• Class Number 2586
  • Term Code 3230
  • Class Info
  • Unit Value 6 units
  • Mode of Delivery In Person
    • Dr Bonnie McConnell
    • Jennifer Newsome
  • Class Dates
  • Class Start Date 21/02/2022
  • Class End Date 27/05/2022
  • Census Date 31/03/2022
  • Last Date to Enrol 28/02/2022
SELT Survey Results

This course will introduce students to the range of ways in which we use words to describe music. It is an important enabling course both for students wishing to pursue music research, and for those wanting to develop their skills in writing for the music profession. The course analyses particular examples of such writing such as music history, analysis, ethnomusicology, journalism, program notes, blogs, educational texts, and grant applications.  As well as giving practical examples and learning opportunities in these writing modes, the course also considers some of the theoretical issues in the positioning of discourse.  Learning and teaching activities will include lectures, tutorials and the preparation of a writing portfolio.

Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion, students will have the knowledge and skills to:

  1. describe various methods for writing about music in a variety of styles;
  2. apply these methods to a number of specific musical cases for a variety of audiences;
  3. demonstrate listening and observation/participation skills to discern how to write about specific kinds of musical works and events; and
  4. demonstrate research, analysis, discussion and writing skills through written assessment tasks.

Additional Course Costs

In completing research and assessment tasks for this course, students may incur additional costs, for example, relating to transport or purchase of tickets for attendance at performance events.

Examination Material or equipment


Required Resources

Resources, including weekly readings, will be made available in class and/or on the Wattle course website. Other resources will be available in the ANU Art and Music Library and online. Students are advised to bring a laptop computer or smartphone to each class, where possible, to facilitate access to Wattle information/internet resources/links and to research/writing information and for in-class tasks.

Whether you are on campus or studying remotely, there are a variety of online platforms you will use to participate in your study program. These could include videos for lectures and other instruction, two-way video conferencing for interactive learning, email and other messaging tools for communication, interactive web apps for formative and collaborative activities, print and/or photo/scan for handwritten work and drawings, and home-based assessment.

ANU outlines recommended student system requirements to ensure you are able to participate fully in your learning. Other information is also available about the various Learning Platforms you may use.

Staff Feedback

Students will be given feedback in the following forms in this course:

  • written comments
  • verbal comments
  • feedback to whole class, tutorial groups and individuals.

Student Feedback

ANU is committed to the demonstration of educational excellence and regularly seeks feedback from students. Students are encouraged to offer feedback directly to their Course Convener or through their College and Course representatives (if applicable). Feedback can also be provided to Course Conveners and teachers via the Student Experience of Learning & Teaching (SELT) feedback program. SELT surveys are confidential and also provide the Colleges and ANU Executive with opportunities to recognise excellent teaching, and opportunities for improvement.

