Just About Music


Play it by ear! This community has been designed for students who appreciate music and educates residents on different musical genres. As a member of JAM, you will attend musical performances on and off campus, explore local music venues, and live with other music lovers. This LLC will not be offered for the 2017-18 Academic Year. We recommend the Arts LLC as an alternative.

Programming for Just About Music

Programming may vary from year to year. Past programs in this community have included:

  • Experience a musical performance in Chicago or Des Moines
  • Join a jam session with friends on your floor
  • See a concert sponsored by SCOPE 
  • Tour KRUI, the campus radio station
  • Participate in Open Mic Night at The Mill
  • Take a behind the scenes tour of local music venues
  • Attend jazz, choral, and chamber music performances put on by Iowa students
  • Host events for the Grammys, Video Music Awards, and Country Music Awards
  • Learn about different genres of music
  • Attend a musical performance sponsored by Hancher


MUS:1000:0001 - Music and The Mind: How does music work? How does it affect us? Why do we get goose bumps when we listen to some music and not others? How has the presence of music changed our lives over the years? How does our brain understand and process music?

This class is an exploration into music and how it touches us. We will look at some of the basics of music and how it is put together as well as how the brain works to process sound, melody, harmony, and rhythm. With this, we will look at all different kinds of music to see how they are similar and how societies from around the world differ in their relationship with music. We will also investigate how music therapy works and have several guest speakers to talk about their experience with music.  

MUS:1000:0003 -   Weird Music: An Audio/Visual Tour Outside the Musical Box: Although as an incoming freshman you may have spent much time listening to music, chances are that there are all kinds of music that you have yet to discover and learn about. This class is a chance to make wide-ranging aural explorations and broaden your palette of the possible. Class time will be spent on several areas: 1) Recordings and videos of unusual music and/or musical instruments followed by discussion; 2) discussions of assigned readings (books, articles), recordings, and videos; 3) experiential sessions, including rhythmic improvisation.

MUS:1000:0005 - Jazz Culture in Iowa City: The jazz scene in Iowa City is a dynamic and lively one, with a long history tied directly to the University of Iowa. This class will endeavor to engage students in this legacy and how it informs the local jazz scene today. In addition to learning about the history of jazz in our unique locale, students will learn about today’s vibrant local jazz scene by attending live jazz events at venues on and off campus. Students will also explore how this style of music impacts the culture, entertainment scene, and economics of the local area by hearing directly from local arts entrepreneurs, jazz educators, and musicians. The class will also examine the recordings, out-reach, and promotional efforts of local jazz groups to determine how local musicians are adjusting to new media technologies, musical tastes, and social networks. Fundamental musical characteristics of jazz, especially the idea of improvisation and rhythm (syncopation), will also be explored through hands-on class activities.

CSI:1400:0001 - The Passport Project: Exploring Iowa and Iowa City:   The Passport Project, highly recommended for First-Year and transfer students, will introduce and actively engage participants in the University and Iowa City's rich cultural and intellectual offerings.Students attend twelve events they select, including music concerts, art workshops and openings, literary readings, lectures in the sciences and humanities, hands-on engineering demonstrations, dance recitals, political forums, and theatrical productions. Students post brief written and multimedia reviews and reflections in electronic "passports" issued for the class.Small-group discussions complement class meetings and special events, featuring outstanding leaders in the arts, humanities, and sciences.

MUS:1000:0007 - Finding Your Voice and Connecting Across Cultures Through Storytelling, Music, and Movement with Interplay: In this first year seminar, you will have opportunities for self-discovery and relationship-building among other first-year students from the US and other countries. InterPlay, founded 25 years ago by Phil Porter and Cynthia Winton-Henry, is an easy-to-learn, creative process based on eight common sense tools or ideas such as incrementality (breaking things down into small steps), and affirmation (looking for the good and naming the good). InterPlay is strength-based and invites participants to express themselves through “forms” such as a one-hand dance and babbling, which is a simple type of storytelling. These forms are done with partners, in small groups, and with the full group.

MUS:1000:0004 - What is This Thing Called Jazz? -What is this thing called jazz, why is it important, and why has it been a vibrant part of American culture for the past 110 years? This course will serve as a guided introduction to jazz listening, giving the student the opportunity to acquaint themselves with the anatomy of the music and develop the skills needed to become an informed listener. The course will discuss the process of performing jazz music, delve into the music’s connection with African-American culture, and give students the opportunity to develop/refine their listening abilities through focused listening to the musical work of prominent jazz artists from past and present (including the intersection between jazz and hip hop).    

Who Lives Here

This community is open to all students.

For More Information

Please contact Residence Education at 319-335-3700 or res-education@uiowa.edu.