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For this 2-3 page essay, you will need to watch a live rock or “rock-relevant” performance and analyze it. If attending a live performance is not plausible, students must contact the instructor well in advance to make alternative arrangements. Discuss the instrumentation, the style(s), the singing, the tunes played, the use (or absence) of improvisation, and so on. Put your observations in the context of the music and musicians we have studied in class. Also explore the extra-musical elements. What is the setting? What is the crowd like? How is the music presented (stage patter, musicians’ dress, etc.)?
•Take good notes! Try to see a show where you will be in a good position to do thi******deal******ne where you can sit down and where the place you are sitting is not so dark that you can’t see a notebook, though you could always bring a discreet “reading light”). If, for whatever reason, this is not possible, then take notes as soon as you get to your car after the show. Don’t wait several days and expect that you will remember the minute (but important) details of the show!
•Don’t try to make this paper flashy, like a magazine or newspaper concert review, at least not at the expense of content, detail and clarity. The goal is to be thorough, observant and informative.
•If you don’t have a detailed play-by-play of each tune or don’t know the names of all the tunes or who wrote them, that’s okay. However, that doesn’t let you off the hook from making a broad range and substantial number of observations – you’ll just have to pick up the slack elsewhere. As always, work to do this while sticking to the observations and terminology with which you are comfortable – notice that the example below does not make heavy use of musical jargon beyond basic terms that you will learn in class early on.
•Look for a balance between general observations of the group and/or the show and specific observations of the minutiae of what the individual musicians did to make the .
•Keep in mind that, unlike the papers that analyze recordings, you can probably assume that I will not have heard the music about which you are writing. That takes off some of the pressure to make the “correct” observations (if you’re inclined to feel such pressure in the first place, that is). At the same time, it means that even if you land upon the most “correct” observations, they need to be explained in a way that will convince me, rather than banking on their inherent “correctness.” Observations like “he sounded good” or “he knew what he was doing” or “he screwed this tune up” will be meaningless unless they are explained more deeply.