The Ronettes

Around Cornell

News directly from Cornell's colleges and centers

Popular Music Course Makes its Winter Session Debut

Cornell’s Winter Session has always been a great way for students to earn credits, but many may not realize that some popular courses, often closed out during the spring and fall semesters, are also available during the winter.

One such course is Music 2260: Music of the 1960s, taught by Benjamin Piekut, professor and director of graduate studies for the Cornell Department of Music in the College of Arts & Sciences. This online course will be offered for the first time during Winter Session, which runs January 3-21, 2022. 

Over three weeks the class will examine how rock, jazz, folk, classical, soul and experimental music contributed to the counterculture during the Vietnam War, the civil rights movement, women’s liberation and the space race in the United States.

The four-credit course is open to all majors.

“I enjoy working with every kind of student,” Piekut said. “Huge fans of the period, beginners, students of politics who want to connect their interests with music history or people in American or Africana studies who want to investigate how race and gender played out in popular culture in the ’60s.”

Most associate 1960s music with rock, but many genres are covered in the course, Piekut said.

“I want students to have a deeper understanding of the heterogeneity of the 1960s—it was experienced very differently depending on where one was situated in the social field,” Piekut said. “And some genres that aren’t the first that come to mind—musicals, country and western, electronic music, free jazz—can provide really fascinating views on the volatile politics of the period. I’m happy when newcomers to the cultural study of music history gain confidence in speaking about music analytically.”

Cornell senior Sahana Shridhar, who took the course online last fall, said, “The class really opened my eyes. We of course discussed the Beatles. We also looked at prominent girl groups at the time and their political implications.”

Students can explore more than 50 other offerings during Winter Session as well. This year’s roster includes courses in Africana studies, American studies, animal science, anthropology, biology, business, classics, communication, economics, gender studies, global politics, government, history, human development, information science, music, psychology and statistics.

“The Cornell University Winter Session offers students a singular opportunity to enjoy the excitement and academic rigor that’s involved in focusing on a single subject for a brief but concentrated period of time,” said Charles W. Jermy, Jr., interim dean of the School of Continuing Education. “It’s a great way to get ahead before spring, catch up on your studies, or learn something new.”

Enrollment in Cornell's Winter Session 2022 is open to anyone interested in taking a class—from undergrads and high school students to alumni and any motivated adult.

The deadline for visiting students to register is December 6. Cornell students may enroll in classes up to January 4.

To learn more and enroll, visit

This story appears in SCE news

Shelley Preston is the School of Continuing Education and Summer Sessions’ communications and marketing specialist.

Media Contact

Media Relations Office