The Writing Portfolio is a capstone assignment that consists of revisions of several Writing Experiences plus new pieces of writing (Concert Response Essay and an overall reflection). It is due the last day of class (T Dec 10 / Th Dec 12).
Kinds of writing
- Reflection, memoir, (auto)biography
- Articles / News
- Gossip page or gossip blog
- True crime
- Diary or journal
- Kinds of fiction: science fiction, YA novel, fantasy, ghost, mystery, romance
- Religious, mythology, folk tales
- Social media: Facebook, Instagram, snaps, tweets
- Advertisement, Slogans
Examples of writing
- Excerpts available for extra credit assignments
- Bianca Bosker, Cork Dork (2017) — excerpts are found on our in-class lecture notes page, with additional excerpts on the extra credit page
- Dale Trumbore, Staying Composed (2019) — excerpts are found on our in-class lecture notes page
- Effective introduction writing: Amanda Mull, “I Gooped Myself” (2019)
- Interview / Reflective autobiography: Nicole Cliffe, “Alanis Morissette on Pregnancy at 45, Childbirth, Postpartum Depression, and #MeToo“
- Emily Delaney, “I’m the two to three years’ experience you need for this entry-level job” (2019)
- Walter Jones, “I am the nameless, shapeless fear that haunts your nightmares and even I am exhausted” (2019)
- Brian Sack, “ACTUAL DIALOGUE FROM RADIO COMMERCIALS THAT I’VE BEEN ASKED TO DELIVER “BELIEVABLY” AS IF NORMAL PEOPLE WOULD SAY SUCH THINGS” (2004)
- Robert Schipts, “Dialogue between two teenagers, one interested in cars and one not” (2002)
- Jared Smith, “Taylor Swift: A Socratic Dialogue” (2015)
- Mary Karr, “Carnegie Hall Rush Seats” (2017)
- Mary Oliver, “Robert Schumann” (1986)
- Langston Hughes, “Love Again Blues” (1940)
- Eve Ewing, “Jump/Rope” (2019) — this is the second poem on the page
Humor/story telling and observation
- David Sedaris, “Letting Go” (2008), “Standing By” (2010), “Long Way Home” (2013)
- David Foster Wallace, “A Supposedly Fun Thing I’ll Never Do Again” (1996), “Consider the Lobster” (2004)
- Social observation: Ta-nehisi Coates, “The Case for Reparations” (2014)
- Personal reflection and novel writing: Alexander Chee, How to Write an Autobiographical Novel (2018), “1989,” “100 Things About Writing a Novel,” “On becoming an American writer”
Examples of blog writing
- I Care If You Listen, a blog/digital magazine with several contributing authors
- Jenn Jolley (composer), Why Compose When You Can Blog?
- Marc Myers (music journalist), JazzWax
- Will Robin (musicologist), Seated Ovation
- Alex Ross (music critic), The Rest Is Noise
Examples of think-piece essays
These are good examples of ways that authors connect music and musical analysis to broader issues in society.
- 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
- 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
- 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
- Langston Hughes, “The Negro Artist and the Racial Mountain” (1926)
- 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
- Stephen Metcalf, “Donald Trump, Baby Boomer” in Slate (May 1, 2016)
- Alex Ross, “When Music is Violence,” in The New Yorker (July 4, 2016): Ross – When Music Is Violence – The New Yorker
- Scott Timberg, “The Revenge of Monoculture: The Internet gave us more choices but the mainstream won anyway,” in Salon (July 30, 2016)
Examples of past Student Blog Posts
Students from previous semesters have submitted some really great blog posts — informative, well-written, entertaining, thoughtful, and personable. As you read these, think about what each author does well, how their personality comes through in the post, and various aspects of blog presentation: what makes for a catchy title, layout, headings, inclusion of images or videos throughout the post, etc.
- Andean Legacy
- Are you Stoned right now?
- ¿Bailamos Bachata? (May we dance Bachata?)
- Bollywood’s Color of Love; Hollywood’s Standards
- Can singing just four words mean freedom for a nation?
- Der Deutschergeist (The German Spirit)
- Drunk or High? Do or Die? Both!
- For the Lost Ones
- From 8-bit to Retrowave
- Go home, Vince Neil, you’re drunk
- I can imagine it, therefore I can hear it
- Introduce yourself
- Let’s Rock ‘n’ Roll
- The Man Who Can’t Be Moved
- Music Moves Us Differently
- Music Sampling: Is it Okay if the Music is Not 100% Original?
- THE ROOTS
- See with your ears; Listen with your imagination
- What is Future Funk?
- Of Wizards, Demons and Rock Music
In-class writing prompts
You may choose to revisit and expand any of these as a piece for your Writing Portfolio, using the prompt as a starting point for your ideas.
- When has a piece of music, something you either created or heard, made a significant impact on your life? What qualities or context made that piece so significant?
- What’s something that surprised you in today’s class?
- What was the most interesting or surprising thing you learned from an assigned reading?
- What can you learn from an in-person discussion that you can’t learn any other way?
- How is thinking like a musicologist different from how you typically listen to music?
- Why bother thinking like a musicologist?
- Explain to someone how to listen for a musical element (e.g. rhythm, harmony, texture, form, melody) or how to understand a concept we’ve studied in Mu 101 (soundscape, music history, etc.).
- What kind of skills do you think you would to be a member of a string quartet or a member of an orchestra? What kinds of challenges do you think you would face as a member of one of those groups?
- What’s the most important factor in determining what a piece of music means? (the musical sounds, the listener’s past experience/knowledge, how a listener listens, the musician’s identity/choices/skill)?
- Is it necessary to know who a musician is (as a person) when listening to a piece of music?
- Design an opera.