Post Classifieds

Gendered music study now available

By Ashley Maher
On May 1, 2014

While sifting through the course catalog for fall semester classes or even for elective credits to pick up for your schedule, be sure to take a closer glance at Penny Brandt's Women in Music course. This new course was just recently added to the catalog and though enrollment as of now is low, Brandt is hoping that interest will pick up for this class, which covers elements of pop culture as well as gender studies, all within the context of music.
The class appears in the course catalog with the title "Women in Music" under the course numbers WGSS 3998 and MUSI 4995 and counts as credit for the music and women and gender studies minors as well as the women and gender studies major. Some majors will count the class as elective credits towards graduation as well. Because this class is an upper division course, restrictions on students allowed to enroll in the class may be presented as more strict within the description of the course catalog.
"But," Brandt said, "permission numbers will be given." Brandt is willing to allow students who show any interest in the course to get their chance to be a part of her class and is very excited to begin in the fall.
Brandt gave a great deal of information on the subject of the course and her true passion for what the class is covering is quite evident. "The class deals with both classical and pop music, with a specific focus on women musicians," said Brandt. "We will also focus in on gender and how gender affects and comes out in music."
The majority of the class concentrates on listening to a variety of musicians, women, men and transgender musicians as well as a mixture of genres. "There will be some reading for the course, but the bulk of the course focuses on listening," said Brandt.
Some of the musicians the class will highlight are Bessie Smith and Sister Rosetta Thorpe, two women who were great influences in the beginnings of the genre Rock and Roll and "pushed the boundaries of what women's music is," said Brandt.
The class will also be exploring other women musical influences such as Ani DiFranco and the group Riot Grrrl and spans throughout history and across disciplines by studying classic women composers such as Fanny Mendelssohn and Claire Schumann to pop icons such as Gloria Stefan. There will also be intersectional focus on music by women of color and different nationalities for example women in Indian and Croatian pop music.
"The course is trying to understand what women's music is and why it has been critiqued differently," said Brandt. "The big focus is on music but also on what gender is¬-how it is constructed through society and how people fit into those constructs through the context of music."
The class will also hone in on individual interests by allowing students to explore musicians of their choice and how they fit within this construct as well. Finally, Brandt also hopes to look at ways to support projects by local musicians in need of greater recognition.
This new class proves to have great breadth and variety as a course and Brandt's clear excitement about the subject proves to be quite enticing. So if you're on the hunt for that one last class, or want a class that covers an exciting and unique area of study, check out the Women in Music class with Penny Brandt, MUSI 4995/WGSS 3998.

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