Courses Taught at Boston University

• New Courses/ Methods of Instruction

• Aural Skills Program
A vital skills for musicians, whether performers or scholars, is to be musically literate—that is, to be able to comprehend, read, and write down music. The study and practice of aural skills is the means to that end. I developed, implemented and have been coordinator of a new undergraduate aural skills program at Boston University, which has been successful in: coordinating all aural skills classes and sections with each other; reconciling previously conflicting methods of teaching sight-singing; employing the latest techniques, including tech-forward resources. The unique organization of this program allows for students to receive the training that best suits their abilities and needs, in the three main areas of Ear-Training, Dictation and Sight-singing. Sections are graded by ability, but because all sections meet at the same time, students may be “subsectioned” into another class if they need special attention in one or more of the three areas. The program also reconciles two competing philosophies of Sight-singing which had previously been a source of contention at the BU School of Music: we now adopt the more internationally accepted fixed-do approach along with the pedagogical advantages of scale-degree training, and a special class of American moveable do for those music education students who require this professionally. Students are assessed twice a semester, with an individual final jury in Sight-singing in my presence. Electronic resources available to the classes include the recently developed software program Auralia, and Apps for Ipads such as Symphony Pro, ProKeys, Ear Trainer, Karajan, Solfi Ear Trainer Pro, Harmonic Ear Trainer and Rhythm Sight Reading Trainer. in Teaching). In order to foster creative, active learning in their classrooms, I have developed a Teaching Assistant Handbook, and I run, with department support, a “boot camp” for the TAs during the first week of the school year. I also videotape the teaching assistants and discuss the results with them; I observe them regularly and receive required midterm class evaluations from all students. In addition, pedagogical skills are enhanced by access on Blackboard Learn to texts such as Teaching Music in Higher Education by Conway and Hodgman, plus training materials I received from the Derek Bok Center for Teaching and Learning at Harvard. Discussions of pedagogical issues are held during the group TA meetings, and I have arranged for special lecture-discussions by Gary Karpinski (UMass, Amherst), Penelope Bitzas (CFA, Voice), Sandra Nicolucci (CFA, Music Education) and Janelle Heineke (Director, BU Center for Excellence

MU328/338: Developed as an elective within the new undergraduate Musicology two-elective format, this course presents a history of opera, centering attention on three figures in the mainstream of operatic history—Mozart, Wagner and Puccini.

Special Topics: Understanding Opera
MU710: Exploring opera from its beginnings c. 1600 to the present, this graduate course focuses on close readings of operatic scores and text/music
relationships within cultural contexts. Various strains of opera analysis are explored, such as my own illustrative/organizational rubric, the
Verdian “solita forma” and formal analyses.

Mozart’s Operas
MU645: An in-depth look at all the operas of Mozart, placed in their intellectual and societal contexts.

• New Methods

Dr. Burton has initiated a collaboration with MIT’s prize-winning Music 21 to develop new software for aural skills; I have implemented a generally more tech-forward approach to teaching, such as the creation of websites for a final project in MU710, using online musical scores, and uploading class compositions to youtube (see http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tugFBHqcLts.)

letter from MIT Prof. Cuthbert

Dissertations Directed