Fine Arts 101 (3) Cultures of the World through Music and Dance

Fall, 2011

Instructor: John Rack, Ph.D.

Office: CA1053   Phone: 962-3729   Email:  Office Hrs: TBA

Course Webpage:  Also see:


Catalogue Course Description:


Examines a variety of musical styles and dance forms from around the world, with attention to cultural issues and practices.  Includes participation in dance and musical experiences.


Classified as a University Studies course in “Aesthetic Perspectives” and “Living in a Global Society”.


Required Materials:


Course packet – available at the campus bookstore and Seahawk Books


Student Learning Outcomes:


  1. Demonstrate the ability to critically analyze, appreciate, and make convincing subjective judgments about musical and dance practices of other cultures.  (AIL 1, GS 2)
  2. Demonstrate knowledge of religious & social influences on music & dance practices of various cultures around the world.  (AIL 2, GS 1)
  3. Demonstrate knowledge of diverse music systems around the world.  (AIL 2, GS 1)
  4. Demonstrate knowledge of musical instruments and their uses around the world.  (AIL 2)
  5. Demonstrate an understanding and acceptance of differences in values and life styles of cultures around the world, evident in their music and dance practices.  (AIL 2, GS 3)
  6. Demonstrate knowledge of historical events that influenced cultural artistic practices around the world.  (AIL 2, GS 1)
  7. Demonstrate an understanding of why various cultures develop and maintain certain musical and dance practices.  (AIL 3)
  8. Students will determine what additional information about music and dance practices, gathered through individual research, will reveal social and/or religious values and practices of a culture.  (IL 1, 3)
  9. Students will work cooperatively to prepare and give a cohesive presentation on music and dance practices of a foreign culture, thereby informing the class of social and/or religious practices of that culture.  (IL 4)
  10. Develop basic skills in research and investigation through the use of appropriate data bases, other internet sources and library print sources.  Evaluate the accuracy and appropriateness of that information and use it ethically and legally.  (IL 2, 5)


Course Outline


  1. Course Introduction & Elements of Music
  2. Music and Dance of Ghana, West Africa
  3. Music and Dance of North India
  4. Indigenous Music and Dance of Australia
  5. Music and Dance of Bali, Indonesia
  6. Group Presentations


Assignment and Test Dates:


See separate schedule for each class section.




Participation                            30%

Tests                                       40%

Oral Group Presentation         30%


All letter grades are converted to quality points (4.0, 3.7, 3.3, 3.0, 2.7, etc.)




You are expected to attend class.  This is essential to learning the material and experiencing the music and dance covered.  Your attendance is necessary not only for your own acquisition of knowledge and skills, but also for the success of class activities, discussions and group presentations.   


Your participation grade will include:

·         four one-page research papers – 75%

·         class activities (dance sessions, drumming, etc.) – 25%


One-page research papers are intended to expand your knowledge beyond class material and should help develop your research skills.  You are to provide details on a significant aspect of music or dance from the region just studied but not covered in the course packet.  Minimum amount of text is 250 words.  Read, comprehend and organize your research into your own words.  It must be about traditional music or dance, NOT popular culture, and NOT solely about religion or culture.  Use at least two references.  References should be scholarly in nature.  Print sources are preferred.  The best internet-based sources are those listed in the FNA 101 Course Guide located at:, or search for articles from the Randall Library homepage.  I recommend putting your reference information on your document first, since too often students forget to include this.


Submit through Blackboard Learn by 11:59 p.m. on the due date, otherwise it’s late!  Be sure to include your references!  Grading will be: 4.2 = exceptionally well written, having high quality sources and on time; 4.0 = satisfactory and on time; 3.0 = deficient in one area (e.g., lacking details, poorly written or organized, unsatisfactory references, missing complete reference information, or one class day late); 2.0 = deficient in two areas; 1.0 = deficient in three areas; 0.0 = missing work.  Assignments later than one class day will not be accepted without a legitimate and documented excuse.


