University of Minnesota
teaching with writing
center for writing

Teaching With Writing.Center for Writing's home page.


On writing in Music (for use in syllabi)

Writing about music often requires the writer to translate ideas about what is heard (sound) into an entirely different medium (prose). This translation process integrates two different systems of notation (musical notes and written language) in order to communicate about ideas that exist in sound and time. Writers in the field of music also respond to musical works, analyze compositions and techniques, profile work of specific composers, write grants for support of their work, review others' compositions and productions, and promote musical events. The scholarly study of music depends upon written reasoning to examine historical and cultural contexts of music. Many musicians, composers, and professors of music report that they spend as much time writing as they do composing or performing.

Sample syllabi in Music

Music T251 | Music Theory and Literature III
An honors course using microtheme writing assignments with written music notation (Indiana University)

Music History 220 | History of Western Music II
Two papers culminating in class presentations (University of Tennessee, Knoxville)

Music 3001W | Foundations of Musical Thought
Formal and informal writing assignments

Music 5201 | Advanced Music History: Music and Society
3- to 5-page weekly writing assignments (University of Minnesota, Duluth)

Sample assignments in Music

Interdisciplinary Studies 1001 | What is Country Music?
Comparative analysis of contemporary music (University of Minnesota, Morris)

Interdisciplinary Studies 1001 | Response
Informal assignment using index cards (University of Minnesota, Morris)

Music 2116 | Writing Assignments
A menu of review and essay assignments (Virginia Tech)

Sample grading rubrics in Music

Music History 220 | Scoring Guidelines for Essays and Papers
Numerically based criteria for evaluating arguments, use of sources, and mechanics (University of Tennessee, Knoxville)

Music 3550 | Essay Grading Requirements:
A rubric designed to evaluate focus, organization, development, style, and mechanics (Eastern Illinois University)

Research strategies in Music

Selected Resources for Music

The University of Minnesota Music Library

Berklee College of Music's Stan Getz Library & Learning Center (Berklee College)

Additional writing resources for instructors in Music

Library Support for Instructors

Additional writing resources for students in Music

Diana Hacker's Research and Documentation Online (Diana Hacker)

"Writing About Music" (University of Calgary)