Guide for Musical Reflection

Guide for Musical Reflection
Use this format when preparing a musical reflection as required.

Concert Attendance and Reflection:  Students are expected to attend at least one musical performance (in which they did not perform), each quarter and to submit a 1-2 page reflection about their experience.  This assessment is designed to develop students’ ability to analyze and critically reflect upon music in performance, as well as to utilize musical terminology to communicate their ideas.  The performance may be of any style of music and need not require a paid admission.  Numerous free concerts take place each month on Carroll University’s campus, just a few blocks from Catholic Memorial High School.  Please note that each of the four musical experiences attended during the year should represent a different style or genre of music.   If a student attends a performance in which multiple works are presented, the student’s reflection does not need to cover all of the works; students should select one piece of music from the program and compose a paper in his or her own words including at least one paragraph addressing each of the following:

·         Date and place of performance, title of the piece, name of the composer, year composed, name(s) of performer(s) or ensemble, name of director or conductor (if applicable).


·         Musical genre (Heavy Metal, Symphony, Big Band Swing, Acoustic Folk, Opera, etc.), Instrumentation  or voicing (quartet, women’s choir, solo, mixed choir, etc. ), one or more features of the instrumentation or voicing (a particular instrument or section, a particular voice or section) that stood out or made an impression on you, including the reason(s) why that feature stood out.       


·         Description of the music (utilize the terms which appear in bold) in terms of melody: (main “idea(s)” or “tunes” within the music, how does it sound and make you feel or think?), harmony (major: “happy/joyful” or minor: “sad/serious”), rhythm, meter, and tempo (repetitive or different/ random patterns, “strong and driving” or “soft and flowing”, beats (2,3,4, etc.), fast or slow), timbre (quality of sound: “rich and full” or “sharp and shrill”, “large” or “small” sound), texture (many instruments/voices or few,  parts performed in homophony (moving together) or polyphony (moving in different directions, more than one musical idea happening at the same time.)


·         Overall impression of the performance.  Describe how much (or how little) you enjoyed the performance and state the reason(s) why.  Reasons can include aspects of the performance as well as aspects of you, the listener.  Were you on the edge of your seat?  Bored? Uncomfortable?  Blown away?  Thinking about something else?  Too hot/cold?  Evaluate the overall quality of the performance and state if you believe the performance accomplished what the composer intended when he or she wrote the music.  State the reason(s) for your belief.  Highlight any features of the performance that you felt were outstanding, either in terms of excellence or need for improvement, including anything (within the performance itself, or in the performance environment: lighting, acoustics, climate, coughing audience member) that might have distracted a listener’s attention, as well as any features of the performance or environment that enhanced the listening experience.    Finally state how the performance affected and/or influenced you as a musician.