Shimer College

HUM1 : Art & Music Course

The Humanities 1 course investigates the elements and forms of the musical and visual arts.

This course is primarily about the tasks of active listening and viewing, and of developing the ability to articulate one’s responses to works of art and music. The course is organized according to a layering principle, beginning with works that are “simple” in the sense that they underscore a particular element: melody, harmony, tonality in music; line, color, shape in the visual arts. As the course progresses, the works become more complex and the listening and viewing faculties are applied to works in which formal properties are paramount. 

The learning process is enhanced by trips to concerts and museums in Chicago, as well as by the study of works on aesthetics which explore the definition of art and the relationship of the artist to the work itself and to the audience.

Cézanne's Man in a RoomCézanne's Man in a Room

Reading List 

  • Plato, “Ion”
  • Honoré de Balzac, “The Unknown Masterpiece”
  • Franz Kafka, “A Hunger Artist”
  • Rudolf Arnheim, Art and Visual Perception
  • Grosvenor W. Cooper, Learning to Listen
  • Aaron Copland, What to Listen for in Music
  • Joshua C. Taylor, Learning to Look
  • Art by Paul Cézanne, Pablo Picasso, Vincent van Gogh,
  • Rembrandt van Rijn, and others
  • Music by Johann Sebastian Bach, Ludwig von Beethoven,
  • Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, and others



Free Admission to the Art Institute of Chicago

  • Shimer College participates in the Art Institute of Chicago University Partner Program. The Art Institute prides itself on being the home of cultural masterpieces from around the world, and a source of inspiration for students of all ages.

    All Shimer students, faculty, and staff receive, free of charge:

    • Admission to the museum
    • Access to the Ryerson and Burnham Libraries
    • An invitation to take part in two College Nights per academic year, in which all students, faculty, and staff are welcome to bring their friends and family for a free night at the museum