In Fall 2020, most or all of Berkeley Connect will be delivered remotely. No in-person presence is required..

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Kronos classThe Berkeley Connect program opens up the extraordinary resources of the university to you: the extraordinary students on our campus. By joining, you will become part of a community of like-minded faculty, mentors, and students that will provide a supportive environment in which to exchange and discuss ideas and goals. Berkeley Connect will help you to make the most of your time at the university as you learn more about the major in Music. We’re excited to get to know you!

Message from the Director

Maria SonevytskyHas music ever captured your imagination? Has a song stopped you in your tracks, pumped you up, made you dance, sing or cry? Music is a powerful expressive medium, one that can bring people together, or cleave us apart. And here at UC Berkeley, it is also an academic discipline: students and faculty in the Department of Music have been producing creative and scholarly work for over a hundred years.

At Berkeley Connect in Music, we will host lively conversations on how music accomplishes a variety of vital social functions. Through shared listening, participation, and relaxed conversation, we will seek to build our own community through our shared interests in music. In addition to our regular meetings, we will attend events together, share meals, and offer mentorship. The goal of Berkeley Connect in Music is to help you build your own community at Berkeley, expand your knowledge about diverse musical practices, and investigate your own preconceptions about what music is and does.

I am an ethnomusicologist, which means that I study why and how people around the world make music. My research focuses on Soviet and post-Soviet traditional and popular musics, but I always love hearing from my Berkeley students about why music matters (or not) to them. As a teacher, I strive to broaden the horizons of my students’ musical experiences by listening to sounds from around the world, experimenting with musical practices together, and challenging our definitions of what music is. What would you say if I asked: “Where do you draw the line between music and noise, or music and silence?” Or, “Why is this sonic practice that may sound musical to our ears not considered ‘music’ in its original context?” Such simple questions resonate in global contexts as well as local and personal ones and allow us to connect our own musical experiences to those of people from diverse backgrounds.

Music will serve as our entry portal into thinking about the big questions that define the lives of University students. The mentorship we offer will help you carve your path through Berkeley and inform your trajectory as a student. Our biweekly meetings with small student groups will foster an inclusive and intellectually stimulating community of our own. And finally, our discussions on the role of music in daily life will help to spark your curiosity and your imagination.

Professor Maria Sonevytsky
Director, Berkeley Connect in  Music

Program Description

Berkeley Connect links undergraduate students with experienced mentors in Music. These mentors lead small groups of 10-20 students in regular meetings; they also meet with students one-on-one to provide guidance and advice. The core of the Berkeley Connect program is a one-credit, pass-fail course that is designed to create a community of students with similar intellectual interests. There is no homework associated with Berkeley Connect: no exams, no papers, no quizzes. Instead, small group meetings focus on sharing ideas and learning new skills within the Music major as a way to foster friendships and provide a supportive intellectual community for Berkeley undergraduates.The only requirement for joining Berkeley Connect in Music is that you have an interest in the field of study. You do not have to be a major in order to participate! Undeclared freshmen and sophomores are welcome, along with entering junior transfers and juniors and seniors who have declared the major.

Every semester, Berkeley Connect sponsors a wide range of activities and events for participating students.  They include:

  • small-group meetings led by your mentor;
  • one-on-one meetings with your mentor;
  • special events, including informal lectures by professors and guest speakers, and panels on career options, graduate school admissions, and other topics;
  • and visits to Berkeley resources.

At the heart of Berkeley Connect is the relationship between you and your mentor. The Berkeley Connect mentors are advanced graduate students or recent PhDs in Music, who are chosen both for their demonstrated commitment to undergraduates and for their scholarly achievement. They are dedicated to providing the kind of close-knit community and one-on-one attention that can be hard to find at a large university.

When you sign up for Berkeley Connect, you will join one of several small groups of participants in Music. Your small group will be led by your mentor, and will meet every other week during the semester for an hour-long dinner discussion sessions. Discussions will focus on key intellectual issues within Music as well as key skills you need to succeed in the major. Above all, the small groups will focus on building connections among students, so that each group becomes a supportive community for all participants.

You will also meet with your mentor one-on-one at least twice during the semester, once to get acquainted, and a second time just before Tele-Bears, to discuss your plans for completing your major. Your mentor also has office hours every other week, during which you are free to show up and ask questions, talk over your day or your week, discuss what you are learning in class, or just have an informal conversation.


Maria Sonevytsky

Maria SonevytskyI am an Assistant Professor of Music (Ethnomusicology). My first book, Wild Music: Sound and Sovereignty in Ukraine, was published by Wesleyan University Press in 2019. I’m currently developing two new book projects. My projects have explored practices of sovereignty and what I call “wildness” in post-Soviet Ukrainian “ethno-music,” the legacy of Soviet cultural policies on music after socialism, folklore and nuclear experience after Chornobyl, Soviet constructions of childhood and the role of expressive culture in disciplining Soviet citizens, and the gray zones occupied by late Soviet punk culture. My M.A. thesis was in critical organology, examining the piano accordion and how players negotiate its “cultural baggage” in NYC. I received my PhD from Columbia University, and before coming to Berkeley I was an Assistant Professor at Bard College.

