Beatles-inspired class a big hit
The sound coming from inside the doors of room 2100 in the Center of the Arts building is a reminder of the power of music, and how four young men changed the world.
On Tuesdays and Thursdays at noon, Jeffrey Piper teaches the structure of songwriting with the aid of four famous experts. The class is The Beatles: Revolution, and it is in its fourth year.
Piper said he is teaching three sections of the class this semester: two physical classes and one online. The class has been popular since UNM began offering it in 2010.
“The online class is virtually gone about five or 10 minutes after midnight, with 16 to 20 people on the waiting list,” Piper said.
The class is a product of Piper’s lifelong love of The Beatles, who he first saw as a child, when the group appeared on the Ed Sullivan Show. From that moment on, the Fab Four would become a focal point in his life.
“The class itself is not so much about The Beatles; it’s about growing up, it’s about life and it’s about the facts of life,” Piper said. “It’s mainly about the creating process.”
The class has only one text, “Can’t Buy Me Love” by Jonathan Gould, and consists of discussion and critical evaluations.
Student Robyn Barrymore immediately signed up for the class after finding it in the course catalog.
“The Beatles are a big cultural influence that transcend cultures, and are important for different types of music and how it affects people,” Barrymore said.
The course spans from the rock group’s beginnings in street music through their breakup in 1970. The curriculum also includes the people who helped the Lads from Liverpool become a driving force in music, such as producer George Martin, keyboardist Billy Preston, former band member Pete Best and band manager Brian Epstein.
After following the careers of the quartet, students look into the group’s decision to stop touring, the backlash and controversy over Lennon’s comment about Jesus, the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi and his influence on the band, the Apple Corp. and finally the breakup.
The class seems to have notoriety of its own, and is known by music enthusiasts across campus. Caitlin Holland, a current member of the class, heard of it through word of mouth. She feels The Beatles have impacted the culture we enjoy today, as well as past events such as the Vietnam War.
“The Beatles’ songs open your mind to view music in a different way,” she said.