Syllabi for Mr Falwell

History and Appreciation of Jazz and Rock Music: MUL 1017

MUL 1017 History and Appreciation of Jazz and Rock

Valencia College 

MUL 1017 History and Appreciation of Jazz and Rock



The history of popular music is often presented as a sequence of innovations and events. The aim of this course, in contrast, is to study popular music in the United States in order to understand significant social, economic, and cultural transformations during the past century. We will trace important developments in technology, business, social life, and popular culture through American popular music. Simultaneously, we will discuss how popular music has reflected shifting attitudes about race, region, gender, and class. Particular attention will be devoted to the role that popular music played in the forging of a mass culture that Americans, regardless of class, region, race, and gender, participated in.


This course addresses the need for students to learn contemporary musical history, and to be able to place the music of our times in cultural/historical context. Conversely, students encounter rock ‘n’ roll/popular music every day of their lives in a multitude of venues, but are rarely if ever encouraged to listen critically to it or to consider it in a larger context. 

Inquiry: By learning to ask how and why (as well as who, what, where, and when) we will develop our abilities to think ‘historically.’ Our goal is not mere command of ‘facts,’ but rather the capacity to use history to understand how American society has developed during the past century. Examples of the sorts of historical questions that will arise in this course include: how did the ‘Great Migration’ of African Americans during and after World War One influence popular music? Why have some genres of music been vehicles for women artists while other genres have not? How did changing ideas about masculinity and femininity in the 1950s affect popular music? Arguably the most important question we will address is how music became a central component of American mass culture.  

Critical Thinking: In order to think critically about the past, we will develop analytical models that we will use to make sense of technological developments, the music business, musical genres, and the public’s reaction to technological and stylistic changes. Each on-line forum and posted audio/video files will provide us with opportunities to apply these analytical models to specific topics and problems.  

Historical Context: Our analytical models will be applied to sound clips, sheet music, liner notes, lyrics, advertisements, and contemporary music criticism. Our goal, again, is not to compile arcane knowledge about genres, artists, or events in the history of American popular music, but rather to make sense of political, social, cultural, and economic change in twentieth century America. 

Written Language Skills: Written assignments in this course will provide you with an opportunity to hone your skills in critical historical analysis 

Goals: The students will develop a critical aesthetic appreciation, with a historical perspective of rock ‘n’ roll/popular music and its cultural influences and effects.  



The following grading scale will be used in this class. Please note that I do not round up grades. A (94-100) A- (90-93) B+ (87-89) B (84-86) B- (80-83) C+ (77-79) C (74-76) C- (70-73) D+ (67-69) D (60-66) F (below 60) 

Late Work: Late work will not be accepted! Only in extreme circumstance will any allowance be made. The student must provide documentation directly to Mr. Falwell (example: a doctors note). Once documentation has been received only then will there be chance for any allowance.  


Please see the course schedule in Canvas and at the end of this syllabus. Any changes to the schedule will be announced through your CANVAS course website. Each Module will will include the following graded assignments. 1. Discussion Post. 2. Unit Test. 3. Written Assignment. Additionally, each student is required to post an Introduction Video during the first week of classes.

Each module will be open for a set amount of time (please see course calendar) and during that time you will have to complete the reading, discussion, writing assignment, and unit test. Look over the rubric for the assignments.

For every written assignment make sure you include in text citations and a reference page at the end in APA format. Written assignments need to be between 500 and 750 words.  All the reading materials are in the modules as well as supplemental reading for you to look at.  

Contingency Plans: In the event of an emergency, it may be necessary for Valencia College to suspend normal operations.  During this time, Valencia College may opt to continue delivery of instruction through methods that include but are not limited to: CANVAS, Elluminate, Skype, and email messaging and/or an alternate schedule. It’s the responsibility of the student to monitor CANVAS site for each class for course specific communication, and the main Valencia College websites, emails, and messages for important general information. See the Safety Preparedness Website for further information.

Disabilities Accommodation:  Students are responsible for registering with the Office of Students with Disabilities Services (SDS) in order to receive academic accommodations. Reasonable notice must be given to the SDS office (typically 5 working days) for accommodations to be arranged. It is the responsibility of the student to provide each instructor with a Memo of Accommodation.

Instructor Copyright:  Students may not sell notes or other course materials.