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Spring 2017 Electronic Music Classes — Final Weeks

WEEK ELEVEN: 6/19-6/23

Important: All electronic music students should check online grade reports during week 11 and immediately alert your teacher if you still need to have assignments evaluated.

  • Music 51: Test #2. Complete final project
    • Monday: Work on final projects.
    • Wednesday: COMPLETE final projects. Test #2.
  • Music 8: Class presentations continue. Complete final projects.
    • Tuesday: Class presentations. Work on final project.
    • Thursday: Class presentations. COMPLETE final project.


    • MUSIC 51: Intro to Electronic Music: Wednesday, June 28 at 11:30am-1:30pm
    • MUSIC 8: Intermediate Electronic Music: Thursday, June 29 at 11:30am-1:30pm
  • Possible open lab time on Monday and/or Tuesday to be announced during finals week. UPDATE below…

    • MONDAY open lab — I am certain that there will NOT be open labs on Monday, June 26 at 12:30. I just confirmed a conflict. I MAY be able to open the lab a bit later that afternoon, perhaps around 2:00.
    • TUEDAY open lab — I am almost certain that there WILL be open lab on TUESDAY, JUNE 27 AT ABOUT 12:30.
  • (See your class calendar and syllabus for more details.)

Electronic music students often wish that they had more lab time than we actually have. With that in mind, if you think you might be ahead of schedule, “front-load” your work — finish the project early and you can always coast at the end a bit. (Coast too early and you may not finish!)

Spring 2017 Opportunities For Additional Lab Time

Electronic Music students: As you work on your final projects you may discover that the time you need to complete them seems to expand the closer you get to the deadline! With that in mind, a few important points.

  1.  If you feel that you have plenty of time to complete the project, you may be surprised at the end to find out that you needed more. Better to front load your work on the project and work hard early on — and worse to miss labs early on only to discover later that you really did need that time. If you do finish early, at the end you could leave a class early or complete an earlier assignment that you have not yet turned in.
  2. All electronic music students in both classes may attend any electronic music class to work on projects between now and the final sessions. This means that the lab is available on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday from 12:30-2:45. (I’ll likely allow you to stay later during week 11, too.)
  3. There may be additional lab time at the beginning of final exam week — it will likely be on Monday and/or Tuesday at around 12:30. I can’t guarantee this, nor can I tell you for sure when it will be until that week. Watch the website for updates. UPDATE: There will NOT be Monday, June 26 open lab at 12:30. I now have a schedule conflict. I may open the lab on Monday at about 1:30 or 2:00. There almost certainly WILL BE open lab on TUESDAY, JUNE 27 at around 12:30.

De Anza Electronic Music 1992

A group of De Anza College electronic music students in 1992. (Their teacher is in the photo, too.)

There was one workstation for two full classes of students back then. The workstation was in a practice room, and each student had about two hours per week of independent work time in the lab — more if they could get in when someone else did not show up.

The setup in the photograph used the then-advanced Macintosh Iici, and I think that the big box on top was some sort of removable hard drive. Our Yamaha DX7 keyboard is on the chair at lower right. I’m afraid that while remember them, I cannot identify the students by name.

De Anza Electronic Music Students, 1992

De Anza Electronic Music Students, 1992

Electronic Music Take-Home Quizzes — Practical Matters

  • There will be several take-home quizzes in each of my electronic music classes this quarter. (Four in the Intro class — two before each test — and two in the Intermediate class.)
  • These quizzes are almost always based on subjects I cover in class, so attendance is important! (Get notes from someone if you are absent.)
  • Quizzes are always due at the start of class one week after I announce them.
  • Print your quiz out as soon as it is announced — don’t wait until just before it is due.
  • Start early and ask questions of me if you need help while you work on the quiz.
  • You are required  to print the quiz form from the website and submit your answers on the printed form. (Do not write them on a piece of binder paper, type them out separately, etc.)
  • The quiz questions are essentially the same as the test questions, so by treating the quizzes as practice tests you will likely be well prepared for the tests.

Week III Notes — Spring 2017

Music 1A: Introduction to Music

  • Our second weekly quiz is at the first class meeting of the week — Monday or Tuesday, depending up which class you are taking. Note that we’ll start right at 9:30 this time, not waiting a few minutes as we did on the first quiz.
  • The second listening assignment homework is due at the second class meeting of the week, also right at 9:30. (Remember that you can avoid late penalties by emailing a photograph of both pages of the printed assignment before the start time of class if you think you may be absent or delayed.)
  • Studying in the text/recording continues — see week three in the class calendar.
  • Test #1 is coming rather soon — at the second class meeting of week IV, the week after this. Your test study and review should now be underway. (It is easy to think of tests as “something out there in the future,” but that future arrives in little more than one week!) I’ll share more information about the tests in class.
  • The due date for the concert report is still a ways off, but (as we discussed in class) you must attend your concert well before the due date, especially if your family, work, transportation, and/or budget limit your options. This coming weekend is perhaps the best time to attend your concert. Check the concert list for qualifying events.

