Music 8 Syllabus

Contact Info: Dan Mitchell

Office Hours

Monday & Wednesday
Room A11:
15 minutes before Music 1A
10 minutes after Music 1A
Room A91:
15 minutes before Music 51
10 minutes after Music 51

(Syllabus materials from previous terms are on the Syllabus Archive page.)



Music 8: Intermediate Electronic Music Syllabus

Spring 2017 | 3 units | Room A91
12:30-2:45 Tuesday/Thursday section
Dan Mitchell | Office: A15 | 408-864-8511 |

Welcome to Intermediate Electronic Music

This syllabus describes official course policies and expectations and is a contract between student and teacher. Other materials on this website, such as those listed in the sidebar, are extensions of the syllabus and also reflect official course policies. (Some details of the syllabus are subject to change prior to the start of the new term and again during the term as announced in class.)

Completion of Music 51: Introduction to Electronic Music is currently a prerequisite for enrolling in Music 8: Intermediate Electronic Music. Contact the instructor as early as possible if you think that your background may prepare you to enroll in Music 8 without first completing Music 51.


This course focuses on intermediate level electronic music techniques including principles of digital and analog synthesizer sound design and editing; professional studio and computer music software including integrated audio/MIDI sequencing software, instrument editors, software synthesizers; basic audio/MIDI studio configuration; modular synthesis; basic digital audio recording and editing; basic audio signal processing; introduction to concepts of music notation software; historical and technological development of electronic music; roles of electronic music technology in twentieth-century music. Some prior music experience and/or concurrent enrollment in a basic level music course such as Fundamentals of MusicBeginning Keyboards or similar is recommended but not required.

Course Objectives

  • Operate keyboard synthesizers, audio mixers, external audio and signal processing equipment, and professional music software for audio recording, sequencing, and signal processing.
  • Design and edit sounds using hardware and software synthesis and editing tools.
  • Create musical/audio projects using audio/MIDI sequencing software, audio signal processing software and hardware, and mixing hardware and software.
  • Understand and use basic features of computer notation software.
  • Design, implement, and troubleshoot audio/MIDI equipment and software configurations in a complex studio environment.
  • Recognize, analyze, and describe features of several important electronic music periods and genres and their features.

Text and Materials

Text – No text is required. Some course materials are available within the software that we use and links to additional online resources will be provided in class.

Access to a computer with a printer, web browser, and Adobe Acrobat Reader. You will use the electronic music lab computers for course-related work during your assigned lab time.

Important: Some assignments must be downloaded from this website and printed at least 48 hours before they are due. 

Personal headphones with 1/8″ stereo phone plug are required at all class sessions.

Highly recommended: UUSB flash memory stick or similar device (e.g. – writable CD/DVD media, external USB drive, accessible web disk, etc.) is strongly recommended to back up your work and move files between computers. Capacity of 1GB or larger is sufficient.

Course Schedule

In general, you should be able to do all of your lab work during the scheduled class meeting time – but this may only provide time to meet basic assignment requirements. Additional open lab time may become available after the start of the term. Information will be provided in class.

Studio Rules

All electronic music students are responsible for reading, understanding, and following the  studio rules.Violations of the studio rules may lead to suspension of access to the studios and other serious consequences.

  • No unauthorized visitors are allowed in the lab. Only currently enrolled electronic music students are allowed in the room.
  • No eating or drinking in the lab. (Water in screw-top containers is allowed, but may not be kept on desks.)
  • Keep the studio neat – clean up when you finish your session.
  • Cell phone use is not permitted in class — read the cell phone policy in this syllabus.
  • Lab computers are for electronic music course work only. Use the Internet Lab in Learning Center West if you want to browse the web or check your email.
  • Shut down your computer at the end of the period before leaving the room. (Choose “Shut Down” from the Apple Menu at the upper left corner of the screen, and confirm this in the following dialog box.)


  • Projects – Several short projects (see Intermediate Electronic Music Assignments) will be assigned during the term. Projects count for 30% of the course grade.
  • Class Presentation – A 10-15 minute oral presentation on a relevant electronic music subject – due during the final 2-3 weeks of the term. This assignment is described further in the syllabus. The presentation counts for 20% of the course grade. Group projects are possible with instructor permission.
  • Final Project – This project is described further in the Intermediate Electronic Music Assignments section. Final projects are due at the scheduled final exam session as per the college final exam schedule. The final project is weighted at 30% of the course grade – but failure to complete a final project may result in a failing grade for the course. Attendance at the full two-hour final exam session is required – no exceptions!
  • Quizzes – There will be between two and six quizzes, some of which may be take-home quizzes. Quizzes count for 10% of the course grade.**
  • Test – One written test will cover topics from the quizzes and additional topics as announced in class. The test is worth 10% of the course grade.

