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MUS 105 - Music Appreciation - Dr. Shanon Zusman

Course:Music Appreciation
Professor:Dr. Shanon Zusman
  • Online
Course Length:
  • Applies to All Course Lengths


Dr. Shanon Zusman

Thank you for your interest in my course! I'm a classically-trained bass player who loves all types of music and enjoys introducing classical music to students every semester. I am very passionate about this subject, and do my best to "humanize" the great composers, such as Bach, Mozart, Beethoven, and Stravinsky. Not unlike you and I, these great artists struggled to find their place in the music world and never gave up! When you learn about them (roughly 40 composers!), you'll see first-hand how a composer's art is a direct reflection of their times.


Course Description

Here's what we do in Music 105 (from my syllabus): 

Students will become familiar with a number of representative works by major composers from each musical period. You will be introduced to instrumental and vocal music in addition to conventional musical forms and styles associated with various genres, as you develop an appreciation for the historical context in which the music was composed. By the end of the course, students will have acquired a variety of critical listening skills, as well as a significant musical vocabulary that will allow you to discuss works from each of the musical periods. You will have an opportunity to improve writing skills through a creative writing project, as well as a written project based on your online experience viewing a classical music concert.

This class is asynchronous. So you move at your own pace through the material, contact me if/when you have questions, take the InQuizitive Exams (+ do Discussion posts) on (or by) specific dates as noted in Canvas, and submit two written projects by their due dates.

What to Expect in this Course

For each module, there is a lecture to watch by yours truly and you'll have a PowerPoint presentation to review. There is required listening (linked to the W.W. Norton textbook website, which is REQUIRED), and you take a quiz after each chapter to help you master the material. I would plan on 3-5 hours per week of reading/listening/studying on the website.

On weeks when Discussion posts are due, or you have one of the written projects due, you can expect an additional time commitment. 


Types of Assessments

There are 60 short InQuizitive Exams on the website. Each takes about 10 minutes to complete, and these are spread out evenly over the semester. I have suggested deadlines for modules (5 modules) to help you stay focused, but these deadlines are NOT strictly enforced.

You are also required to submit five short Discussion board posts and comment on five of your classmates' posts (which count as your "participation" in the course). These do have specific deadlines, so keep an eye on Canvas!

There is one creative project (i.e., you imagine you are studying with one of the master composers) and one written concert report of a live or online classical music concert. I give detailed instructions in my syllabus to help select appropriate concerts and to know what to write about.


Textbook Information

To participate in the course, you must purchase the eBook from W.W. Norton for $49.95. This also allows you to stream the musical examples and view the textbook for 180 days. This is REQUIRED in order to take all of the InQuizitive exams. You will find the eBook and streaming playlist under "Modules" in Canvas.

Other Relevant Course Information

Keep an open mind! Some composers/eras/music will resonate with you, and some won't -- but be open to learning about all of the artists and their times. In some ways this is as much a cultural history, anthropology, economics, philosophy, or humanities class as it is a "music" class. I truly view music as one of the original liberal arts (not just a "creative" art), and by the end of the semester, you'll see what I mean!

Additional Resources


This course can be accessed on the first day of class via Canvas at Log into Canvas using your CanyonsID single sign-on:

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  • CanyonsID Password is your COC student email password

Please visit the Get to Know Your Online Classroom page for help logging into Canvas and for tips on using Canvas and Zoom. Canvas Chat Support is also available 24/7 for any Canvas related issues.

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Check out the Online Education website for more information on a variety of topics that can help you be a successful online student such as: exam proctoring, learning styles, computer skills, and tips for student success. If this is your first online course, feel free to take our online learning readiness assessment to assess your skills.

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Last updated: 08/05/2022 Sub#: 1439