Class Schedule

Week/Session Summary of Activities Assessment
1 Lecture/Seminar: Introduction to the course. Why we write about music? Music Library Tour. Tutorial/Workshop: What is academic music research? What is musicology? Types of music research. Choosing your essay topic + exploration of music reference sources and online research tools. Task: Week 2 readings
2 Lecture/Seminar: What is music criticism? What is analytical/critical reading? Assessing writing about music. Refining your essay topic and conducting your literature review. Concert/Event Reviews. Tutorial/Workshop: Readings discussion round table (Concert/Events Reviews) - writing and research skills workshop (including assessment components). Tasks: Week 3 readings. Preparation of student-selected reading analysis presentation.
3 Lecture/Seminar: Album reviews. Readings review (Album Reviews) and discussion. Tutorial/Workshop: Student-selected readings round table (Album Reviews) - writing and research skills workshop (including assessment components). Tasks: Week 4 readings. Draft Writing Portfolio 1. Student-selected reading/s analysis presentation (non-graded)
4 Lecture/Seminar: Interviews. Interviewing skills and techniques. Readings review and discussion (Interviews) Tutorial/Workshop: Writing Portfolio 1 round table - writing and research skills workshop (including assessment components). Tasks: Week 5 readings. Draft Essay Topic and annotated bibliography. Draft Writing Portfolio 1 due before Lecture (non-graded)
5 Lecture/Seminar: Academic articles. Musicological research and discourse. Readings review and discussion (Academic articles). Tutorial/Workshop: Draft Essay Topic and annotated bibliography round table - writing and research skills workshop (including assessment components). Tasks: Week 6 readings. Draft Writing Portfolio 2. Draft Analytical/Critical Essay topic and format. Draft Essay Topic and annotated bibliography due before tutorial (non-graded)
6 Lecture/Seminar: Newspapers/Magazine articles. Readings review and discussion (Newspapers/Magazine articles). Tutorial/Workshop Writing Portfolio 2 - writing and research skills workshop (including assessment components). Tasks: Week 7 readings. Preparation of student-selected reading analysis presentation. Draft Writing Portfolio 2 due before Lecture (non-graded) Analytical/Critical Essay topic and format must be approved this week
7 Lecture/Seminar: Podcasts/Radio. Readings review and discussion (Podcasts/Radio). Tutorial/Workshop: Student-selected readings round table - writing and research skills workshop (including assessment components). Tasks: Week 8 readings. Draft Writing Portfolio 3. Annotated Bibliography. Student-selected reading/s analysis presentation (non-graded)
8 Lecture/Seminar: Sleeve/Liner Notes. Readings review and discussion (Sleeve/Liner Notes) Tutorial/Workshop: Writing Portfolio 3 round table - writing and research skills workshop (including assessment components). Tasks: Week 9 readings. Preparation of Analytical/Critical Essay - topic research and written drafts. Draft Writing Portfolio 3 due before Lecture (non-graded) Annotated Bibliography due (29 April)
9 Lecture/Seminar: Program Notes. Readings review and discussion (Program Notes). Tutorial/Workshop: Analytical/Critical Essay topic and written drafts round table - writing and research skills workshop (including assessment components). Tasks: Week 10 readings. Draft Writing Portfolio 4. Analytical/Critical Essay topic and written drafts presentation (non-graded)
10 Lecture/Seminar: Blogs and Social Media. Readings review and discussion (Blogs and Social Media). Tutorial/Workshop: Draft Writing Portfolio 4 round table - writing and research skills workshop (including assessment components). Tasks: Preparation of Oral Presentations for Weeks 11/12. Preparation of Writing Portfolio (due Week 11). Preparation of final draft of Analytical/Critical Essay (due Week 12). Week 11 Readings. Draft Writing Portfolio 4 due before Lecture (non-graded)
11 Lecture/Seminar: Listicles and Playlists. Readings review and discussion (Listicles and Playlists). Tutorial/Workshop: Oral Presentations (non-graded) Task: Completion of Analytical/Critical Essay (due Week 12) Oral Presentations (non-graded) Writing Portfolio due 20 May
12 Lecture/Seminar: Funding and funding applications + workshop. Tutorial/Workshop: Oral Presentations (non-graded) and grant applications exercise. Oral Presentations (non-graded) Analytical/Critical Essay due 27 May

Tutorial Registration

Registration for tutorials will take place in the first Lecture and/or via the course Wattle site.

Assessment Summary

Assessment task Value Due Date Learning Outcomes
Writing Portfolio 40 % 20/05/2022 1-4
Annotated Bibliography 10 % 29/04/2022 1-4
Analytical/Critical Essay 40 % 27/05/2022 1-4
Participation 10 % * 1-4

* If the Due Date and Return of Assessment date are blank, see the Assessment Tab for specific Assessment Task details


ANU has educational policies, procedures and guidelines , which are designed to ensure that staff and students are aware of the University’s academic standards, and implement them. Students are expected to have read the Academic Integrity Rule before the commencement of their course. Other key policies and guidelines include:

