You cannot pass this course by only doing extra credit. In order not to feel concerned about your grade, you should complete every assignment, do so with your best effort, and ask questions if you are unclear what is being asked of you. There are many assignments in this class, meaning that there are many opportunities to do well.

Any student may choose to earn extra credit in this course that by posting a weekly extra credit blog entry to the website for his or her section of Mu 101. This is the only extra credit available in this course. Please do not ask me about any additional extra credit options.

Each week (Monday-Sunday) in Mu 101, you have the option of earning +0.5 points on your FINAL average by completing an extra credit blog post.


  1. Choose one of the short excerpts below to read. After you’ve read the excerpt, write a response to it in any format or length that you choose (personal narrative, compare/contrast, argument, reflection, creative writing, journal entry, poem—ANYTHING).
  2. Post your response writing to the website for your section of Mu 101, filing it under the category “Extra Credit.” (Online submission instructions are available here: How to post assignments online – Fall 2018)
  3. Email by 11:59pm on Sunday telling me that you’ve posted your extra credit and include a link to your post. There are 16 Sundays that mark the end of a week in the Fall 2018.

Additional caveats:

  1. You may do any one of these each week, but don’t repeat a writing prompt more than once
  2. You may not do more than one of these per week (e.g., you cannot do 16 extra credit posts in the final week of class and earn 8 points).

Excerpts for weekly blog responses:

  1. Isaac Asimov, “A Cult of Ignorance” (1980): Asimov 1980 – A cult of ignorance
  2. Leonard Bernstein, Introduction to The Joy of Music (1959): Bernstein Joy
  3. Brian Bilston, A Brief History of Modern Art in Poetry (2017), available here
  4. Bianca Bosker, Cork Dork (2017) — choose only one excerpt per week
  5. Alexis Clements, “What Are the Chances? Success in the Arts in the 21st Century,” LA Review of Books (2016): Clements 2016 – What Are the Chances_ Success in the Arts in the 21st Century
  6. Aaron Copland, Introduction to What to Listen for in Music copland-what-to-listen-for-in-music-intro
  7. Rachel Corbett, “12 Habits of Highly Effective Artists, from Creative Exercise to Living in Airplane Mode,” artnet News (2017) Corbett 2017 – 12 Habits of Highly Effective Artists, From Creative Exercise to Living in Airplane Mode
  8. David DeSteno, “The Only Way to Keep Your Resolutions,” The New York Times (2017) DeSteno 2017 The Only Way to Keep Your Resolutions – The New York Times
  9. Kahlil Gibran, “On Work” from The Prophet (1923) Gibran – On Work
  10. Anna Goldsworthy, “The Lost Art of Listening” (2015) Goldsworthy 2015 The lost art of listening
  11. Maggie Hendricks, “Why an opera singer has to train like an athlete to hit every note,” For the Win (2017),
  12. Langston Hughes, “Po’ Boy Blues” (1926) Hughes 1926 – Po Boy Blues
  13. Alan Jern, “Enough with the spoiler alerts! Plot spoilers often increase enjoyment,” in Salon, July 30, 2016 (available here)
  14. Emilie Boyer King, “French schools to have choirs, but no mobile phones,” France 24  (2017),
  15. Adrienne LaFrance, “How Brains See Music as Language,” The Atlantic (2014) LaFrance 2014 – How Brains See Music as a Language
  16. Giovanni Battista Lamperti (1839-1910), “Ready to Sing” from Vocal WisdomLamperti – 17 Ready to Sing
  17. Anne Midgette, “A beginner’s guide to enjoying classical music. No snobs allowed,” The Washington Post (2018) Midgette – A beginners guide to classical music 2018
  18. Nico Muhly, “Thoughts on being well” (2015), available here
  19. The PMRC Filthy Fifteen, available here
  20. Adrienne Rich, “Claiming an Education” (1977) Rich, Adrienne 1977 – Claiming an Education
  21. Jennifer Rivera, “Shouldn’t You Be Fatter (And Other Opera Singer Myths), Huffington Post (2012) Rivera 2012 – Opera Singer Myths
  22. Manvi Singh, “How Snobbery Helped Take the Spice Out of European Cooking,” NPR (2015) Singh 2015 – How Snobbery Helped Take The Spice Out Of European Cooking
  23. Toru Takemitsu, “A Single Sound” from Confronting Silence (1995) Takemitsu – A Single Sound