Great Basin College

Course Syllabus



MUS125:  History of Rock Music                                                                3 Semester Credits

Section ER1, WV1                                                                                         Fall 2007



Meeting Time:           Tuesday/Thursday, August 28—December 6, 2007, 9:30 to 10:45 am


Meeting Location:    HTC 121


Instructor:                  Stephen A. Baker, Ph.D., 775-753-2348 or e-mail via Web Campus


Office Hours:             M-W 1-2:00 pm and 4-5:00 pm; Th 11:00 am-noon, or by appointment



Catalog Description:  The history and stylistic development of rock from its origins, through transitions, and subsequent revolutions.  No Prerequisites/Corequisites.



Required Textbook:  Stuessy, J. & Lipscomb, S. (2006). Rock and Roll: Its History and Stylistic Development, 5th Edition, Prentice Hall: Upper Saddle River, NJ, ISBN 0131930982.



Course Description:  MUS125 will take students on a tour of the history of rock and roll, from its origins as a musical form to the present day.  The course content will also examine the basic historical and cultural changes in each decade in relation to rock and roll, beginning with the early 1900s.



Attendance Policy:  Students should attend all classes and be on time.  Prior notification of the instructor by calling, leaving a voicemail, and/or sending a message to email is expected for all absences.  Each student is entitled to three hours excused absence per the GBC catalog, as noted on page 49, or the instructor may drop a student.



Course Objectives:


  1. Communicate clearly and effectively in written and oral forms, i.e. discussion, reading, listening.
  2. Identify styles within Rock and Roll through the identification of the decade in which it evolved.
  3. Connect the changes in musical style with U.S. historical periods and social elements of those periods.
  4. Examine significant artists in conjunction with the changes they introduced.
  5. Identify songs and albums in relationship to the artists who recorded them.
  6. Develop competent ability to discuss styles of Rock and Roll with others.


Learner Outcomes:





·     Identify styles within Rock & Roll by artist, sound, instruments used, etc.



·         Class discussion

·         Quizzes and/or exams


·    Connect the changes in musical style with US historical periods and with social elements of those periods


·         Quizzes and/or exams

·         Class discussion

·         Written assignments


·    Matches significant artists in conjunction with the changes they introduced

·    Connect songs and albums to the artists who recorded them


·         Quizzes and/or exams

·         Class discussion


·    Distinguish musical styles within Rock & Roll from one another


·         Quizzes and/or exams


·    Communicate knowledge verbally and in written form

·    Discuss  the stylistic development of Rock & Roll competently with fellow students


·         Class discussion

·         Internet research

·         Written assignments



Method of Instruction:  Lecture, classroom discussion, videos, audio selections, guest speakers, reading and writing assignments.



Course Requirements:  Students are responsible for reading assigned chapters prior to the scheduled class meeting(s).  Additionally, students should be prepared to discuss text material during class, as well as relevant newsworthy information when called upon.  All students are encouraged to participate in class discussions and group activities.  Contributions to the class are directly proportional to the quality and quantity of knowledge gained.  All class participation will be evaluated and incorporated into the final grade.  Participation credit can help a student if he/she is within a point or two of the next highest grade by pushing the student up to the higher grade.  Students can earn participation credit if they contribute to class discussions, share relevant experiences, demonstrate familiarity with the assigned reading, bring news articles to use in class discussions, and actively participate in class activities.

Exams:  Exams will consist of essay style questions.  Exams will not be cumulative.  Exams will be based on the material presented since the preceding exam.  Generally, there will be no make-up exams.  However, if an exam is missed, students must make arrangements with the instructor before the other students’ exam is graded and returned or students will not be able to make up the exam.  There are no make-ups for the final exam except under extreme emergency situations approved ahead of time.



Grading Policy:  Grading is based on a point system, as outlined below:





Cumulative Points

Percentage Grade


Section Exams





Final Exam





Short Papers (2)










Total Points2


299 or less




1Quizzes may be given if students demonstrate that they have not been reading assignments.

2Total points may be adjusted based on the total sum of assignments as determined by the instructor.



Current Issues:  Each student is encouraged to read newspapers or via the Web for topics of interest and current issues that are related to Rock music.  Students are asked to bring articles to class so that they may be discussed.



Guest Speakers:  If possible, guest speakers may be asked to address topics covered in the text.  Please show respect for our guests. Each of them has graciously agreed to visit with us on their own time.  They are excited about the opportunity to talk about their experiences.  Ask questions and be attentive.  Some of the information presented may appear on tests so please take notes.  You will be advised when guest speakers are scheduled.



