Objectives: The student is expected to listen and respond critically to music in a live performance environment and to articulate an informed, personal reaction in a coherent and engaging manner. You must demonstrate an awareness of the subject matter by communicating your interpretation of the concert as it reflects Western Art music. Include a discussion that informs the reader of the historical and social context in which the music originally fit and how it is relevant now.
Content: You should have an engaging title that captures the character of the performance. The content of your essay should include but not be limited to the following: the music itself (who performed, what they performed, what can you tell me about the music that was programmed . . .). Assess the effectiveness of the programming. How did the selections relate to one another? Describe the stylistic characteristics of each selection – or choose one or two pieces to write about in detail – be creative! Your discussion of the music is the most important part of this paper – do not pad your paper with unnecessary descriptions or composer-biography. Compare and contrast the opening and concluding numbers. How did they relate to the overall programming? If you use any information from the program notes or any other source, make sure you cite it.
Length: At least 4 pages, typed in a 12-point Tahoma or similar font, double-spaced, 1” margins.
Assessment: Your grade will be based on:
Content – especially your ability to write about the music, give an informed personal reaction to the music, and to show your critical/historical thought about music as you discuss the pieces in terms of style, form, texture, color, harmony, melody, and rhythm.
Mechanics – proof-read your work – spell-check – make sure each sentence and paragraph makes sense. Your ability to communicate your ideas should not be hindered by carelessness – pay attention to these details so that the reader may enjoy your ideas without being distracted.
Clarity and quality of thought Title – the title should not be “Concert Essay,” or “Symphony Concert,” etc. It should capture your primary impression of the event and the music you heard.
Ability to follow guidelines set up for paper including length, font, margins, etc.
Please avoid the deadly “blow by blow” running account of the concert. Give an overall account of the event with detailed information about the music and informed opinions. Please avoid vague, space filled comments such as “It was nice,” or “the performers wore black” or “the chairs in the recital hall were purple.” This critique should be a synthesis of the concert.