Integrated Writing Requirement for the Music Program
The undergraduate major in American Musical Culture emphasizes writing as a core element in the development of students’ intellectual and professional lives. Student writing is expected to include critical, analytical, ethnographic, historical and creative dimensions. In the Music Program, the concept of “writing” includes the writing of texts (i.e. scholarly essays, grants, documentary scripts and lyrics) as well as music notation (i.e. music compositions, arrangements and transcriptions).
The American Musical Culture major and Music minor develop students’ writing skills through two gateway courses: MUSC 161 Writing about Music, and MUSC 041 Elements of Music; Theory I. MUSC 161 is a writing workshop that introduces students to the various types of writing associated with music, including music journalism, script writing for radio/film documentaries and musical theater, non-fiction essays, scholarly articles, music-inspired fiction and the basics of grant writing for non-profit performing arts groups and fellowship applications. MUSC 041 is an active-learning class designed to develop an understanding and proficiency in practical music theory. Through a comprehensive approach, students learn how to write music and how to write about music. In addition to integrating hearing and performance with notation and analysis, we explore some of the ways that music functions within cultural and social frameworks.
Upper-division courses further develop students’ writing skills by providing opportunities for conducting and presenting original research in a variety of fields: musicology, ethnomusicology, media studies, journalism and/or composition. In addition, each AMMC major must complete a capstone project during the senior year. Some opt to write a thesis that proposes an original research question; others present the findings of their research through a film/radio documentary, a senior lecture recital or a professional music journalism/music industry portfolio linked to an intensive internship experience.