CONCERT REPORT GUIDELINES
This assignment requires you to attend a live music concert and write a report that demonstrates
your proficiency in several of the expected learning outcomes described on the syllabus.
What to write:
TITLE: Figure out a title after you’ve written your report.
INTRODUCTION: Briefly identify the details of the concert: Who performed? Where? What
type of music did they play? (to answer this last question, look for a broad theme that describes
what you saw and heard – maybe it was all music from one particular genre, era, composer,
region, or type of instrumentation, or music that relates to a particular subject, or music used
for a specific function)
MUSICAL DESCRIPTION: Choose one piece from the concert that you were interested in and
listened attentively to. First, provide the identifying details: title, composer, composition date
(you might have to look it up), corresponding era, and genre if applicable. Then describe the
piece in a way that gives the reader a general sense of how it sounded, integrating musical
vocabulary we’ve learned to support your description. Your description must address at least
three of these aspects of the piece: melody, rhythm/tempo/meter, harmony, texture, form,
dynamics, and instrumentation/ timbre. Your technical terminology should meaningfully
support your narrative description rather than simply identify the piece’s musical elements.
I.E.: Stating that the piece was in duple meter doesn’t convey much to me about the overall
nature of the piece. But telling me that the piece reminded you of high school band marches
due to its brisk allegro tempo, duple meter, and use of brass instrumentation is more
HOW THE MUSIC REFLECTS ITS CONTEXT: Drawing on what you’ve learned in class,
evaluate what the same piece you described above tells us about the relationship between
‘music and the human experience’ in the particular time, place, or culture it represents. In
other words, explain how the way the piece sounds reflects what was going on in the time and
place in which it was composed and performed originally, and/or what it was used for. I expect
you to make an educated argument, state it clearly in a topic sentence, and support your claim
by tying together what you’ve learned about how music reflects a specific historical and sociocultural context with what you deduced about this specific piece based on program
information and how it sounded. Feel free to do some research on the piece and its situational
context; be sure to cite any resource you consult. Don’t plagiarize. If you are unsure about
plagiarism, consult the syllabus.
REFLECTION: Consider how this experience affected you personally and your thoughts
about the role of music and musicians in contemporary culture. You might reflect on the
reactions you or the audience had, your thoughts about the musicianship of the performers,
how their decision to play and perform might affect their lives, what it was like to watch a live
performance compared to listening to a recording, what various types of support went into
making the event possible, or your opinion on the future of this type of music in our society.
You do not need to address all or even any of these – they are only thought-starters for your
reflection. I do not want to read contrived responses that tell me what you think I want to hear.
Reflect on the prompt in the first sentence of this paragraph with honest and thoughtful
consideration to formulate an organized and clear response.
Writing Style: Write in essay form (using paragraphs, not an outline or bullet points). Pay
attention to the clarity and organization of your thoughts and writing. Do not write a rambling
stream-of-consciousness essay. Spend time thinking about what you want to convey and how to
do so clearly and effectively.
Length: Each report should be more than two pages, but not more than three.
Formatting: Use 12 point Times New Roman or Arial font, double spaced, and 1” margins on all
sides (you will probably have to change the default setting).
Late Policy: You lose 5 points per day that your paper is late, starting as soon as I leave the
Absences or Problems on the Due Date: If you have a college-excused absence on the day your
paper is due, contact me no later than 5 pm on the day after it is due. You will be allowed to turn
in your paper on the day you return along with proper documentation for your excused absence.
Academic Dishonesty, Plagiarism, and Citing Your Sources: Although you may attend the
performance with friends and discuss your observations with them, write your own individual,
unique paper. Plagiarism is any use of another’s ideas without proper credit, even when not
directly quoted. If you consult or use any resource(s) other than lecture material (online sources,
the textbook or other books, or program notes) to inform yourself and your analysis, cite it using
an academic citation style of your choice such as Chicago or MLA.
Common mistakes to avoid when writing about music: Points will be deducted if you do any
Song vs. Piece, Composition, or Work: Something is only a “song” if it features a singer singing
words. If there are no sung words, call it a “piece,” “composition,” or “work.”
Music Titles: Titles of most pieces should be italicized (i.e. La Traviata; The Rite of Spring), with
the following exceptions. Don’t italicize generic titles (i.e. String Quartet in C major; Violin
Sonata in E minor). Use quotation marks for song titles (i.e. “Now is the Month of Maying”) and
specific movements that are nicknamed by the composer (i.e. I love “Spring,” the second
movement of The Four Seasons.).
