B.A. in Music with a Concentration in Traditional Music

Visit the UL Lafayette and School of Music websites to learn about the Traditional Music Curriculum.

Traditional Music Courses at UL Lafayette
Spring 2015
(January 14 – May 8)

Don’t read music?  No problem! All of our hands-on courses are taught by ear. If you are not accustomed to learning by ear, prepare to add a new facet to your musicianship.

Not a UL student?  Contact University College, universitycollege@louisiana.edu or 337-482-6729337-482-6729 to learn how to enroll.

UL student? Note that of the classes described on this page, some count toward the Music Minor (MUS 319, 328, 329) and even more of them count toward the Cajun & Creole Studies Minor: AMUS 160 (Sec 1 & 2), MUS 328, 329, 360.

Songwriting - MUS 319
Tues, 5 - 8pm, Johanna Divine, Instructor
Write songs (both words and music), alone or in teams, in genre(s) according to your interests. May be repeated once for credit. Prereq: English 102 (or equivalent) with a grade of “C” or better. Johanna Divine is a songwriter, singer, and filmmaker. Her most recent CD is entitled, Electric Tide. She also serves as Sales Director at KRVS 88.7 FM public radio.

Intermediate Cajun Fiddle - MUS 328
Tues & Thurs, 5:00 – 6:15pm, Kevin Wimmer, Instructor

This class is for students who have completed Beginning Cajun Fiddle, those who can already play several tunes, or those who are otherwise proficient on the violin. Kevin Wimmer is a veteran fiddler from a musical family and studied with Dewey Balfa before going on to play with Balfa Toujours and the Red Stick Ramblers. He currently performs with Steve Riley and the Mamou Playboys.

Beginning Button Accordion - MUS 329
Mon & Wed, 5 – 6:15pm, Nathan Williams, Jr.

If you have a button accordion in the key of C and are wondering what to do with it, you are ready for one of UL Lafayette’s traditional music courses, Beginning Button Accordion. You will receive instruction in traditional Cajun and Creole French dance music including zydeco from Nathan Williams, Jr. He fronts the band, Lil Nathan and the Zydeco Big Timers. They have released six CD’s and were nominated by “Offbeat Magazine” for best zydeco artist and album.

Cajun and Zydeco Music - MUS 360
Tues & Thurs, 12:30 – 1:45pm, Kristi Guillory, Instructor

Learn the history of Cajun and Creole music from the 1600s to the present day, and how to appreciate the music even more. This limited-enrollment class includes a term project and occasional visits from prominent musicians. Kristi Guillory became a child prodigy of accordion in the early 1990s and has since earned her place among the modern masters. Kristi is obsessed with sad, pitiful Cajun songs, raunchy drinking ones and the fantastical lyrics of old Cajun a cappella ballads. A co-founder of the band Bonsoir Catin, she is a poet, a scholar, an emotional and passionate vocalist and a fearless songsmith.

Music Appreciation: Music of the World - MUS 364
Wed, 5-8pm, Dr. Jessamyn Doan, Instructor

Learn about traditional and popular music from contrasting music cultures across the globe. This lecture class is an introduction to music as a universal human activity and as an expression of personal and group identity. Instruction will include participatory components such as learning dance steps and/or playing musical instruments from the regions studied.

Ethnomusicologist Jessamyn Doan recently completed her doctorate in ethnomusicology at the University of Pennsylvania, after writing her dissertation, “Allons à Lafayette (Let's Go To Lafayette): The Intersection of Heritage and Tourism in Southwest Louisiana's Cajun Music Revival.”

Music Theory for Oral Traditions - MUS 110
Tues & Thurs, 9:30-10:45am, Mark DeWitt, Professor
Study of melodic, rhythmic, and harmonic elements of oral traditions of North America through vocal and instrumental performance, analysis, and improvisation. Includes memory drills and ear training. Intended primarily for students in the traditional music degree program, the B.A. in Music with a Concentration in Traditional Music.

