I really enjoyed Lucie's class! She's energetic, passionate about music, and a great teacher. She deserves her silver nugget. She does require IDs on the final and midterm (I was nervous about this, but she teaches you really well and you only have to identify the period of the piece, not the name or composer), and I really grew to appreciate music as a result of this course. Grading was fair and the projects were fun and creative.
TAKE LUCIE VAGNEROVA. You will not regret it. Really sweet professor who is very understanding of her students. VERY fair grader.
STEM major here: I don't usually take the time to write a review, but seeing how this professor only received raving reviews (and I most certainly did not have an "only pleasant" experience with this professor), I will take it upon myself to present the negatives of her class. (My verdict is you should only take this class if you are somewhat well versed in music, feminism, and/or social problems -- if you are not well-versed in any of these, you will either be (1) a student who talks less in her class (and consequently has a poor participation grade), or (2) a student she regularly ridicules in class -- read on.) THE GOOD: She definitely leads you to look at music and how it is interwoven with culture differently. She asks great questions and pushes you to think differently about the material. I agree with the below reviews on the good part of her class, so read them for a review that shows Lucie under a good light. THE UGLY: Imagine a teacher who gets after the class for not participating more, but then meets students' questions and comments (*PARTICIPATION*) with snark and attitude when they DO participate: this is the enigma that is Lucie Vagnerova. She praises students who offer questions and comments she agrees with, yet humiliates students who offer questions and comments she disagrees with (or thinks are a waste of time), leading to a much quieter class. Even those who might offer a comment she would like become too scared to answer for fear of humiliation. She plays FAVORITISM with a heavy hand-- she will greet and praise the students she likes, and she will either (1) ignore the students she dislikes, or (2) serve the students she dislikes a strong dose of sarcasm and disrespect daily. Ironically, in the end, you've got 3-4 people regularly commenting: (1) Her favorite students, and (2) the students she regularly $hits on but who are willing to take the flack for the sake of getting the participation grade. In the end, I wonder: what is the point of teaching a class where the students already know all of the answers? She is ill-fit to teach an introductory music course.
Lucie's class was solid. We were given very clear and easily-digestible summaries of every genre and music era that we had to know. Every lecture focused on samples of particular genres, and we were given some short readings and listenings before each class. Because of this, the class was straightforward. There's a pretty level playing field for all students to get good grades in the class, regardless of how much musical experience they had in the past. It might take some outside practice to understand the music terminology at the beginning of the semester, but later on all the same music theory terms are circulated around during discussions. Overall, we learned a lot about motivations behind music characteristics, and discussions that surrounded a particular music genre. We also tied in these music genres to current interpretations (i.e. live performances with Q&As, seminars) that all helped in understanding the material better. The workload was not heavy.
Lucy is phenomenal. End of story. That being said, you have to be willing to engage with her personal interpretation of music history from both a women's and/or subaltern perspective in order to actually get something out of the class. She's very willing to tie contemporary music and debates on power/class/society/race/politics into the construction of musical narratives and definitions of "high" vs. "low" culture and "virtuosic" vs. "non-virtuosic" music. All in all, one couldn't ask for a more attentive and thought-provoking musichum instructor. Also, Lucy is very hip. Seriously, sometimes she's too hip to handle. (but don't be intimidated)
It's difficult to write a balanced review for this class, because most of the time I either really liked/disliked it depending on the topic or assignment. So here goes: Lucie's class is not strictly organized or "conventional"; she does not define concepts and build on them in an orderly fashion. Rather, she jumps right into a topic and will go back and define concepts as students ask/she sees fit. For some minor things, this was not a problem. But a lot of concepts that related to musical theory itself were left undefined and a lot of students were confused. Likewise, there is no "takeaway" from any given topic... the class centers on the student's attitudes about the material, and I think Lucie wanted us each to develop our own attitude towards music, which was difficult to do if we didn't even know the basics. That said, Lucie is understanding and a lenient grader. She has no problem spending time going over things the students don't understand very well, and she makes it clear that she will not test us on the technical aspects of music, so we shouldn't worry about them too much. She also uploads a list of important concepts for us to know, although she doesn't define them so you really need to pay attention in class. All in all, I had a good experience but I would have liked the class to be more structured. I felt like I didn't come away with as much information about music as I did about feminist/racial reactions to certain types of music.
Professor Vagnerova is unapologetically fashionable. Far from being the only reason, but it kept my attention. My Hum class was very international and the Prof. seized on this opportunity and let everybody participate and share their very different experiences of the world and music. The course was richer for it in the end. I will actually miss our weekly discussions. Some of the discussions did get a little messy but if I learned one thing in this class, it is the way music is connected to other parts of humanity, it doesn't just stand apart in the "art" sphere. That's why discussions could go off-topic sometimes. I recommend this class to everybody willing to question the ways they have been listening for years.
I am sure most students in Lucie's class would really disagree with the above reviewer. Some students simply want to memorize a list of definitions, pass an exam, and get credit. Also, unlike said reviewer, I think Music Hum SHOULD be a conversation rather than a lecture. As Lucie said in the first class, her questions don't have right/wrong answers but are supposed to encourage discussion. I was actually glad to have a teacher who passionately shared her opinion and debated students like equals instead of acting like she is 'above it' and 'superior' like many professors at CU. Sometimes Lucie allowed the discussion to go off-topic as long as it's productive. Other times, she will shut down off-topic comments but I never felt like she held a grudge. As for students misbehaving, loudness, and some students' constant lateness, I believe that's their fault and not so much the instructor's. The teacher is the teacher, not the police. Lucie's class taught me to think about music not just as an abstract source of pleasure, but as a place of national, class, ethnic, and gender contestation. I would say I enjoy my favorite music much more as a result. Also, I started listening to more types of music such as Jazz and the french composer Debussy. One of the most interesting returning discussions in Music Hum was about the concert experience -- how strange and ritualistic it is to dress up, sit in the dark without making a sound and clap at the end. In fact, students are expected to attend two concerts on their own (a classical music concert and a 20th century "avant garde" concert) and the class as a whole went to hear 20th century American music at Carnegie Hall. As a result of these assignments, I heard music and went to venues that I would never normally encounter: I am glad I got to do this before leaving New York. Some of the music was difficult to listen to at first but subsequent discussion in class helped a lot. I enjoyed the challenge though maybe some students did not.
Professor's lectures are not very clear. I often cannot tell what the main point of the lecture is and what we are supposed to get out of it. Then, several lectures later when we are told we talked about this or that in class and that's when I find out what was important in the previous lecture. We seem to be expected to remember everything that was said in class. There is not an organized introduction of course materials. Instead, it's more of a conversation lecture with key words thrown in. I didn't feel like I learned much and classes are a blur of comments from a few of the students in class. It would help if aspects of the course like history, music history, changes in music, etc. were connected better instead of each lecture appearing to stand on its own. It might be better if, after a discussion, the professor summarized what she wanted us to get out of the listening or that time period. Every once in a while, it felt like if I didn't go check on Courseworks what subject we were discussing that day, I would not have any idea what genre we were talking about and when and where it took place. Only certain people talked in class. Partially, that was because only certain people are outspoken naturally, but some people who might have wanted to talk probably gave up after a few classes because of the professor's response. There are times when the professor seemed to shoot down what someone said. She played favoritism a lot. When some people said something, it was always accepted with little enthusiasm, while others' comments were treated like they were very intelligent and relevant. If someone talked too much, she would start ignoring them. In general, I did not find this class interesting and I learned very little.