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MUS 106: Music Fundamentals 

Learn the written and aural language of Music! Designed for anyone interested in acquiring basic music skills for performance, teaching or composition. Includes music reading, notation, terminology, piano keyboard, sight singing, and ear training.


CRN: 10032

Instructor: Linda Noble Brown


Phone: (415) 485-9466

Email Deadline: January 13, 2014

Log-in Deadline: January 17, 2014


To join this course:

To join this course, add via your MyCOM portal or in person at the office of Admissions and Records, then send an email to me at before January 13, 2014.  If the course is full, place yourself on the Wait-List and also send an email to me.  I will add students who have followed these instructions, as long as I have room in the class. 

This is a very popular class.  If you fail to email me by the due date, or fail to complete the first assignment by Friday, January 17, you will be dropped from the class to make room for someone on the Wait-List.

Once I receive confirmation of your enrollment and your email, I will send a copy of course access instructions.

ALL lecture, testing and assignments for this course will be online.  There are no on-campus requirements.


If you have questions or concerns, you can always contact me through the "Messages" portion of the website (on the lower right hand side of the homepage), or by e-mailing me at Linda.NobleBrown.  You may also make an appointment with me for extra help on campus, face-to-face.  Or just come by to meet me!  My office is PA 186, and my office phone number is 485-9466.  I am generally only on campus Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. My office hour is MW noon to 1:00 p.m. (or by appointment).


In the Welcome section of the website there is a link that will test your computer to make sure it has all the necessary requirements.  Basically, you need an active internet connection, Java app and an up-to-date computer.  The most difficulty any student has had in this class has been technical.  Save yourself some headaches and start the class off right.  If you have difficulties, please first search the "Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)" link in the Welcome section of the website.


In this course, you may not "work at your own pace".  Unlike some online courses, learning music is a skill, not simply memorizing information.  So you can't wait until the last week of classes and "cram" for the final.  Instead, there is an assignment (both written and tested) due every week.  Now, the convenient (and fun!) part is that you get to decide when during that week you will come to class (access the website).  


Assume that you will spend at least as much time online as you would in a traditional classroom and studying for a typical on-campus class.  Since this is a 3-unit course, you will need to spend a minimum of 5 hours per week online (assuming 3 hours class time plus 2 hours study/practice time as a minimum).  You can log-on one hour per day, or 5 hours straight on a weekend, or 1/2 hour every morning and evening, etc., your choice.  Whatever fits your schedule best, so long as you turn in the weekly assignments prior to their due date/time - which is always before Friday of each week at 11:30 p.m.  Please be aware that I am tracking how much time you are spending in class, and when (Big Brother is alive and well).  Most students find it is easier to complete lessons earlier in the week so they have time to practice the skills, and to ensure they will have enough time for difficult lessons.


Some hints for successful learning in an online environment:

1)      Decide on a schedule of when you will come to class (access the website), and stick to it!

2)      You may wish to print out the lectures for each assignment.  Many people have an easier time processing the written word from a page rather than a computer screen.  This way you can also highlight the main points in the text to learn it more thoroughly.

3)      The Upcoming Events section (on the right hand side of the page) will keep you alerted to upcoming final due dates/times.  Be aware that if you try to turn an assignment in late, you will be unable.  The computer won't accept it.  So try to work on the assignments earlier rather than later. You will always have at least two assignments available to you at any one time (overlapping), only one of which is due each week.  Your first assignment is due the FIRST FRIDAY of classes, January 17, before 11:30 p.m.  Be sure to complete ALL segments of an assignment (typically there is reading, skills/practice tests, a written assignment, and a graded quiz each week).  Don't be lulled into a false sense of ease with the first few assignments.  Use this initial period to get your computer up to speed, to become familiar with the online classroom environment and to begin the discipline of completing assignments well before their due date.

4)      Take some time to look around the website before you begin studying.  To work through the course, just begin at the top center of the homepage at the "Welcome Introduction" and then complete the Assignments in order beginning with Lesson 1, "Getting Started".  Each lesson has all the components listed that need to be completed before the due date/time.  After an assignment is completed, the lecture portion (only) will be open the rest of the semester for you to review.

5)      Skills Tests are very important.  These are not graded, so you may re-take them as many times as necessary to practice and improve your specific skills (each test must be completed at least once).  This is how you will learn to put into practice what you have read.  The Quizzes are graded, and you have only one shot at them (the questions are randomly generated, so don't think you can copy from a friend.  Each Quiz is unique to the moment).  Don't jump into a graded Quiz until you feel confident with all of the Skills Tests for that section.

6)       You are required to purchase a workbook from the College of Marin bookstore, "Music Fundamentals On-line" by David Megill and Don Megill published by Kendall-Hunt. This book contains exercises for you to practice throughout the class. Assignments will be made from these exercises to prepare you for progressive skill tests. Also this book is quite a bit easier to carry around with you than your computer. And, because drill is essential to developing musical skills you should try to squeeze in the short exercises in this book whenever you have a free moment. The workbooks each contain an individual serial number that you must enter on the website in order to access the graded Quizzes.  These serial numbers cannot be shared, and can only be used ONCE.  Be sure to PURCHASE YOUR WORKBOOK EARLY so you will be able to access the Quizzes before they are due.  Because the course website fee is built into the price of the workbook, these texts can only be purchased through the College of Marin bookstore.  You may purchase them online following the link at under Current Students, then "Buy Textbooks Online".  Be aware that some other websites offer this book at a discount, but no matter what they say the books are USED, so the access code will not be usable and you will not be able to access most of the class website.  DON'T WASTE YOUR MONEY.

7)      All the Skills Tests and Quizzes take awhile to load and use a lot of RAM.  If you have any difficulties, you may want to clean out your cache after every test, before you begin another.  The easiest way to accomplish this is to quit out of your browser entirely and then restart the program (you don't need to close your connection to the internet).  If you don't do this, sometimes your computer will freeze during the second test.

8)     Also, we have found that it helps to defrag your computer (PC) or rebuild the desktop (Macs prior to OS X) frequently, perhaps once a week or so, so that the Applets can load more smoothly.  This may not be necessary if you have a newer computer.

9)     I generally check the website and my e-mail twice a day, but I am not available 24/7.  Expect 24-hour turn around for me to answer your questions (though often it will be quicker).  I also try to grade assignments within 24 hours of submission.


Hope you can join us!