OSU music course even better with a little help from GRAMMY friends
When Oregon State University announced a partnership earlier this year with the famed GRAMMY Museum in Los Angeles, it gave OSU and its students rare access to some of the most cherished archives in the music world.
And if there’s one band you want exclusive access to, it has to be the Beatles, right?
That’s what students will receive this fall in a revamped OSU Ecampus online course – MUS 103 – that examines the musical contributions and development of what many consider to be the most iconic music group of all time.
Using interactive content from the GRAMMY Museum that isn’t available anywhere else, students will watch documentaries about the Beatles and their performances, and they’ll hear first-person accounts from people who knew the Beatles best and worked with them the most.
“We have access to a massive amount of materials now, and the course has evolved into what will be a truly stunning learning experience for the students,” said Los Angeles-based instructor Allison Johnson, who co-developed the course and has taught online with Oregon State for several years.
Bob Santelli, executive director of the GRAMMY Museum and noted music historian, will serve as guest lecturer for the course. He’ll lend his expertise in a series of videos to introduce class topics and further emphasize why the Beatles continue to have an enormous impact on the world.
“It is going to be a fabulous, hopefully well-trafficked, two-way street, and it’s going to be something that I think will endure and make Oregon State University what I have always thought it has been: a great institution with incredible opportunities in the field of art,” Santelli told OSU’s student newspaper The Daily Barometer in April.
The official title for the MUS 103 course is Music Appreciation: Great Composers. The Beatles’ “Fab Four” – John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison and Ringo Starr – aren’t the first names that come to mind when one thinks of “great composers,” but they are musical masters in their own right.
Johnson, a self-professed “big fan” of the band, says its members helped change the way the world thinks about popular music.
“These are very creative artists who really expanded the concept of how their music was used and is used,” she said. “Their music has such fantastic effects. When you think of the trajectory of their early sound to their later stuff, I can’t think of a more innovative, exciting, important rock band in history.”
You don’t have to play an instrument or know how to read music to take and enjoy the course. In fact, you don’t even have to like the Beatles.
Odds are, though, that you’ll exit the course with an appreciation for their greatness.
“One of the first things I do in the course is ask students about their experience with the Beatles,” Johnson said. “Someone always says they don’t understand why the band is so popular, and I’ll respond, ‘OK, hold on. Let’s give it some time and come back to this question.’
“They always come around.”
Students can register for MUS 103 now. Fall classes begin Sept. 29.