The 3-page Think-piece Essay is the major writing assignment this semester at Purchase. Following models provided throughout the semester in class, you will write a socially-observant and music-analytical essay explicating a perspective or issue that you see in the world in which we live.

This essay will be completed in several steps:

  • October 27 — in-class brainstorming and group work
  • November 3-17 — one-on-one meetings with the professor to discuss your essay plan
  • December 1 — essay due


Essay prompt: think-piece-essay

Essay rubric: think-piece-essay-rubric


Throughout the term, you will be reading 10 essays from authors that model the kind of social commentary and musical analysis that you’ll be doing in this essay. One essay has been assigned every week (skipping September 22):

  1. Alan Jern, “Enough with the spoiler alerts! Plot spoilers often increase enjoyment,” in Salon (July 30, 2016),
  2. Katherine Brooks, “In 1912, Someone Actually Won An Olympic Gold Medal in Painting,” in Huffington Post (August 4, 2016), 
  3. Brad Evans and Henry Giroux, “The Violence of Forgetting,” in The New York Times (June 20, 2016): Evans and Giroux – The Violence of Forgetting – The New York Times
  4. Stephen Metcalf, “Donald Trump, Baby Boomer” in Slate (May 1, 2016):
  5. Eve Ewing, “A Tale of Two Recluses: Remembering Harper Lee While Waiting for Frank Ocean’s Follow-Up to ‘Channel Orange’,” in The Atlantic (August 6, 2016): Ewing – A Tale of Two Recluses – The Atlantic
  6. Scott Timberg, “The Revenge of Monoculture: The Internet gave us more choices but the mainstream won anyway,” in Salon (July 30, 2016):
  7. Jordan Kisner, “Can a Woman’s Voice Ever Be Right?” in New York Magazine (July 2016): Kisner – Can a Woman’s Voice Ever Be Right — The Cut
  8. Langston Hughes, “The Negro Artist and the Racial Mountain” (1926): 
  9. Alex Ross, “When Music is Violence,” in The New Yorker (July 4, 2016): Ross – When Music Is Violence – The New Yorker
  10. Kyle Chaykya, “The Oppressive Gospel of Minimalism,” in The New York Times (July 26, 2016): Chaykya – The Oppressive Gospel of ‘Minimalism’ – The New York Times