Classes for next semester: The Oscars, piano, Beyonce, oh my!

Students can choose from a variety of electives for the fall semester, whether they have an interest is film, pop music or classical music

From dissecting award shows in class to taking a piano course from home — students still looking for a fall elective next semester can choose from a variety of interdisciplinary subjects offered on campus, ranging in style from seminar, online and lesson based.

Not to mention, there is an entire course on Beyoncé.

THE 405: The Oscars

One offering students might be unaware of is a School of Film, Dance and Theatre course focusing on the Academy Awards and taught by Professor Guillermo Reyes.

The online class covers the history of the film based award show, its winners, ceremonies and related controversies.

A self identified collector of Oscars knowledge, Reyes said in an email interview that he thinks there’s something fascinating about the award show.

“It’s not only about the movies themselves but also about the film industry and everything it represents,” Reyes said.

Reyes said he had watched since he was a child and after reading several history books about the subject, thought there had to be enough material for a class.

“The main take away, I should hope especially for our film students, is that the film industry is caught up in the politics of access and representation of the rest of country and that it mirrors many of the political struggles across the country,” Reyes said.

Reyes said he thinks the award show has a responsibility to represent the democratic values the country stands for.

“I hope students understand that the concept of voting for ‘the best’ is caught up in all those politics — of who gets hired to begin with and therefore who gets to develop a resume in the industry that would then allow you to become a voting member,” he said.

As for how this year’s awards will be covered in the class, Reyes said the year’s mistake certainly added drama but he would like to see it happen more often.

“The Oscars shouldn’t have to be so slow and safe,” he said.

HON 394: Lemonade: Beyonce & Black Feminism

Another class touches on the media in a different way, focusing on the album “Lemonade” by Beyoncé and how it relates to culture.

The class is being offered for the first time by Barrett, The Honor’s College on the Downtown Phoenix campus.

Professor Rachel Fedock, who teaches the course, has a doctorate in philosophy but her research specializes in feminism ethics and moral psychology.

Fedock said she had been a fan of Beyoncé before and when the album and accompanying film came out, she immediately thought it would be perfect for a class.

“I was just completely blown away (that) the depth of the different concepts and themes were involved were just so rich,” Fedock said.

The one credit class will be taught during session A of fall semester. The class filled up almost immediately after registration opened.

Fedock said the class will take a look at the videos and songs from the album in conjunction with text by black feminist writer "bell hooks," as well as analyze critically and look at hook's critiques of the album and Beyoncé as a feminist.

Fedock said she would like students to walk away from the course with a better grasp of black feminism and a realization that those kinds of topics don’t have to feel abstract or solely academic.

“We can talk about it as it exists in the world,” Fedock said.

MUS 145, 245 and 345: Non-Majors Class Piano

A series of electives that students might not be aware of are music lesson based courses, designed to teach them how to play an instrument.

Courses in piano, guitar and voice are offered by the School of Music.

Hannah Creviston is the assistant professor of practice for piano pedagogy. Creviston, who has been at ASU for five years, supervises the piano classes which are taught by teacher’s assistants.

“It’s a group setting so there are 14 keyboards plus the teacher’s keyboard in the lab,” Creviston said.

Students sit with headphones at their own keyboard while the teacher can “tune” into a student’s keyboard and play for them or listen to what they’re playing.

Creviston said the school offers three different levels of piano which each run a little differently.

“The beginner level is for people who have never played piano,” Creviston said. “Most of them have never really been involved in the music so we start from the very basics.”

Intermediate and advanced courses are also offered. The courses go deeper into teaching chords, music theory and technical exercises while building students’ repertoires.

Unique to ASU’s music offerings is the online version of MUS 145, which Creviston said gives more students another option while helping keep the program innovative.

“I don’t know any other university that actually has an online piano class,” she said.

Creviston said the classes, which are designed for non-majors, attract a wide variety of students from other disciplines and occasionally professors, as well.

“We’re (trying not to be) isolated in our School of Music but to reach out to our community and get students in other disciplines to come over and see what we’re doing and take classes and come to concerts.”


Reach the reporter at cmlnarik@asu.edu or follow @carsonmlnarik on Twitter.

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