Ethnomusicologist Mark F. DeWitt holds the Dr. Tommy Comeaux Endowed Chair in Traditional Music. He is author of the book, Cajun and Zydeco Dance Music in Northern California (2008) and a contributor to The Accordion in the Americas: Klezmer, Polka, Tango, Zydeco, and More! (2012)

the Angelle Aces (Cajun Music Ensemble) - AMUS 160, Section 001
Time TBD, Mitch Reed, Instructor

UL Lafayette students who play violin, accordion, or guitar: here is your chance to play Cajun French music for credit. We are also open to having other instruments. If you are interested in the ensemble but play another instrument, please consider auditioning. The Aces meet for two hours a week for one credit. 

Instructor Mitch Reed started playing the fiddle at age 15. Through his father he became acquainted with some of Acadiana's great masters such as Canray Fontenot, Wade Frugé and Dewey Balfa. Mitch currently plays bass and fiddle with the Grammy-winning BeauSoleil avec Michael Doucet.

Sign up for a 10-minute audition time by phone (482-1020) or email (dewitt@louisiana.edu). Regular rehearsal time will be set after auditions.

Zydeco Music Ensemble - AMUS 160, Section 002
Time TBD, Nathan Williams Jr, Instructor

If you already play accordion, rubboard, electric guitar or bass, drums, or another instrument you’ve seen with a zydeco band, you are ready to try out for our program’s newest ensemble.

Nathan Williams, Jr. has a degree in jazz performance from UL Lafayette and fronts Lil Nathan and the Zydeco Big Timers. They have released six CD’s and were nominated by “Offbeat Magazine” for best zydeco artist and album.

Sign up for a 10-minute audition time by phone (482-1020) or email (dewitt@louisiana.edu). Regular rehearsal time will be set after auditions.

Vermilion Express (Bluegrass Music Ensemble) - AMUS 160, Section 003
Time TBD, Len Springer, Instructor

UL Lafayette students who play violin, banjo, mandolin, upright bass, dobro or guitar: here is your chance to play bluegrass music for credit. Singers welcome. Vermilion Express meets for two hours a week for one credit.

Instructor Len Springer is the leader and fiddler for the Louisiana Purchase Bluegrass Band. Their most recent CD is Story to Tell. Len toured widely with several Nashville-based artists including Brenda Lee, Donna Fargo, Ronnie Reno and Ray Price. He also worked as a staff fiddler for Top Tracks demo studio in Nashville. He was the founder and director of the South Louisiana Bluegrass Association, Inc. 

Sign up for a 10-minute audition time by phone (482-1020) or email (dewitt@louisiana.edu). Regular rehearsal time will be set after auditions.

If you are interested in becoming a traditional music major, contact Dr. DeWitt.

Not a UL student?  Contact University College, universitycollege@louisiana.edu or 337-482-6729337-482-6729, to learn how to enroll. Beginning Cajun Fiddle, Beginning Button Accordion and Cajun and Zydeco Music 360 online are all open to non-University students. Register for these courses through University College.

Don’t read music?  No problem! All hands-on courses are taught by ear. If you are not accustomed to learning by ear, prepare to add a new facet to your musicianship.

The mission of the Dr. Tommy Comeaux Endowed Chair in Traditional Music is to stimulate interdisciplinary research on the foundations and diversity of traditional music worldwide and to advance the preservation, instruction, and performance of traditional music with an emphasis on traditions that have developed in Acadiana. For more information, contact Professor Mark DeWitt, dewitt@louisiana.edu, www.tommycomeaux.com, 337-482-1020337-482-1020, or www.facebook.com/ComeauxTradMusic 

Learn about traditional and popular music from contrasting music cultures across the globe. This lecture class is an introduction to music as a universal human activity and as an expression of personal and group identity. Instruction will include participatory components such as learning dance steps and/or playing musical instruments from the regions studied.

Ethnomusicologist Jessamyn Doan recently completed her doctorate in ethnomusicology at the University of Pennsylvania, after writing her dissertation, “Allons à Lafayette (Let's Go To Lafayette): The Intersection of Heritage and Tourism in Southwest Louisiana's Cajun Music Revival.”