Black Music and Corporate America

Taught at the University of Virginia, Summer 2021. See syllabus attached below.

Rami created an environment that welcomed a diverse perspective as he allowed for students to present their summaries of the articles we read also allowing the upper–level students to create a small presentation for each listening section. Additionally, Rami would respect the opinions of students as he would always build off the ideas that my peers and I mentioned to help portray the ideas more clearly as well as taking a real interest and understanding of our ideas.


He selected people to speak at the beginning of the class and invited them to not only give their own interpretations but allow them to contribute their own experiences as well. We had a diverse body of students enrolled in the class so it was interesting to hear their thoughts.


I think that the topic of class itself creates an environment that welcomes diverse perspectives, and because of that, Rami did as well. He was always open to hear from everyone in the class and encourages students to contribute to the discussion and to speak what’s on their mind.


This class is about Black Music and Corporate America. He is very open to differing opinions and we can discuss things as a class with those opinions.


This class did not shy away from discussing categories of difference – after all, conversations about racial difference were at the heart of the class. Rami did an excellent job introducing perspectives that I had personally not been exposed to before, through both the readings and music.


Rami Stucky made it very clear from the beginning of the course that all opinions were welcomed and encouraged students to speak up.


Because the material in the course was focused broadening our perspective to understand vand respect differening perspective, that allowed Rami to facilitate an welcoming and respectful environment for all in the course.


Each class people were given the opportunity to share their views on the reading. He also fostered an environment where individuals felt free to speak up whenever and use the chat feature.


For future activities, it might be interesting to have the class come up with their own playlist, similar to how the class comes together to create a new word for the term rockstar. However, this is just a small idea and overall the class was great.


I don't have any future suggestions, I really enjoyed how this class was conducted and was excited to go each day. Even though I have very minimal knowledge on music and some of the artists he talked about, he made the environment very welcoming.


I would suggest to add more discussion days. I find them really helpful to talk about questions with my fellow students and it breaks up the listening days nicely.


It would be nice if the readings were shorter considering there's only a night to prepare. The structure of the class is well spaced though.


On the one hand, I'm inclined to suggest the inclusion of more discussion days in the course. On the other hand, the listening days were very interesting and valuable to making the course what it was. Perhaps this is not a problem that can be solved for a summer session class, but if this class is ever taught during the normal semester, I would recommend adding more discussion days.


I think more examples of soundwalks and our last writing assignment from prior students or other authors would be helpful to see where we should go with our work.


Keep teaching this course! I really hope you can eventually break it to two different courses one about marketing and sound and one about the sonic history to facilitate both super important and intriguing conversations!


I would like the instructor and university administration to know that I thoroughly enjoyed this course and learned quite a bit. I thought it was great that music and songs that we all know and love have a deeper history than most might know, and it was great to read about them to learn both the discrimination and struggle that many artists face that embodies the struggles that many others face.


I had a very positive experience in this course. Rami really knows how to foster a less stressful learning environment while still teaching us a lot. Additionally, I appreciated how he addressed gender and racial issues within society, something numerous professors either don't speak on or choose to ignore.


I found this class very enjoyable, and I would definitely recommend it to other students.


It was a lot of reading for the quick turnaround for just a day. Good class otherwise though.


This was an excellent course and I hope to find similar courses in the future.


I would like the university administrators to know that Rami Stucky will make a fabulous professor one day. I know he is a PhD candidate still but he was so helpful and provided excellent and prompt feedback on my work. Rami was also always available to meet with and he would also check in once a week which was much appreciated.


Was one of my favorite classes at UVA!


I thoroughly enjoyed this class. It gave me a new perspective on music and race relations in general. I feel like I am leaving this class with knowledge that will be applicable in the working world.


Throughout the class, my peers and I participated in class discussions and readings, which allowed us to share our ideas and learn from others. Through hearing the different perspectives that others had on the articles we read, I learned about how to analyze articles differently


A lot of the learning was based off of hearing other people's observations on what we read and them explaining the material for the day. I found this extremely helpful and insightful.


I enjoyed our discussion days a lot, and I found that they helped me better understand the material we covered that week.


I enjoyed listening to the music that we were learning about in the readings.


The listening periods were both fascinating and very helpful to the understanding of the content at hand. I also found the article summaries at the beginning of class extremely helpful to simplify any concepts that I may not have understood the previous night.


I thought the small group discussions in breakout rooms was very beneficial because I got to meet other students in the class and hear their unique perspectives.


The discussions and readings for the course were very insightful so I had a really engaging effective learning experience in this course!


Small–group discussions allowed me to gain a new perspective on the material based on the differing outlooks of my peers. They helped me grasp a better understanding of the content and dig deeper than surface level ideas.


