MUAS 1323: Exploring the Power of Music in Our Lives


Course Description

Sound surrounds us every day, and begins to influence us even before we are born. Sound and music accompany us throughout our lives, and can have major impacts on our health and happiness. Why do we find some sounds pleasing (music), and other chaotic (noise)? This experiential course explores how we can use sound and music creatively in our lives. Topics include the building blocks of sound and music (pitch, timbre, rhythm, melody, harmony), effects of the environment on the sound source, our hearing systems, how sound and music affect the brain and body, music and emotions, and the uses of musical improvisation, composition, and songwriting to help express thoughts and feelings in healthy and creative ways. Experiences also include using live and recorded music with imagery and biofeedback for stress reduction and relaxation. No musical training is required to be successful in this course. This course has been approved as a University Curriculum Creativity and Aesthetics Pillar Level One course.

Instructor Biography

Robert Krout is Professor and Director of Music Therapy in the Meadows School of the Arts at SMU. Prior to joining SMU in 2004, Robert was Director of Music Therapy at Massey University in Wellington, New Zealand. At SMU, he was named the Meadows Foundation Outstanding Teaching Professor for 2010-2011, University Scholar/Teacher of the Year for 2011-2012, and an Altshuler Distinguished Teaching Professor in 2013. In 2005 he received the Research and Publication Award of the American Music Therapy Association, and in 2012 he received the Harmony Award for Research from the Southwestern Region of the American Music Therapy Association. An active singer-songwriter, he has released several CD’s and has been interviewed by both Acoustic Guitar and Grammy magazines. He received his Bachelor of Music degree from Ithaca College, and his Master of Arts, Master of Education, and Doctor of Education degrees in Music Education, Special Education, and Music Therapy from Columbia University.

Learning Outcomes and Benefits

  • Students will be able to identify methods, techniques, or languages of a particular art form, creative endeavor and craft(s) of music, and explain how those inform the creation, performance or analysis of creative work.
  • Students will be able to demonstrate an understanding of concepts fundamental to the creative impulse through analysis, performance, or creation..
  • Topics are explored in interactive and creative ways.
  • Nightly readings are engaging.
  • The focus in on creativity and aesthetic exploration of music and sound in our lives.
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