Course Outline 

Winter 2021



Instructor:                                                         Dr. R G Tonks


Office & Contact info                                    @ home                 


                                                                           tonks -at-


Office Hours:                                                Zoom Thurs 12:30-13:30



Course Description:

This course provides a survey of the study of music and psychology, including the application of traditional domains of psychology to the study of music and our experience of it. Topics covered will include: Music & the Brain, Perception of Music, Music and Human Development & Learning,  Social Facilitation & Control, Culture & Ritual, Behaviour & Movement, Wellness & Therapy. 

Prerequisites: Eng 11


Learning Outcomes:  

Upon completion of this course the student will be able to:






Course Format:       This course is a largely asynchronous online course Desire 2 Learn (D2L).


                                     As a survey course it will begin with an overview and "setting the stage" for students to explore topics of their choice within a range of activities and assignments.  As a class we will be exploring a wide variety of topics around music and psychology as seen in the course syllabus

The class would normally meet weekly for three hours during which we will have a mini-lecture, seminar presentations, as well as listening periods.  HOWEVER, with COVID-19 this course will be held online through d2l and will have to adjust from what would normally be live learning community to a largely asynchrouns format. We will have weekly zoom discussion/office hour sessions, but most work will be done through the discussion boards in d2l.


As a learning community, students are expected to make significant contributions to the class content through their contributions to topics covered and questions asked, including reviews of research and theoretical topics.  Each week usually also includes music to share during the listening period where we participate in discourse on the meanings, stories, contexts,  and other impressions or interpretations of musical experience. As a class we will do this in part through the weekly zoom live sessions, but also through the discussion posts.


All written assignments should be typed and submitted on time in the activities drop box in the D2L website. 





Recommended Text:   Readings will be varied from the following texts:


Levitin, D.J. (2006). This is your Brain on Music. New York: Dutton.

Course materials can be found inside d2l and on the course home page:

Optional Texts

Levitin, D.J. (2008). The world in six songs. New York: Plume.


Specific chapters and sections  taken from among these and other sources are listed on the course syllabus.

Students will also search and report on other readings as part of their course activity.


Additional Resources
Parncutt, R. (2006).  The Psychology of Music http://www-gewi.uni-
                        Retrieved May 12, 2009.

Peretz, I & Zatorre, R. (2009). The cognitive neuroscience of music. Don Mills: Oxford university Press.

Ross, A. (2007). The rest is noise: Listening to the twentieth century. New York:
                                Farrar, Straus & Giroux.
Sacks, O. (2007). Musicophilia: Tales of music and the brain.  Toronto: Knopf.





Mini-presentations   45% (3 each at 15%)
          a) Information Sharing (Research & Practice)             
          b) Music Contributions (partnered to information shared)            
Paper / Project   25%
 Discussions / Participation  
       On Line Postings    15 %
Music Journal    15 %




Mini Presntations:

Information Sharing  / Research portion of the course will occur in each class where students will research specific issues related to the general topics we are covering. For example in the topic of Music and the Brain students will search PSYC-INFO, EBSCO or other Academic data bases to find research and theory reviews on such issues as: music perception, tonal comparisons, musicophilia and the brain, synesthesia, tone representation in the auditory cortex, etc. Students will be expected to present a research review on each of the three major sections covered in the syllabus. 


Each section has several topics within it, and as such, students will present on average once every three weeks.  Along with each research review, students are also expected to produce a "presentation" for other members of the class.

Normally these would be presented live in class, however, in our online format they will need to be posted as Powerpont slides to the appropriate discussion topic for discussion and sharing, as well to the assignment drop box for grading.


Musical Contributions will also be expected from each student per topic in the course. This will include a piece of music to be played in class (posted to discussions) that suits the topic covered. For example, in the topic of Music and Therapy, a student will post a piece of music that has some therapeutic merit or contributes to a therapeutic system using music.


Together, the Information sharing and musical contributions will be shared with the class as mini-presentations. Each mini presentation will be worth a total of 15% . Each student is expected to do three mini-presentations, one in each of the main sections of the course.


Paper/ Project

Each student will select  a topic in the study of music psychology about which they will write a longer research paper or conduct some research. This will typically be where, using an academic search engine, information will be found and integrated to provide an overview of the selected topic. The topics will vary but will remain within the domain of music psychology as covered by the course. As such student can expand on an topic that they had already done a mini-presentation of Information sharing and provided a more in-depth account of the topic or some blend of topics. The standard written paper will be 8 pages (2000 words) typed double spaced and formatted according to APA styleThe bottom line is that the topic must be about music and psychology and relate to a topic covered in the course.


An alternative format for the project is to conduct research/ collaborative development/ reflective analysis around music performance or experience. For students who select this option, it is expect that they will write a report to accompany their practice project, here the expected length of the report is 4 pages (1000 words) type-double spaced and formatted according to APA style. Students selecting this option will participate in the "show case" finale of the course on the last day, making an performance to the class.


Students will submit a topic outline by week 5 of the semester in order to ensure clarity and appropriateness of their selected topics. 



Class Participation / Discussions
For each week of the semester students are expected to participate in class activities. This will involve making postings to the discussion boards in d2l. These posts will wither be original posts that raise issues or questions as well as replies to the mini-presentations that students will be posting to these discussion topics.


Music Journal

Students are expected to create a music journal in which they will record their reflections on music and psychology in their everyday lives. Here, much like a traveler's journal; as we go through our daily lives we are exposed to interesting things that we want to not and write some reflections upon, students will be expect to record their thoughts about music they hear or are thinking about, as well as consideration of the psychological processes associated with musical experience. Whether it is viewing the statue David for the first time or listening to John Coltrane we each will have some type of reaction that can be recorded and reflected upon along with the topics we will cover in the course.


Students are expected to write at least one entry per week of the semester for 15% of their grade.



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The following two grading systems are used at Camosun College:

1. Standard Grading System (GPA)




Grade Point Equivalency



































Minimum level has not been achieved.


2. Competency Based Grading System (Non GPA)

This grading system is based on satisfactory acquisition of defined skills or successful completion of the course learning outcomes




The student has met the goals, criteria, or competencies established for this course, practicum or field placement.


The student has met and exceeded, above and beyond expectation, the goals, criteria, or competencies established for this course, practicum or field placement.


The student has not met the goals, criteria or competencies established for this course, practicum or field placement.

Temporary grades are assigned for specific circumstances and will convert to a final grade according to the grading scheme being used in the course. See Grading Policy at for information on conversion to final grades, and for additional information on student record and transcript notations.

Temporary Grade



Incomplete : A temporary grade assigned when the requirements of a course have not yet been completed due to hardship or extenuating circumstances, such as illness or death in the family.


In progress : A temporary grade assigned for courses that are designed to have an anticipated enrollment that extends beyond one term. No more than two IP grades will be assigned for the same course.


Compulsory Withdrawal : A temporary grade assigned by a Dean when an instructor, after documenting the prescriptive strategies applied and consulting with peers, deems that a student is unsafe to self or others and must be removed from the lab, practicum, worksite, or field placement.