Concert Review Essay Guidelines

Submitted by Jason L. Robinson on Sunday, 2/1/2009, at 3:28 PM

The central writing/research component to this course is a series of three concert review essays.  These guidelines pertain to all three concert review essays.  The due dates are as follows:

Concert Review Essay 1 – due via email no later than 5pm on Thursday March 5
Concert Review Essay 2 – due via email no later than 5pm on Thursday April 9
Concert Review Essay 3 – due via email no later than 5pm on Thursday April 30


For each concert review essay, you must attend a jazz-related concert and write a 5-8 page critical analysis of the performance.  NOTE: AT LEAST 1 of the concerts you write about must take place off campus.  “Jazz” and “jazz-related” hold a variety of meanings and as such many concerts can be used for your essays.  I will make several suggestions for on- and off-campus concerts throughout the quarter.  If you would like to attend a concert that is not mentioned in class, you must first discuss the concert with me.  Ultimately, it is your responsibility to plan ahead, to select appropriate concerts and give yourself enough time to write a detailed essay.

The Faultlines festival includes many on-campus concerts that would be ideal for concert review essays.  A schedule of concerts are found on the festival website:

www.amherst.edu/faultlines

Concert review essays should take the form of an argumentative essay, an in depth critical analysis of the performance that utilizes empirical observations, course readings, and other references to support the statements you are asserting about the concert.  You must address the following issues:
•    Date and location of the concert.
•    Who are the performers and what is the instrumentation of the group?
•    What is(are) the social function(s) of the music and how does that impact the relationship between audience and performer?
•    What are the racial demographics of the audience and performers?
•    Describe at least five songs performed at the concert addressing the following issues:
o    What is the name of each song?
o    What is the basic structure of each song?
o    Explain how the instruments are interacting with each other.
o    Which form of improvisation – solo or collective – seems most prominent in each song?  Explain.
•    Compare/contrast a song from the required listening with a song from the concert.  You may use a variety of elements to make the connection between the songs: prominent forms of improvisation, political/social content, instrumentation, etc…
•    How does the music reflect notions of traditionalism and/or experimentalism?

It is recommended that you speak with the performers during a set break or at the end of the concert to ask them any questions that you might have about their performance.

You must cite (in parentheticals or footnotes) at least 4 readings from the required reading and 2 additional sources that are not required reading for the course.  You must also include a bibliography.  Your essay must be typed, 5-8 pages in length, and using 12 point Times New Roman font (or the equivalent).  It is recommended that you bring a complete rough draft of your essay to office hours for review before the due date.  This will help to ensure that you receive the highest grade possible.  Except under exceptional circumstances, no late work will be accepted.

 

Taking Notes