Oberlin Blogs

What Classes Am I Taking?

February 25, 2018

Rachel Gibson ’20

Spring semester is in full swing, and I am so excited to share what classes I am taking this semester. I am taking a huge load of 26 credits. I am loving every minute of it!

Hatha Yoga (First half of the semester, Monday, Wednesdays, and Fridays - 8:20 to 9:50AM)
It is super nice to be able to start three of my school days with morning yoga. The awesome part is that all the yoga classes are taught by teachers who work at the Solaluna Center for Yoga, which is a yoga studio in Oberlin. Taking it for credit and as a class really motivates me to get up and start my day early. It is very relaxing and definitely a healthy way to relieve stress.

Music Theory IV (Monday, Wednesdays, and Fridays - 8:20 to 9:50AM)
This is the fourth and final general music theory class that Conservatory majors have to take to graduate. Some students also have to take an upper-level theory class, and Oberlin has a large variety of different theory classes to choose from. I took Music Theory II and III with the same teacher as I have now, and it is a lot of fun. This class is centered on analyzing post-tonal music. It is definitely a switch from the theory that is studied in the earlier three classes, but I like it! It is interesting to look at music that might sound totally random, but actually, you find that it is really structured when you dig deep into it.

Aural Skills IV (Tuesdays and Thursdays - 10:00 to 10:50AM)
Aural Skills IV corresponds with Music Theory IV so you are learning similar concepts at the same time, and it is really cool to see how things match up between analyzing the music and singing it. During this class, you usually have to sing aloud in front of the class for a pass or no pass grade. This class is also the last of the Aural Skills classes Conservatory majors are required to take. I progressed so much since Aural Skills I. If you have prior ear training, you might even be able to pass out of the first two Aural Skills classes. I took Aural Skills I and II with a visiting professor, and Aural Skills III and IV I took with two different teachers. I was able to get a variety of perspectives and found out a lot about how I like to prepare and practice for class.

TECH 204: Performance Technology Workshop (Tuesdays and Thursdays - 1:30 to 2:45PM)
So this is the last of the 200-level TIMARA classes that focuses on performing with technology. The class has taken various directions in the past and there is a lot of freedom to collaborate with other students. Right now, I am working with three other students and we are doing free improvisation together. I am excited to see where this class goes and what we end up exploring.

Contemporary Dance I (Tuesdays and Thursdays - 8:35 to 9:50AM)
When I don’t have yoga, I have Contemporary Dance I first thing in the morning. This semester, I wanted to focus on bettering myself physically. I love this class so much! It’s a class for beginners and I learned a lot already. The time in this class goes by so quickly because it’s so much fun.

Percussion Lessons (with Michael Rosen)
All Conservatory majors have to take lessons for their instrument, which are worth a whopping six credits (which means you have to practice!). My percussion teacher is Michael Rosen, and he is truly a supportive teacher who cares about all of his students. He lives in Oberlin, so he is always around the Conservatory if we need him. It’s nice to know that he is always here for us. He really gives us the resources so we can make ourselves into better musicians and encourages us to be the best that we can be.

TIMARA Lessons (with Abby Aresty)
This is the second semester that I am studying with Abby Aresty, TIMARA’s new Technical Director and Lecturer. I have a lot of freedom to explore what I want, and last semester I worked on a piece for theremin, MIDI pedalboard, and Max/MSP under her guidance. She also helped me to submit a research paper on the theremin to a conference that is taking place this summer. She also will always lend you a helping hand no matter what. I love working with her.

Oberlin Percussion Group
Right now, we are preparing repertoire for our concert in April. My teacher commissioned composer James Wood to write a percussion quartet, and we are premiering it at our concert. Since my John Cage project, he also let me pick a Cage piece for us to play and I could play in it and “coach” the group, and I picked Credo in US. It is a fantastic piece for phonograph/radio, two percussionists playing tin cans, and prepared piano. The second half of the concert will be a forty-minute-long George Crumb piece for percussion quartet and vocalist called A Journey Beyond Time. I am playing at least twenty instruments on this piece. Oberlin Percussion Group is all about premiering new works and performing contemporary percussion pieces.

Ensembles for Percussionists
All other instrumentalists in the Conservatory are assigned to either the Oberlin Orchestra/Contemporary Music Ensemble or Oberlin Chamber Orchestra/Sinfonietta. You can be in Oberlin Orchestra or Contemporary Music Ensemble and Oberlin Chamber Orchestra or Sinfonietta. For percussionists, our teacher assigns us to ensembles, sometimes, since our studio is small, you get assigned to more than one (we call it “double duty”). As a percussionist, it is basically a guarantee that you will play in an ensemble as soon as you get here. Usually CME and Sinfonietta consist of the upper class percussionists because the music is more involved and much harder. Right now, I am in the Oberlin Orchestra.

Fitness-to-Go (Second half of the semester, Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays - 9:00 to 9:50AM)
My yoga class ends after midterms in March, so this class will take the place of it. It is supposed to be a fitness class that is “no-equipment” fitness. More updates on this to come.

Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (Second half of the semester, Tuesdays - 3:00 to 4:30PM)
The second module of the semester starts in after spring break, so I have yet to experience this class. However, I did have a small meeting with the teacher, and I found out that this class introduces you to techniques for stress reduction, like meditation. Apparently, we are also going to take walks through the Allen Memorial Art Museum, which is our art museum that’s right on campus.

There you have it. I hope this will inspire current students to check out some of these classes and give prospective students a taste of just a few of many unique classes that can be taken at Oberlin.

Leave a Comment

Similar Blog Entries