You are asked to write a term paper, due by the end of the semester.
SPECS: The paper should be 5 to 8 pages, double spaced, research style meaning that you have sources and listed bibliography at the end of the paper, so it is not just an opinion piece. Note: The bibliography does not count in your number of pages.
SOURCES: A minimum of three sources; one of your sources can be what I call on line generated what some might refer to as an unreliable source such as Wikipedia. Your other sources must be reliable books, articles, magazines, periodicals, information from interviews, record album covers, etc. Its acceptable to view or hear these different reliable sources on line, so long as they are nit on line generated like Wikipedia is.
SUBJECT: This is wide open anything to do with music. Some traditional types of subjects are to write about a composer, a period, a genre of music, a style of music, comparing two or three of these, etc. And these types of subjects are great IF they really interest you.
But if not, I would rather you did not pick a more traditional subject just to get the paper done. I encourage you to be more creative and write about something that REALLY interests you, that you can be passionate about. These types of papers are, trust me, much more enjoyable for you to write and MUCH more enjoyable for me to read.
Students have chosen for their topic contemporary genres of music, i.e. reggae, beat boxing, electronic music, rap, hip hop, etc.
You might choose to write about a contemporary artist and the influence and effect on the music world, i.e. Jimi Hendrix, Michael Jackson, Kurt Cobain.
You can compare composers or music that we study in class to contemporary musicians or music.
Write about the use of music on the medical field, commercials, movies and film.
Two specific examples from the past that turned out really well:
1. Write about an uncle who was a jazz musician in the 50s and 60s civil rights battle era. She wrote about his career and where it took him, about jazz and its influences in general and also, how the political unrest of the era played into his music and his career and vice versa.
2. Another student compared her grandfather to Chopin. The grandfather was a political prisoner in Russia, and while in prison, was really suffering and failing until they were able to get him his violin. Having the violin and being able to play saved him. Chopin had to leave Poland against his will as a young man and was never able to go back. This was a source of despair for him his whole life. But he released all of that despair and sadness into his compositions. It was a very compelling paper.
Again, I encourage you to be creative and write about something that you really care about. If that is Beethoven or Mozart or Baroque period music, then you should write about that. But if none of those ideas speak to you, come up with something that inspires you and that you will enjoy researching and writing about.
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