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Choose Your Own Lecture (Part II)

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Written by USC blog contributor, Farren Benjamin

This past week, the USC athletic department continued to expand its efforts to bring various lecture series to student-athletes in order to provide each team with a well-rounded college experience and knowledge of different areas of study on campus.

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On Monday, the football team met with Ronald McCurdy, a professor at the Thornton School of Music, who also served as past president of the International Association for Jazz Education (IAJE) and director of the Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz at USC.  McCurdy currently serves as a consultant to the GRAMMY Foundation educational programs and also works as a performing artist for the Yamaha International Corporation.

McCurdy spoke to the team about the history of music in the United States and highlighted the importance of the Harlem Renaissance.  He spoke about basic music fundamentals such as rhythm, harmony and beats while connecting the music history to current trends in the music industry.  McCurdy agreed with the players that music has become a way that people identify themselves with different cultures and lifestyles.

"It's really crazy to think how much music has an impact on our everyday lives," redshirt freshman quarterback Cody Kessler said.  "[The lecture] opened my eyes up to all the history of music and just how much power it has behind it and how far music has come."

The women's soccer team also had the opportunity to attend a lecture series this past week with the USC Institute for Creative Technologies. The ICT center focuses on the advancements in technology and interactive digital media and specializes in developing virtual humans and computer training simulations.

The ICT center taught the team how they create computer-generated avatars with real human-like capabilities.  They also use this technology to train military personnel and develop facial recognition software.  Their advancements in computer-generated humans potentially allows for everyone to have their own avatars.

"I learned about new technology I didn't even know existed and how useful it is for something so important like military training," junior midfielder Courtney Garcia said. "It is really cool to think that you can have your very own avatar that can understand your own strengths and weaknesses that can lead down to helping you out in sports."

The women's soccer team was invited to tour the ICT facility at a later date where they will get the opportunity to look into the process of designing their own avatars.

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