Each week in this class, you will be expected to read and respond to several short chapters in our supplemental text: Songbook by Nick Hornby. In addition to weekly discussion postings, you’ll also be working on a course-long project inspired by Hornby’s book that is worth 20% of your final grade. This ongoing project is the creation of your own personal Songbook. Over the course of our first six weeks together, you will select ten different songs that are personally important to you. As you’ll discover when you begin reading Hornby’s text, these songs could be important to you for any number of reasons, only some of which might have anything to do with a song having a “good beat.” For each song that you select, you will write an essay of at least 500 words that explains your affinity for your chosen song.
Your essay can use any supporting material you’d like to incorporate. You may tell a personal story, provide statistical evidence, offer a musical analysis, conduct a comparison and/or contrast. In short, the support, like the song, is for you to choose. There are, however, a few caveats:
I DO expect your essays to be thoughtful and thought-provoking. I’m not interested in reading about a song you heard the first time you hooked up, but I am interested in hearing about how a song symbolizes for you the lost innocence of childhood. I’m unimpressed by a description of how “heavy” a bass line is, but I’m intrigued by your description of how a song might signify a “macho” image that you were expected to project when you belonged to a certain group.
I DO expect your essays to be personal and/or relevant to the world at large. As you’ll discover Hornby doing in the chapters you read, you should use your discussion of a favorite song to make a larger point about yourself and the world around you.
As this is a college-level course in the Humanities, you are expected to use proper essay format, with an introduction that contains a thesis, body paragraphs that offer support for your thesis, and a conclusion that wraps up your ideas. Pay attention to correct spelling and grammar; they matter. The completed project should include a cover page with your name, date, and class information. The completed assignment is due in the dropbox in Week 6.
The final submission for this assignment will consist of ten (10) different 500-word essays. Submissions that are shorter than five thousand (5000) words total will be subject to a proportionate reduction in grade.
Please don’t hesitate to ask any questions that you may have about this assignment and please don’t wait to get started.
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