Blog Prompts

Blog # 1: (400 words minimum, due by 11:55 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 11th): Write a statement of intention for the semester. This should cover the following: what you are most looking forward to learning and/or doing in this class, what obstacles you can foresee in doing well, what I can do as the instructor to most help you excel, how you plan to manage your time between each class and outside of school responsibilities, and what you hope to gain from this course.

Blog # 2: (400 words minimum, due by 11:55 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 18th): Read the New Yorker article and watch the two youtube clips (links in weekly schedule) and write about the ways in which the national anthem can be used, both to promote a traditional view of patriotism as well as to confront national challenges and advance change in the country. In what ways does Hendrix alter the usual use and meaning of the song in his Woodstock performance? Why do you think many viewers found it transgressive? What gave him the authority to speak, through music, on the question of patriotism and the future of the country?

Blog # 3: (400 words minimum, due by 11:55 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 25th): Read “Every Tone was a Testimony: Black Music, Literature, and Law” and watch the two youtube clips (all links in weekly schedule). Then write a post about the ways in which black music has/can/often does respond to the subjugation of African Americans over the past several centuries into the present. From the article, what were some of your key takeaways? Does this article change your thinking or present new ideas to you on any of the topics it raises?

Blog #4: (400 words minimum, due by 11:55 p.m. Thursday, March 4th) Read the two New Yorker articles on the Swedish songwriters and producers playing a key role in contemporary American pop music. First, briefly summarize the main points of each article. Then listen to a few of the songs referenced in the articles and respond to what you read and hear. Do you find commonalities among the sounds in the various songs? Do you think you might be able to spot songs made this way in the future?

Blog # 5: (400 words minimum, due by 11:55 p.m. Thursday, March 11th). Read “Factory Girls” (link in weekly schedule) and watch BLACKPINK: Light Up the Sky on Netflix. Discuss the concept of Hallyu as it relates to K-Pop. What are some of the juxtapositions embedded in this genre of music? Why does it seem like it appeals to such vast amounts of people around the world? What is the role of capitalism in the promotion and maintenance of K-Pop? What is the role of social media its rise? Finally,  in a separate paragraph, present your personal view of the phenomenon.

Blog # 6: (400 words minimum, due by 11:55 p.m. Thursday, March 18th). Returning to the subject of Black music and American society, listen to the Podcast “‘Prison To Prison Pipeline’: Isis Tha Saviour” from NPR (link in weekly schedule) and respond to it. First, give a brief explanation of the story told in this episode, and then discuss the significance of gender and race on the creation of this particular artist, her struggles with the law, and the ecosystem of hip-hip music.

Blog # 7: (400 words minimum, due by 11:55 p.m. Thursday, March 25th). Read “How Noname Helped Me Make Sense of My Relationship With My Mother” (link in weekly schedule) and respond. First, describe the challenges the author describes having had with her mother and the way that music helped her understand the situation better. Then, in a separate paragraph,  give a personal response. Have you ever had an experience where music helped you understand a relationship better? Have you ever connected strong memories with listening to or playing certain music?

Blog # 8: (400 words minimum, due by 11:55 p.m. Thursday, April 8th).  In this class, we have discussed music’s connection to social movements, as well as the history of Black music leading to the formation of many other genres of music, from rock to R&B to hip-hip to some forms of country and pop. Read, watch, and listen to the materials on John Lennon in the weekly schedule, and then talk about the ways in which his music (though he was English) stemmed from the Black American tradition, how he brought music forward, and how he sought to influence the views of listeners on social issues in the years of his solo career following the Beatles. Can you see any connection between this and the K-Pop materials we encountered? What about the social commentary group projects you did early on?