Advanced Music Criticism
Rhetoric and Composition 310
This is a course in Advanced Music Criticism, which will make use of distinguished examples from the past and present, and place an emphasis on elegant and persuasive writing. I will encourage the students to have the courage of their convictions, while making it clear that such convictions should be backed up by facts and personal experience (good criticism is much more than a litany of cavalier “likes” and “dislikes”). Work will be read aloud and subjected to on-the-spot reaction, by fellow students, visitors and the instructor. Students will enhance their abilities to express themselves quickly, astutely and (wherever possible and appropriate) with a modicum of wit on familiar and unfamiliar works of art. An emphasis will be placed on developing the personal voice, an essential for any budding critic. In this way, students will learn to be more expert about the works of art they already know but, also, to be able to experience the unknowns with a well-equipped tough mind and open heart. By the end of the class, students should be able to write critical articles worthy of publication in a variety of periodicals. A longer, research-based yet still distinctly subjective article will be another requirement of the class.