MUSC 203 01: Music and Culture

MUSC 203 - Music and Culture

2023 Summer Syllabus, Section 01, CRN 10258

Course Information

You are responsible for knowing this material, so please read carefully. Any changes will be announced in a Blackboard Announcement. You will be responsible for any changes. Your continued enrollment in this course is your implicit agreement to abide by the requirements of this class.

This syllabus describes the requirements and procedures for Music and Culture. You are responsible for knowing this material, so please read it carefully. Any changes will be announced via email and Blackboard announcement. You will be responsible for any changes. Your continued enrollment in this course is your implicit agreement to abide by the requirements of this class. 

Times and Location

Instructor Information

Dr. Whitney Mayo

Addressed: Dr. Mayo


Office: HFAC 216

2023 Summer Office Hours:
Student Hours: By appointment (email to schedule)

Office Phone: (701) 777-2728 (office)

Cell Phone: (254) 317-7561 (cell for emergencies)

Preferred Pronouns: she/her

Course Description

Exploration of how human culture is expressed through music.

This course explores how human culture is expressed through music, meeting the Essential Studies course goals of acquiring Intercultural Knowledge and Skills (IKS). We will consider music and cultural connections using an ethnographic/ethnomusicological approach. We will be listening to and interpreting content through a social and musical lens, seeking cultural and musical ideas in each example. 

During this course, you will: 

  • Learn about and engage with different cultures through music 

  • Explore musical concepts with in-class experiences 

  • Appreciate and understand music as an expression of culture and humanity 

  • Gain respect and increase curiosity about cultural differences in today’s world 

Learning Outcomes

After successfully completing this course, you should be able to: 

  • Describe musical examples using elements of music terminology (including pitch, rhythm, instrument, and form). 

  • Reflect upon personal music listening experiences and preferences and make connections to less familiar musical styles. 

  • Describe the social values within music listening, performance, composition, and creativity. 

  • Discuss the cultural implications of musical styles, including music’s use in tradition, social movements, and popular media. 

Course Materials

Wade, Bonnie C. "Thinking Musically," 3rd ed. Oxford University Press, 2013. (ISBN: 978-0199844869) 

Technical Requirements/Assistance

You will use Microsoft Word or Google Docs to complete assignments. All assignments are submitted as a word file or a .pdf.  

You will need headphones and a device that plays audio recordings to listen to the musical examples. You will also need access to a streaming music service of your choice. Examples include (but are not limited to) YouTube, Spotify, and Apple Music. 

Students are expected to use their official UND email in the course. Visit the Office 365 Email Webpage for information on your UND email and how to download/install a free version of Microsoft Office. For technical assistance, please contact UND Technical Support at 701.777.2222. Visit the University Information Technologies (UIT) Website for their hours, help documents, and other resources. 

Minimum Technical Skills Needed

To succeed in this course, you should be able to: 

  • Navigate in and use Blackboard functions like submitting an assignment, taking a quiz, and locating resources 

  • Download and open electronic documents 

  • Create, save, and upload/attach electronic documents 

    • Includes sharing web links and embedding images and audio files 

  • Send, receive, and manage email 

  • Navigate Zoom as a video conferencing platform for individual meetings 

  • Open and listen to audio recordings 

  • Navigate video sharing platforms including YouTube and YuJa 

Visit the Knowledge Base for additional supports and information about general tech requirements for students including information about devices, operating systems, software, internet connection, and major-specific tech requirements. 

Course Logistics

Access and Log in Information

This course was developed and will be facilitated utilizing Blackboard. To get started with the course, please go to: and log in with your NDUS.Identifier (Username and Password). If you do not know your NDUS Identifier or have forgotten your password, please visit Your NDUS Account Webpage on the UIT website. 

Course Overview

The course content is organized into 12 weeks for the semester. Each week contains readings, discussions, and activities designed to help students critically engage with music and culture. Because this class focuses on critical engagement with the material, there are no tests or quizzes. However, the assignments' required level of depth will increase as the semester progresses, culminating in a final project and reflection.  

What Should Students Do First?

Before class starts, please familiarize yourself with the Blackboard site, ensure you have read the syllabus carefully, and obtain your textbook. 

Where Do I Find Information in Blackboard? 

On the left side course menu in Blackboard, there are tabs to guide you. The Weekly Folders tab will contain links to reading prompts, discussion boards, and all activities that are due for the week. the Listening Journal tab will contain assignment spaces for each journal entry. The Final Project tab will include assignment spaces and descriptions for each project component. 

