#1: This assignment could be used for a music appreciation course of any type.
You could begin with a discussion of good vs. bad music. What makes them good or bad? What criterion do we use to decide if a piece of music is good or bad?
Have students read:
• How to Review a Concert (Classical) http://www.bachtrack.com/youngreviewer-how-to-review
• How to review a Concert (Jazz/Popular) http://www.ehow.com/how_4514634_review-concert.html
• Concert Goer's Guide (General) https://paris.mcgraw-hill.com/sites/0073122130/student_view0/concert_goer_s_guide.html
• How to Write a Great Album Review http://www.ehow.com/how_4800853_write-great-album-review.html
• How to Write a Good Music Review for Money (eHow) http://www.ehow.com/how_5898226_write-good-music-review-money.html
Have students get into small groups and articulate what criterion they should use when rating a performance. This can include a numeric scale of some type if desired, but should also have a place for them to articulate a "why" type response as well.
Gather these from each group and design a "rubric" for rating a performance/album, etc. This can be sued by students when they attend any concert performances that may be required for the class.
Have students attend a concert (if there are no concerts available, perhaps a CD of a performance of a particular work would suffice). Students should fill out the "rubric" as completely as possible...making sure to articulate the reasons they are assigning there specific scores and an over all impression of the performance.
Now, they should take their "rubric" and write a 2 - 3 page concert review making sure that it: speaks about the music/performance/album with an informed voice (intelligent), they argue their point in a persuasive manner, and they write it keeping their target audience in mind (more than likely the youth population).
Students should remember to use a variety of adjectives that articulate their point (as their reading suggests, they should keep a thesaurus handy)
For class discussion:
Does look at a performance with this "rubric" in mind change the way you listen to music? If so, how? Does it change your perception of the various types of music you have listened to? How?
#3 Assignment for American Government and Politics Class
Looking at the music of political campaigns and their effectivenss.
Listen to some songs of years past that were used in political campaigns (both pre modern era and current). Discuss with the class what makes them effective in delivering their message and swaying the electorate. Attempt to determine what makes them effective tools. Identify criterion that they can listen for to put in conjunction with the message of the campaign to determine if it is effective. A few might be:
- Campaign message vs song message
- popularity of the song being used
- demographic the song will target
- ability to put a candidates name in the public
Then assign students to identify two candidates from recent elections (1992 and later). Have them listen to the campaign "theme song" for each, Then, they should write 2 -3 pages reviewing the effectiveness of each and comparing how each campaign was attempting to use each piece. Try to take your political feelings out of the mix. Which campaign used their music selection more effectively and why?