Introduction to Technology for Musicians

Baylor University MUS1331 Fall 2020 course syllabus and online course-guide.

Due Dates:


Dr. Ben Johansen

Course Description

This technology course, designed specifically for musicians, balances quantitative technology knowledge with practical technology experience.

There are no technological skill prerequisites and I do not assume you have any technology skills or knowledge.

This course includes fundamentals of: computer hardware, software, networks, analog and digital audio, notation software, virtual instruments, photography & film (analog), photography/graphics & video (digital), electroacoustic music, and music rights with the means to empower musicians with digital and media literacy.


  • Section 1 = Mondays and Wednesdays 2:30-3:45 PM

  • Section 2 = Tuesdays and Thursdays 2:00-3:15 PM


  • Online = you will receive an email with a Zoom link

Required Attendance Outside of Scheduled Class Time


School of Music's COVID Protocols

You must follow the School of Music's COVID Protocols =

You must wear a face mask and respect social distancing when meeting with your instructor in person.

Course Materials

Online Course-Guide =

You will not need to buy a textbook for this class, but I am going to ask that you purchase any audio interface with *at least two* mic preamps (inputs) for this course. Contact me if you have any questions about this – I am happy to help you make a choice!

I have experience with the following, so I know they work well:

  • $100 PreSonus AudioBox USB 96 (or $160 Presonus Studio 24c for a bit better preamps and optional USB-C)

  • Stay away from MOTU – they can be complicated to setup and my colleagues and I have experienced nothing but bad customer service from them.

  • Apogee, RME, and Metric Halo make some of the best audio interfaces in the industry … but they are quite costly. Contact me if you want advice about purchasing a higher end interface.

Each student will be given the following (to borrow) for the entire Fall2020 semester … which I hope helps you with other classes as well:

Course Objective: Empower musicians with digital and media literacy.


Defined by the Oxford English Dictionary Online (Oxford University Press) as:

The quality, condition, or state of being literate; the ability to read and write.

Digital literacy

Defined by a 2013 American Library Association (ALA) Digital Literacy, Libraries, and Public Policy, Report of the Office for Information Technology Policy’s Digital Literacy Task Force as:

the ability to use information and communication technologies to find, understand, evaluate, create, and communicate digital information, an ability that requires both cognitive and technical skills.

Media Literacy

Defined by the Center for Media Literacy (CML) as:

[providing] a framework to access, analyze, evaluate, create and participate with messages in a variety of forms — from print to video to the Internet. Media literacy builds an understanding of the role of media in society as well as essential skills of inquiry and self-expression necessary for citizens of a democracy.

The following quotes are from Bauer, William I. "A Conceptual Framework for Technology-Assisted Music Learning." In Music Learning Today: Digital Pedagogy for Creating, Performing, and Responding to Music. New York: Oxford University Press, 2014. Oxford Scholarship Online, 2014. doi: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199890590.003.0001. Chapter 1, pg. 6.

Like every other facet of life, music too has been greatly affected by technology. Technology is an integral part of the way much music in today's world is created, performed, preserved, and consumed, and it can be an authentic aspect of the expression of individual musicianship. Performing musicians use instruments, both digital and otherwise, that have been enhanced through technology. Popular musicians in particular have taken advantage of digital technologies to utilize unique sounds and effects in their concerts. Performances are recorded using sophisticated software and hardware that enable the captured sound to be easily mixed and edited. Composers and arrangers use sequencing and notation software to create printed notation and compositions. Some of these applications have experienced a remarkable transformation; as they grow more and more powerful, they also become easier to use—for example, professional-sounding recordings can now be created in basement music studios.

Learning Objectives

By the end of this course, you will be able to confidently, judiciously, and skillfully use technology hardware and software to:

  • Record a variety of visual and aural content [digitally]

  • Edit a variety of digital content

  • Create a variety of digital content

  • Collaborate with others on digital projects

  • Share a variety of digital content

  • Teach musical skills and concepts


During this unprecedented time of a global pandemic, class attendance must be approached differently from the way it would in a standard semester. If you are sick or have any symptoms (even if they are slight) that might relate to COVID-19, please stay home to protect yourself, your classmates, and your professors. As your instructor, I will expect that you work with me to enable you to receive any necessary course content (including class lectures) and complete any assignments, quizzes, or exams that you may miss due to being sick or having COVID-19-related symptoms. I also expect you to notify me prior to class if you will be missing for COVID-19 or any other health-related reason. If you are well, have no symptoms, and are not required to remain at home for any COVID-19 or other health-related reason, you should attend class and abide by all of the University’s health protocols. Attendance during this time may take many forms due to the various course formats being offered this fall. Be sure to pay careful attention to the additional details below that describe how attendance and class participation will be incorporated into my course.

