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African American Music

This is a study of selective genres and styles of music originating

primarily in the African American experience. They encompass both vocal and instrumental idioms and show in many ways the continuity of certain indigenous African concepts and musical practices. This course is designed for anyone interested in the African-American experience; thus, no formal knowledge of music theory and history or previous background in music is necessary. The course begins with an overview of the African background and then focuses on African-American musical varieties, from slavery to the present and with emphasis on significant forms, styles, and musicians within the broader socio-cultural contexts. Lectures and class activities will be supplemented by films/videos, demonstrations, live concerts, and sound recordings.

Course Objectives:

-- To present a general history of African-American music and its socio-cultural background

-- To develop a deeper understanding of these musical traditions within the broader American

and world music landscape

-- To create an awareness of styles and forms that characterize major periods in African-

American music

-- To develop an understanding of how the music was and is performed through a study of the

various performers, composers, and their practices and audiences

-- To identify and develop an appreciation for the aesthetic values and formal musical procedures

associated with the genres


Your Instructor


Derrick Spiva
Derrick Spiva

Derrick Spiva Ph.D. M.F.A. recently published“The African American Music Survey” and “Sing Dance and Shout Through Oppression, Gospel Music Workshop" both digital fully interactive e-textbooks published through Top Hat Textbook Publishing. Additionally, both are QOLT certified.

“The Urban Playbook”, a collection of one act plays for urban youth and young adults was published in 2017; Dr. Spiva is currently a principle with CEEDTV.com, an Internet television network.
He is a Fulbright-Hayes Africana studies scholar in religion with post- doctoral seminar studies in Egypt and Israel. As an entertainment industry professional, he has performed professionally in theater and television for the past 25 years.
Derrick produced the hit series "Through Our Eyes" for PBS, and the Black Family Network for 12 seasons. He wrote and co-produced “Heresy” featured at the 1997 Reel Pride Film Festival for which he won a “Telly Award”. He co-created the “CEED” Broadcasting Internet Network. Derrick holds a Ph.D. in Theology from San Antonio Theological Seminary, a Masters of Fine Arts & Teaching Credentials from the University of California at Irvine, and a Bachelor's in Communications and Business from California State University, Northridge. The NAACP and the United States Congress recognized him for outstanding service in educational performing arts and media (television and professional theater).

Frequently Asked Questions


When does the course start and finish?
The course starts now and never ends! It is a completely self-paced online course - you decide when you start and when you finish.
How long do I have access to the course?
How does lifetime access sound? After enrolling, you have unlimited access to this course for as long as you like - across any and all devices you own.
What if I am unhappy with the course?
We would never want you to be unhappy! If you are unsatisfied with your purchase, contact us in the first 30 days and we will give you a full refund.

This course is not open for enrollment.