I had a fine time in this class with Peter. Pretty good teacher, will answer your questions. Sometimes a wee bit vague, but he is a really fair grader so that makes up for it. Made us go to mandatory office hours on Saturdays though, which was just honestly pretty mean. He lived in Paris for a summer, which was entertaining to hear about. I feel like he knows his wines and cheeses. anyways. take this class if it's offered, but that isn't really how the music department works. it was fine. so few complaints.
Professor Chami is highly knowledgeable in the material and also cared greatly about his students -- a combination that makes for an incredible learning experience. He wanted us all to think critically and apply theoretical concepts across our exploration of different cultures and aspects of music. Provided critical historical background, and wasn't shy about talking through different political perspectives regarding those histories, which I really appreciated. He makes a very welcoming environment to express different opinions (as long as they weren't super dumb), as well as express a lack of understanding of a topic so that you may be filled in (very much the opposite of most elitist Columbia experiences). Assignments were geared towards learning necessary skills, such as writing abstracts and describing sound. Additionally, when we did not do so well on an assignment, he would devote part of the next class to talking through how to do it better. My only qualm is that he never performed his own instrument for the class. I will just look him up on youtube. Also -- you don't have to know the technical aspects of music at all! very accessible. you should absolutely take this class!
If you're a STEM student looking for an easy A in a humanities course this ** MIGHT ** be it. You will be writing some essays, doing some research. But it's actually interesting and Gail really wants to help. Some professors aren't made for teaching — Gail is not one of these teachers! She is so sweet, so wholesome, honestly what a f*cking GEM! Nobody deserves this woman except her 25-year-old turtle that she promised to one day bring to class for us. Overall, this lady wants to help you learn. Put in an ounce of effort, come listen to some nice music, it's a worthwhile class. I bet it's pretty boring for real music majors though, it's a decently easy class overall.
Got an A- in this class, and was frankly harder to do so than a 3000 level Physics course. Absolute snobbiest man on earth; zero sense of humor, and does not let you know how you are doing in class. Very boring class and DeGraf WILL randomly pick you, so you have to come prepared, and even so, there's no guarantee you'll even get a B in the course. AVOID at all costs.
Overall, he's a great professor. He's VERY passionate about what he teaches and his enthusiasm really shows during his lectures. Sometimes I think he overextends himself in terms of connecting various historical events to the music/culture of a specific country, but overall he does a good job of introducing you to the big names of each musical genre. Having completed the course, I felt I learned a lot about music in general, and the various genres addressed by this class. What really irritated me about this instructor however is how he tries very hard to act like a "woke hipster", probably because he's a white man who is talking about musical artists who are predominantly black. It's incredibly "cringe" to watch and I wish he would just stop, but it persisted throughout the entire semester. In terms of the actual grade, this class is extremely easy. There are three concert reports that are 3 pages each. As long as you reference the terms he brings up in class and the readings, you'll do fine. There is a final project that is due at the end of the class and he gives you a lot of freedom to do whatever you want. The final exam was commenting on two contemporary music videos and was probably the easiest final I've ever taken. He also has you do seemingly ridiculous things like cook Caribbean food and take a dance lesson, all of which are easy to do. Take this course if you want a very easy global core.