Importantly, Baylor’s Health Services department on the Waco campus no longer provides notes to “excuse” students from missed classes. Please do not ask Health Services for such documentation.

The following is straight from the School of Music Undergraduate Handbook:

School of Music policy requires that to earn credit in a course a student must be officially enrolled by the end of the second full week of the semester and attend at least 75% of all class meetings. Faculty members may establish additional attendance requirements as outlined in course syllabi. Any student who is not present for at least 75% of the scheduled class sessions for any course will automatically receive a grade of “F” in the course. Any University-related activity necessitating an absence from class will count as an absence when determining whether a student has attended the required 75% of class meetings.

Missing 20min of any portion of a class meeting during the official class meeting time, will result in a 1/2 absence (for example, leaving a Zoom virtual class meeting 20min early). This is waved if the reason for missing has to do with COVID-19.

Attendance is not calculated in your grade, but you must attend at least 75% of class meetings in order to be eligible pass the course. This is waved if the reason for missing class meetings has to do with COVID-19. Your grade, though, is still dependent on completing assignments.


Your final grade will be calculated based on your creative technology assignments. While your grade is based on technology experiences (creative technology projects), quantitative measures will ensure you retain important information past this semester course by verbally asking each student one of the 100 questions from the 10 units each class period.

Grade Scale:

  • A = 90-100

  • B+ = 87-89

  • B = 83-86

  • B- = 80-82

  • C+ = 77-79

  • C = 73-76

  • C- = 70-72

  • F = 0-69

Late assignments will receive half credit.

Academic Success

I believe every student who has been admitted to Baylor can be successful and I want to partner with you to help you thrive academically. Be sure to take advantage of the many resources available for academic success, including coming to see me during my office hours. Students who regularly utilize the great resources in the Paul L. Foster Success Center ( are among my most successful students. If your academic performance in this class is substandard, I will submit an Academic Progress Report to the Success Center so that the team of coordinated care professionals can ensure that you get the help you need.

First Generation College Students

Baylor University defines a first-generation college student as a student whose parents did not complete a four-year college degree. The First in Line program at Baylor is a support office on campus for first-generation college students to utilize if they have any questions or concerns. Please contact First in Line at [email protected], call 254-710-6854, or visit to learn more about the services available.

Academic Integrity

Plagiarism or any form of cheating involves a breach of student-teacher trust. This means that any work submitted under your name is expected to be your own, neither composed by anyone else as a whole or in part, nor handed over to another person for complete or partial revision. Be sure to document all ideas that are not your own. Instances of plagiarism or any other act of academic dishonesty will be reported to the Honor Council and may result in failure of the course. Not understanding plagiarism is not an excuse. As a Baylor student, I expect you to be intimately familiar with the Honor Code at:

Students Needing Accommodations

Any student who needs academic accommodations related to a documented disability should inform me immediately at the beginning of the semester. You are required to obtain appropriate documentation and information regarding accommodations from the Office of Access and Learning Accommodation (OALA). See or email [email protected] today if you have not done so already.

Baylor University Title IX

Civil Rights Policy and Sexual and Interpersonal Misconduct Policy

Baylor University does not tolerate unlawful harassment or discrimination on the basis of sex, gender, race, color, disability, national origin, ancestry, age (over 40), citizenship, genetic information or the refusal to submit to a genetic test, past, current, or prospective service in the uniformed services, or any other characteristic protected under applicable federal, Texas, or local law (collectively referred to as Protected Characteristics).

If you or someone you know would like help related to an experience involving:

  1. Sexual or gender-based harassment, sexual assault, sexual exploitation, stalking, intimate partner violence, or retaliation for reporting one of these types of prohibited conduct, please visit, or contact us at (254) 710-8454, or [email protected].

  2. Harassment (excluding those issues listed in #1) or adverse action based on Protected Characteristics, please visit, or contact us at (254) 710-7100 or [email protected].

The Office of Equity and Title IX understands the sensitive nature of these situations and can provide information about available on- and off-campus resources, such as counseling and psychological services, medical treatment, academic support, university housing, advocacy services, and other forms of assistance that may be available. Staff members at the office can also explain your rights and procedural options. You will not be required to share your experience. If you or someone you know feels unsafe or may be in imminent danger, please call the Baylor Police Department (254-710-2222) or Waco Police Department (9-1-1) immediately.

Except for Confidential Resources, all University Employees are designated Responsible Employees and thereby mandatory reporters of potential sexual and interpersonal misconduct violations. Confidential Resources who do not have to report include those working in the Counseling Center, Health Center and the University Chaplain, Dr. Burt Burleson.

Military Student Advisory

Veterans and active duty military personnel are welcomed and encouraged to communicate, in advance if possible, any special circumstances (e.g., upcoming deployment, drill requirements, disability accommodations). You are also encouraged to visit the VETS Program Office with any questions at (254) 710-7264.