Questions asked by me: 


[1] Do you like the idea of having "listening days:" days where, together as a class, we listen to about an hour or so of music together? Would you prefer there were more listening days or less listening days? Imagine that this class were being taught in person: how would you feel about listening days where you had to literally come/commute to class? Would it not be as enjoyable because all we would be doing in a class period would be listening to music? Would students prefer to just listen at home? In short, is there a way to transfer the idea of listening days to in-person instruction?


[2] What did you make of the format of the class? Would you have preferred more lecture? Would you have appreciated more feedback? Did you feel like you read a lot of articles (i.e. completed a lot of assignments) that I did not assess? Or were they useful even in the event I never called on you to "present?"


[3] What did you make of the assignments? Did you find them useful? What about the cover letter assignment? Should every course, irrespective of its subject matter (i.e. a theory course, or a Classical music history course) have such an assignment?


[4] What did you think of the readings? Too long? Too much? Were you able to get through them better knowing that I only wanted you to answer three questions?


[5] What would you change about this course or keep the same? Could it be an entire course on just music and advertising, for instance? Or could it be an entire course on just the sonic history of Charlottesville? Would you prefer one over the other? Or is it okay to mix the two ideas?


Student A


[1] I loved listening days! Supplemented with readings that helped me contextualize the things we listened to, this is honestly everything I would want out of a music class. I would also love to do this in-person, as I feel like it would be a nice change of pace from other lecture-based classes


[2] The articles were definitely helpful, even on days I didn't present, just to keep up with the music we were listening to and the discussions we were having. I really enjoyed the timeline of the course and felt that I understood how each topic related to each other (Whereas, for many other courses, different units seem completely unrelated). I think the congestion of summer sessions make the reading overwhelming sometimes, but during a normal semester, this seems completely doable


[3] I found the assignments useful, particularly the cover letter, since I had never written one before, but it is often used in my intended profession. I also learned a lot about myself through the soundwalk, which surprised me. It would be helpful for other music classes to have an assignment such as this, but I would be curious to see what type of assignment they would come up with


[4] I think the rapid class days that we had due to the summer sessions made the reading seem like more than it really would have been during a normal semester, but I did enjoy reading many of the articles. Sometimes the readings were a bit long that my argument/evidence/intervention was muddled in me not being able to focus on one topic from the reading, but I eventually learned just to make things broad and comprehensive


[5] I think the pace of the units was really good! I would love a class on the sonic history of Charlottesville, as I've learned a bit about where I'm from but it would be awesome to learn more about where I go to school.


Student B


[1] I enjoyed the listening days, especially in terms of how the music related back to the articles we read. However, at times I found the listening to be a little long (but not by much). I would have liked if we as a class could have had a discussion after the listening portion about what themes heard. If had done this in class, I still would have found it enjoyable, and maybe more so than at home because it would have been easier to converse with those around me.


[2] I liked the format of the course, but more structured lectures would have been helpful. Possibly a combination of discussion and lecture would be beneficial. I thought you provided a ton of feedback, more than I have received from any of my professors! Your comments on presentations allowed me to improve my writing greatly and I thought the amount of articles you assigned was fair, not too overwhelming.


[3] I thought the assignments were very creative and applicable to real life. I appreciated the cover letter assignment, as it is something that it applicable to everyday life. The soundwalk allowed to me think differently about the area I live in, and the final assignment made me write more concisely, which is a good skill to have. I think that these assignments would be beneficial to other courses.


[4] I thought the readings were not too long, and the longer readings like the Cheng did not feel too burdensome due to the subject matter. Answering the three questions allowed me to distill my thoughts in a cohesive way, and focus in on what is actually important.


[5] If I could change one thing about this   course, it would be to have more class discussions about the readings, movie,   and listening. There is enough information that it could just be about music   and advertising, however, I think that the race issue at the center of music   and advertising is key. The sonic history of Charlottesville is important,   however, I think that limiting it just to Charlottesville would cause   students to miss out on other equally as interesting and important locations.   I think that it is important to mix the two topics together to get an idea of   the whole picture.


Student C


[1] I'm not sure how I would feel about physically coming into class to listen to 40 minutes of music - maybe some sort of blend where the day is mostly listening, but a bit discussion-based would be better. I certainly would not incorporate listening days on, for example, MoWeFr classes where they are only 50 minutes long. 75 minute classes would be much more palatable (then there could be discussion along with listening).


[2] I enjoyed the format of the class. I would have preferred a set schedule for article presenters - I understand why you didn't do that (so everyone would always be prepared) but perhaps that could be solved by simply making them a pledged assignment/having a submission window on Collab before class that could be graded for completion.