Common general writing mistakes to avoid: Don’t confuse “compliment” and “complement” (I
can compliment you on your outfit. The instruments in an orchestra complement each other.)
Don’t let auto-correct change “definitely” to “defiantly” (I don’t think you defiantly enjoyed the
concert). Know when to use “it’s” (only as a contraction for “it is”) versus “its”. Don’t use
apostrophes to pluralize things (those are cellos, not cello’s). The words on either side of a semicolon should each make a complete sentence but still relate to each other. And don’t use commas
to separate complete ideas. For example: I really liked the way the violins and the cellos
complemented each other; the combination of their timbres provided an interesting contrast. The
semi-colon is used correctly; a comma would be incorrect.
What to wear: I recommend “smart casual” dress code such as khaki pants with a dress shirt or
polo shirt, nice jeans, a dress, or a skirt with a nice top. Don’t wear athletic clothes, flip-flops, or
Showing up: Do not be late! Plan to get there at least 15 minutes before the performance starts.
For formal events at college campuses they may not allow you in until between songs. Entering
late is disruptive to others and to the performers. Do not bring food or drinks into the theatre.
Read the program: Get there early to read through the program and see what information you
recognize and understand. What instruments will be used and how are they set up on stage? Will
there be any soloists? What genres and time periods are represented? Is there a theme that ties the
program together? Take a mental note of how many movements are in each piece so you know
when and when not to clap.
Electronic devices: Turn ALL noise-making and light-making devices COMPLETELY OFF,
including laptops, tablets, phones, and recording devices. No sound (not even a vibrate) or light
should be made by an electronic device during a formal concert. Act like the rest of the audience.
What to do, think about, and write during the concert: Enjoy the experience and reflect upon
how the material and skills you’ve learned in class affect your listening and understanding of the
music. Having looked in the program to find the time period during which each piece was
composed, think about how the music represents the aesthetic preferences of that time, why people
liked those qualities then, or how the music reflects what was going on at the time. Consider any
sounds or parts you like or don’t like, and why you feel that way. Jot down a few notes on each
piece to jog your memory later, but do so discretely with pen and paper without using any extra
light or an electronic device. Don’t get bogged down taking detailed notes throughout the whole
piece. I’m more interested in the thoughts that go through your head as you’re listening rather than
the minutiae of each phrase throughout the piece.
Clapping: At classical concerts, the audience should not clap between movements, but instead hold
their applause until the end of all the movements of a piece. Follow the lead of the audience if you
Noise: Do not talk or whisper during the performance. Whatever you want to say can wait until an
appropriate break in the concert. Again, don’t let any device make any noise.
Leaving: Do not stand up and leave during the performance. There is usually an intermission during
which you may use the restroom, get a drink, and stretch. Return to your seat before the second
half of the performance begins. You are expected to stay for the whole concert.
What to do after the concert: Immediately afterwards, write down more detailed notes about
what you want to write in your report. Don’t wait until the next day – you may forget. When writing
your report, feel free to search for an online performance or recording of the piece you are
describing to refresh your memory, but remember that the performance you saw won’t be exactly
the same. Each live performance is unique. You may also want to do more background research on
the piece to assist your analysis, but be sure to cite all your sources, even if you don’t quote them
INAPPROPRIATE BEHAVIOR: We want to demonstrate our appreciation for the
performers by acting respectfully. Accordingly, please observe standard performance
etiquette while at a concert: turn off and put away all electronic devices and do not talk or
whisper during the performance.
Formal CONCERT PROGRAM
Eine kleine Nachtmusik (Serenade No. 13 for strings in G major)
Sonate fuer Trompete und Klavier
Mit Kraft (Forceful)
II Lebhaft (Lively)
III Trauermusik (Music of Mourning)
Mr. So and So, Trumpet
Ms. Whoever, Piano
Celebration for Orchestra
“Down By the Riverside” feat. Texas A&M Century Singers
folk tune /
arr. John Rutter (b. 1945)
(Following the program list, there are often several pages of more detailed notes about
the pieces, composers, and performers. Feel free to draw on this information in your
analysis, but be sure to cite any ideas from this source that you use in your analysis.)
Purchase answer to see full