The Nature of Music:  Patterns, Paradox and Possibilities


Program Texts

Margulis, Elizabeth Hellmuth. On Repeat: How Music Plays the Mind, Oxford University Press, New York, 2013.

Huron, David. Sweet Anticipation: Music and the Psychology of Anticipation, Bradford Books, MIT Press, Cambridge, MA 2008.

Tharp, Twyla. The Creative Habit, Simon & Schuster, New York, 2003.

Learning goals

  • Develop an awareness of patterns and an understanding of how these patterns impact the ways we think, learn about, and move through the world.
  • Develop an understanding of the role of art in both exploring & expressing our experiences in the world
  • Develop an understanding of the transformative possibilities inherent in the creative process
  • Develop performance skills in music
  • Improve your ability to communicate creatively and effectively
  • Improve your ability to engage with challenging ideas
  • Gain familiarity and skill in communicating through the language of music
  • Reflect on the personal and social significance of your learning through the practice of reflective thinking and writing

Weekly Writing Expectations

Writing can serve as a powerful tool for gaining understanding of the areas of strength we bring to our work as well as the areas that need greater attention.

You are expected to create a regular writing plan that provides time and space for honest consideration of program texts, topics and activities, your experience with program topics outside of the classroom and your own approach to working with program materials to achieve your individual goals in this program. You will be given specific writing prompts to help guide you through this process each week and you are expected to bring your written document to seminar each week. These weekly documents must be typed and are due each Wednesday at the start of our seminar discussion – no late papers will be accepted. Seminar papers should demonstrate your developing understanding of effective written communication by using complete sentences with appropriate punctuation, paragraph structure and organization.


You will have opportunities to deepen and demonstrate your understanding of program concepts through a combination of individual and group projects, papers and performances. Performance workshops will take place each Thursday of the quarter with a public performance scheduled for Thursday of week 9 (Dec. 3). Specific project and paper guidelines and time schedules will be shared as the quarter progresses.

Academic Statement

Your Academic Statement is a reflection of your overall academic experience at Evergreen. In order to graduate from The Evergreen State College, you are required to write an Academic Statement of up to 750 words about your college education.  Throughout the Fall quarter we will offer several writing workshops to assist you in the development of your academic statement.

Credit Equivalencies

 Psychology of Music                             4

Applied Music                                        4

Expository Writing                                  4

Performance Workshop                         2

Quantitative & Symbolic Reasoning        2



 Performance arts are essentially experiential and experiential learning cannot be “made up”. Your attendance and full participation in all program meetings is essential to your success, and the earning of full credit in this program. Students who arrive late are asked to not interrupt work in progress (lectures, workshops, seminar discussions).