I’ve performed in a variety of acts over the years. My trio with Susan Hwang and Mia Pixley, which we conceived of as a twisted Andrews Sisters novelty group, was called The Debutante Hour. Starting in 2004, I played piano, accordion, and whatever else was needed with the new music mavericks of Anti-Social Music. I have sung Ukrainian village songs with Zozulka and produced an album called “The Chornobyl Songs Project” on Smithsonian Folkways in 2015 with Ensemble Hilka. I performed in the Yara Arts Group production “Scythian Stones,” which we performed in New York, Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan, and Kyiv, Ukraine. In 2012, I did a six month US, European, and Trans-Siberian to China tour playing punk shows with my husband. I have two sweet kids.

I don’t mind being asked about the correct pronunciation of my last name. It is pronounced Sun+eh+vyt (like the “I” in “fit”)+ski (like the winter sport). Good luck!

Berkeley Connect Mentors

Peter HumphreyPeter Humphrey is a PhD candidate in Music.

Where did you grow up?


Where did you go to college and what was your major?

York, Music.

In a sentence or two, how would you describe your research?

The history of sound systems and mixing boards.

Semester Activities

Berkeley Connect in Music / Spring 2020

Faculty Director: Prof. Myra Melford
Mentor: Peter Humphrey
Office Hours: Monday 12-1pm (Every other week)

MU 98BC – Wednesday, 5-6 PM

MU 198BC – Wednesday, 6-7 PM

All small group meetings will meet in Morrison 117.

Berkeley Connect links undergraduate students with experienced mentors in Music. These mentors lead small groups of students in regular meetings; they also meet with students one-on-one to provide guidance and advice. The core of the Berkeley Connect program is a one-credit, pass-fail course that is designed to create a community of students with similar intellectual interests. There is no homework associated with Berkeley Connect: no exams, no papers, no quizzes. Instead, small group meetings focus on sharing ideas and learning new skills within the Music major as a way to foster friendships and provide a supportive intellectual community for Berkeley undergraduates.

In the small-group meetings you’ll brainstorm about big questions like how new technologies change our ways of listening to music or how it works as a soundtrack to everyday life. Other weeks we’ll tackle more pragmatic questions, such as how to find opportunities to do research in music fields, or how to write a great paper for a music course. Yet other times the group might just listen to a piece of music and share reactions. These intimate group meetings are complemented by activities open to all Berkeley Connect students–we’ll attend a concert together and talk about it afterwards, hear from faculty about their own musical passions, and hear from UCB Music grads who have gone on to work in music about how they got where they are and what they remember most fondly about their undergrad years. Berkeley Connect is a place to mingle with music faculty and graduate students, in an open setting without homework or evaluation, to share ideas and appreciate music together.

Berkeley Connect requires no homework assignments, papers, or exams. You are simply required to participate. What do we mean by participation?  For the two one-on-one mentoring sessions, we expect you to respect your mentor’s time by showing up promptly and prepared to engage in an honest conversation about your academic interests, goals, concerns, challenges, etc. The section meetings are designed to involve students in interactive discussions and activities. The more students share their ideas, opinions, and perspectives, the more valuable these sessions will be for you and for your fellow students. We understand that some students are more comfortable speaking in group settings than others. We strive to provide ways for students to interact in pairs and small groups, and to contribute in various ways. You don’t have to be a frequent speaker in order to be an engaged participant; listening is also a powerful way of being present. We do ask that you give your fellow students your full attention, and that you commit to being an engaged member of the group, even if you do so quietly. This means, among other things, putting away all screen devices unless you’ve been invited to use them for a specific activity. Meeting these expectations will allow you to reap the full benefit of participating in Berkeley Connect, and make your presence a benefit to others.


Attendance policy and grading:

Berkeley Connect is offered Pass/Not Pass. In order to receive a Pass, you must:

  1.    Attend the eight scheduled small-group sessions (attendance will be taken)
  2.    Participate in two one-on-one meetings with your mentor
  3.    Attend the special events (panel discussions, etc.) unless you have an unavoidable scheduling conflict, and at least ONE of the field trips which you report on to your mentor
  4.    Complete the required exit survey at the end of the semester


Your emergency evacuation assembly area is the lawn just south of Hertz Hall.

In the event of an emergency please follow instructions from your instructor and Music Department staff.

Take note of emergency procedures posted in your classroom. If the fire alarm is sounding, exit the building immediately. In the event of an earthquake, duck when possible and hold in place, covering your head with your arms, a binder or your laptop. Then exit the building when the shaking stops.

