music 111 concert report # 1


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With the ongoing concerns over the coronavirus, I will be allowing students to write their required Concert Report essay (and an extra credit concert report, if you choose) on a prerecorded concert, instead of being required to attend a live performance. But I encourage you to attend a live concert!

The purpose of the concert report is to utilize the tools we develop throughout the course, to critically engage with a live musical experience. It’s your responsibility to attend an appropriate performance in which jazz music is the central event – musical theatre, church services, and dance performances do not qualify. If you’re not sure about an event, ask me. You do not have to attend a concert in the San Diego area – it can be anywhere in the world. And it doesn’t have to be in a concert hall – any venue is appropriate, including colleges and universities, cultural centers, clubs, cafes, alternative music venues – even public libraries or house concerts.

There are many full-length concerts now available on YouTube and other streaming video services. Be sure that the concert you attend or view is a concert of jazz music – not jazz-influenced music – including at least two musicians performing together in the same band, and is at least 60 minutes in length. Then follow the guidelines for the concert review. If you have any questions as to whether a concert is appropriate, just send me the link.

After attending/viewing the concert, you must write a 1000-minimum word essay, describing the experience. The easiest way to conceptually approach a concert report is to imagine that you’re describing the event to someone who is not at all familiar with the music or the performers. Most importantly, you must describe what the music sounded like – this is the core of your report:

You must describe in detail, five of the songs performed, with a paragraph of around 150 words for each song. This can include describing the general character of each song (melody, rhythm, tempo, texture, emotional content, etc., in your own words as it seems appropriate), and most importantly, how the song unfolds from beginning to end – this can include notable moments or shifts in mood and character, and interesting musical exchanges and dialogues between musicians.

Aside from perhaps a few sentences telling me who the performers are, I’m not interested in additional biographical information concerning the musicians, or historical information pertaining to the songs performed. Your concert report should be written entirely in your own words – there’s no need to quote from outside sources.

It’s very important that you plan ahead, so that you can attend a concert of your choice.

When you are ready to submit your assignment, click on the blue “Submit Assignment” button above, then copy & paste your work into the Text Entry box (you cannot upload a file). Be sure to click the “Submit Assignment” button before leaving the page.

Please address the following points:

  • Date and venue of the performance.
  • • Names of performers (the name of the band and/or the names of individual performers for small ensembles)

    • Ensemble type and/or instruments being played (list each instrument for small ensembles of 6 musicians or less)

    • Briefly describe the ambiance and/or decor of the venue.

    • Briefly describe the audience.

    • Identify the style of jazz performed.

  • Identify the titles of the pieces/songs that you discuss (including composer’s names only if possible/relevant).
  • Describe in detail, five of the songs/pieces performed, with a paragraph of around 150 words for each song. This is the most important part of your concert report, and it should comprise at least 750 words. Be specific as possible, utilizing vocabulary and musical terms from the course if possible. Make observations on:

    • the general character of each song – melody, rhythm, texture, and timbre (melody, rhythm, tempo, texture, emotional content, etc., in your own words as it seems appropriate).

    • how the song/piece unfolds from beginning to end – this can include notable moments or shifts in mood and character, and interesting musical exchanges and dialogues between musicians.

    • In conclusion, sum up your experience. Did the music communicate to you on a deeper emotional or psychological level? Why, or why not? Was there a particular performer (or performers) who you really connected with – why? Did the information you learned in class impact your experience?

    Your essay will be graded based on depth of analysis, the degree to which you address all of the bullet points above, the use of detailed descriptions, and on spelling and grammar. One of the course learning outcomes is to become an “ active” listener, so your observations should reflect a developing awareness of this skill. If you quote or paraphrase an author, website, or other sources, you must cite your references using parenthetical citations (author last name, page number) or footnotes.

    When you are ready to submit your work, click on the “Submit Assignment” link above and copy & paste your submission into the textbox. Then be sure to click the “certify” and “submit” buttons to finish.

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