Questlove of The Roots is teaming up with Harry Weinger of Universal Music to bring classic mid-20th century music to students at NYU’s Clive Davis Department of Recorded Music.
The Roots duo will be teaching a course titled Classic Albums next semester, covering records made primarily between the late ’60s through the ’80s. Weinger and Questlove have collaborated before, bonding over old school music for years, with Questlove speaking at Weinger’s Stevie Wonder course last year.
With encouragement from Jason King, artistic director of Recorded Music, and the attractive prospect of adding professor to his resume for Questlove, the two decided to undertake the course together. Weinger, vicepresident of artists and repertoire for Universal Music and recorded music instructor at the institute, explained that the albums covered in Classic Albums are the ones that mean the most to himself and Questlove. He is curious to see how the students will react to records the pair deems timeless music and are excited to see how they feed off of Questlove’s knowledge.
“[I’m looking forward to] the students seeing and hearing, fully absorbing, what I have seen and heard from Questlove,” Weinger said. “A thirst for knowledge and an open mind beyond a comfort zone.”
The highly anticipated course is already causing Tisch freshman Evan Bonham, who is a fan of The Roots, anxiety about registering into the class. He noted that the Questlove-Weinger teaching combination is generating buzz around the Clive Davis Institute.
“I think his passion and intellect on what makes classic music what it is gives him a unique quality as a professor, making him the perfect pick to teach this class,” Bonham said. “The amount of experience, connections, and musical knowledge industry professionals provide are immense, creating a legitimate learning experience that can’t be replicated by someone who has no presence or experience in the industry.”
Jeff Rabhan, chair of Recorded Music at the institute, reiterated the students’ sentiment in regards to the announcement.
“In our continued quest to bring the professional world to the classroom, we’re thrilled that Harry and Questlove will be co-teaching this groundbreaking new course,” Rabhan said. “It is an incredible opportunity for our students, and I’m confident that all involved will be enriched by this experience.”
The premise of the course built on past classic albums can lend insight to students who are caught up in today’s mainstream, Weinger explained.
“Technology in the 21st century culture moves quickly. We have little time to reflect on art, and because there is a ‘pop’ element to music, It can be easily dismissed.” he said. “I see this class as an opportunity as best [as] we can in seven weeks to slow down the rush to judgment, to understand that a classic takes time to bloom.”
A version of this article appeared in the Wednesday, Oct. 24 print edition. Gentry Brown is university editor. Email her at email@example.com.
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