Assessment Requirements

The ANU is using Turnitin to enhance student citation and referencing techniques, and to assess assignment submissions as a component of the University's approach to managing Academic Integrity. For additional information regarding Turnitin please visit the Academic Skills website. In rare cases where online submission using Turnitin software is not technically possible; or where not using Turnitin software has been justified by the Course Convener and approved by the Associate Dean (Education) on the basis of the teaching model being employed; students shall submit assessment online via ‘Wattle’ outside of Turnitin, or failing that in hard copy, or through a combination of submission methods as approved by the Associate Dean (Education). The submission method is detailed below.

Moderation of Assessment

Marks that are allocated during Semester are to be considered provisional until formalised by the College examiners meeting at the end of each Semester. If appropriate, some moderation of marks might be applied prior to final results being released.


Active participation is essential to effective learning in this course. Students are expected to participate in weekly lecture/seminars and tutorial/workshops; prepare for classes by completing the assigned readings and taking thorough notes; actively contributing to discussions and small group activities and other in-class activities (including formative peer-to-peer discussion/feedback on research and written work) and to the online class forum; and by listening to other students’ ideas and responding thoughtfully and constructively.



Assessment Task 1

Value: 40 %
Due Date: 20/05/2022
Learning Outcomes: 1-4

Writing Portfolio

Students are required to complete four short (400 word) pieces of writing (10% each) reflecting on and critiquing selected set readings, one of which must be an academic article. The four pieces of writing (drafts due progressively in weeks 4, 6, 8,10) combine to create the final completed Writing Portfolio (40%) due in Week 11 (see course schedule). Each piece of writing must be submitted as a draft prior to the lecture in the relevant weeks. Students are required to reflect on and discuss their draft pieces during weekly Tutorial/Workshops for formative feedback and research and writing support. Word limit: 400 words for each piece of writing (1600 in total). Presentation Requirements: Final document uploaded to Turnitin comprising all four components combined into a single word document, with cover sheet, and formatted in Chicago style .

Assessment Criteria:

·      Demonstrated understanding of the purposes of different approaches to writing about music (genre/style)

·      Demonstrated ability to effectively apply different approaches to writing about music (genre/style)

·      Demonstrated ability to disseminate ideas regarding music through words

·      Demonstrated ability to support ideas regarding music through research (Chicago style references)

Assessment Task 2

Value: 10 %
Due Date: 29/04/2022
Learning Outcomes: 1-4

Annotated Bibliography

Students are required to complete an annotated bibliography of between 15 and 20 sources directly related to the topic of their Analytical/Critical Essay (Assessment Task 3). Each reference must be accompanied by a set of dot-points, which must include comments on the authority and relevance of each source. The annotated bibliography should include a range of sources demonstrating both breadth and depth of research and must be formatted in Chicago Style. Research for the bibliography will be supported through in-class learning activities and students will also be required to discuss their draft essay topics and research for their bibliographies in Tutorial/Workshops for formative feedback and research and writing support. Word limit: 15-20 entries, accompanied by a set of short dot-point comments on each entry . Presentation requirements: Uploaded to Turnitin, with cover sheet, and formatted in Chicago Style.

Assessment Criteria:

·      Demonstrated ability to make effective use of appropriate research resources and tools in the collection of sources directly relevant to the chosen research topic

·      Demonstrated breadth and depth of research in developing the bibliography

·      Demonstrated ability to effectively evaluate and critique the authority and relevance of sources

·      Demonstrated understanding of appropriate formatting of a bibliography in Chicago Style

