This course examines 10 musical cultures within the United States, with 9 of them being heavily influenced by music from outside the U. S. , and also explores the music from Congo Square in New Orleans - the historical background for the singing, dancing, instruments, people, and contexts represented in the musical expressions. Besides studying the aesthetic and structural characteristics of the music, consideration is given to political, philosophical, spiritual, and economic factors related to the music and its roles within these cultures. Students have the opportunity to play instruments from these cultures and learn and compare the melodic, harmonic and rhythmic organizational structures of the cultures within singing, instrumental performance, and dancing contexts.
Lee Anna Rasar is a music therapist who plays in several musical groups and witnesses the power and importance of folk music on a daily basis in her work. She and her students see over 1000 people in the Chippewa Valley weekly in venues such as long term care centers, the Eau Claire County Jail, the Northwest Regional Juvenile Detention Center, Sacred Heart Hospital, public schools and people?s own homes and apartments to provide music for therapeutic purposes. She has received over 80 grants, many of which involved students in research in these venues. Lee Anna is a Professor in the Dept. of Music and Theatre Arts at UW ? Eau Claire. She also has been teaching guitar courses for 26 years. She received a grant from the UW ? System to integrate guitar styles from other cultures in the guitar courses.