The course calendar can be found in the Syllabus and Schedule tab. 


UND cares about your success as a student. For more information, visit the Student Resources Page for additional information. Students have access to assistance from the UND Writing Center, Tutoring and Learning Services, Testing Services, and more.  

Students also have access to the UND Student Resource Site via Blackboard. It is recommended that you become familiar with the tools and tutorials within Blackboard to better equip you in navigating the course and Educational Technology including YuJa, VoiceThread, Discussion Boards, Riipen, Smarthinking, Proctoring, etc. 

Course Requirements/Expectations

Credit Load 

This 200-level course carries a 3-hour credit load. As such, students should expect to spend at least 6 hours each week preparing, which includes reading, practicing, and completing assignments. Some weeks will require more time outside of class than others, and actual time spent may vary depending on previous experience and knowledge. 


Always use professional language (no netspeak) in your assignments and emails. Please always be respectful of others, even if you disagree with their ideas or do not get along. Here are a few basic points to remember when communicating in this course: 

  • Be scholarly. Use proper language, grammar, and spelling. Explain your thoughts, justify opinions, and credit the ideas of others by citing or linking to scholarly resources. Avoid misinforming others when you are unsure of the answer.  When discussing something and supplying a guess, clearly state that.  

  • Be respectful. Respect the privacy of others. Do not share personal or professional information about others unless granted permission. Respect diversity and opinions that differ from their own. Be tactful when you communicate.  

  • Be professional. Everyone should strive to give their best impression online. Truthfulness, accuracy, and running a final spell check are appropriate expectations for university students. Writing in a legible font and limiting the use of emoticons is considered professional behavior. Profanity and participation in hostile interactions are unprofessional as well as disruptive. 

  • Be polite. Students should address professors and instructors by the appropriate title or requested name. Students should interact online politely, just as they would be expected to do in a physical environment. Sarcasm, rudeness, and writing in all capital letters should be avoided. 

For more information, read the Top 12 Be-Attitudes of Netiquette for Academicians. 


Because our course is an online asynchronous format, our primary mode of communication will be email. Students are expected to check their UND emails daily (excluding weekends) and should promptly respond to class-related emails. Professional communication is expected (no netspeak or text-like communication). Please be sure to include the course number in all email communications.

As the instructor, I will also check my email frequently and work to respond within one-two business days. Please note that I will only check/respond to emails before 8 pm CDT during the week and may not respond during weekends. I will share assignment feedback via email within one week following the assignment and will communicate when those timelines may be varied due to holidays, conference travel, or other circumstances. 


Many resources will be available on Blackboard. All assignments will be submitted via Blackboard. Download and review materials. Announcements may also be made via Blackboard and email. Please make sure you have easy access to this and check it regularly. 

Technology and Video Conferencing 

We are all challenged these days by the ways in which our digital devices—including laptops, tablets, phones, and watches—can steal our attention away from our immediate surroundings. Technology should be used for educational purposes only when working on course activities. All video recordings used in this class are for class purposes only and may not be shared outside of class for any reason. 

For individual appointments, we will utilize Zoom. When interacting with peers or instructors online or through video conferencing, it is important to consider your environment and interact professionally. Students should follow the Code of Student Life while interacting virtually or in person.  

Sharing personal experiences and opinions is an important part of the learning process. Please respect the privacy of your peers by not sharing their personal experiences outside of our class context. 

Assessment Summary

Assessment & Grading 

This course is comprised of a series of assignments and assessments to assist you in achieving the course learning objectives/outcomes. You’ll notice that there are no tests or quizzes listed. This is intentional. The focus of this course is on critical thinking and engagement with the content rather than the memorization of facts. Therefore, tests and quizzes would not be an appropriate measure of success. Rather, assessment will focus on critical thinking, connection, and engaging with the material and peers to synthesize your understanding of music and culture. You will receive regular qualitative feedback and point values on your assignments. If you have any questions about feedback, please feel free to contact Dr. Mayo. 


In this course, your learning will be assessed in the following ways:  

  • Discussion Forum (120 pts) 

  • Chapter/Weekly Activities (120 pts) 

  • Reflections (120 pts) 

  • Listening Journal (100 pts) 

  • Novel Music Experience (80 pts) 

  • Final Project (110 pts)

Graded Online Discussion  

As this is an asynchronous, online course, your participation in the weekly discussions will be an integral part of your grade. Your posts should demonstrate that you have reviewed all posted materials, read the assigned readings, completed the activities, and clearly understood the content. You should provide evidence from the readings and/or other sources to support your arguments. You may also draw on your personal experiences. 