[3] I thought the assignments were really helpful and relevant. The cover letter assignment was excellent, and I'm very glad to have had such a constructive real-life opportunity. I'm not sure how it would fit into EVERY course, but it definitely has intersectional promise.


[4] The readers were good - they were definitely sometimes a lot, but I was never overwhelmed. This is another thing that may be tied to the summer - I don't know how manageable it would be during the main school year. However, I definitely feel that the low stakes of the questions helped to ease the concern


[5] I actually think that mixing the two ideas was the very   thing about the course that I enjoyed the most - I would not change it.


Student D


[1] I did like the idea of having listening days together, I think it was nice to be able to hear and connect with what we read to the things we were listening to. However, I do think we could have had less listening days and maybe more lecture focused days since sometimes it was hard to pay attention or focus when we would listen to a long playlist and it would be that way for a couple of days. I think this would be especially the case if we had the class in person, maybe the playlist could be split in half so that some of the music is listened to before coming into class, and then some during. Or there's an activity/ discussion in between playing songs to give a break.


[2] I enjoyed the format of the class because it was very laid back but as a learner I do think it would have been nice to have more lecture. I am very grateful and appreciative of the amount of feedback I received on everything, and the weekly check-ins. Regardless on whether or not I was called on I found it to be extremely helpful and know what to improve on for the future.


[3] I enjoyed all of the assignments and thought they were relevant to the course. I think while the cover letter was an assignment that caught me off guard, I appreciate the thought behind why it was assigned. It also gave me good practice and made me think, because I've never written a cover letter before this.


[4] I did enjoy the readings, but they were a bit long to analyze especially since the class was everyday. I did feel better knowing that I was only being asked 3 questions, and I didn't think the difficulty level of them was too hard.


[5] I enjoyed this course a lot especially because I'm not usually interested in classes revolving around music or the humanities. However, I think it covered a lot of important social issues that I wished professors spoke more about, so I very much enjoyed that portion of the class. I think if it was offered as a full-semester course instead of the summer I think keeping the two together would be good, but for the summer I would split them up. I think we didn't have a lot of time to really go in depth about either topic because of how short the summer term is. I would probably prefer to take music and advertising if it were split up. I also did enjoy the final assignment since it was nice to hear different perspectives from my peers and their interpretations of the articles.


Student E


[1] I was quite a fan of listening days because I always felt that it would be hard to listen outside of class, especially during the regular school year with other classes. I think it might be helpful to reduce the amount of songs listened to in class if you want to include more lecture material and entice students to come to class. Personally, I found the experience quite enjoyable as it was a completely different than listening to a standard lecture. While I could see how some students would not be keen to come to class as they feel that they could listen to the music on their own free time, but I think that it is a worthwhile activity and is a great way to make class lectures more interesting and enriching.


[2] In terms of the class format, I thought the amount of discussion and lecture was enough. I really appreciated the feedback when submitting assignments early as I was able to see what I needed to clarify as well as a different persepective on the aissignments. In terms of accountablility, I did read a many articles that were not assessed right away. However, with the final assignment and class discussion they were helpful in the sense that they brought together the overarching theme of the class and helped connect the singular reading due for the day into a larger point.


[3] The assignments were effective and useful for the course. The cover letter is the only assignment that seems to stand out but throughout the class it made more sense to why we wrote one as the importance of keywords in Leary's became more evident. Additionally, the sound walk and the final keyword assignment made complete sense as we had to tie together the world around us and utilize the readings in order to make a point about the keyword of "Rockstar"


[4] The only reading that was a bit long was the Cheng article. Other than that, for a summer course, 25 pages of reading was very doable. While I did take extra notes for the reading in preparation of the three questions, I did not feel that they always helped me to get to know the content better. Knowing that the class was pressed for time I understand the need to keep summaries short, but I would also find it helpful to make a longer summary to sumbit on collab for accountability and to push students to delve deeper into the content.


[5] If I were to change anything I would maybe   add additional summaries to each reading, but I can see how it is also   excessive. I think that the concept of music and advertising could be created   into a class of its own as I know that grocery stores use certain kinds on   music that statistically changes the shopping habits of its patrons. With   this knowledge I think the class can cover more genres of music or go deeper   into black music in corporate America. While the two topics of   Charlottesville and music could be taught separate, I think that it is   important to link the two as they bring together the deeper meaning behind   the music that we listen to as well as current events and pressing issues.


Student F:


[1] I really liked the idea of listening days; they allowed for us to have a break from other class material which I am very appreciative of. In person, I think these days could work well because it seems likely that discussions regarding the content of the music will arise in a classroom more so than they would over Zoom. If they are done in person, cutting back on the number of them and having some done at home could be good in my opinion.


