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  • Topic: Blues, Rhythm and blues, Music
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1 1530.6 ROCK AND POPULAR MUSIC MUSIC EXAMS--FALL TERM 2010 Matt Vanderwoude

SOME FOLLOW-UP WRITING TIPS FOR THE EXAM ESSAY QUESTION [Please Note: Any examples that appear here are made up. They are not taken directly from any actual student answers.]

1.0 READING AND UNDERSTANDING THE QUESTION a) Read the question very carefully, analyze it, and break it down into its component parts (i.e., its main topics and subtopics). Then ask yourself, “What, exactly, is this question asking me to do? What are all the things I need to address or take care of in my answer?” b) Pay special attention to the scope and/or focus of the question. This may include such details as, for example, the overall setting or place, the time frame, special keywords, names (of people, places, things, events), requests for specific types of examples to include, etc. c) Also pay special attention to the words (imperative verbs) that are used in the question to give you instructions (e.g., explain, discuss, describe, examine, etc.). d) Look for any hints or clues or specific details as to what a good answer will include. e) Highlight or underline the most important words in the question. Better yet, make a quick outline of the question. You can then use this question outline as a basis for an outline for your answer.

Here is the question again:

Write a short essay on the historical developments which led to the creation of the music industry in the United States at the turn of the Twentieth Century. Your answer will survey pertinent legal, technological and demographic considerations, and will discuss the structure of the music industry as it was configured during that time. Secondly, discuss the Centre/Periphery Model (see WebCT attachment) with respect to how the industry altered the stylistic character of American folk music (country music or blues-TBA). A superior answer will reference Seeger and Adorno (Reading Kit Articles 1 and 2), and will provide detailed comparisons of a least two WebCT examples.

2 Here is an example of a quick outline of the question. Basically we have 3 components: history; theory; musical style. Note, however, there are different possibilities for where and how to integrate the different components and the references to Seeger and Adorno. This is just one example.

Part 1: History Component 1.1 historical developments which led to the creation of the U.S. music industry, turn of 20th century (i.e., a few years before and a few years after 1900) 1.1.1 technological considerations 1.1.2 legal considerations 1.1.3 demographic considerations --Seeger and Adorno 1.2 structure of the music industry as it was configured during that time Part 2: Theory Component 2.1 Centre/Periphery Model --Seeger and Adorno 2.2 how the industry altered the stylistic character of one type of folk music: a) country music OR b) blues --Seeger and Adorno Part 3: Musical Style Component 3.1 detailed comparison of at least 2 WebCT musical examples --Seeger and Adorno

******* 2.0 TIME MANAGEMENT Try to think how long it will take you to write each part of the answer and how long (and how many pages) it will take you to write the answer in total. Try to time yourself accordingly. Ask yourself if there are ways you can organize your answer efficiently so you can use your time to your best advantage.

******* 3.0 PRE-WRITING (QUICKLY BRAINSTORMING AND/OR OUTLINING YOUR ANSWER BEFORE YOU REALLY START WRITING) No matter how good a student you are or how prepared you are, it is probably a good idea to at least do a quick brainstorm of each of the parts of the outline above. This will help you to remember what you want to say and stay on track. Don’t take too much

3 time on this task, however, or you will run into time management problems. Just use point form and don’t worry if you can’t fill out everything in the outline. Other ideas will probably come to you as you write. The idea here is to just get some information down on paper so...
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