You will make your first post to the discussion each week by Wednesday at 11:30 pm CST. Then contribute two additional posts, responding to different classmates, by Friday at 11:30 pm CST. Each online discussion is worth 10 points and will be scored based on completeness and depth of engagement. 

Chapter/Weekly Activities 

Each week, you will have a short task(s) to engage your understanding of the readings and course material. These activities will be posted to Blackboard with specific instructions for completion. Each weekly activity is worth 10 points and is due by Friday at 11:30 pm CST. 


You will complete three reflections throughout to semester (initial - 20 pts, midpoint - 40 pts, and final - 60 pts). Within these reflections, you will be prompted to think deeply about your personal music understanding, how you engage with music and culture, and your progress within the course. Each reflection will have a prompt posted to Blackboard. My expectations and the point values for these reflections will scale up throughout the semester, so read each prompt carefully and incorporate any feedback. 

Listening Journals 

You will complete a total of 20 listening journal entries using an ethnographic technique. The listening examples will include a blend of instructor-provided samples and your own selected pieces. You will address musical elements in the example and briefly summarize the piece and its social context. Listening journals should represent a wide variety of musical styles and global musics. Each listening entry is worth 5 points and will be scored based on completion and depth. 

Novel Music Experience 

You will attend and submit a written reflection on a musical event in a genre you have not experienced before. Dr. Mayo must approve all events before using them for this report. The report must be submitted within 72 hours of event attendance so the experience remains fresh in your mind. Be sure you have completed this activity before Friday, July 21, at 11:30 pm CST. Specific guidelines for the report will be posted to Blackboard. Attendance and the subsequent written report will be worth 80 points. 

To locate possible events, visit the UND Events Calendar, Visit Grand Forks webpage, or your local chamber of commerce.  

Final Project and Presentation 

Your final project should reflect a topic that interests you and relates to music and culture. This could take many forms, including a written document, poster paper, video/short fil, lecture-recital, mixed media presentation, etc. You must discuss your project idea and format with Dr. Mayo for approval. Throughout the semester, different checkpoints are designed to guide you to your final presentation. These checkpoints include a topic choice (10 pts), abstract submission (20 pts), complete project draft (50 pts), and final presentation (30 pts). This presentation will be a video recording shared with your peers on Blackboard. 

Grading Scale Breakdown
A  585-650 pts Discussion Forum (120 pts)
B  520-584 pts Chapter/Weekly Activities (120 pts)
C  455-519 pts Reflections (120 pts)
D  390-454 pts Listening Journal (100 pts)
F      0-390 pts Novel Music Experience (80 pts)
  Final Project (110 pts)
  Total: 650 points

For more information on grading review UND Grading Policies. 

Course Evaluation:  

Near the semester's end, you will be asked to complete an online course evaluation form (SELFI). Your feedback on the course is extremely valuable to me. I read my students’ comments carefully and use them to improve the course the next time I teach it. 

  • When the time comes, please let me know which aspects of the course helped you learn—and which aspects might be modified to help future students learn more effectively.  

  • Please note that the course evaluations are anonymous and that I won’t see the results until after the grades for the course are submitted, allowing you to provide honest and constructive feedback.  

  • Throughout the semester, if you have concerns or feedback, please reach out to schedule a time to discuss 

Course Policies

Assignments and Late Work Policy 

Due dates for each assignment or activity will be posted in Blackboard and the Course Calendar. All assignments must be submitted by the due date and time posted in the course. All times are posted in the Central Time Zone. 

Late Assignments  

If you do not submit an assignment by the beginning of the class during which it is due, it is considered late. I will accept submissions up to one week past the due date, but the assignment grade will automatically be lowered by 10% per day it is late (note the final reflection is not eligible for late submission). Assignments will not be accepted more than one week late. The acceptance of late assignments is at the discretion of the instructor. If extenuating circumstances arise, it is your responsibility to you contact the instructor before the due date and request an extension. All requirements for this course must be completed during the course dates. 