Class activities usually include dance sessions and playing instruments.  If you miss a class activity and provide a legitimate and documented excuse you can do a research assignment on the pertinent topic to make up for one absence only.  This is due one class meeting after you have returned to class.  If you don’t make up for the missed session or if you miss a second class activity, your class activities grade will be lowered one letter grade for each (4.0 – 3.0, etc.). 




  • Objective-type (mostly multiple choice items)
  • Test #1 and #4 are short and each counts as a half-test in the test average.
  • The last test is open notes on group presentation topics.  You must bring your handouts.
  • You will be excused from the last test if you have an “A” (4.0) average on the first five tests.
  • Please note that there will be no extra credit assignments for low test grades.
  • A 10-point percentage scale will be used with pluses and minuses.  Your raw score (number correct out of total) will be converted to a percentage score: 100-93 = A; 92-90 = A-; 89-87 = B+; 86-83 = B; 82-80 = B-; etc.  That is then converted to quality points: 4.0, 3.7, 3.3, etc.
  • Missed tests usually cannot be made up.  However, if you have a legitimate and documented excuse, contact the instructor to reschedule as soon as you know you’ll have to miss a test.  Excuses must be documented upon your return to class and are accepted at the discretion of the instructor. 


Oral Group Presentation:


A twenty-minute group oral presentation is required of all students.  Presentations will be prepared by groups of three students.  Those students who do not express their preference for group membership will be assigned to groups at random by the third week of class.




1.    Apply knowledge and skills acquired through class assignments to thoroughly research an unfamiliar music and/or dance topic. 

2.    Comprehend, synthesize and communicate clearly and accurately the important ideas and concepts from what you have read, seen and heard in your research.

3.    Work cooperatively to prepare and present an informative and cohesive presentation.


The Topic:


You must register your topic with me before proceeding.  There will be no duplication of topics; first come, first served.  If you have a strong preference, register your topic early.  Your topic cannot be about popular (Western-influenced) music or dance.  It must be about a culture not covered in class. 

A bibliography list is available on my course materials pages on the internet.  This is not a complete list of the holdings in Randall Library, but it could help you to define your topic.  Please note that the materials on this list will not be on reserve, so obtain them early.


A library guide has been created for this course by a Fine Arts Librarian.  It will be helpful in doing your research.  The address is:




1.    Be thorough in your research.  A minimum of five sources is expected, two sources must be print media – book, journal article, etc.  Remember, audio and video examples are references.  Photo credits are not necessary.  A hardcopy of your reference list is due on the day of your presentation.  Include your names and class section number.

2.    Your presentation must be relevant to this course and have substance and detail.  It may focus on music, dance, or both.

3.    A brief ORAL PROGRESS REPORT will be required, the date will be announced.  It will be evaluated as part of your grade and must include the required number of references and a statement on each person’s duties regarding research and presentation.  Everyone must have some delineated role in both research and presentation.

4.    A one-page handout (one side, one page only!) containing the important details of your topic is required for use by your classmates.  Be thorough - include history, practices, terms with explanations, etc.  Do NOT simply provide a sparse outline or prints of your slides.  This handout will allow your classmates to concentrate on your presentation and not slow it down with detailed note taking.  The handout will be evaluated as part of your grade.  Include your names and class section number.

You have two options: (1) Bring photocopies to your presentation for the entire class.  (2) Prior to your presentation email the handout to me as a Word document attachment.  I will then email it to those who attended your presentation.  All students will be responsible for printing and bringing the handouts or their laptop to the final test, which will be open-notes. 


Suggestions for a Successful Presentation:


1.    Use Randall Library!  This collection is compiled to serve you.  There are excellent videos and recordings, many of which are listed in my bibliography on the web.  Use reference librarians and search the data bases listed on the course library page.  The quality of your references matters, including audio and video examples.  Be thorough.  Don’t just trust that one source has all you need to know about a specific aspect.

