Step 1: Learn about the Elements of Music
For this assignment, you will learn about several different elements of music and then use these elements to describe a music performance. To learn about the elements of music, read about and see examples of each element on the Elements of Music page.
Step 2: Read a professional review
Prior to attending the performance, read a professional music review on the website of one of the following major national newspapers: Wall Street Journal, New York Times, Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune, or Washington Post. You should not look for a review of the exact performance or performers you are going to see. Instead, you should look for a review of the same sort of performance. For example, if you are attending a string quartet performance, you should search for a professional music review of a string quartet. Your goal is to consider the standard way in which professional music performances are reviewed. You should keep this in mind as you attend the musical performance you have selected for this course and as you prepare to write your own review of it. In the works cited section at the end of your written assignment, you will include the citation for the review you read.
Step 3: Attend an approved music performance
See the List of Approved Events to select your event. Go prepared with a pen and notebook and be prepared to take notes. Please use a pen, as (believe it or not) pencils make a lot of noise! You will understand the importance of taking notes once you go home and try to write your review.
Remember to look at the program notesthese can be very helpful! Keep in mind that if you choose to use any text from the program in your paper, you must cite it properly. See the Guide to Using Sources for assistance.
Step 4: Complete the written assignment
With the exception of the performance information you will list at the top of your paper, your paper should be in essay format. There should be no headings or text from the prompts included in your paper.
Your responses must follow the order of the prompts as outlined below, with clear paragraph breaks to show that you have followed the prompts in sequence. The responses from the separate prompts should NOT be combined into one lengthy paragraph.
While you will not be graded on word count or page length, your responses must include specific detail and thoughtful analysis. The expected length of a paper that meets rubric requirements is more than 1 page but no more than 2 pages.
Examine the rubric below to see how your paper will be graded.
Please include the following in a list as shown below. This information should be left-aligned.
Date you attended the performance
Place or location of the performance
Name of the group who put on the performance
In essay format, respond to the following prompts. Your responses must follow the order of the prompts. You must include clear paragraph breaks to show when you have finished your response to one prompt and begun responding to the next.
First, describe the physical performance space and the audience. Consider items such as acoustics and aesthetics, the average age of the concert-goer, the general attentiveness of the audience, and anything you found either conducive to or distracting from the performance. How did visual aspects add to or detract from the overall performance?
Second, select one piece from the performance to review briefly. Your review must include the name of the piece, its composer, and any featured or notable performers. Remember that the titles of brief works go in quotation marks; the names of long pieces, such as entire symphonies, go in italics. Your review must include a discussion of three (3) different elements of music and how they were featured in this piece.
Third, repeat the above exercise using a second piece from the performance. Your review of this second piece must include the name of the piece, its composer, and any featured or notable performers. Remember that the titles of brief works go in quotation marks; the names of long pieces, such as entire symphonies, go in italics. Your review must include a discussion of three (3) different elements of music and how they were featured in this piece.
Fourth, compare and contrast the two pieces you have reviewed. Your comparison of the two pieces should center on their use of the elements of music. Your comparison must discuss at least three (3) elements. How were the pieces similar? How were they different?
Fifth, give an overall review of the performance. What were its strongest and weakest points? What did you like best? What did you like least? Would you attend this sort of performance again? Would you give positive recommendations to others? Be specific and give evidence from the performance to support your review.
Works Cited Close your paper with a works cited section. Your works cited should include a citation for the newspaper review you read at the beginning of the assignment. If you referenced the program notes or material from your reading on the Elements of Music, you must provide citations for those. For help formatting your works cited section, see the Guide to Using Sources.
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