Ryan Dohoney

This professor has earned a CULPA gold nugget

Dec 2008

I have to agree with other reviewers: Ryan is a great way to wake up at 9 a.m. He plays great music at the start of class, knows how to maintain class-wide conversation throughout the 1:15 minute period, and gives really interesting readings that a non-Music major can easily relate to. Because he is so non-Music-major-oriented, I can't say that I learned a whole lot about the technical side of music during the semester, but the history was interesting nevertheless.

Dec 2007

Ryan is absolutely PRECIOUS! Let me give you an example... before Thanksgiving break Ryan checked to see if we all had someplace to to go, offering us dinner with him and his friends if we didn't have anywhere or anyone. Adorable! And he felt SO BAD about the racism and tragic lives that Billie Holiday and Charlie Parker suffered, he got choked up just talking about them. I wanted to hug him! And he didn't make us buy the big music book. Instead, he assigned some fairly interesting articles from: Barthes (a sexy reading), Adorno (a thought-provoking reading) and even Jacques Attali (a crazy but interesting reading). On the downside, the second half of the semester was, pretty much, atonal modern composers that you've never heard of -- and, if you're like me, you will purge those screeching sounds of metal against glass from your iTunes one millisecond after the final exam is over. We covered some good stuff from Debussy, Stravinsky and Bebop during this half of the semester. But the rest of the time we were listening to Ruth Crawford Seeger (who?), Morton Feldman (huh?), Virgil Thomson (ugh)... you get the picture. On the upside, Ryan gave us a lot of freedom. He did not take points off assignments just because I didn't say some specific thing about a piece of music. As long as it was clear that I'd listened to the piece and spent some time thinking about it, Ryan gave me full credit on the assignments. I really appreciated that because it's hard to talk about music.

Jan 2006

Ryan is amazing! He is really intellegent, dedicated to his students, accessible, and generally just a really cool person. He's a historical musicologist so dont expect to do a lot of theory. Instead he focuses on historical background and the social conditions influencing and surrounding music. He also chooses to go really in depth with a few pieces rather than listen to a million pieces and make his students memorize all of them. The tests are REALLY easy and he is quite fair grading the papers. The only reason i would suggest looking into another class is if you absolutely hate 20th century music, which he does quite a bit of. But i went into the class thinking i did, and he really gave me a newfound appreciation for it. He also does a lot of vocal pieces and if youre lucky will sing (really well) and dance for the class. If you dont leave this class with a love for western music you should at least try to get him to be your friend...becuase hes really cool.

Jan 2006

Put simply, Ryan is so nice that I didn't have the heart to switch from his 9 am section into another that began at a more humane hour. He's incredibly friendly and approachable, and really cool too. This was his first class, and he was excellent. He made Music Hum's somewhat stodgey curriculum fun, adding interesting, innovative interpretations that range of his personal, indie-rocker taste. And he makes the class very easy. Fun, interesting, incredibly nice, and easy - for once a no-brainer at Columbia - take Ryan's class!

Jan 2006

Ryan is awesome. He is so nice and energetic and knows a ridiculous amount. Though this class was at 9 AM, I went to every one because he was so cool and the class wasn't boring. Even if you don't know anything about music, you can understand what's going on in this class. Even if you think you know everything about music, you can learn something in the class. As long as you do the listenings and the readings, you should be fine.