Music Appreciation: A Socioeconomic Perspective
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This unique and student centered approach to a standard university Music Appreciation text was developed by Dr. Grant Manhart during 20 years of teaching at Northern State University in Aberdeen, South Dakota. This approach has shown elevated student engagement, student enjoyment, and evidence of both conceptual and factual learning.
Focus: The text places the student’s thoughts and reflections at the center of the process and learning, and experiential prompts in the text give ongoing opportunity for reflection, synthesis, and documented awareness of the experience.
Scope: It is intended to provide a one semester 100 level Music Appreciation course, in a classroom, blended, or fully online situation. In the classroom, the text can serve as a lecture/experience, with frequent embedded “pause and reflect” moments, where it is recommended the teacher provide a discussion platform, doc, or other shared real-time word platform where the students notate their thoughts, observations, and responses to prompts. This serves as a combined journal/experience, shared note-taking hub, and evidence of student involvement and work.
Emphasis: The text explores the intertwined social strata and music occurring throughout Western civilization from the Greeks to present time, in part using the work of author and educational sociologist Ruby Payne, to kickstart self-awareness and a habit of personal reflection. In this way, each student seems to naturally “place themself” in the course, which is the essence of heightened engagement.
Format: The text uses video links, Wiki links and other content sites to provide depth, breadth, and musical examples. Links are kept live with ongoing monitoring.
Additionally, the text discusses and accepts the disruption of learning and experiencing in the information age, and accepts that students are agile and efficient when given learning tasks.
The text comes with a quiz/test/study question bank for each chapter, and includes discussion topics in each chapter, and an appendix with a suggested final exam summary/reflection paper, a sample final exam summary paper, and an appendix addressing the elements of music.
A Note to the Instructor:
The world does not need another music appreciation textbook! Especially one written by a professor whose specialty was trumpet performance and jazz studies, not musicology. Therefore the actual musical knowledge presented in this book is in no way novel nor new.
The approach however, is the defining characteristic. It is based upon rearranging the traditional hierarchy of instructor-content-student. It raises the individual student to the position of the central artifact in the course and likewise their reflection and opinion on the music they experience. The instructor therefore is “lowered” to the position and role of (if humility allows) cheerleader and counselor, meeting each individual student at the intersection of their very being and their perceptions of the music encountered. This results in the student feeling valuable and valued. Students report that this is liberating, refreshing and engaging to a degree they did not expect! The course becomes largely experiential and formative, as opposed to strenuous and summative.
The disruption of the information age means that the student can get the knowledge we’ve spent our lives acquiring and internalizing for free, at any time on their cell phones. This approach deals with this existential disruption to the instructor, by making the student and their thoughts primary (as opposed to the professor’s thoughts-again, if humility allows!)
This approach consistently engages students who self-describe were not expecting to engage, and further, since the content was acquired by a process of self-reflection, they report that they learned and remembered far more than they were expecting. It is part allowing the student to be the instructor and the learner, part neuro-programming by posing problems the students solve on their own, and part scaffolding musical encounters progressively. It utilizes the psychological dynamic of being able to easily remember what you really thought about something.
Historically the professor tells the student about the music, then begs them to find, see or hear what they were told. This limits the students experience in two ways: The professor’s frame limits the student’s personal experience, and the professor’s overtly or covertly superior opinions and level of intellectual interest is likely out of tune with the student’s experience. Students increasingly resent being told what to think!
This process asks the student what they think about the music, more free of the professor’s superior directives, which opens their minds to their experience first. They then document their experience in a discussion where they interact and observe others opinions. Quizzes presented in a formative context (multiple tries) give the students frameworks of factual information about the music they experienced.
Students report changes in themselves and their valuing of music in their lives going forward in the final paper, and it has become obvious to this author that it is due to the fact they felt their opinions and observations were of value. Additionally, the students who had little or no musical background often report the biggest changes of perspective. Historically these were the hardest to reach in a general education fine arts course!
Chapter 1: Why We Sing in the Shower or Seeking the Transcendent amid Disruption
Chapter 2: “Who Owns the Fine Arts?”