Assignment Resubmission 

If an assignment was submitted on time and is eligible for resubmission (specified on the assignment description in Blackboard), students may revise and resubmit the assignment for up to half of the available points. For example: if an assignment received a score of 60 out of 100, the student may resubmit to earn up to a total of 80 points. To earn revision credit, feedback from the original assignment must be incorporated. Resubmissions must be emailed to me at no later than seven days after receiving initial feedback. 

Class Participation 

Participation and presence in class are paramount for students to learn the material and be successful. In an online asynchronous course, participation includes discussions with peers and active engagement with course materials. Students are required to log in regularly to the online class site.  


It is expected that students will complete all course requirements during the course's time frame. For reasons beyond a student’s control, and upon request by the student or on behalf of the student, the instructor may assign an incomplete grade when there is reasonable certainty the student will successfully complete the course without retaking it. The mark “I,” Incomplete, will be assigned only to the student who has been in attendance and has done satisfactory work up to a time within four weeks of the close of the semester, including the examination period, and whose work is incomplete for reasons satisfactory to his or her instructor. More information regarding UND’s Incomplete policy can be found on The Grading System Webpage. 

University of North Dakota Policies & Resources

Academic Integrity

Academic integrity is a serious matter, and any deviations from appropriate behavior will be dealt with strongly. At the discretion of the professor, situations of concern may be dealt with as a scholastic matter or a disciplinary matter.

As a scholastic matter, the professor has the discretion to determine appropriate penalties for the student’s workload or grade, but the situation may be resolved without involving many individuals. An alternative is to treat the situation as a disciplinary matter, which can result in suspension from the University, or have lesser penalties. Be aware that I view this as a very serious matter and will have little tolerance and/or sympathy for questionable practices. A student who attempts to obtain credit for work that is not their own (whether that be on a paper, quiz, homework assignment, exam, etc.) will likely receive a failing grade for that item of work, and at the professor’s discretion, may also receive a failing grade in the course. For more information read the Code of Student Life.

Access and Opportunity, Disability Support, & Medical Services

The University of North Dakota is committed to providing equal access to students with documented disabilities. To ensure access to this class and your program, please contact Disability Services for Students (DSS) to engage in a confidential discussion about accommodations for the classroom and clinical settings. Accommodations are not provided retroactively. Students are encouraged to register with DSS at the start of their program. More information can be obtained by email or by phone at 701.777.2664.


UND is committed to maintaining a safe learning environment while providing quality learning experiences for our students. COVID-19’s continued presence within our UND community may necessitate changes in classroom management as the academic year progresses. As such, UND asks students and instructors to be flexible when necessary to promote a safe environment for learning. Please do not attend an in-person class or lab if you are feeling ill, particularly if you are experiencing symptoms of COVID-19, or if you have been directed by health professionals to quarantine or isolate. If you are not able to attend class or lab, please notify your instructor as soon as possible and discuss options for making up any missed work in order to ensure your ability to succeed in the course. If you will have an extended absence due to serious illness or other uncontrollable circumstances, you may request an absence notification through the Office of Student Rights and Responsibilities. Similarly, if your instructor is ill they may need to cancel class or temporarily move your course to online delivery to ensure that you are able to complete the course successfully.  Instructors may require students to wear masks in the classroom or in the laboratory as a preventative measure designed to facilitate uninterrupted classroom engagement and to facilitate health and safety in the classroom.   If your instructor does require masks in class or in a laboratory, you are expected to comply with that request.

UND also strongly encourages all members of the University community, including students, to get vaccinated, seek out testing when needed, and model positive behavior both on- and off-campus to foster a healthy and safe learning environment for all students. Individuals who would like to discuss disability accommodations regarding masks should contact the Disability Services for Students (DSS) office at 701.777.2664 or Individuals who are unable to wear a mask due to a sincerely held religious belief should contact the UND Equal Opportunity and Title IX Office at 701.777.4171 or

Religious Accommodations

UND offers religious accommodations, which are reasonable changes in the academic environment that enable a student to practice or observe a sincerely held religious belief without undue hardship on the University. Examples include time for prayer or the ability to attend religious events or observe a religious holiday. To request an accommodation, complete the student religious accommodation request form. If you have any questions, you may contact the Equal Opportunity & Title IX Office.

Pregnancy Accommodations

Students who need assistance with academic adjustments related to pregnancy or childbirth may contact the Equal Opportunity & Title IX Office or Academic Affairs to learn about your options. Additional information and services may be found at Pregnancy Resources.

