FA/MUSI 1900 3.0: Music and the City (Winter 2018) Performance Review
Date Due: Thursday March 15 (Beginning of Tutorial)
to provide you with an opportunity to attend a musical event in Toronto
to situate a musical performance in its cultural context
to practise using language to describe the sound and experience of music
to practise describing and evaluating musical performances
Based on your budget and/or schedule, attend a musical performance. The event must be viewed live and in person (i.e., online performances or DVDS are not suitable for this assignment). Write rough notes about EVERYTHING that you see and hear at the event. Keep your pen moving throughout the entire performance. If this isn’t possible during the performance, take the time immediately after to write everything down. These rough notes are the data from which you will write your paper.
Then, in 500-600 carefully chosen words, write a report of the performance that will include:
the context of the performance (where, when, what, who)
a description of the musical content, including both a general overview of the entire performance as well as a detailed
description of one piece (use vocabulary and concepts used in class lectures and discussions)
a critical analysis and interpretation of the performance; this should include
o the strengths and/or weaknesses of the performance
o your understanding of the significance of aspects of the performance (e.g., a particular song/piece; venue;
audience response); this should not be merely a subjective response, but a sensitive reflection on some
either a ticket stub or a picture of yourself at the concert (unconventional, but easy to do)
The best performance reviewers are those who are able to do the following:
Describe the event in enough detail that its defining characteristics – whether unique to the event or not – are clear
while not being so detailed that it becomes boring. In other words, readers shouldn’t conclude, “Well, that sounds just
like all the other Xs,” nor “Huh?”
Have a strong enough knowledge of the music that they know what criteria to use in interpreting the event (for
example, does the venue matter as much as the performers? did the audience impact the performance in significant
ways?). They do not simply give their understanding of the event, but also how they came to their conclusions.
Be able to compare and contrast the event being considered with other similar events in order to explain how the event
is both unique and consistent with larger trends and traditions.
To give yourself the “knowledgeable” background required to write an effective report, you will need to conduct some research about the music style or event type that you’re considering. Scholarly sources are more reliable than other sources, but it’s quite likely that you will want to use some non-scholarly sources too. Examples of scholarly sources include monographs/books, articles from academic journals, and dictionary and encyclopedia entries. Examples of non-scholarly sources include newspaper articles, webpages, blogs, Wikipedia, and so on. A minimum of TWO SCHOLARLY SOURCES should be consulted and used in writing your review. Use non-scholarly sources sparingly, if at all.
This is more than a review, so you must cite your sources. We will consider the issue of citing sources prior to the due date of the assignment. If you are still unsure, please contact a reference librarian for assistance. The citation style we will be using in this course is the Chicago Manual of Style (author/date system); more details will be provided in your tutorials. Online assistance is also always available from the York University Library website.
Therefore, we will expect to see the following:
in-text citations (citations at the moment that you present information or ideas not your own)
a list of works cited at the end of your review (only list items that you cite in your review, not every source that you
citation formatting consistent with Chicago Manual of style (author/date system)
The review should be typed, double-spaced, with one-inch margins in 12-point font (Times New Roman, Arial, Calibri or another standard font). On the top left corner of the document, identify the performance, location, and date, single-spaced. On the top right corner or the document, write your name, TA’s name, tutorial number and date, also single-spaced. Do not use a separate title page.
Academic Integrity Tutorial
In order to demonstrate that you understand what constitutes academic integrity, and when it is necessary for you to document sources and how, please complete the Academic Integrity Tutorial: https://spark.library.yorku.ca/academic-integrity-what-is- academic-integrity/. When you are finished, please complete the Academic Integrity Checklist (https://www.library.yorku.ca/spark/academic_integrity/Academic%20Integrity%20Checklist.pdf). Print a copy and attach it to the back of your assignment.
Due Date: Thursday March 15
Please note that it is your responsibility to plan ahead. Don’t tell us the day that the review is due that you had planned to attend a concert the night before, but a) your car broke down, b) your parents required you at the last minute to babysit your little brother, c) you got sick, or d) your computer got a nasty virus and ate all your work. You will have had several weeks to pick and attend a concert and write a review. If you choose to wait to the last minute and something goes wrong, you will have to deal with the consequences!
To give you some ideas about how to write this, try reading some online reviews of music or other performance events (google “concert reviews” or “concert reports” in Whole Note, National Post, Globe and Mail, etc.). Keep in mind, however, that these are not reviews for a university course; yours will be a bit different. You’ll notice that I’ve used the word “report” as often as “review” in this document. This is to suggest that the interpretive process of understanding the performance is more important than the evaluative component. To this end, what you’re going to write will depart from standard “reviews” (focusing primarily on what’s good and what’s not so good about the performance); it approaches, instead, a “performance ethnography” that focuses on the WHYs of the performance as much as the what/where/when questions.
Hints for Writing
don’t use big words just to try to impress the reader
don’t overgeneralize – the event you attend is probably not going to be “the best concert ever”
don’t overwrite – say what you need to say in the simplest way possible
use an active voice, rather than a passive voice – an active voice is more inviting to your reader
use “I” where it is appropriate – this is YOUR response to an artistic event
always read what you’ve written out loud: Does it make sense to you? Does it flow?
have a colleague proof-read your work for both mechanics and meaning – do not rely on spell-check
Help with Writing
This assignment will be graded with the expectation that all students are able to read and write English at the standard first-year university level. If you know that your writing skills fall below that level or you want to work on improving your writing skills, consider the following options:
– Register to work with a writing tutor at York’s Centre for Academic Writing (329 South Ross, 416-736-5134). To work with a tutor, you must make an appointment about two weeks ahead of time. This service is free for York students.
– If English is your second language, you may use the services of the ESL Open Learning Centre (Room 116
Atkinson/New College, 416-736-2100 ext. 22940). You must register as a user http://www.yorku.ca/eslolc/keele/default.asp