Chapter 3: Symphonies in America and the People Who Support Them
Chapter 4: The Middle Ages 473–1450 AD
Chapter 5: The Renaissance 1450–1600 AD
Chapter 6: The Baroque 1600 to 1750
Chapter 7: Baroque Opera
Chapter 8: The Classical Period 1750 to 1820, or From the Death of Bach, to Beethoven’s Eighth Symphony
Chapter 9: Another Reason So Many Think Mozart Is So Great: His Operas
Chapter 10: Ludwig Von Beethoven 1770–1827
Chapter 11: The Romantic Period 1820–1900
Chapter 12: Nationalism and Nationalist Composers in the Romantic Period 1820–1900
Chapter 13: The Schumanns, Brahms, and Mendelssohn
Chapter 14: Schuman’s Romantic Art Song, Chopin and Lizst
Chapter 15: Romantic Opera
Chapter 16: The Modern Era 1900 to Present
Chapter 17: Charging Further into the Disruption: Selected Modern and Postmodern Composers
Chapter 18: Birth of the Blues: America Sings to Itself in the Mirror, At the Dawn of Promise
Chapter 19: The New World Sings All Night in a Club: Jazz
Chapter 20: Three Women Composers Who Fought to Succeed, When Success Was Unlikely
Chapter 21: Summary: Why Did We Combine Ruby Payne’s Social Psychology With a Study of the Music of Western Civilization?
Dr. Grant Manhart joined the Northern State University faculty in 1998. He holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Trumpet Performance from the University of Wisconsin, a Master’s Degree in Trumpet Performance and Jazz Studies from the Cincinnati College Conservatory of Music, and a Doctorate of Music in Trumpet Performance, Literature, and Performance, with minors in Jazz Studies and Music History from Indiana University Jacobs School of Music. His primary trumpet instructors were the legendary William Adam, Dominic Spera, Edmund Cord, Eugene Blee, Frank Brown, Scott Johnston, and Donald Whitaker. Other studies include Robert Nagel, Bobby Lewis, John McNeil, Bobby Shew, Charlie Davis, Jerry Hey, Gary Grant, Roy Poper, Charles Schleuter, Claude Gordon, and Uan Rasey. His jazz studies include such luminaries as David Baker, Dominic Spera, Frank Brown, Rick Van Matre, and Richard Davis.
His performing career includes tours with Broadway shows, the Buddy Rich Band, Carol Channing, Rita Moreno, June Valli, Carmen Cavallero, the Clyde Beatty Cole Brothers Circus, performing as Roy Eldridge touring the United States with the Columbia Artists Gene Krupa Band, and a stint in Puerto Rico with the Latin Jazz group, Picante. As a bandleader, he has created hundreds of performing opportunities for professionals and students, including his touring brass and percussion group, the “Dominant 7,” a five time recipient of a South Dakota Touring Arts Grant. He is now an author, creating this e-book for Music Appreciation for Kendall Hunt Publishing.
Not content to merely perform, he has transcribed, arranged, or composed over two hundred different works for his jazz ensemble, symphonic band and the “Wolfpack Pep Band”. He has composed and recorded several commercials, using faculty and students at Northern State University as the vocal and instrumental recording artists. He has performed as a vocal talent for various media productions.
He is in demand as a clinician, speaker, and performer.
An ongoing learner and creator, he pursued opportunities in online course development and teaching, and created an online “Music Appreciation” course, which runs three sections every semester. He is currently developing a “History of Rock and Roll” course to be offered fall 2016. His energy unbounded, he created a local real estate business and continues to do so, and engages and sponsors entrepreneurs inside and outside the university.
He creates hardwood furniture and is a general handyman and builder. He gardens in the summers and has created a locally known hot sauce with the peppers he grows. His passions include fishing and lure making, and ice skating and playing with his four children: twins Logan and Chase, 21; Louis, 12; and Claire, 8. His wife, Marcia, is an accomplished pianist, runs the house, his life, the children, and the real estate from their hobby farm outside Aberdeen. Dr. Manhart lost his wife Nicole to cancer in 2000 when their twins were 2, in his second year at Northern State University.
Your book is wonderful. My students have really enjoyed it and I have had so many tell me they have never thought about some of the questions presented and that it was a real eye opener. Good job.
- Dr. M.