Assessment Task 3

Value: 40 %
Due Date: 27/05/2022
Learning Outcomes: 1-4

Analytical/Critical Essay

Students are required to complete an analytical/critical piece of writing that examines a chosen musical topic in a selected format (to be approved by the Lecturer by the end of week 6). The piece of writing should present a detailed in-depth examination of the chosen topic, which may include an analytical perspective (where relevant analytical techniques are applied) and/or a critical and contextual perspective (where relevant ideas, theories and historical perspectives are applied). Chicago style referencing, with footnotes and bibliography is required. This assessment item is designed to emulate a real life writing situation, and as such, students may choose from a range of different formats of writing, based on their own interests. Students may choose from: Academic article, Newspaper/Magazine article, Blog post, Listicle, Podcast (transcript should include references), Interview (transcript should include references), Concert/Event or Album review, Program note, Liner/Sleeve note, or other format, as approved by the Lecturer. Research and writing for the piece of writing will be supported through in-class learning activities in which students will be required to discuss their Analytical/Critical topic and written drafts for formative feedback and research and writing support. The Analytical/Critical Essay will also form the basis of a 5 minute non-graded Oral Presentation in Tutorial/Workshops during Weeks 11/12. Word limit: 1500 words. Presentation requirements: Uploaded to Turnitin with cover sheet, and formatted in Chicago style.

Assessment Criteria:

·      Demonstrated ability to formulate a concise topic (and essay title) that facilitates exploration and discussion of a specific aspect of music (music, musicians, music-making, music performance)

·      Clarity and structure of writing as relevant to the selected writing genre/style

·      Demonstrated evidence of individual research, and use, interpretation and understanding of a range of sources displaying breadth and depth of research relevant to the chosen topic

·      Demonstrated evidence of analysis and/or critical analysis relevant to the chosen topic

·      Articulation of a well-developed, cohesive and substantiated research position/argument relevant to the chosen topic, supported through references to relevant sources

·      Quality of writing, referencing and bibliography (Chicago Style)

Assessment Task 4

Value: 10 %
Learning Outcomes: 1-4


This course is a participatory one in which students are required to actively participate in weekly Lecture/Seminars and Tutorial/Workshops classes. Students are required to prepare for class meetings by completing assigned readings and taking thorough notes, and by contributing to class discussions, small group activities, other in-class activities and the online class forum. Students are also required to present their own work in class and actively listen to other students’ ideas, and thoughtfully and constructively contribute to peer-to-peer feedback on the work of other students in a collaborative learning environment. Assessment is ongoing.

?Assessment Criteria:

·      Frequency of participation in class discussions and other in-class activities

·      Evidence of preparation

·      Evidence of listening skills

·      Contribution to on-line class forum

Academic Integrity

Academic integrity is a core part of the ANU culture as a community of scholars. The University’s students are an integral part of that community. The academic integrity principle commits all students to engage in academic work in ways that are consistent with, and actively support, academic integrity, and to uphold this commitment by behaving honestly, responsibly and ethically, and with respect and fairness, in scholarly practice.

The University expects all staff and students to be familiar with the academic integrity principle, the Academic Integrity Rule 2021, the Policy: Student Academic Integrity and Procedure: Student Academic Integrity, and to uphold high standards of academic integrity to ensure the quality and value of our qualifications.

The Academic Integrity Rule 2021 is a legal document that the University uses to promote academic integrity, and manage breaches of the academic integrity principle. The Policy and Procedure support the Rule by outlining overarching principles, responsibilities and processes. The Academic Integrity Rule 2021 commences on 1 December 2021 and applies to courses commencing on or after that date, as well as to research conduct occurring on or after that date. Prior to this, the Academic Misconduct Rule 2015 applies.


The University commits to assisting all students to understand how to engage in academic work in ways that are consistent with, and actively support academic integrity. All coursework students must complete the online Academic Integrity Module (Epigeum), and Higher Degree Research (HDR) students are required to complete research integrity training. The Academic Integrity website provides information about services available to assist students with their assignments, examinations and other learning activities, as well as understanding and upholding academic integrity.

Online Submission

You will be required to electronically sign a declaration as part of the submission of your assignment. Please keep a copy of the assignment for your records. Unless an exemption has been approved by the Associate Dean (Education) submission must be through Turnitin. Please keep a copy of your assignments for your records.

