Final project (Su19)

Last modified on August 4, 2023

Your final project is an analysis of piece of your choosing. The purpose of the project is for you to apply the skills you’ve learned in class, to a piece that you enjoy and want to share with the rest of the class.

Due dates and submission info

July 17: Project worksheet

  • After doing some preliminary analysis, complete the project worksheet. Fill this out by clicking the download icon in the top-right corner and open in Microsoft Word, which will let you fill out the form easily.
  • Submit the worksheet to me on Blackboard.
  • Submit a recording if your piece is not available on Spotify or Youtube.

July 21: Video

July 23: Peer feedback

  • I will assign each of you two other people to evaluate. Their names will be emailed to you with the subject line “Video Peer Feedback.” (These people may or may not have you as an evaluator!)
  • On Blackboard, go to where you submitted your own video, and click it again. You should now be brought to the evaluation page. Select the two names I gave you via email and respond to their video using the criteria.

July 27: Final paper

  • Due on Blackboard in .pdf format. Image examples can be at the appropriate places throughout the text, or otherwise you may submit them as a separate .pdf.
  • More details below.


Make a video (max 10 minutes), you will apply knowledge you gained in our seminar to a piece of your choosing. It is worth 15% of your final grade.

Additionally, and more practically, the video will be like a first draft of your final paper. This will be an opportunity for you to get feedback from me and your peers.

Presenting and submitting

  • Submit your video on Blackboard by embedding it (in other words, I don’t want to fill my hard drive space with everyone’s videos!). This is simple to do with Kaltura.
  • You should make a powerpoint that goes along with your analysis. Use the powerpoint to present any visuals that will help in understanding your point, such as annotated score excerpts.
  • Write a script, or at the very least bulletpoints, and submit it as an attachment on Blackboard when you submit your embedded video. It will not be strictly graded (so no need to worry about grammar), but will help me evaluate your video.


  • Use the worksheet you submitted and my feedback as a guide for your content.
  • Analysis must engage with one or more methodologies discussed in class. This is where the majority of the points are—failure to do this will certainly result in a poor grade.
  • You should have a clear thesis statement in your video, and all your analysis should tie into the thesis statement.
  • Your video should be, at most, 10 minutes long.
  • This video is too short to include historical context—get straight to your analysis! Historical context will not help your grade and will only give you less space to present your points.


  • Your voice explaining everything must be included in the video.
  • You may do either a picture-in-picture layout, where one picture is yourself talking to the camera and the other is your powerpoint, or you may do a disembodied voice layout with only your powerpoint on screen.
  • Videos must be professional, rehearsed, well-organized, and polished, in order to maximize the effectiveness of your limited time.
  • Videos should be edited to remove any awkward pauses and unnecessary content.

Presentation grading rubric

Helpful tips

Expand to show additional tips

    • Write a script! 10 minutes is only about five pages double-spaced (yes, really!) read at a moderate speed. Most people have trouble going over time, not under it. You can reuse this writing for the paper, so really, it’s killing two birds with one stone.
    • You may include audio clips in your presentation, though obviously not excessively, as it cuts into your 10 minutes. Make sure it actually gets recorded—if you’re recording audio from your mic, it may be easiest if you just play it from a speaker that the mic will pick up. There are more techy ways to do this to get higher quality audio that I can explain if you are interested—just ask in Slack.
    • When you are creating your video, be sure to budget in at least an hour of time to edit, upload, and deal with any technology issues that may arise.
    • If you want to do the kind of picture-in-picture effect you’ve seen me using on the lecture videos, use Kaltura Capture to do a screen recording and a webcam recording at the same time. It’s very easy to use (even very tech-unsavvy professors can use this!), and Jim McLean who is on staff for support is very quick to respond to any problems. You can download and find helpful info here.


The analytical essay is the capstone project of the course, and is worth 35% of your final grade. The purpose is to demonstrate what you learned in our seminar by performing your own creative analysis of piece of your choosing. The paper will be an expanded (at least twice as long) and refined version of your presentation.


  • You may submit your paper anytime between July 23 and July 27.
  • The paper will be submitted to me on Blackboard. 
  • You must submit your paper as a .pdf file. 


This is a music analysis paper. Some additional requirements and guidelines:

  • Your music analysis must rely on and deeply engage with the analytical approaches we learned in class. This is the most important aspect of this paper, and therefore worth the most points in the rubric.
  • Your paper should be bound together with a thesis statement of some kind, i.e., some kind of central feature that you discovered while analyzing the piece.
  • The vast majority of your paper should be music analysis. If historical context directly enhances your central music-analytical thesis, then you may include it. Otherwise, restrict your biographical information to one paragraph. Including extra information beyond this does not help your grade in any way—it’s just extra.
  • You should have chosen at least three aspects of the piece to focus on as examples which prove your thesis statement. 
  • Avoid qualitative language and irrelevant personal experience. The purpose of this paper is to show your understanding of the piece and the analytical techniques used, not to convince someone else to like the piece. 
  • Your tone and focus should be extremely similar to the readings we did throughout class. You might like to view my sample paper as a guide. 


  • Your paper should be at least 8 pages, but no more than 13.
  • Page counts include musical examples (within reason).
  • If the length is causing you issues, please talk with me and I’ll help you expand or condense your paper as needed.


  • 1” margins; professional 12 point font, such as Times; double-spaced
  • Add a header with your name, the class, and the date you submitted it.
  • Add page numbers.
  • You must properly cite all authors whose techniques you use.
  • This is not a research paper, so you should really only be citing people we discussed in class.
  • You should have a bibliography at the end, even if it includes only one source.
  • Use Chicago or MLA format for your citations, whichever you are more familiar with.
  • Proofread carefully.

Essay grading rubric

Helpful tips

Expand to show additional tips

  • Come talk with me one-on-one to improve your paper! Students who meet with me always end up with better projects than students who do this on their own. I write a lot and have worked in a writing center, so I have a lot of wisdom about writing to share with you.
  • Begin your project by analyzing the music. Make your musical examples. Then, begin writing the paper by explaining your analysis. Write down the “low-hanging fruit” first to get the ball rolling so you’re not staring at a blank Word document.
  • Read your paper out loud to another human being before you submit it. This is the fastest way to find weird grammatical errors that you made.
  • Words and phrases to avoid: very, it, interesting, unique, thing, genius, “it is ___ that,” “some say,” “I believe,” “it seems.” Maybe also “to be.”