Music 51: Introduction to Electronic Music

  • Assignment #2 is due in class later this week. Keep in mind the motto: Get it done first. Make it better later!
  • Be sure to ask for help if you are encountering problems or questions on these assignments.
  • For those who need extra lab time (for any reason, including to make up for an absence), workstations are also available during my Tuesday/Thursday class at 12:30-2:45.

Music 8: Intermediate Electronic Music

  • Assignment #2 is due in another week. This week we’ll continue looking at how to create sounds using the Subtractor.
  • Quiz #1 (on the subject of harmonics and waveforms) is due in class on Thursday..
  • Extra lab time may be available during my Monday/Wednesday 12:30-2:45 class.

West African Drumming Workshop


West African Drumming and Dance Workshop

West African Drumming and Dance Workshop

On Sunday, March 12, at 4:30pm in A31, there will be a West African Drumming and Dance Workshop led by Dr. Royal Hartigan of UMass Dartmouth (and formerly San Jose State). Dr. Hartigan is very passionate and knowledgeable about West African drumming and dance and will demonstrate rhythms on various instruments as well as some dance. The workshop is open to any student who would like to participate or just watch.

Music 51: Some* Important Dates

Remaining Fall Quarter Class Meetings

  • Week 11 — Work on final project, test #2
    • Monday, December 5 — Regular class meeting. Work on final project.
    • Wednesday, December 7 — Written test #2 in class. Work on final project.
  • Week 12Final exam session only
    • Monday, December 12 — NO CLASS MEETING ON MONDAY* as per final exam week schedule
    • Wednesday, December 14 at 11:30-1:30. Final project playback only.

Final Exam Week — Week 12 of the quarter is final exam week. In general no other activities are scheduled in classes. Final exam times and days do not necessarily coincide with regular class meeting schedules, so check the final exam schedules at the college web site and then verify with your teachers

* There MAY be some extra open lab added on Monday, December 12, most likely close to 12:30. Watch your email and the class website for updates.

Music 51: A Change to Take-Home Quiz and Test Question

Introduction to Electronic Music Quiz #4 began with a question about methods of repeating regions: loop, alias, and copy. You were asked to describe musical situations in which one or the other of these methods might be most appropriate.

I will likely leave that aspect of the question in the test #2 version of this question, but I intend to modify it to ask for a bit more information as follows:

Expect me to also ask for an explanation of how each method works — what it does, explained in a way that highlights how each is unique compared to the other two.

  • Loops repeated events in the same track without gaps between them and without any changes
  • Aliases play events from the original region and will change if the original region is altered.
  • Copies produce multiple independent versions of the original region and each may be separately edited.

Additional points and reminders

  • Avoid cryptic abbreviations. For example, write division instead of div.
  • Note that on the question where you are asked to identify parts of the Logic Pro X screen that you also need to explain what these things do.
    • For example, the metronome or click track button toggles the click track on and off in playback mode only.
    • Autopunch button allows you to specify that start and end points for recording.

Extra Credit And Other Grade Improvement Options

Week 8 of the fall term starts on Monday, November 14. At this point in the term some students take stock of their performance so far and want to know how to make sure that they end the term positively. Below I will summarize some (optimistic!) news for students in both my Introduction to Music and my Electronic Music classes, but first some general points for all.

  • If you are concerned about your grade in any class speak to your teacher right away! Worried students often fear that the situation is worse than it is. I’m serious when I say that nine out of ten students who come to me fearing that they will get an unacceptable grade end up finding out that the situation is not that bad and that there are good options they had not thought of.
  • We are far enough from the end of the term that you have lots of options for improving your grade. More on this below in the sections on individual classes.


Electronic Music Class — Working At Your Pace

It is always that case that students in electronic music classes work at differing paces — some will be done with a project well before the deadline, while others almost feel like there isn’t enough time to finish the projects.

I’ve already spoken about the latter situation. (If you aren’t finished right away you can show me your project on the “second pass,” or you can ask to show it to me later. What about students who are finishing “too soon?” There are several things you can do:

  • Work to perfect your project. Perhaps “good enough” isn”t “good enough?”
  • Use the extra time to add more tracks than the required minimum.
  • Spend some serious time trying out and cataloging the huge number of sound resources available from the logic basics instruments.
  • Experiment with editing sounds using the control interfaces for the virtual instruments.