Courses

Choose from among six course offerings bridging music, visual design, architecture, science, and the arts.

Session 1 (June 25 - July 14)

Why Music Matters

This course is an intensive exploration of the inner workings of music from many different perspectives across a wide span of time: music theory and history, cultural history, and music technology. Students will learn to listen critically to a range of music, both classical and popular, and gain analytical skills to probe how a piece of music is composed. Students will be given opportunities to create and perform their own compositions. Participants will also have a special opportunity to attend live performances and discussions with the world-famous St. Lawrence String Quartet, as well as guest performers of jazz and world music. The course will culminate in a final project of student compositions, performance, and/or analysis of music.

Architecture, Drawing and Design

This course provides an introduction to architecture and the design process through design drafting and free-hand drawing. Students will explore the built environment and gain a conceptual understanding of dimension, scale, form, and materiality. The architecture, landscape design, and art collections of the Stanford campus will serve as an outdoor studio classroom for on-site field sketching and 2D/3D investigations. Morning lectures, class discussions, and site visits will be supplemented by hands-on drawing exercises: diagrams and architectural plans, sections, elevations, and perspective drawings using collage, pencil, ink, and watercolor media. The course will culminate with final presentations and a group exhibition of design drawings.

Refining Your Photographic Eye

What makes a photograph compelling? It’s relatively easy for most us to know when we see an image we like, but much more elusive to understand why. How can we visually express our ideas? How can we use photography as a tool for discovering ourselves and the world around us? After an introduction to the premise and goals of the course, we “focus” on three fundamental building blocks: Story, Composition, and Light. These visual elements will be studied through a series of lectures, critiques, homework assignments and field shooting opportunities. Our final days will be devoted to selecting and editing portfolio images for posting in an online private gallery of student work, refining selected images through digital post-capture manipulation, and producing at least three prints from your final portfolio for a collaborative class exhibition. Lectures, class discussions and critiques, guest presentations, and field trips will be supplemented by instructor-led in-the-field shooting experiences designed to guide students in evolving their “Photographic Eye.”


Session 2 (July 17 - August 5)

Music and Social Movements

Every social movement has a soundtrack, those musical anthems that seem to define and coalesce a collective identity. Some soundtracks can be liberatory and forward-looking, like the hymns that galvanized the Civil Rights Movement in the U.S. during the 1950s. Other times, music can be mustered for political control, as in the state-enforced codes of composition put in place under the Soviet Empire. In this course, we explore the complex relationship between music and social movements, over time and throughout the world, but focusing on American popular music of the 20th century. When we understand the sounds that surround us, we better understand ourselves, as music is both a private communion and a loudly public ritual, an art that roots our most basic sense of self even as it strives towards new futures. Through this lens, familiar artists—from Sergei Prokofiev to Beyonce and Jay Z—and songs—from the National Anthem to "We Shall Overcome"—take on new meaning in the way they shape social norms. Research on popular song, musical analysis, social science, and political history combine in this course through readings, discussions, debates, and meetings with guest lecturers. The course will include group assignments such as creating an audio podcast and conducting ethnographic research, and will offer opportunities for online publishing. The course culminates in a final research project or original composition based on themes studied in class. 

Practicing Art and Architecture

What is the function of art and architecture in society? How does the notion of “permanence” impact our expressions of creativity? As time becomes more of a luxury and technology fosters an increasing sense of urgency, how can we cultivate personal creativity in more innovative and meaningful ways? With ephemeral art and architecture as a focus, this class will look to groundbreaking inventions, avant-garde expressions, and creative masters as our guides. Through large-scale building, experimental making, readings, and communal and personal reflection, students will experience the transformational power of creativity and emerge with a deeper sense of self-expression and creative confidence.

Applied Visual Arts: Product Design

How do artists work, and how does an individual expand hir or her creative potential, to move from observer to maker? In this course, students will develop the artistic awareness, personal aptitudes, and creative skills that serve as the foundation for the design process in a collaborative context. Students develop their own design sensibilities and visual thinking skills; they learn the processes and principles of design, how to approach problems collaboratively through visual design thinking, and how to apply design tools (such as CAD, Photoshop, and Illustrator) to prototype ideas using an iterative process and build prototypes. Field trips and guest speakers from the world of visual and product design expose students to the broader context around them, developing their awareness of how everything is a product of a design process. This hands-on, highly interactive course requires no previous art experience and welcomes those with interests in creativity, innovation, design, and engineering.