Concert Paper Assignment

Concert Paper Assignment

Important: Late papers will lose points!

I have included the Pre-Concert worksheet I will also include the rubric of the Concert

During the semester, after completing your pre-concert worksheet and attending your approved concerts, you will write a Concert Paper that thoughtfully reflects your concert experiences and observations. Your paper must be at least 750 words (approx. three pages) and should not exceed 1500 words (approx. six pages). [See Pre-Concert Worksheet assignment for more details about concert requirements and approval.]

Assignment Details

Tutors please follow these exact requirements!!!!

Your paper must conform to the following requirements.

Important NOTE: points will be lost for excessive context and/or lack of music discussion/description.

Requirements for content:

Introduction (one or two paragraphs)

Identify the two concerts selected for the assignment, including dates and places of performances and styles represented, as well why you selected these concerts for this assignment.

Body (probably one-to-two paragraphs each category)

Classical concert description

Should include some, but not all, of the following in order to provide an overview of the concert:

description of the concert venue, such as staging and seating

description of the performers, such as how they are dressed, behavior/interaction with conductor and/or audience

description of the audience, such as attendance/numbers, ages, sexes, behaviors

description of the conductor’s behavior, role in leading the orchestra, and impact on enjoyment of the concert

Classical music description

Describe one piece from the classical concert program that you did not select for your pre-concert worksheet

Include at least five of the following elements in your description: mood, melody, harmony, texture, tone color, rhythm/meter, tempo, dynamics, form

Refer to the table and prompts listed in the pre-concert worksheet for ideas about features to consider in your description

Use specific and appropriate music terms and concepts

Description of the non-classical music concert

Should include some, but not all, of the following in order to provide an overview of the concert:

description of the cultural context for the performance, such as religious, entertainment, festival, dance

description of the concert venue, such as staging and seating

description of the performers, such as how they are dressed, behavior/interaction with each other and/or audience

description of the audience, such as attendance/numbers, ages, sexes, behaviors, attire

description of the instruments used

Description of music at the non-classical music concert

Describe one piece from the concert that you feel represents the music culture

Include details about the instruments used for the piece

Include at least five of the following elements in your description, selecting those that best reflect the music culture: mood, melody, harmony, texture, tone color, rhythm/meter, tempo, dynamics, form

Refer to the table and prompts listed in the pre-concert worksheet for ideas about features to consider in your description

Use specific and appropriate music terms and concepts

Compare and contrast the two concerts

Describe the ways in which the concerts reflect their respective cultures, origins, and functions.

Remember to be descriptive and specific in your comparison in your use of terms and concepts

Identify similarities and differences between the two concerts, such as their instrumentation, mood, use of musical language, performer/audience interaction, event function, etc.

Remember that you do not need to critique which concert was “better,” but rather how the similarities/differences in their features relate to these considerations

Comment on your perception of the ways the audience responded differently at the two concerts and why you think they did so

Your reaction

Describe any aspects of the concerts (behaviors, conventions, etc.) that surprised you

Discuss what you liked about the both of the concerts and the concert experiences

Discuss what you did not like about both of the concerts and the concert experiences

Discuss how learning something about a piece before attending a classical concert affected that concert experience

For comparison, contrast that response with hearing a piece for the first time at a concert

Conclusion (one or two paragraphs)

Summarize the overall experience of attending these two different concerts

Based on these concert experiences and your studies this semester, describe how music reflects culture and society (i.e., its role and functions). Consider:

Why do concert venues continue to exist and people continue to support classical music?

How is a live classical concert different from other social activities and forms of entertainment?

How is a jazz, popular, or world music concert experience similar to or different than a classical concert experience?


Sources must be cited for quotations or other specific details included in the paper (see below for format)

Include the classical concert program notes in your bibliography

Include any other books, articles, websites, or other sources used.