Notice of Nondiscrimination

It is the policy of the University of North Dakota that no person shall be discriminated against because of race, religion, age, color, gender, disability, national origin, creed, sexual orientation, gender identity, genetic information, marital status, veteran’s status, or political belief or affiliation and the equal opportunity and access to facilities shall be available to all. Concerns regarding Title IX, Title VI, Title VII, ADA, and Section 504 may be addressed to Donna Smith, Assistant Vice President for Equal Opportunity & Title IX and Title IX/ADA Coordinator, 102 Twamley Hall, 701.777.4171, or the Office for Civil Rights, U.S. Dept. of Education, 230 S. Dearborn St., 37th Floor, Chicago, IL 60604 or any other federal agency.

Reporting of Discrimination, Harassment, or Sexual Misconduct

If you or a friend has experienced sexual misconduct, such as sexual harassment, sexual assault, domestic violence, dating violence, or stalking, please contact the Equal Opportunity & Title IX Office or UND’s Title IX Coordinator, Donna Smith, for assistance: 701.777.4171;; or visit the Title IX webpage. You may also contact the Equal Opportunity & Title IX office if you or a friend has experienced discrimination or harassment based on a protected class, such as race, color, national origin, religion, sex, age, disability, sexual orientation, gender identity, genetic information, pregnancy, marital or parental status, veteran's status, or political belief or affiliation.

Faculty Reporting Obligations Regarding Discrimination, Harassment, or Sexual Misconduct

It is important for students to understand that faculty are required to share with UND’s Title IX Coordinator any incidents of sexual misconduct or of discrimination or harassment based on a protected class that they become aware of, even if those incidents occurred in the past or are disclosed as part of a class assignment. This does not mean an investigation will occur if the student does not want that, but it does allow UND to provide resources to help the student continue to be successful at UND. If you have been impacted by discrimination, harassment, or sexual misconduct, you can find information about confidential support services on the Equal Opportunity & Title IX webpage..

UND Cares Program

How to Seek Help When in Distress

We know that while college is a wonderful time for most students, however, some students may struggle or have issues that arise. You may experience students in distress on campus, in your classroom, in your home, and within residence halls. Distressed students may initially seek assistance from faculty, staff members, their parents, and other students. In addition to the support we can provide to each other, there are also professional support services available to students through the Dean of Students and University Counseling Center. Both staffs are available to consult with you about getting help or providing a friend with the help that he or she may need. For more additional information, please visit the UND Cares Program Webpage.

How to Recognize When a Student is in Distress

The term “distressed” can mean any of the following:

  • Student has significant changes in eating, sleeping, grooming, spending, or other daily activities.
  • Student has cut off or minimized contact with family or friends.
  • Student has significant changes in performance or involvement in academics, sports, extracurricular, or social activities.
  • Student describes problems (missing class, not remembering, destructive behavior) that result from experiences with drinking or drugs.
  • Student is acting withdrawn, volatile, tearful, etc.
  • Student is acting out of character or different than usual.
  • Student is talking explicitly about hopelessness or suicide.
  • Student has difficulty concentrating or difficulty carrying on a normal conversation.
  • Student has excessive dependence on others for company or support.
  • Student reports feeling out of control of one’s emotions, thoughts, or behaviors.

Land Acknowledgement Statement

Today, the University of North Dakota rests on the ancestral lands of the Pembina and Red Lake Bands of Ojibwe and the Dakota Oyate - presently existing as composite parts of the Red Lake, Turtle Mountain, White Earth Bands, and the Dakota Tribes of Minnesota and North Dakota. We acknowledge the people who resided here for generations and recognize that the spirit of the Ojibwe and Oyate people permeate this land. As a university community, we will continue to build upon our relations with the First Nations of the State of North Dakota - the Mandan, Hidatsa, and Arikara Nation, Sisseton-Wahpeton Oyate Nation, Spirit Lake Nation, Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, and Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa Indians.

Additional Resources

It is my goal to foster an environment of mutual respect in which everyone feels comfortable voicing their opinions, sharing their stories, and learning about potentially heavy or personally relevant material. If, at any point, you feel like the information covered in this class elicits thoughts, feelings, or concerns that you would like to discuss further, don’t hesitate to reach out to me, or the UND Counseling Center (701-777-2127).

Further, if you experience extenuating circumstances, sexual violence, identity-based harm, or any other personal crisis during the semester, don’t hesitate to reach out to me so we can provide academic assistance and help you in this course, and put you in contact with the appropriate resources and services (if needed).