Doug Ovens: Great Teachers, Great Courses

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Not all of the students in “Introduction to Electronic Music Class” are practicing musicians.

In fact, for many students in Dr. Douglas Ovens’ class, this is their first musical experience at Muhlenberg.

Muhlenberg’s student population includes a large number of students with musical proficiency. In addition to the approximately 70 music majors and minors at Muhlenberg as well as the wide variety of vocal and performance groups on campus, over 350 students take music lessons every week on campus.

Doug Ovens, professor and chair of the Music department at Muhlenberg College, uses his Introduction to Electronic Music to reach out to all types of students throughout the musical spectrum; only one-half to one-third of the students enrolled in the class each semester are music majors.

“The course is really about learning to manipulate sound. Students learn to make structures compositionally,” says Ovens. “It’s fascinating. Technologies that we use today didn’t exist when I started teaching the original course 20 years ago.”

From the start, Ovens informs the students that they will be focusing on musical possibilities – they’ll look at how melody, timbre and rhythm can be altered by an ever-evolving technological palette.

“The students in this course learn about the history of music technology,” says Ovens. “Every day, we experience more digital media for a digital culture.”

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