Writing about Music in Large Music Appreciation Classrooms Using Active Learning, Discipline-Specific Skills, and Peer Review

Jennifer L. Hund


In today’s world of growing class size, increasing number of credit hours taught, and rising call for more on-line course offerings, instructors must develop creative solutions to common pedagogical issues. Unfortunately, writing assignments are often the first mode of assessment relinquished when one feels pressed for time to prepare, to teach, and to evaluate students. Not all college-level writing needs to be in the form of a research paper. Students are served equally well by learning how to think in new disciplinary contexts while using basic, universal writing skills of proper grammar, spelling, and organization in short assignments. This paper describes an active learning experience of general disciplinary skills and presents a model of how to write about music that concludes with an essay submission and peer review. My suggestions combine research on active learning strategies, the pedagogical method proposed by instructors in Decoding the Disciplines: Helping Students Learn Disciplinary Ways of Thinking, and Calibrated Peer ReviewTM, a web-based peer review program.


pedagogy; music appreciation; general studies; large classroom teaching; writing

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ISSN 2155-109X