Requirements for format:


See above: your paper should have an introduction that establishes the context of the concert you attended, a body of several paragraphs that addressed the required points, and at least one substantial concluding paragraph that addresses the required points


Paper must include a heading with your name and a title for your paper

Paper format is to be:


one-inch margins on all sides

12-point font size

Paper must be written in formal college English, which means:

write in third person, which means no use of “you,” “we,” “our,” or “us” (may use first person “I” in your reaction comments and concluding paragraph, but only if necessary to make a point)

avoid slang, casual phrases, and colloquial terms

no contractions (write out all words)

good use of grammar, spelling, punctuation, sentence structure, paragraph structure

Sources may use either parenthetical references or footnotes, but be consistent throughout the paper


Paper must include, at the end of the paper, a list of all sources used in writing the paper, including:

classical concert booklet/program notes

any other sources consulted for the paper

Style for titles of pieces are presented correctly:

Titles of pieces are placed in italics. EX: Berlioz’s Fantastic Symphony.

Songs and arias are placed in quotes. EX: “Shake It Up.”

Movement titles are capitalized but are not in quotes or italics. EX: The Allegro from Mozart’s Symphony No. 40.

Documentation style

Introduction: “The Colorado Symphony Orchestra performed two beautiful pieces at Boettcher Hall on April 12, 2001. Ms. Marin Alsop conducted Richard Strauss’ “Alpine Symphony” and Igor Stravinsky’s “The Rite of Spring” on this occasion. All of the performers wore black, which created an impressive theme in the spotlight of the large concert hall. The audience wore a wide array of dress and included diverse types of people including informal, formal, young students, and elderly couples. The audience members took their seats as the chaotic sounds of the orchestra tuning their instruments filled the hall. Then the instruments suddenly became silent as the lights were dimmed. Marin Alsop appeared and welcomed the audience, inviting the audience to enjoy the two works that were composed in reflection of the majesty of nature.”Comments: The writer establishes the overall context of the concert, including location, program, performers, and audience.Introduction: “The music concert I attended was performed by The Colorado Symphony Orchestra, on November 18, 2000 at 7:30 p.m. The conductor of the symphony was Roberto Minczuk. The location of the symphony was downtown Denver at the Boettcher Concert Hall. The symphony played pieces from William Schuman, David Mullikin, Franz Schubert, and Richard Strauss. The music that will be focused on is the music by Franz Schubert. The piece the symphony played was Symphony No. 8 in B minor, D. 759, “Unfinished.” Franz Schubert was born in 1797 and died in 1828. He was alive and composed music during the romantic era.”Comments: The writer makes short, bland statements that tend to sound like reading a list rather than drawing the reader into the topic. This paragraph could be rather easily improved by combining statements into more interesting sentences.
Background information: “The Russian Easter Overture was written by Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov (1844-1908) and was first performed by the Russian Symphony in 1888. Based on the Obikhod, a collection of canticles used in the Russian Orthodox Church, Rimsky-Korsakov set out to reunite the then-modern religion with its pagan roots. Using the Easter holiday service of the Orthodox Church as his inspiration, Rimsky-Korsakov’s goal was to “combine reminiscences of the ancient prophecy, of the gospel narrative, and also a general picture of the Easter service with its ‘pagan merry-making'” (Samson, CSO Program Notes, 13).Comments: The writer provides brief background information about the composer’s source of inspiration for this work and provides a parenthetical reference citation for the quote.Background information: “Johann Straus II (1825-1899) was known as “The Waltz King,” (I had a horrible time attempting to locate a recording of, or information about, Lucifer’s Polka. Because of that fact, I am only able to provide information about the composer, and not the specific piece) is the most famous of all the Strauss family of composers.”Comments: The note about not being able to locate information about the piece should be stated in a footnote, not in the body of the paper. Also, the writer indicates that he/she can only provide information about the composer, but then does not tell us anything about the composer other than dates and that he was the most famous of the family. 
