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.

That being said, there are four (4) – and only four – ways to earn extra credit in this course that are optional but also available to every student:

  1. Sign up (via email) for and attend (in person) office hours during the first three weeks of class (worth +10 points on your in-class average; may not be done later in the term); [this opportunity has passed]
  2. Post a weekly blog response to the website for your section of Mu 101 and send me an email letting me know you’ve done so (+1 point on your final average for each week completed; may not be submitted late);
  3. Participate fully in a category of online discussions by adding all required comments in every assignment (worth +10 points on each of these averages); and
  4. Comment with exceptional insight and effort in online discussions and student-led blog posts (worth +5 points for each kind of comment in instructor-led online discussions; +1 point for each kind of comment in student-led online discussions).


Weekly online blog response

Each week (Monday-Sunday) in Mu 101, you have the option of earning +1 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)
  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 Spring 2018 semester:
    1. February 4
    2. February 11
    3. February 18
    4. February 25
    5. March 4
    6. March 11
    7. March 18
    8. March 25
    9. April 1
    10. April 8
    11. April 15
    12. April 22
    13. April 29
    14. May 6
    15. May 13
    16. May 20

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 16 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) vDeSteno 2017 The Only Way to Keep Your Resolutions – The New York Times
  9. Cody Delistraty, “The Beauty-Happiness Connection,” The Atlantic (2014) Delistraty 2014 – Beauty-Happiness Connection
  10. Kahlil Gibran, “On Work” from The Prophet (1923) Gibran – On Work
  11. Anna Goldsworthy, “The Lost Art of Listening” (2015) Goldsworthy 2015 The lost art of listening
  12. Maggie Hendricks, “Why an opera singer has to train like an athlete to hit every note,” For the Win (2017),
  13. Langston Hughes, “Po’ Boy Blues” (1926) Hughes 1926 – Po Boy Blues
  14. Alan Jern, “Enough with the spoiler alerts! Plot spoilers often increase enjoyment,” in Salon, July 30, 2016 (available here)
  15. Emilie Boyer King, “French schools to have choirs, but no mobile phones,” France 24  (2017),
  16. Adrienne LaFrance, “How Brains See Music as Language,” The Atlantic (2014) LaFrance 2014 – How Brains See Music as a Language
  17. Giovanni Battista Lamperti (1839-1910), “Ready to Sing” from Vocal WisdomLamperti – 17 Ready to Sing
  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


Office hours, January 30-February 14

Send an email to to sign up for and come to officers hours during the first 3 weeks of class. Office hour times are available on the first page of the syllabus.

Extra credit points: +10 on your in-class average

[This opportunity has passed]