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Dear Music 7 students,


In response to the cancellation of residential activities at University Park, we have developed an alternative jazz concert review assignment that can be completed from remote locations.

Write your paper using the same Jazz Concert Review Directions as you would have if you had attended a live jazz performance.  But instead of describing only the recorded venue, feel free to describe your experience “watching” the selected video-recorded live jazz performance.  Try to “join” the live audience as you watch, but also feel free to describe your experience, wherever you are, watching remotely, because of these most extraordinary global circumstances.

We welcome your honest descriptions of your experience.

For those of you who have not yet attended one of the listed live jazz performances, select one of the following video-recorded live jazz performances to “attend” and review:


Herbie Hancock  2008 Newport Jazz Festival

Fourplay  2000 Newport Jazz Festival

New York Jazz Giants  1992 Newport Jazz Festival

Nancy Wilson  1987 Newport Jazz Festival

The Crusaders  1987 Newport Jazz Festival

Be sure to get a program for the concert, if available, as you enter the performance hall.  The program will provide useful information–and help stimulate your memory–when you turn your attention to writing your concert review.

Do not attempt to take notes during the performance, or between pieces.  If you have paper and pen tucked away in a pocket or purse, you can write notes during the intermission (if there is one).  Otherwise, wait until the concert is concluded before writing about the concert.  The point is not to create any disturbance during the performance itself.

After the performance, as soon as you can, write notes about your experience:  your recollections, impressions, and thoughts relating to the performance, and your experience attending the performance.

You have considerable liberty as to what you write about.  Your paper, though, must address the following:

1) Your experience of attending the performance, which can serve as a “frame” for your review.  The performance venue, the people you see, the performance hall–describe these aspects of the experience that take place before the concert itself.  Convey to the reader distinctive characteristics of the performance venue and the stage setting.

2) The performance–the performers, the instruments, the music–this is the heart of what you are writing about!  Select the piece or pieces that most impressed you.  Describe the performance and your response to the music.  Highlight individual performers, if that was one of the impressive aspects of the concert.  Describe as best you can what you hear and how it affects you.

3) Consider, too, whether you recognize any aspects of jazz or jazz style(s) in the music.  Has our study thus far allowed you to perceive aspects of the music that you might not have observed before studying?  For example, melody, harmony, rhythm, texture, timbre–blue notes, swing rhythms, syncopations, improvisation–are there aspects of these musical elements that stand out for you that you can describe?

4) Finally, reflect on the value of attending a live performance of jazz at such a high level of artistry.  Did you enjoy the music?  Has the experience changed you in any significant way?  Offer a conclusion to your paper that conveys your “take-away” from the experience.

One final suggestion:  Write in your own “voice,” and be as expressive as you can.  Make this an interesting and enjoyable read!  After the reader has read your concert review, if the reader wants to be there with you the next time to share the experience, then you have done a superb job!


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