Hall.


Extra Credit:

1. CD Review

One extra credit CD review (25 possible points) can be handed in at any time throughout the semester up to the last class before finals week (strictly adhering to CD requirements found below).


Recordings used for CD reviews should be selected from the jazz discography that will be available from the MUS 1510 website. CDs in the Dalton music library are for listening purposes only and cannot be checked out. Instructor approval is required for any recording not found on this list. If you turn in a review that was not on the list and was not approved by the instructor you will receive zero points for the given review.


2. Live Concert Review

Up to four out of class live concert reviews can be handed in throughout the semester up to the last class before finals week. Review #1 = 7pts possible. The remaining reviews = 6pts possible per review. See requirements found on page 5 of this syllabus to ensure full credit for each review. A maximum of 25 points may be accrued.

[Up to 50 extra credit points are possible (maximum)]



Extra Credit CD Review Requirements:

Part I.

The artist's name, the name of the recording, the titles of all the tunes, the date the album was recorded and the names of all the musicians on the recording. (If for any reason any of the previous information is not listed on the CD you must mention/include this fact(s) in the review or deductions will occur)



Part II.

 The style/musical period represented by the music on the recording (i.e. New Orleans  style, Swing, Bebop, Hardbop, Cool, Modal, Progressive, Free, fusion)
                                        Parts I. & II. may be in a list format.

Part III.

 The musical content of each selection on the recording. Include the form of each  selection (i.e. AABA song form, 12 bar blues, through-composed or a variant form [variation of the AABA form above – like ABA or ABCA etc.]). Include the 

instrumentation, the feel, and a musical "play by play" of what you are hearing.
If your Jazz CD has an excessive number of selections (over 13), review part of the CD thoroughly rather than reviewing the whole CD shallowly. There is no required minimum number of "cuts" to review [In other words you may review a CD that consist of only one selection (likely a 45 minute tune). However, you must generate the required 500 words.]


Part. IV.

 What impression/impact the recording had on you. How did the musical selections "hit you"? What did you like or dislike and why?

Parts III. & IV. must be in paragraph format, doubled spaced and be comprised of an additional 2-3 pages (at least 500 words).


Use a new paragraph for each musical selection (use tune titles not "cut" numbers).  Include a word count for parts III. and IV. Reviews must be in black ink only and must be on white unlined paper. Use 1" margins, 12pt Times/Roman font with laser quality print.  Clearly label/indicate where each of the four parts/sections begin in your review. All pages must be typed and stapled together.

If any of the above criteria is compromised 1 to 25 points may be penalized per review.


CD review deductions:
If Part I. is nonexistent or incomplete up to minus 3 points.
If Part II. is nonexistent minus 3 points will result.
      Correct spelling and grammar will be taken into consideration for full credit.

Minus 3 points for no attempt at form identification, minus 1.25 points for each misspelled word, minus 1.25 points for each sentence that "makes no sense" because of poor grammar and or sentence structure [run-on sentences etc.], minus 3 points every 50 words short of 500 words (for Parts III. & IV. combined), minus 3 points for poor print quality.  All reviews must be typed. Only hard copy reviews will be accepted. No Exceptions!!!!!!!!!! If a student has an issue with point deductions after CD reviews have been graded and returned, articulate the issue in writing, staple it to the review, and place it in the envelope marked "Post graded CD reviews" which is located on the outside of office 1205 Dalton Center. These post graded reviews must be received in the previously mentioned envelope within one week of class distribution to be considered.



Extra Credit Concert review requirements:

Each concert attended must be documented with a program, a ticket stub and a one page typed and stapled summary. If no program and/or ticket exist you will be required at the conclusion of a scheduled concert to give your name and ID# to a faculty point person. The summary (250-500 words) must include the location, type of ensemble (big band, combo, etc.), instrumentation (what instruments were played), and its impact on you, the listener (what did you like or dislike, why? etc.). All concerts attended must be jazz concerts, and advertised as such, or no credit will be given. You  must be in attendance for one complete "set" or 60 minutes of music. If any of the above criteria is compromised 1 to 6 points may be penalized per review. See below for a list of possible extra credit jazz concerts. The above material must be turned in at the class period that immediately follows any extra credit concert, no exceptions. Make sure your name and student number is on your ticket stub, program, and your typed summary.


The Class schedule is subject to change depending upon guest artist availability and other unforeseen factors. Students must remain informed at all times to temporary or permanent schedule changes.  Schedule changes will be announced in any given class(es).  Stay informed!!!

Please turn off all beepers and cell phones during class.  This will help contribute to a positive and productive learning environment for all students.

Any student(s) who persists in disrupting a class will be asked by the instructor(s) to leave the classroom for the remainder of the class period. All disruptive conduct will be reported as per the Code of Student Conduct provides.



Grades are determined numerically and are not negotiable. Up to 50 extra credit points are possible. Do not wait to the end of the semester to take advantage of extra credit possibilities. Issues of academic integrity are vehemently enforced. Students involved in blatant or merely the appearance of impropriety (exam taking, extra credit CD reviews, scantron issues etc.) will be subject to the regulations enforced by the WMU Academic Integrity Committee. I exercise a zero tolerance policy towards student impropriety issues (you're caught, the committee rules in my favor, you fail the course). Always, always, always do your own work!!! Do not do CD reviews together!!! Students with English challenges should take advantage of the WMU writing center to preclude massive deductions on extra credit CD reviews. Proofread your work out loud.

You are responsible for making yourself aware of and understanding the policies and procedures in the Undergraduate Catalog that pertain to Academic Integrity. These policies include cheating, fabrication, falsification and forgery, multiple submission, plagiarism, complicity and computer misuse. If there is reason to believe you have been involved in academic dishonesty, you will be referred to the Office of Student Judicial Affairs. You will be given the opportunity to review the charge (s). If you believe you are not responsible, you will have the opportunity for a hearing. You should consult with the Director of Student Judicial Affairs, at 387-2160 if you are uncertain about an issue of academic honesty prior to the submission of an assignment or test.