A Sampler of What's New on the 2019-2020 Course Catalog

Underformers gathered in the Irwin Dining Center to speak with faculty and advisors about course selections for the 2019-2020 school year on Wednesday, February 13. Sixteen new courses have been added to the course catalog, including Jazz Improvisation, The Waste Land, and The Culture Industry in the U.S.: Media, Marketing, and Music.

Underformers gathered in the Irwin Dining Center to speak with faculty and advisors about course selections for the 2019-2020 school year on Wednesday, February 13. Sixteen new courses have been added to the course catalog, including Jazz Improvisation, The Waste Land, and The Culture Industry in the U.S.: Media, Marketing, and Music.

Chair of Performing Arts Keith Roeckle created the Jazz Improvisation course to allow students to explore the world of jazz in an academic setting. Lawrenceville’s two jazz bands inspired Roeckle to create this class, for they revealed to Roeckle that many students have a passion for the jazz genre. This course will be helpful to these students because, according to Roeckle, “students will be able to take what they’ve learned and apply it in our jazz bands and in their own independent music making.” There are only two prerequisites to this course: Students should have completed a foundational arts requirement and must be comfortable playing an instrument of their choice. Roeckle hopes that “everyone who takes the course will leave with an appreciation of how great the masters were.”

The Waste Land is about T.S. Eliot’s long poem of the same name. Although the poem comprises fewer than 500 lines, it contains references to hundreds of other texts that together form “a network of interconnected sources,” according to English Master Jeffrey Blevins, who created the V Form English elective. Students in the course will write essays that consider the relationship between “The Waste Land” and its sources—which reference everything from playing chess to the diaries of European aristocrats. Over the course of the term, the class will build a public database of the references in the poem for future students and scholars. According to the course description, the goal will be “not simply to understand ‘The Waste Land’ but to use Eliot’s poem to explore human history.”

The Culture Industry in the U.S.: Media, Marketing, and Music traces the evolution of music as a cultural product in America. Created by Director of Music Robert Palmer, the course focuses on the relationships between music and historical social movements. Topics covered include the rise of the music industry in the late 19th century, the origins of jazz, and the impact of recording technologies and marketing factors on each. Palmer hopes to “bring out the important connections between the development of an entertainment industry in the U.S. and how a view of ‘art’ influenced music across the 20th century.” The course will challenge students to not only consider how the entertainment industry influences music but also how music influences the industry.

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