A weighted average system is used to determine your final course grade—not a point system. Assignment and course grades will use base letter grades A, B, C, D, and F, and the +/- symbols. (There are no C- course grades at De Anza College, though a C- may be given for assignments, tests and other course work.)

Let the instructor know immediately if you think you have received an incorrect grade. Grades may not be changed if you wait more than 72 hours after an assignment is handed back or after grades are posted on the web to bring errors to the instructor’s attention.

If an emergency interferes with completion of course work near the conclusion of the term you must contact the instructor immediately to discuss the situation, including the possibility being assigned an “incomplete” grade in the course if appropriate. If you “disappear” at the end of the course you are subject to receiving a failing grade in the course.

During the course you will be able to review your grade progress online on a password-protected web page. More information about this will be provided early in the term.

Pass/NoPass Option — If you are not concerned with earning a particular letter grade in this class, you could consider the P/NP option. You will earn a “passing” grade as long as your work averages to a C or better. See the college catalog for more information.


Regular attendance is required and critical to your success in this class. Contact me immediately if you miss a class or if you decide to drop. Adjust your schedule for work, vacations, etc. so that they do not conflict with this course. Attendance at the scheduled final exam session is required. The exam dates and times are listed in the course calendar on this website and in the official final exam schedule at the De Anza College website.

  • Attendance may be taken at each class session.
  • If you are not present when roll is called an unexcused absence is recorded — until you contact the instructor to explain, at which point it may be changed to an excused absence.
  • If you arrive late it is your responsibility to inform the teacher that the absence record should be changed to a tardy.
  • You are subject to being dropped from the class for excessive absences or tardies. However, there is no guarantee that you will automatically be dropped if you stop attending without notifying the instructor.
  • You are subject to being dropped after a third unexcused absence.
  • Late arrival counts as half of an absence.
  •  You must contact the instructor during a scheduled class meeting or scheduled office hour prior to the deadline if my signature or other action is required.

Final Exam Attendance: The academic term at De Anza College includes all of the official final exam week. You are required to be available for the scheduled final exam session as per this syllabus and the college final exam schedule. Do not schedule events that conflict with the scheduled final exam session. You will not be excused from the final exam nor will you be allowed to take it at an alternate time because you failed to note the date and time of the scheduled exam session. Schedule travel and other end-of-term events so that they do not conflict with the exam schedule.

Special Attendance Policy for Week I: If the course is full and students are waiting to add, students with a single unexcused absence during the first week are subject to being dropped. It is critical that you attend each meeting and arrive on time or contact the instructor immediately if an emergency situation affects your attendance.

Deadlines: It is your responsibility to be aware of drop deadlines and to make timely arrangements with me or the registrar if you decide to drop this class. The class schedule lists deadlines for dropping with no record or for dropping with a “W” grade.

Use your add code right away: You must complete the add process before the next class meeting. If you wait I may drop you to make room for other students. Speak to the instructor to arrange an exception if your circumstance require you to wait longer than 24 hours to add the class.

Late arrival and availability of workstations: After the first five minutes of the period, any unused computers are available for use by students from other electronic music classes. If you arrive later than this you may not be able to use your usual computer.

Final Exam Session

Final projects are due at the scheduled final exam session as per the college final exam schedule. Attendance is Mandatory at the full two-hour scheduled exam session. If you have something else scheduled at this time, you must make arrangements early in the quarter so that you can attend this session.

Attendance at the full two-hour final exam session is required – no exceptions!

Late Work

Assignments are late if they are not turned in at the time the class session begins unless otherwise specified. You must arrive on time on due dates – arrive early to make sure your work is not late.

  • Missed or late quizzes may not be made up, though you may miss one without lowering your grade since your lowest quiz grade is discarded.
  • Make-up midterms may be possible for students who make prior arrangements or who encounter a serious and unanticipated last-minute emergency.
  • Other late assignments may be penalized one letter grade for each class session after the due date.

Contact the instructor immediately when you encounter technical problems while working on a lab assignment. If a technical problem interferes with your completion of a project by the due date, there may be no late penalty only if you contacted the instructor at the time the problem occurred.

A special policy applies to assignments that you must print from the website. If you encounter a printing problem and report it 48 hours or more before the deadline, it may be possible to get an extension in some cases, depending upon the situation. If you wait until fewer than 48 hours before the assignment deadline no extension will normally be granted.

Academic Integrity

Students and faculty share the goal of maintaining the highest standards of academic integrity. I take this issue very seriously, and consequences can be very serious for students who fail to observe these standards. Consult my statement on Academic Integrity for details about my official policies — and ask for guidance if you have questions. The college academic integrity policy and student code of conduct are available at the college website.

Cell Phones

Cell phone use during class is not permitted. Turn off your cell phone and put it away before entering the classroom.

