Course Description

The Seminar in World Music Cultures is a graduate-level course focused on both the content and pedagogy behind collegiate-level world music courses. As a required course for all musicology graduate students at FSU, this course aims to provide a broad overview of musical traditions, styles, instruments, and cultural issues from diverse places and peoples across the globe. Each week we will sample musical traditions and expressions within a given geographical region through student presentations, group discussions, and brief lectures. We will approach the content of this course from a pedagogical perspective with the intent to help you prepare to develop and teach a collegiate-level world music course.

Pedagogy is a core function of this seminar and as such the content of this course will cover general pedagogical theories and practices, as well as pedagogical issues relating specifically to teaching "world music." In order to focus attention on praxis, and not merely theoretical discussions, much of our time each week will be given to student-led presentations and discussions.

Because class time will be weighted toward pedagogical issues, rather than world music content, you will be responsible for learning the core musical content of the "world music canon" outside of class. Class presentations and discussions will build upon and reinforce your fundamental musicultural knowledge.

Course Objectives

Pursuant to the general aims of this course, you should achieve the following objectives by the end of the semester:

  • identify the genre, primary instruments, major artists, and geographic region (country/state/island) of unfamiliar musical recordings.
  • locate places of origin for musical examples on a blank map.
  • write a unique and personal teaching philosophy statement.
  • create a complete syllabus for a world music course.
  • develop detailed and enhanced lesson plans for classroom instruction in world music.

Course Resources

Required Books

Filene, Peter G. The Joy of Teaching : A Practical Guide for New College Instructors. University of North Carolina Press. 2005.

Bakan, Michael B. World Music: Traditions and Transformations. McGraw-Hill. 2007.

You will not need to buy the Bakan textbook. I will provide the Bakan textbook on the first day of class, but you must return the book to me at the end of the semester.

Course Website

You should visit the course website ( regularly for up-to-date course documents and related information. Additionally, you will be required to submit some assignments electronically by posting them to the course website. Instructions on using and adding content to the course website is posted on the course home page.

Other Required Resources

Please purchase a 3-ring binder for storing your lecture notes.

Course Requirements

Attendance Policy

The success of this class is dependent upon your attendance. In keeping with the pedagogical orientation of this course, your grade is weighted toward classroom preparation, presentations, and participation. It is therefore necessary for you to make every effort to attend all sessions in their entirety. Naturally, your personal and professional life may keep you from a class during the course of the semester. If you anticipate missing a class meeting, or in the event of illness or serious personal emergency, please let me know as soon as possible and make all necessary efforts to obtain notes, handouts, or other missed materials from another student in the class.

Class Conduct

I hope to create a classroom atmosphere that encourages participation and respect. Establishing such an environment depends on your involvement in maintaining certain standards of courtesy. It is important to remember that much of our weekly class meetings will consist of student presentations. Please be courteous to your student colleagues by:

  • arriving to class on time.
  • giving presenters and discussion leaders your attention.
  • participating through the sharing comments and questions
  • being prepared for your own presentations on the assigned date.

In addition to the above points, please use computing devices (laptops, cell phones, etc.) for class-related activities only.

Assignments and Evaluation


See the Assignments section for a description of assignments.

Final Listening Exam

You will be required to take a final listening exam at the end of the semester. The final listening exam will consist of 50 previously unfamiliar musical examples. The musical examples will be "unfamiliar" in the sense that they will not be taken from any required listening assignments, but rather I will select recordings that are clearly representative of musical cultures we have studied throughout the semester. For each musical example, you should be able to name the genre, important instruments, major artists, and the geographic region, as well as locate the region on a world map. You must score 75% or higher on the final listening exam to successfully pass the course.


20% — Participation
20% — Weekly Lecture Notes
20% — Lecture Segment with Enhanced Lecture Notes
10% — World Music Course Syllabus
10% — Presentation of Geographic Region
5% — Review of World Music Textbook
5% — Reports on World Music Resources
5% — Observation of World Music Class
5% — Statement of Teaching Philosophy

Grade Scale

93-100% = A 90-92% = A-
87-89% = B+ 83-86% = B 80-82% = B-
77-79% = C+ 73-76% = C 70-72% = C-
67-69% = D+ 60-66% = D 0–59% = F

Academic Honor Policy

The Florida State University Academic Honor Policy outlines the University’s expectations for the integrity of students’ academic work, the procedures for resolving alleged violations of those expectations, and the rights and responsibilities of students and faculty members throughout the process. Students are responsible for reading the Academic Honor Policy and for living up to their pledge to “be honest and truthful and…[to] strive for personal and institutional integrity at Florida State University.” (Academic Honor Policy)

ADA Policy

Students with disabilities needing academic accommodation should:

  1. register with and provide documentation to the Student Disability Resource Center
  2. bring a letter to the instructor indicating the need for accommodation and what type

This should be done during the first week of class. This syllabus and other class materials are available in alternative format upon request.

For more information about services available to FSU students with disabilities, contact:

Student Disability Resource Center
108 Student Services Building
Florida State University
Tallahassee, FL 32306-4167
(850) 644-9566 (voice)
(850) 644-8504 (TDD)

Syllabus Change Policy

This syllabus is a guide and every attempt is made to provide an accurate overview of the course. However, circumstances and events may make it necessary for the instructor to modify the syllabus during the semester and may depend, in part, on the progress, needs, and experiences of the students. Changes to the syllabus will be made with advance notice.