Who Needs Music?!

George B. Stauffer (Dean, Mason Gross School of the Arts)

Is music an essential part of life? Is it really necessary? History, both ancient and modern, suggests that humans can’t live without it, and that it has been with us since the earliest days of our existence. The present seminar will explore the role of music in modern life—from ritual to rap, from ballet to Broadway, from concert to commercial, from movie to muzak—to weigh just how important it is, and why humans are so affected by it. The class, which will include field trips, will explore a wide range of music, including works by Lady Gaga, the Beatles, John Philip Sousa, Bach, Jay-Z, Tchaikovsky, Rodgers and Hammerstein, and others. The text will be Daniel J. Levitin’s provocative This is Your Brain on Music: The Science of a Human Obsession. The first class will be devoted to an intensive analysis of Lady Gaga’s Bad Romance. We go from there.