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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    Rock ‘n’ roll history fun but no easy ‘A’

    Music 109 professor Brian Moon lectures on the history of The Beatles during his class in the Music building
    Music 109 professor Brian Moon lectures on the history of The Beatles during his class in the Music building

    Ever wonder about the history behind your favorite band? Would you rather write a song than an essay? Students in adjunct assistant professor Brian Moon’s Music 109: Rock and American Popular Music course get to do just that.

    Arizona Daily Wildcat: What is Music 109?

    Moon: The course will survey the music of the rock era and the relation of the rock era to its past, present and future. In addition to highlighting individuals and particular pieces of music, the course will wrestle with issues of ethnicity, gender, technology, class, economics, as it affects the music.

    W: What kind of students do you generally see in this course?

    M: People who have priority enrollment like athletes and seniors. It is difficult to enroll in the class, because the class fulfills a gen-ed requirement, and many students are curious to learn more about rock music. Incidentally, there is no waiting list for the class.

    W: Who should take this class?

    M: Anyone. A basic knowledge of American popular music, or popular culture, is sometimes helpful, but not essential.

    W: Why is this course beneficial to students?

    M: Because they’ll be able to defend their musical tastes to their parents in a critically informed manner. In order to understand current trends in popular music and culture, it is necessary to explore the past. For example, how are the factors that shape popular music today, like business, technology, ethnicity and gender, shaped by the past?

    W: What would students be surprised to learn about this course?

    M: It’s not an easy “”A.””

    W: What makes this course different than other music courses?

    M: The repertoire. The School of Music offers multiple gen-ed music courses, each of which, for the most part, explores a different kind of music, like classical, jazz, world, etc.

    W: What do you enjoy most about teaching this course?

    M: The opportunity to learn more about rock and pop music, and to rethink how it fit into America’s culture. For example, a few years ago, I was relatively unaware of Tucson’s musical past. Recently, I’ve become aware that there was a vibrant rock-and-roll scene in Tucson during the 1950s. As much as I had known about rock’s history, I had fallen into the trap of not realizing that the music was heard even in what was then a relatively small rural area.

    W: What do students have the most trouble with in this course?

    M: Enrolling. Again, there is no wait list, but the School of Music did manage to open two sections of the class this semester. We are offering more seats now than we have ever offered in the past. In addition to regular courses in the spring and fall, there are also multiple sections offered during the summer.

    W: What is the most interesting or fun assignment you give throughout the semester?

    M: I’ve recently begun to assign a songwriting assignment that I think is kind of fun.

    W: Any other interesting facts students should know?

    M: Alice Cooper was born in Arizona.

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