History of Rock and Roll
Fall 2020 - I think Professor Holmes is a great lecturer and the subject material is pretty interesting. You have to do weekly readings, which I skimmed/ didn't read and still got an A. The grades are made up of participation and 3 essays (2 pages double spaced). Your dis section instructor is pretty important because they grade everything (I recommend Alex Hallenbeck if he's teaching!).
Fall 2015 - He's a fun guy during lecture, makes jokes and all like he's from Iowa or whatever when talking about country music, but those exams are heavily based on memorizing. That's why everyone's so good at it except me. By memorizing, not only naming songs by hearing them but also the definition of skiffle, the name of that one producer that made The Beatles famous or James Brown's debut song. These are, of course, important, but when you have that name at the tip of your tongue and it's worth 3pts each you get distraught. Also don't expect any curve. In lecture he'll spend 20 minutes in telling a personal anecdote which is often funny, but then rush over the most critical points of the current slide for 30 seconds before moving on to the next topic, so you better be a fast note taker if you want to do well. I don't even recall hearing in lecture some of the things I was asked on the test. He skims over them ever so quickly. He says that you buy this book called Pop, Rock and Soul and read these pages this week it but you don't have to. It's an aggregate of off-topic articles, mostly about artists he doesn't even go over in lecture and are remotely related to lecture material, so they don't help at all in the exams. So think of it as "optional further reading". Also 20 pages/week is long for me. I'm lazy. Though both midterms and the final have multiple essay questions that are so open-ended (eg. soul's impact on blues) you can write in any way you like and still get full score on them , it's still based on a lot of memorizing. For instance, it's required that you reference at least 3-4 songs per short essay so that you can get full credit for the points you've made. Really fun lectures if you're taking it for the hell of it and not towards your degree, though you should be OK with memorizing. Even if you like rock, memorizing rock can make you hate it. I used to listed to Guns N Roses and stuff 6 months ago and now I'm all over house and techno. Just letting you know I could name 75 songs from 1920s to 2000s from listening to their first 10 seconds a couple months ago and tell their significance within the pop music history. Right now, I don't remember sh
Fall 2018 - This class was fairly easy. Lectures are pretty much pointless, all you need to know for the exams are definitions of terms that she gives you beforehand and song identification that she also gives you beforehand. The group project is a pain but as long as you have a good TA you'll be fine. Definitely an interesting class.