As with many of the things that we do in my courses, a great deal of it revolves around discussion and presenting them with questions to guide their thought and allow them to explore the issue. These are no different.
#1: This assignment is for a jazz literature and appreciation course.
Let us take a look at "jazz" music through the lens of authenticity.
What does it mean for music in general to be authentic?
What is "authentic" jazz?
Since most students do not come into this course with knowledge of jazz music(s), lets being the discussion with what it means to be authentic in the popular music that they encounter in their everyday world. What is the difference between a music developing and in turn becoming less authentic?
Read: "Authenticity Within Hip=Hop and Other Cultures Threatened with Assimilation" by Kembrew McLeod
Here the author discusses what makes Hip-Hop "real" or "authentic". Music that does not conform to these criterion are therefore considered "fake" forms or perhaps even commercial forms of the music. Is the move of a rapper like Will Smith to more "commercialized" Hip-Hop truly a move away from "Authenticity" or is it a move in the development of the Hip-Hop medium?
Think back to early jazz and the definitions that were used to describe this music. Was Louis Armstrong correct when he insinuated that Bebop was not "authentic" jazz music because it did not conform to the early jazz forms that he had grown up playing? Why or why not? Does your view change with artists like Herby Hancock who used jazz to cross over into the popular music market? What is the difference between these two types of "development" within jazz? Would you define one as "authentic" and another as "Fake"? Is there a difference between "development" of a musical genre (in this case jazz) and the commercialization of that genre?
Write 2 - 4 pages explaining to the best of your ability what "authentic" jazz is and offer examples of "authentic" versus "fake" jazz forms. Touch also on the difference between "development" and "commercialization" of jazz.
#2: This assignment is aimed at my voice students and class voice students. However, I think it may even be applicable to music appreciation as well.
Thinking about authenticity in performance and in music...what makes a performance authentic? What makes it more than a performance, but rather makes it an experience that is shared by all, performer and audience member alike?
Music today focuses so much on the performer and their perceived "authenticity" which is in fact their image...and the performance of that music as well. But is that what makes the music...the fact that someone who has a name or an image is performing the music?
Read: "4 Real: Authenticity, Performance, and Rock Music" by David Pattie
Looking at the idea of "Authenticity" in performance from the perspective of rock music, what do you believe provoked the response or the "experience" to the concert the Verve performed in this article? How do you think that correlates to the attribute James says the performer must have under heading "Two" within the article?
Is the "experience" that was created due to the fact that the Verve were the ones performing the music...i.e. is it there image that created the experience or was it something greater?
Is the "Authenticity" or "truth" of the performer and their image the important part or is it the fact that the performer found the "authenticity" or "truth" in the music and was able to present that truth to the audience?
Write 2 - 3 pages (or more if necessary) discussing what you believe your role as a performer is in terms of the music and the audience you are performing for. What does it mean to search for the "truth" in music? Why is that "truth" important to you as a musician?
Or for music appreciation
Write 2 - 3 pages (or more if necessary) discussing what you believe you role as a listener is in terms of the music you are hearing? What do you expect of the performer of that music? How do you assess if the performance of that music was an "authentic" or "truthful" performance? How does the search for authenticity in the music and the performance of that music inform the way in which you may chose to listen?