Concert Report Checklist

Carefully review the following list…

  • before you start writing your paper
  • as you work on it
  • after completion
  • before you turn it in.

The list summarizes issues that I see with some frequency in concert reports and addresses some questions that come up from time to time. Each of the subjects listed here can have an effect on your grade on the concert report assignment.

This list may seem long and intimidating, but if you read through it you will find that much of it refers to things you probably already know about. Think of it as a sort of “pre-flight check” to confirm that you have not forgotten anything important that will adversely affect the quality of your work and, as a result, your grade on the report.

  1. Carefully and fully review the Sample ReportReport Format, and Report FAQ – before attending your concert, while writing your report, and again before turning it in.
  2. Reports must be typed.
    • A typical report will probably be between 3 and 6 pages of double-spaced type.
      • While it is not impossible to write a credible paper that is shorter in certain unusual cases, it is very unlikely.
      • Some papers may be a little longer, but with careful editing and clear and concise writing almost all papers should be no longer than six pages. (Overly long, sprawling, rambling, insufficiently edited papers will earn lower grades.)
      • Papers that are too short or unnecessarily long will earn a lower grade.
    • You must submit a good quality, legible printout of your report with black print on white paper.
    • Your report must be double-spaced. (I will accept reports using Microsoft Word “1.5” spacing as well.)
    • Do not make last-minute corrections in pencil or ink on the printed form. If more editing is still needed, edit and reprint the final version of your paper.
  3. You must include the original ticket stub and program page from the concert.
    • Photocopies are not acceptable.
    • Please do not include the entire program, especially if it is large. Just enclose the page that lists the pieces and performers.
    • Write your name on the program page and ticket stub and securely attach these materials to the back of your report.
    • Your report may not be accepted without these required support materials. If it is accepted, you should expect a minimum grade penalty of one full letter grade, and the penalty may be larger.
    • Forgetting that these materials are required, failing to pick them up at the event, or losing them do not excuse you from the requirement.
    • Programs and/or tickets may be unavailable at some events listed on the Concert List. If you report on such a concert, you must speak individually to the instructor within 72 hours after the concert (and no less than 24 hours before submitting the paper) to determine how to handle this situation.
  4. Unless you ask for and are granted an exception in advance the only acceptable concerts are those listed on the concert list at this website.
  5. All report pages and other materials must be stapled together.
  6. Report on every movement of every piece played on the concert. If the concert includes an intermission, you must return after the intermission(s) to listen to and report on the rest of the event. Your grade will be lowered if you do not report on the entire concert.
  7. You must write a separate paragraph of objective description for each movement of multi-movement pieces. Write a single subjective reaction to multi-movement pieces. For example, your description of a four movement symphony will include 4 paragraphs of objective description followed by a one paragraph subjective reaction.
  8. Include the Quality of Performance paragraph at the end of the paper. It is required.
  9. Keep your objective descriptions and subjective reactions separate. Avoid overly subjective opinions in the objective description section.
  10. The objective descriptions are the main content of your paper. Typically (though there is not a hard and fast rule) the objective descriptions might make up roughly 75% or more of your paper. Subjective reaction can and should typically be much shorter.
  11. The concert report is not a research paper. Do not paraphrase or quote the program notes or other resources. The assignment calls for your observations, not those of the program annotator or other experts. Papers in which students substitute ideas from outside sources (including uncredited quotes or paraphrases from the program notes, text, web, etc.) in place own personal observations may earn no credit for the report and may be subject to the syllabus Policy on Copying and Cheating.
  12. The concert report is not a collaborative projectYour paper must consist solely of your own observations of what happened at your concert. If other students’ observations and ideas are included in your report (including both identical papers and papers exhibiting excessive similarities) you may earn no credit for the report and be subject to serious consequences as described in the Policy on Copying and Cheating.
  13. Proofread and edit your paper! Carefully. More than once. Read it aloud to yourself or to a friend. Does it make sense? Does it communicate what you are trying to say? Is it concise and clear, and does it communicate your ideas so that they will be clearly understood by a reader?  While perfection may not be possible and isn’t required, college-level writing is expected on this assignment and excessive grammar, spelling, and formatting problems that are evidence of insufficient attention to basic writing requirements will lower your grade, perhaps significantly, regardless of the quality of your observations.
  14. Use the spell-checker in your word processor, but double-check the corrections it proposes.
  15. Avoid practices such as the following and similar in college-level papers like this concert report:
    • Slang expressions such as “it sucked.”
    • Contractions such as “I’ve,” You’d,” etc.
    • Referring to performers in overly personal terms. Examples: “Mary played the violin” or “the redhead sang next.” Refer to Mary by her last name (e.g. – “Lopez played the trumpet”) or her role (“The soloist played the trumpet.”).
    • Use of the second person: “You can hear the trumpet.” No I can’t. I’m not there! Instead write “I can hear the trumpet.” Better yet, describe the music played on the trumpet: “The trumpet played a fast and high-pitched melody.”
    • Use of informal and/or cryptic writing such as “LOL,” “4u,” “cuz,” and so forth.
    • Unnecessary and confusing changes of tense. Don’t switch between past and present tense without a good reason.
    • Writing digits (e.g. “2”) where words (e.g. “two”) should be used. Write “there were two trumpets,” not “there were 2 trumpets.”
  16. Reports are graded primarily on content, but neatness and following the required format may also affect your grade. Following the report format is a requirement and papers that depart significantly from the required format – for example, omitting sections or adding material that is not part of the assignment – will earn lower grades or, in cases of serious problems, may earn a failing grade or not be accepted. (Very minor format issues may be noted but probably don’t affect your grade.)
  17. If you would like to have your paper reviewed prior to handing it in, bring it to an office hour during the week before the due date for suggestions on how you may improve the paper and possibly raise your grade.
  18. Any exceptions to the required format of the paper must be approved by the instructor in advance, no later than the week before the due date.
  19. Further, do not add material that is not part of the assignment without getting advance permission from the teacher. (For example, do NOT add an introduction paragraph before describing the first piece on your concert.)
  20. Late penalties apply to reports submitted after the deadline. See the course green sheet for more information, particularly concerning how to submit your paper on time if you must be absent or late on the due date.

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Contact Info: Dan Mitchell

Office Hours

Monday & Wednesday
Room A11:
15 minutes before Music 1A
10 minutes after Music 1A
Room A91:
15 minutes before Music 51
10 minutes after Music 51
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