“Sonata, What Do You Want of Me?”: Teaching Rhetorical Strategies for Writing about Music

Alison P. Deadman


This article looks at the application and modification of Gerald Graff and Kathy Birkenstein’s methodology for teaching academic writing (as presented in their text They Say/ I Say: the moves that matter in academic writing) to the undergraduate music history classroom.  The author focuses on the first part of Graff and Birkenstein’s methodology – the art of successfully summarizing and quoting relevant parts of academic discourse as a springboard for one’s own ideas – and suggests that the basic techniques espoused by Graff and Birkenstein can be adapted for use when discussing musical texts (i.e. scores) rather than verbal texts.  The author illustrates her ideas with examples from scholarly musicological discourse and shows how she uses these examples along with her modifications of Graff and Birkenstein’s strategies in her own classroom to help her students understand and implement rhetorical strategies that strengthen their discourse and improve their writing skills.


Pedagogy; Writing

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ISSN 2155-109X