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Rocking the Academic World

You don’t have to be a rock star to study rock and roll.

Taking students beyond classical theory into the realm of rock, Dr. Scott Harris says his new class will help “keep your mind open,” broadening understandings of music as it operates within our popular culture. “Music is universal,” Harris said, making it an important topic to study with international reach.

A music class for non-music majors, Honors Music Literature: Rock and Roll bridges the gap between classical music theory and what our culture embraces.

The course will examine the social, economic, and political relationships between the music and culture of the mid 1950’s – 1990, including the Civil Rights Movement and its reciprocity with the music industry.

Looking beyond the music notes, Dr. Harris’s new class explores concepts such as defining rock as a musical genre or cultural force, rock as a spectacle versus audio experience, the merit of technical quality in music, and selling music versus selling the artist.

Students need not enter with musical background; a brief history and basic music terminology are part of the class. Strong critical thinking and writing skills however, are a necessity. Student discussion drives the course.

Dr. Harris hopes to eventually incorporate a Study Away trip into the class, possibly traveling to Nashville to observe the music scene and its effects on the city.

The Spring 2014 class meets Tuesdays and Thursdays from 12:45 – 2:05p.m. Interested students can register with CRN 35744 or contact Dr. Harris at scott.harris@wku.edu.

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