Course: MUS231
Instructor: Joshua Quillen
F 2019

Description of Course Goals and Curriculum

The goal of this course is to teach students how to play the steel drums. This includes a knowledge of and appreciation for the history of the instrument. Since this is instrumental instruction, it is not structured like a typical academic course with an organized syllabus. Throughout the course, students will learn to play several songs, selected by the instructor, and perfect them for a culmination showcase at the end of the semester.

Learning From Classroom Instruction

This course is taught mostly as a studio course. Students learn to set up and break down the steel band, play at least 2 different drums within the band, and coordinate their playing with the rest of the group. The instructor and the TA provide guidance for the students as they practice and play. There is also a lecture element of the course at the beginning of some sessions in which the instructor and TA teach students about the history and inner workings of the steel drum. Students are expected to fully participate in every session.

Learning For and From Assignments

This course is graded on a PDF basis, with grades coming from participation and a final paper. During class, it is important for students to learn quickly, follow the rest of the band, and maintain motivation. For the final paper, students are asked to write about the history of the steel drums using course instruction and external resources. There is no additional readings or assignments for the course, but students are given the option to practice their pieces after class to be better prepared for the next week.

External Resources

As this course is not within the typical academic framework, external resources are not necessarily useful. Students, however, are encouraged to practice outside of class and can coordinate with each to improve their parts.

What Students Should Know About This Course For Purposes Of Course Selection

The ability to read music is a requirement for entrance into this course. However, students will never be asked to sight read, so there is time to annotate the sheet music in advance. Students can expect to walk out of the course with a working knowledge of the steel drums and a feeling of satisfaction.
Princeton University Steel Band

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