If you are in a wheelchair and on the second floor of Morrison, proceed to the Designated Waiting Area for evacuation. A Disabled Evacuation Chair is located in the first floor classroom hallway.

If you are in a wheelchair and in the basement area, exit through the long locker hallway and through the service area out the door to your right at the end of the hall. You may need assistance to open the outside door.


  •    UC Police and all emergencies number from campus phones: 911
  •    UC Police and all emergencies number from cell phones: (510) 642-3333
  •    UC Police non-emergency number: (510) 642-6760


Federal copyright laws protect all original works of authorship fixed in a tangible medium. When using material that has been written, recorded, or designed by someone else, it is important to make sure that you are not violating copyright law by improperly using someone else’s intellectual property.

The Department of Music is committed to upholding copyright law. As a student enrolled in this music class, you may be provided with access to copyrighted music which is directly related to the content of this course. It is our expectation that you will utilize these digital recordings during the course of the semester that you are enrolled in this class, and will delete these recordings after the close of the course. The purpose and character under which these recordings are being provided to you is for nonprofit educational purposes only.

To read more about UC’s Policy and Guidelines on the Reproduction of Copyrighted Materials for Teaching and Research, visit (Links to an external site.)


Week 1 – Jan 22

*5:30 – 6:30pm Opening Welcome Event* Morrison Room 117

Week 2 – Jan 29

Small Group 1 Introductions, ice-breakers & meet your colleagues: We will get to know one another in this session, explore our tastes in music and what to expect from Berkeley Connect in Music this semester.

Week 3 – Feb 5

Small Group 2 Talking about music – How do we talk about music? Why do we do it? We will discuss ways to talk about music and explain what we like and don’t like about a piece of music.

Week 4 – Feb 12

*6:00 – 7:30pm Small Group 3* 10 Evans
Tony Cascardi & Jenny Dearborn Interview

Week 5 – Feb 19

No Meeting – Meet Your Mentor Sessions

Week 6 – Feb 26

Small Group 4 Sound Technology – We will look in a general sense how questions around technology interact with music and why this is important/relevant now.

Week 7 – Mar 4

Small Group 5 Movie Soundtracks – What makes a good soundtrack? What aspects of music work with video? We will explore your favorite movie soundtracks and discuss.

Week 8 – Mar 11

No meeting

Week 9 – Mar 18

Small Group 6 Improvisation – What is improvised music? How does improvisation work in music practices?

Week 10 – Mar 25

Spring Break

Week 11 – Apr 1

Small Group 7 Music Genre – What is genre? Why does it matter? How does it impact your experience of music? We will discuss the role of genre categories.

Week 12 – Apr 8

Small Group 8 Presentation by Berkeley Connect in Music Director Myra Melford

Week 13 – Apr 15

No Meeting – Meet Your Mentor Sessions

Week 14 – Apr 22

No Meeting – Meet Your Mentor Sessions

Week 15 – Apr 29

No Meeting

Week 16 – May 6

Study Break snacks & chill with your mentor, YouTube Karaoke, Musical Potluck

Field Trip Options:

  1. February 9 – An Evening of Jazz Duos Onstage (Zellerbach Hall, 7pm
  2. February 15 – Jazz Improv (Hertz Hall, 7pm)
  3.  March 4 – Noon Concert: Graduate Student Composers (Hertz Hall, 12pm)
  4. March 17 – Dartmouth Big Band & Berkeley Nu Jazz Collective (Morrison, 250
  5. April 14 – Myra Melford’s Snowy Egret (Freight & Salvage, 7.30pm)


To find sections in the upcoming semester, search the Schedule of Classes for Music 98BC (for first-year and sophomores) or 198BC (for juniors and seniors).

To help you meet other students who share your experiences and perspectives, Berkeley Connect sections are designated as lower division (first-year students and sophomores), new junior transfers, and upper division (juniors and seniors), but you can enroll in any section that fits your schedule and credit requirements.

How to Sign Up

To participate in Berkeley Connect in Music, you enroll in a designated section of Music 98BC or 198BC (one unit, taken on a Pass/Not Pass basis). Many students chose to enroll for more than one semester. Participation is NOT restricted to declared majors.To sign up, enroll in a Berkeley Connect section when course registration opens.  Please see the Berkeley Connect sections listed above under “Schedule.”

**Read the schedule notes carefully—different sections are designated as primarily for lower-division (freshmen and sophomores), upper-division (juniors and seniors), or junior transfer students.

If you are interested in participating in Berkeley Connect, but course registration is not currently open, you can join the Berkeley Connect Mailing List, and you will be sent more details when the next semester’s information becomes available.

Contact Us

Please see our FAQs.  If you have additional questions about Berkeley Connect in Music, please contact:  Professor Myra Melford (

You can also contact the central Berkeley Connect office  at or (510)664-4182.

Links & Resources