2.    The objective is NOT to present all of the information you have read.  Focus your presentation on the points of greatest importance.  Remember, your group has only twenty minutes!

3.    Reinforce what you say with visual aids (projected photos, video clips, outline of key points), demonstrations, and aural examples.  The use of PowerPoint is strongly recommended!

4.    Speak slowly, enunciate your words, and project your voice.

5.    Rehearse pronouncing any foreign terms as best you can.  Get help when possible.

6.    Explain things in your own words, do not simply read an author’s words!

7.    Do not talk over any musical example.  We need to listen with a purpose.

8.    Consider actively engaging your audience in learning some new skill, possibly in rhythm, song or dance, toward the end of your presentation.

9.    Do your best to accurately and respectfully represent a culture’s beliefs and values.

10.  You are strongly advised to have your presentation media available from two sources on the day of your presentation – on a flash drive and on your email.  WEB connections to video and audio clips added to PowerPoint shows should be tested first.  Sometimes these peripherals are on your hard drive and do not actually transfer with the PowerPoint file.  You are responsible for the success of your presentation, including the functioning of all technology.




Your presentation grade is based on how well you achieve the objectives and requirements stated above.  Generally all group members will receive the same grade, but exceptions (higher or lower) will be made when justified. 


You will also complete peer evaluations within your project group.  These will be considered in the event of any grade variations within a group.


The group as a whole will earn 0-5 points in each of the following categories:


·         Oral Progress Report – minimum references, division of tasks, sufficient detail

·         Thoroughness of handout

·         Quality of references


Each student will earn 0-5 points in each of the following categories:


·         Evidence of thorough and cooperative preparation, cohesion of presentation

·         Effective communication or presentation of media

·         Sufficient detail and accuracy of information; evidence of thorough research


Scoring rubric for all categories:


5 = thorough, accurate, effective, no more than a minor deficiency 

4 = generally high level, but with a few minor deficiencies

3 = having numerous minor deficiencies and/or one significant shortcoming,

      oversight or omission

2 = two significant shortcomings, oversights or omissions

1 = three significant shortcomings, oversights or omissions

0 = four or more significant shortcomings, oversights or omissions


The group’s point average will determine the grade.  Please understand that evaluation will be influenced by a comparison to what other students have presented this semester as well as in past semesters (norm-referenced).


Please Note:  All cell phones should be turned off during class.  Since extensive note-taking is not necessary in this course, laptop use will not be permitted during class.  I don’t believe in multitasking during class.


Concert Attendance:  From time to time there are performances of music &/or dance from other cultures on campus.  These are rare opportunities and it is expected that you will make every effort to attend them during the semester.  Attendance is not mandatory at this time.  However, a one-page write-up of an appropriate concert can serve as a make-up assignment for an excused missed dance session. 


The Learning Center, located in room 1056 Westside Hall, will provide free content tutoring for all basic studies courses.  They also provide study skills support for students seeking to strengthen their general academic skills.  All Learning Center tutoring is by appointment only.


Accommodations for Disabled Students:  The course instructor is happy to make appropriate accommodations for students with disabilities, as specified in federal regulations.  If you have a disability and need accommodation, please register in the Office of Disability Services (x3746).  Then obtain a copy of your accommodation letter and speak with the instructor.  Assistance will be provided based on the recommendations of that office and our mutual agreement.

Academic Honor Code: The University of North Carolina at Wilmington is committed to the proposition that the pursuit of truth requires the presence of honesty among all involved.  It is therefore this institution's stated policy that no form of dishonesty among its faculty or students will be tolerated.  Although members of the university community are encouraged to report occurrences of dishonesty, each individual is principally responsible for his or her own honesty. 


All students are encouraged to read section V "Academic Honor Code", in the UNCW Student Handbook, for definitions of plagiarism, bribery, and cheating, and the procedures for reporting and adjudication of any activities involving student dishonesty.