Provider: University of Rochester at Coursera [course page]
Lecturer: John Covach
Subject: History / Music
Delivery: Intake-based asynchronous study
Recommended Load: 2-4 hrs/wk for 6 weeks
Completion Date: 10/07/2014
Description: This course discusses the history of Rock between the 1970’s and early 1990’s.
Strengths: This is my third MOOC with John Covach as teacher. In the first instalment of the two-part series, we see the beginnings of Rock leading up to the early 1970’s. In between, I studied Covach’s course on The Beatles, which covered the history of the band between the early 1960’s until the mid 1970’s. The MOOC offered a great crossover for that transition period. This second instalment of the History of Rock covers a bunch of music that was released after I was born, which I enjoyed with my parents and siblings during the 80’s and early 90’s.
With all of Covach’s classes, students learn about the various divisions in music. These boundaries are called to question with the success of artists such as Michael Jackson. However, we also see other boundaries forming. And yet these boundaries are also brought down with the crossover of bands such as R.E.M. Genre is constantly being redefined throughout this period, and bands are experimenting with various styles. Given that this is still happening today, one can easily argue that this is the very nature of music as an art-form.
Students are encouraged to consider how past events affect the present. We see continuity of ideas such as the Hippie Aesthetic. The material in this course offers further context for the music whilst at the same time asking questions of us as listeners.
Weaknesses: Musical taste can be just as divisive a subject as politics and religion.
Conclusion: This course took me back to a childhood spent listening to top 40 radio shows, the show Countdown and eventually the ABC music show Rage. Most of my fondest childhood memories were spent listening to much of the same music mentioned in this MOOC. I recommend this course and other offerings by John Covach to anyone with a love of music.