I will ask you to leave the room for the remainder of the period if your phone goes off during class or if you use your phone during class. Having your phone on during class is a distraction to you and others in the classroom. Setting your phone on “silent” or “vibrate” is not turning it off – “Turn it off” means “turn it off.”

If you realize during class that you have an unanticipated critical need to check your phone, you must quietly leave the room and move a good distance away from the classroom door before taking out your phone and turning it on. Turn the phone back off when you finish and return to class.

If you have a serious emergency situation (e.g. sick child, serious illness in your family, etc.) and you must be on standby so that you can immediately deal with this emergency situation and you would otherwise have to miss class, the following applies:

  1. You must discuss the emergency situation with me at the start of the period.
  2. I’ll ask you to sit where you can make a quick and quiet exit to answer the call outside the classroom.
  3. Your phone must be on the silent setting.
  4. If a call/text arrives you must leave the room before responding.

Laptops, Tablets, and Similar Devices

I permit use of such devices during class by students who use them exclusively for purposes directly related to the course.

Laptops, tablets, and other electronic devices are never permitted during quiz or exam sessions. The use or presence of such devices or similar during exams and quizzes is a violation of class policy and will have serious consequences including an immediate failing grade on the exam or quiz.

Recording Devices

The use of audio, video, photographic or other recording devices  is not allowed in the classroom. The only exception is in cases where the student discusses his/her individual special need for recording in advance and the instructor gives him/her permission to do so

Students may photograph or otherwise copy projected lecture notes following the conclusion of the class session.

Office Hours

Visiting your instructor during an office hour can help you succeed. It is much better to come in and discuss problems and questions than it is to leave your issues unresolved. A visit also helps your teacher get to know you as a person. Many of us have hundreds of new students each term! When you take the time to make a personal contact it helps us make the connection between you and the name on the roll sheet. An office hour visit is a great opportunity to discuss concerns or challenges that could affect your performance in the course and to discuss possible accommodations that may help you achieve success.

Please visit me during my office hours, call 408-864-8511, or send email to any time you have a question or problem relating to the course. You do not need an appointment to see me during an office hour, but you can make one if you prefer. My office is in room A15 in the A1 building located in the Arts Quad.

My office hours are listed in the left sidebar of pages at this website.I usually can meet at other times by appointment. Call me or send email to set up an alternate office visit. (Office hours are subject to change as announced in class and on my websites.)

Course Calendar


  • Because new course content and software is being introduced in the Intermediate Electronic Music course the calendar is subject to changes to be announced in class.
  • In most cases actual assignment deadlines will be announced in class.

Week 1: 4/10-4/14

  • First class meeting
  • Administrative issues, intro to software and equipment, Logic Pro review, Introduction to Reason software.

Week 2: 4/17-4/21

  • Introduction Reason software.

Week 3: 4/24-4/28

  • Reason software continued
  • Electronic music history topic 1**.

Week 4:5/1-5/5

  • Reason software continued.
  • Electronic music history topic quiz 1**.

Week 5: 5/8-5/12

  • Reason software continued.
  • Electronic music history topic 2**.

Week 6: 5/15-5/19

  • Advanced Logic Pro topics and Rewire
  • Electronic music history topic quiz 2**.
  • Introduction to the Class Presentation project..

Week 7: 5/22-5/26

  • Advanced Logic Pro topics and Rewire
  • Electronic music history topic 3**.

Week 8: 5/30-6/2

  • Software synthesis – Logic plugins
  • Electronic music history topic 3 quiz**.
  • Class Presentation proposals due on Tuesday.
  • Memorial Day Holiday — Campus closed, no classes. (Does not affect Music 8)

Week 9: 6/5-6/9

  • Electronic Music history topic test.**
  • Intro to Final Project
  • Possible start of class presentations – depends on number of students enrolled in the class.

Week 10: 6/12-6/16

  • Other music software – e.g. notation software.
  • Presentations  – attendance required – Tuesday/Thursday @ 12:30-2:45
  • Work on Final Projects

Week 11: 6/19-6/23

  • Presentations – attendance required – Tuesday/Thursday @ 12:30-2:45
  • Work on Final Projects.

Week 12: 6/26-6/30

  • Final Exam Session: Thursday of final exams week, June 29 at 11:30-1:30Note that this is one hour earlier than the normal class meeting time. (This date and time should not conflict with other class since all De Anza classes use a special final exam week schedule. Contact your teacher immediately if you think you have a conflict.)
  • Attendance at the full two-hour final exam session is required – no exceptions!

Calendar Notes:
* The number of presentation sessions varies depending upon enrollment. Presentations may start either two or three weeks before final exams week.
** Note also that the quiz schedule may vary from what is shown here – announcements to be made in class.

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