Based on your listening journal, analyze your musical consumption, paying attention to genres, particular artists, songs, and â€œchannelsâ€ in addition to the ways that these things position themselves and its listenersâ€”class, race, gender, distinct from or counter to what? Note the meaning suggested by combinations in your consumption patterns.
As with all good academic writing, youâ€™ll be making claims. You will need a central claim that organizes and structures the entire essay, and sections and paragraphs should also be defined around claims.
Your claim will be based on your evaluation and analysis of a range of primary and secondary sources. The primary sources will depend on your topic, your claim, and your interests. But they will probably include such things as song lyrics, artistsâ€™ web pages, conversations with friends about music, descriptions of music videos, and so on. This list is not exhaustive; in fact, the list of potential primary sources is endless.
The secondary source(s) will come from the assigned course readings. You will use one of the writers as a sort of critical framework to help you make sense of your observations. This framework will show up in your paper in a moment where you probably say something like: â€œThis type of response is characteristic of what Writer X calls Y. These moments are instances of â€˜.â€¦â€™ We see this type of Y in my friend Carlâ€™s insistence that â€˜â€¦.â€™â€
We should try in our reading during the weeks leading up to Essay 1 to locate examples of this type of writing, of writers who use frameworks, or simply instances of how writers make use of secondary and primary sources to support a claim. Then we should use those examples as models, models that we use in our own essays.
As youâ€™re working through the readings for the first couple of weeks, consider what ideas each author offers that might serve to frame a question you find interesting and that might serve to organize some ideas about your listening habits.
Copland: What is creativity? How do artists (and others) show or hide creativity?
Byrne: Where or how do you hear this music? What is the role of that space or technology?
Adorno: What is background music? How do you think as you listen? Whatâ€™s wrong with pop?
Williams: What type of culture is your music? What role does it play in the culture?
Holt & Frith: What is the genre? What are the rules? Against whom?