I have been finishing the process of grading the first homework assignment this weekend, and as I read the papers a few thought and observations came to mind.
- Make sure that you listen to the correct examples. In a few cases it seemed that student might have listened to the wrong piece — for example, they described vocal music in a piece the had no voices.
- Read about the example before listening to it. Each homework question includes a textbook page number, and you will likely not be able to fully understand the question unless you do the reading.
- Follow the listening outlines provided for each recorded example. They give you a “road map” to the music, point out important things to listen for, and explain important features.
- Plan to listen to recordings more than once. It is easy to miss something the first time, especially since you have perhaps never heard some of these pieces before.
- Ask for help if you are confused. Send me email, ask during class, but…
- … don’t wait until the last minute. It is just about impossible to do a credible assignment if you rush, since you have to listen to the recordings (often more than once), read the material in the text, and answer the questions.
About grading: I am usually rather gentle with the grades on the first assignment. I try to make it my policy to assign a grade lower than C- to anyone who seems to have made some effort to legitimately answer all of the questions. (Incomplete papers or papers with answers that make no sense may still get lower than a C- on the first assignment.)
Note that grading standards will be tightened after the first assignment.
I plan to return assignment #1 on Monday and Tuesday this week and I hope to have assignment #2 available on your test day.