Musical description: “Part one, “The Adoration of the Earth,” contains a flighty piece entitled “Dance of the Young Girls.” The title is very descriptive of the bright tone color that is heard from each instrument. The piece was in A B A form, and woodwinds and strings were the melodic instruments that created the homophonic texture and moderate tempo at the beginning and end of the piece. For the intermediate section, the remaining instruments in the very large orchestra created a polyphonic chaotic texture. This chaotic sound was produced by a lack of true melody for the listener to follow as well as a great variety in dynamics and pitch range. The tempo also became very fast with various accents included at random times. After the many measures of chaotic sounds were heard, the audience found comfort in the returning airy melodic conclusion of the dance.”Comments: The use of specific musical terms conveys a clear image of the music to the reader through words.Musical description: “The first few pieces did give me the feeling of a happy spring day. The birds are chirping, the trees are blooming, the flowers are blooming, and every one is happy. I could picture in my mind being a child again in the spring. The weather was pleasant enough and it was such a nice break from the cold harsh winter. The children are happy to be outside and free. I absolutely got that feeling listening the first part of the first movement.”Comments: The writer does not describe the music at all, but instead describes how he/she felt and the images that he/she pictured. Also, the writer uses first person here, which should be reserved for the conclusion.
Musical description: “The solo bassoon melody that begins the work is very folk-like, modal, free flowing, and circular. This flowing music sets the scene for the springtime atmosphere; it is also the beginning of the introduction. The bassoon solo sets off a series of short, fragmented, repeating melodies of contrasting timbres that begin to overlap and pile up on each other, building up to a controlled chaos. At certain points of the movement, it becomes more chaotic in its “dissonance” because there is a lot of ‘crescendo’ wind and rain coming down. Much of the tension is found in stomping chords of the piano, which starts the “Dance of the Young Girls.” Banging a large sheet of metal makes the thunder cracks of the storm; this is usually done at the postlude to soften the mood. The use of dynamics is incredible; it is like a wave of sound, up one minute down the next. Throughout the entire concert the music seemed to fall apart and then put it self back together.”Comments: The writer uses descriptive adjectives in conjunction with the musical terms in order to enhance the description of the music for the reader.Musical description: “The second movement was the slowest of the movements. Its sluggish beat allowed the musicians to influence their playing with body movement and emotion. The exciting fast paced measures allowed for the musicians to perk up with excitement, and wake the audience. The chords at the end of the movement seemed to be so off key yet were right on the dot. A person could feel the quick beats that would jump out of the sluggish beat, and the chords that would send chills up your spine. A person could feel the intense emotion.”Comments: The main problem with this writer’s “musical description” is that it does not describe the music at all. As it turned out, this writer did not attend the concert, but instead tried to provide a “generic” description of what he/she thought an art music concert might sound like.
Conclusion: “Overall I thought that this was a good concert to experience for this assignment. There were surprisingly more people in attendance than I expected. I was unaware that attending symphonies was such a popular thing for some people to do. There was even a sign that said “season tickets” on it. I was completely unaware that people could buy season tickets to events like this. While I am not a big fan of symphony music, it was a lot more interesting to watch than I expected. Even the music pieces that I did not write about made for mostly enjoyable listening. I probably would not choose to attend another concert outside of a school activity or assignment but felt that it was a good experience to see something that I had not really seen before.”Comments: The writer includes some observations to support his/her conclusion. It is hoped that students will enjoy this assignment, but not required that the conclusion be completely positive–learning what you don’t like is still a learning experience.Conclusion: “I felt as if the young lady in the woods was practicing or auditioning for a role in something and knew that she had some one watching her. Music is something that I have always loved but have never been able to figure out. I always thought that a song was meant one way when but was mostly completely off. That is why I am not a musician, artist or performer.”Comments: The writer does not draw any conclusions about the concert experience or assess the meaning of art music in our society in this concluding paragraph.

See Reference Styles on class site for correct citation format in Chicago Style; MLA or APA are also acceptable

Footnotes or parenthetical references must be stated with complete details and in correct format

Source list must be stated with complete details and in correct format

*Important Warning!

Sometimes, due to illness, weather, or other emergencies, concerts may be cancelled. This is no excuse for not turning in your worksheet or paper! Do not count on going to the last possible concert before your worksheet or paper is due, unless you wish to risk a cancellation. Your worksheet and paper will still be due, so you must plan ahead.

Concert Paper Writing Examples

Below are some examples of relatively “good” or “bad”writing from actual student papers. These are provided so that youmay assess your own writing in view of what the instructor mayperceive to be appropriate writing for this class. Remember to usethe Writing Center as aresource if you want or need further assistance in developing goodwriting skills. Do not copy these examples into your ownpaper–to do so would be plagiarism.

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