Hardcopy Submission

For some forms of assessment (hand written assignments, art works, laboratory notes, etc.) hard copy submission is appropriate when approved by the Associate Dean (Education). Hard copy submissions must utilise the Assignment Cover Sheet. Please keep a copy of tasks completed for your records.

Late Submission

Individual assessment tasks may or may not allow for late submission. Policy regarding late submission is detailed below:

  • Late submission not permitted. If submission of assessment tasks without an extension after the due date is not permitted, a mark of 0 will be awarded.
  • Late submission permitted. Late submission of assessment tasks without an extension are penalised at the rate of 5% of the possible marks available per working day or part thereof. Late submission of assessment tasks is not accepted after 10 working days after the due date, or on or after the date specified in the course outline for the return of the assessment item. Late submission is not accepted for take-home examinations.

Referencing Requirements

The Academic Skills website has information to assist you with your writing and assessments. The website includes information about Academic Integrity including referencing requirements for different disciplines. There is also information on Plagiarism and different ways to use source material.

Returning Assignments

Marks will be posted on Wattle. Students will receive individual feedback on their work throughout the Semester in class and/or online. Students who wish to receive additional feedback on assignments should contact the Course Convenor/Lecturer in-person or via email.

Extensions and Penalties

Extensions and late submission of assessment pieces are covered by the Student Assessment (Coursework) Policy and Procedure. Extensions may be granted for assessment pieces that are not examinations or take-home examinations. If you need an extension, you must request an extension in writing on or before the due date. If you have documented and appropriate medical evidence that demonstrates you were not able to request an extension on or before the due date, you may be able to request it after the due date.

Resubmission of Assignments

Assignments may not be resubmitted, except in special circumstances as negotiated with the Course Convenor/Lecturer.

Privacy Notice

The ANU has made a number of third party, online, databases available for students to use. Use of each online database is conditional on student end users first agreeing to the database licensor’s terms of service and/or privacy policy. Students should read these carefully. In some cases student end users will be required to register an account with the database licensor and submit personal information, including their: first name; last name; ANU email address; and other information.
In cases where student end users are asked to submit ‘content’ to a database, such as an assignment or short answers, the database licensor may only use the student’s ‘content’ in accordance with the terms of service – including any (copyright) licence the student grants to the database licensor. Any personal information or content a student submits may be stored by the licensor, potentially offshore, and will be used to process the database service in accordance with the licensors terms of service and/or privacy policy.
If any student chooses not to agree to the database licensor’s terms of service or privacy policy, the student will not be able to access and use the database. In these circumstances students should contact their lecturer to enquire about alternative arrangements that are available.

Distribution of grades policy

Academic Quality Assurance Committee monitors the performance of students, including attrition, further study and employment rates and grade distribution, and College reports on quality assurance processes for assessment activities, including alignment with national and international disciplinary and interdisciplinary standards, as well as qualification type learning outcomes.

Since first semester 1994, ANU uses a grading scale for all courses. This grading scale is used by all academic areas of the University.

Support for students

The University offers students support through several different services. You may contact the services listed below directly or seek advice from your Course Convener, Student Administrators, or your College and Course representatives (if applicable).

Dr Bonnie McConnell

Research Interests

Inter-intracultural music education; Indigenous cultural and educational rights and social justice in Australian Indigenous tertiary music education; applied and action research in institution-community engagement and collaboration in Indigenous performing arts education; historical biography and historical discourse on South Australian Aboriginal music and culture; research ethics and Indigenous research agendas, paradigms and methodologies; Indigenous intellectual and cultural property rights; Indigenous cultural maintenance and development in diaspora communities.

Dr Bonnie McConnell

By Appointment
Jennifer Newsome

Research Interests

Jennifer Newsome

Responsible Officer: Registrar, Student Administration / Page Contact: Website Administrator / Frequently Asked Questions