[2] I thought the format of the class was great; I loved the way that units were set up and how they seemed to flow into one another. I think the articles I read were all worth my time even when I didn't get called on to present because they helped me understand the context of the music on listening days, and they were also very useful when it came to writing my assignments.


[3] I thought the assignments were all done very well; I enjoyed writing the cover letter because it gave me experience doing something I hadn't ever done before that will definitely come in handy in the future. I believe that all classes should have similar assignments regardless of the course material because skills like these are skills that everyone should have. I also really liked the soundwalk because it helped me become more aware of my surroundings and how different cultures use their voices in my area. Though the final assignment was not as applicable to my life, I enjoyed it just as equally because it allowed me to demonstrate my understanding of multiple topics covered throughout the course.


[4] The amount of readings we were assigned was just right; we didn't have too much in my opinion, however if this class were taught during the Fall or Spring, I could maybe see some of the longer readings being an issue with assignments from other classes. However, I found all of them to be very interesting and knowing that I only had to answer three questions about them helped me relax a little while reading and kept me from overanalyzing.


[5] I would definitely keep this course very   similar to how it already is just because I think the setup and units were   done very well. I think more aspects of Charlottesville could definitely be   incorporated in a normal semester, as most students would presumably be doing   their soundwalks here, but since lots of students were at home and away from   Charlottesville during this particular session, it makes sense that other   areas were discussed.


Student G:


[1] I loved listening days- you should definately keep them in the course. As to how to transition them to in-person instruction maybe some of the listening could be done in class or maybe could be done in small group meetings outside of class as a potential alternative that would allow for some peer accountability to actually listen to the music.


[2] I really enjoyed the mixed up formate of the class- Because it was a summer session and we only have to focus on one class for this month I enjoyed making sure I did the reading each night and the potential to be called on was a nice aid in ensuring I understood the reading without causing too much stress for me. Thus I think I learned more because of that guideline- and I really really appreciate showing competency orally rather than in a written form.


[3] I thought the assignments were very relevant and useful— If I were to say anything I would say maybe even emphasize more or introduce earlier the concept of using this course to craft a publishable piece and how that can open doors in the near and distant future, especially for upperclassmen.


[4] I thought the readings fit perfectly into the class and were a solid middle of the road length.


[5] If it would be possible I would love one class on each (maybe like a alternating each year thing if that feasible) - because it would allow you to go more in depth into each topic and both topics are fascinating especially today- I even wonder if there is a way to get more people through the college to take this course- I am also not a music major so I don't if this could possible be a requirement for certain music majors or history majors or media studies/comm school majors?


Student H:


[1] I think for it was fine to do the listenings during class and I liked how there was someone to kind of explain the listenings before and tell us what to listen for.


[2] I felt that the reading for the class was not bad at all and I think that the rockstar keyword and soundwalk assignments allowed us to get more interaction with the ideas from the articles so I thought that that was pretty cool


[3] The assignments were great and went along with the concepts that the class was discussing. I liked the cover letter assignment because I never really had the opportunity to write one and also get feedback on it. In fact, I had not even thought to write one, so I am glad that I have something already written. I think most classes should have assignments such as it to better prepare students for post-university life especially since it is difficult to have foresight when you are just a student.


[4] I found that some of the readings were differcult to break into one singular argument, but the length was fine and I understood a majority of the readings.


[5] I enjoyed the concepts of the course in talking about Black music and musicians, corporate Americas use of musical terms, and gentrification and silencing of black voices. I would not say that there is much to that I would want to change for the class as well. I would prefer to a class on the sonic history of Charlottesville than music and advirtisent, but to combine the ideas is fine as well.


Student I:


[1] Personally, I loved "listening days." It exposed me to different types of music that I would necessarily listen to and allowed me to apply the reading for the day. With that being said, I feel like sometimes the listenings felt a bit long. If this were to be done for in-person instruction, I would advise you to break them up throughout the class. Maybe talk about a certain article and then listing to the music for that specific one, or if there is only one article break it up by subtopic. It would also be beneficial to break up the listening by taking time to talk about specific things that were heard, etc.


[2] I thought the format of the class was great. I think every class we had a "mini lecture" by the presenter for the day. If there was something they didn't mention, you were willing to add information and context. You gave great feedback on not only our projects but our in class discussions as well, which helped in my understanding of the material. Your feedback also challenged me to look at the content a bit deeper, and the questions you proposed helped me do so.


[3] I thought most of the readings were the   perfect length, especially for skimming, but some were a bit long. I think it   was a reasonable amount for this class and for understanding the subject   matter. I felt like they were all useful and relevant to the music and  society in general.