I think Prof Debellis is a great music teacher and just a really sweet person. He is clearly excited about the class he is teaching and has a pretty good sense of humor. We did not have much discussion in class though, so it was pretty hard to stay concentrated throughout the class.
Such an awesome professor!! He cares so much and is so interested in music that it makes YOU interested in music! He's so excited and gets performers to come to a lot of the classes, so class is always interesting. He also shows us performances of a lot of the pieces we listen to, which makes class more interesting. He's a really easy grader and works really hard to make sure that everyone understands the material.
While this may not be your most exciting class, Debellis is very clear in relaying concepts and pretty much sticks to the textbook throughout the course. Keeping up with reading and listenings in the text will help, but is not absolutely necessary to follow along in class. This class is not a history class, but rather focuses on how music is organized and structured. No worries if you have zero musical background like myself. He will provide a list of known listenings for the exam, so be sure to make a playlist of these and know them well. The workload is reasonable and he's a fair grader on papers. Nice guy as well.
If you want to skate through with an A, this is not your guy. If you want to learn music theory really well and have fun doing it, DeBellis is terrific. As a theorist, he takes the material very seriously and expects that you will, too. He grades assignments very carefully, which (if you have a soul) will make you want to write them more carefully. Even without considering the material itself, on the sole basis of this increased discipline, I'm a better musician for having taken his class. He's also hilarious, in a very dryly intellectual way. Usually they're his own words (one of his catchphrases is "I commend this example to your attention"), but I wasn't surprised when a Monty Python reference slipped out of his mouth midway through the term. I'm writing this review before the final. My grade probably won't be as high as I'd have liked. It doesn't matter. I loved DeBellis's class and I'd gladly take another with him.
Once you get over the fact that Professor Debellis is essentially RIck Moranis, both in appearance and demeanor, and begin to take him seriously, this class is great. I came into it with a pretty solid grasp on the concepts to be covered, but didn't really find myself all that bored or disengaged. Debellis has an enthusiastic attitude and isn't afraid to crack jokes at his own expense, both of which keep the class lively and awake. His teaching is thorough, and he even sets up times to teach those who don't know how to pick out notes on the piano so they can check their assigments aurally. The only downside might be the feeling of time wasted going over EVERY homework assignment, which, if you know what you're doing and spend a small amount of time checking your work befor eyou hand it in, is probably a waste of time since it's just repeating the correct answers. Also, be very careful with your musical penmanship, as he can be very picky about whether your note is on the line or space or somewhere in between. Long Story Short -- great, approachable, thorough professor with a grasp on his material and how to teach it.
umm......ughhh...... yeaaa..... if you can put up with an hour plus of that, then you'll enjoy the class. the work load is "heavy" ie. every class you have homework, but its not that hard, all you have to do is stay awake and not zone out when he turns on the classical music. he teaches you everything you need to know inorder to do well. To study for the test go over your homeworks and mistakes. Debellis makes you take your grade, work for it and you'll get an A.
DeBell has a curiously subtle way of being a fantastic Fundamentals teacher. The first two weeks or so are slow if you know anything about music, but it picks up after that. Don't be fooled by his funny mannerisms. He really knows his stuff, as you gradually come to realize. Some of the classes seem tedious, but nevertheless if you have any interest in music, you'll quickly come to love DeBellis for all of his quirks. I highly recommend DeBellis for any class he may be teaching. He cares so much about what you get out of the class, and he's always available to talk with outside of class. A+, Debell.