Critical Essay on a Musician or Band Instructions
When learning music history and/or “appreciation,” there is an extent to which we study and absorb the critical consensus about the musicians we examine. Certain admired artists are/were great, certain other people were less great, and so on. It is important to know that this is the conventional wisdom, and it is likely that you will frequently agree. However, it is also important to have a critical ear and allow yourself to assimilate the information you are gathering and draw conclusions of your own. This assignment is an exercise to get you moving in that direction.
For this essay, you will explore the music of an artist or band (different from whoever you will be studying for your Final Project) who is relevant to this course’s subject matter (for example, an artist who is represented on the course Spotify playlist, who is mentioned at any length in the textbook, or who makes/made music in a similar style). You should do some basic research on the career and style of that musician and listen to several recordings of this musician (and, in particular, ones that your reading has suggested to be particularly significant and/or representative of that artist’s sound).
Your objective for this paper is to briefly lay out the basics of what you have read about that artist’s career and style (as discovered in your research – maximum ½ page) and then focus primarily on explaining specific ways in which your listening supports and/or contradicts the “conventional wisdom” about that artist. Likewise, read what people have said about the specific recordings to which you listened and see how your own observations line up. The website is a great resource for this kind of thing, but many other reference works and web resources are also available. There is no “correct” conclusion, of course, only the responsibility to explain yourself thoroughly and with detail.
Essay Requirements:
Approximately 2-3 pages/600-800 words
Please cite your sources – both the resources you used in your research and the recordings you listened to (ideally citing which moments in those recordings you are referring to in your observations).