writing about the future of music

Your papers will be 1000 words minimum to 1500 words maximum, DOUBLE-SPACED. Papers that fall below the minimum word count will receive a 0 score (quotation of lyrics and/or other text does not count toward your total word count, nor does works cited/bibliography). Your ideas need to be presented in clear, correct language with proper punctuation, sentence structure, etc. Use proper citation when necessary and proper formatting when referring to a song title, album title or artist/group (tip: use the text as a model). Communicating clearly and effectively via the written word is an important part of this course. Your writing should reflect a thoughtful approach to the question(s) and a technical proficiency befitting college-level prose. Grading will be based upon content, original ideas, presentation, and technical accuracy.

As far as citations go, if you feel you need a works cited page or bibliography, you probably do. Use whatever style manual you’re most comfortable with (and do not count the bibliography toward your word count either).

Papers must be submitted by electronic upload to the appropriate drop box IN EITHER WORD OR PDF FORMAT (NO GOOGLE DRIVE DOCS!!) on the due date specified in the course syllabus. No late papers will be accepted. PLEASE DO NOT EVEN ASK! If you are experiencing difficulties uploading your paper, try another browser. Technology is not perfect.

Writing Assignment Prompt:

People thought R&B was dead when Pat Boone covered Fats Domino and (unfortunately) often outsold him. Likewise, many felt that Rock and Roll was dead when Elvis went to the Army, Buddy Holly died, Chuck Berry went to jail, etc. “Folk is dead” was the cry when Dylan went electric in 1965. Additionally, in the long history of music criticism (you can find examples as far back as 1500 B.C.!) there are always critics who complain that no music of quality is being made anymore and we should go back to the way things used to be.

Music of our time can be viewed as similar to any other. A new style may, at first, be considered a fad or a corruption. Once the style climbs to prominence it may establish firm ground or it may revert to being a hopeless cliché and fade from view. It would seem that in this rapidly changing, technologically oriented and socially disorienting time, any “popular” style might be doomed to rapid assimilation and possible extinction. Commentators have talked about the “inevitability of Disco”: the idea that dance music as a concept recycles and indeed seems to be periodically required in pop music (think EDM).

Your job here is to speculate on what might come next, using one or more of the following questions as possible points of entry: How are the mainstream, popular styles of today going to change/evolve in the next ten years? By the year 2030, what will you (and maybe your children) be hearing, and by what means of dissemination device(s)? Will live music still be vital? What will technology render obsolete? How might music be consumed in a decade? Will the music you like be relevant in 10 ten years? Will the ubiquity and rapid availability of music result in a lack of potency for song as an artifact of cultural significance? (Consider what a vial of water in the desert means as opposed to a tanker truck full).

In your paper, you may choose to include your opinion about which acts of the current era will continue to be influential. Who will stand the test of time? It might be interesting for you to look back in ten years to see how accurate your predictions were.

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