Great Basin College General Policies:  For information regarding GBC General Policies pertaining to topics on Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), Sexual Harassment, academic honesty/plagiarism, and conduct within the educational environment, please read the posting on Web Campus under GBC General Policies.  Thank you!



General instructions for written assignments:  Please check out the section entitled “Writing Samples” on the Web Campus site.





A.         Assignments will be due throughout the course of the semester.  Students will receive instructions on assignment requirements, how to complete the assignment, how the assignment will be evaluated and the due date via Web Campus.


B.        There may be additional assignments required of students via the Internet or on Web Campus such as researching websites, reading articles, participation in discussion boards, etc.


Note:  The course content and following schedule may be changed to meet the needs of the class or at the discretion of the instructor.


Course and Reading Schedule:


August 28—September 20                 Early Beginnings

                                                            September 3—Labor Day Holiday

·     Introductions, Course Overview

·         African Slave Music, Music in the decades from 1900 to 1940

·     Chapter 1—Introduction

·     Chapter 2—The Roots of Rock


September 25—October 18               The Fifties


·     Chapter 3—The Emergence of Rock and Roll

·     Chapter 4—Rock and Roll: Fifties Style


October 23—November 20                The Sixties

October 26—Nevada Day Holiday

November 12—Veteran’s Day Holiday

November 22-23—Thanksgiving Day Holiday—No Class

·         Chapter 5—Transition: The Early 1960s

·     Chapter 6—The Beatles

·     Chapter 7—The British Invasion

·     Chapter 8—Folk Music and Folk Rock

·     Chapter 9—Soul and Motown

·     Chapters 10—San Francisco 


November 27—December 6              The Seventies and Beyond


·     Chapter 11—Jazz Rock

·     Chapter 12—Art Rock

·     Chapter 13—Mainstream Rock

·     Chapter 14—The Continuing Fragmentation of Rock

·     Chapter 15—Heavy Metal

·         Chapter 16—Dance Music

·     Chapter 17—Rap and Hip-Hop

·     Chapter 18—Alternative Styles



Exam Schedule:






Exam 1

Exam 2

Exam 3

Final Exam

 Great Basin College


General Policies


The Americans with Disabilities Act


The instructor is willing to make reasonable accommodations for limitations due to any disability, including learning disabilities.  Please see me before or after class to discuss any special needs you may have.  Students may also contact the college ADA officer at 775-753-2271.  Please see information posted on page 35 of the GBC catalog.


Sexual Harassment Policy


The policy of GBC is to provide an educational, employment, and business environment free of unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal and/or physical conduct or communications constituting sexual harassment, as defined and otherwise prohibited by State and Federal law.  Sexual harassment by and between: employees, students, employees and students, and campus visitors and students or employees, is prohibited by this policy.  Please review the information provided by the GBC catalog on page 29.


Academic Honesty


All students assume, as part of their obligation to the college, the responsibility to exhibit in their academic performance, qualities of honesty and integrity.  All forms of student dishonesty are subject to disciplinary action.  Students are strongly encouraged to do their own work and give full credit to the work of those they incorporate into any submitted assignments.  To do otherwise is plagiarism.


Great Basin College’s approved definition of plagiarism is as follows:


“Plagiarism is presenting someone else’s word, ideas or data as one’s own.  When a student submits work that includes the words, ideas, or data of others, the source of that information must be acknowledged through complete, accurate, and specific references; and if verbatim statements are included, through quotation marks as well.  In academically honest writing or speaking, the students will acknowledge the source whenever:


Educational Environment Conduct


Consistent with a collegiate environment of educational study, students are expected to conduct themselves in a manner appropriate for an institution of higher learning.  The disruption or obstruction of teaching will not be tolerated.  Students are expected to be respectful and tolerant of diverse opinions/ideas even if they do not agree with them.


The discussion of criminal justice issues often requires a “real world” look at topics and pertinent issues.  Students should be aware that this course might generate discussions, use videos, and have guest speakers, etc., which portray a graphic and honest look at deviant behavior and crime.  If you are easily offended, please let the instructor know so that you may be excused from participation in such issues.


Students should also familiarize themselves with the section on student conduct policy on pages 28-32 of the Great Basin College catalog regarding misconduct, disciplinary proceeding procedure, hearing procedure, appeal and disciplinary action.