We built this curriculum on rock ‘n’ roll

Pierce’s Music Department suffers no shortage of classes dedicated to the creation and capture of music. From courses dedicated to string ensembles and commercial guitar to those teaching recording arts and music theory, students are given all the tools and instruction needed to create their own music.

However, the spring 2018 schedule lists only a single music history class; a course generically titled “Music History and Literature II.” With such a wide variety of practical classes to take, it seems odd that the Music Department does not make an equally well-round history education available.

Pierce should offer its students more music history classes that span across various modern and broadly appealing genres.

Pierce could take inspiration for the modern music courses it can make available from colleges such as the University of California, Los Angeles, which includes classes such as History of Electronic Dance Music, Blues in American Music, Punk: Music, History, Subculture and Music in Los Angeles.

As a trial, Pierce could offer a class that includes music from all of these genres and areas of focus in a course that studies the general history of modern music.

Classes devoted to the study of classical music may be alienating at times; it can take a certain effort to appreciate the genre. Offering courses revolving around music falling into genres such as rock n’ roll and pop—modern, popular music— would allow students to appreciate and study music that is a bit more relevant to them, making for  more interesting and engaging classes.

Detailing how modern genres of music develop from older forms in these potential classes could serve to increase interest in classical music and ensure that its significance isn’t neglected at Pierce.

If low enrollment would be a concern for these music history classes, they could be made to satisfy areas of student IGETCs, incentivizing Pierce students to take and complete them. Specifically, they could satisfy the arts portion of the IGETCs, just as the lone Music History and Literature II class does.


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The Roundup is the student-run news outlet at Pierce College in Woodland Hills, Calif.