placeholding image for one-page faculty site

John Thomsen - Creative Arts

Concert Report Format - Music 1A

Length of Report and Margins

The length of the main body for each report must be at least 5 full pages. Please note that this does not include your introduction or conclusion. Your report will be considered incomplete if you include a 3 inch margin on the first page or if the 3rd page is only ¾ full. The title page with your name, instructor's name, date and any other important information you wish to include, should be a separate page. Again, the length of the main body of your reports must be at least 5 full pages. All reports must be double spaced as this allows room for comments to be written on your paper. Use 12-point (Times New Roman) font with 1 inch margins (top, bottom, left and right) otherwise points will be deducted from your report (a full page of font 14 is not a full page).

Appropriate Concerts

Please do check the topic list (concert list) to see which concerts are acceptable concerts to attend for your report. This list is available on the instructor's faculty web site. If you find another concert which is not listed on my list of acceptable concerts check with me to see if that particular concert would be acceptable or not. Do not attend any concert without first verifying whether or not it is an acceptable topic. You will not receive credit on any report for which you do not first verify the topic. Rock concerts and musicals as well as high school performances or concerts you are participating in (in any way) are not acceptable. However, Jazz concerts, Blues concerts and non-western concerts may be acceptable. When in doubt, check with me first before attending any concert. Keep in mind that you will need an actual printed program so if you know the program is going to be announced find another concert to go to. Include the program with your report. Reports without the printed program will be considered incomplete (25% deduction).

Content of Report

Include with your comments your subjective analysis and objective description of what you heard/experienced. As for the subjective analysis, these comments are your likes/dislikes for each composition/movement. Please remember that you must comment on each and every composition/movement. This means don't be late. If you are missing part of the program from your report, your report is incomplete. This also means that with multi-movement works such as Beethoven's 5th symphony (a symphony usually has 4 movements) you must make separate comments on each of the four movements and not just the symphony as one composition.

Example: Beethoven's symphony No. 5 in C minor, Op 67

I. Allegro con brio          II. Andante con moto

III. Allegro                     IV. Allegro

Keep in mind that I am interested in your honest opinion of each work. You are not in any way required to like any composition you hear. However, with every statement you make be sure to include an explanation. Explaining why you feel the way you do about each piece is important. As for the objective analysis, keep the description simple. Describing accurately what you heard is the goal here. Explain in such a way that even a person without any musical training can understand what you experienced. Hint----It is not necessary to use (for example) the words polyphonic, pianissimo, pizzicato, etc. in your paper. Keep the objective description simple. Again, comment on each and every composition.


Do include some sort of conclusion with your report. The conclusion should be relevant to the concert itself and not about what you were wearing that night or what you had for dinner. Also, ----(This part is very important.)----- do not include biographical information in your report. The concert report is not a research paper. I want to know about what you heard and experienced and what you thought about that concert. I do not want to know what was printed in the program notes. You will not receive credit for information copied out of a book or copied out of the program. Please do not fill your report up with this sort of padding. The conclusion should be your overall opinion of the concert itself which might include the highlights or for that matter worst moments of the concert. Again, including the why?with your statements is very important.

Writing About What You Experienced

Do not give a moment-by-moment description of each composition. Although music is a 4th dimensional art form (time), it will be impossible to understand a description that details every moment. Comment on the general characteristics of each work (rhythm, meter, texture, orchestration/instrumentation, dynamic contrast, text painting if applicable, form or any other significant highlights). You will only hear each composition once so it is a good idea to take notes while the concert is going on. This is why you will need a printed program.

Concert Etiquette

Do dress up for each concert. Although afternoon concerts are usually less formal than evening concerts I would dress up. Semi-formal attire is not required but shorts and a T-shirt would definitely be inappropriate and most likely embarrassing for you, especially if everyone else at the concert is dressed up.

When do you clap? After the entire composition. This means that for multi-movement works clap after the last movement.

If you do need to leave for what ever reason please do so between compositions not in the middle of a performance.

Try not to be noisy during performance. This means: turn off your cell phone before the concert starts, don't open noisy candy wrappers during the concert, don't carry on a conversation during the concert, etc. Be respectful of the other people who are enjoying the concert.

Enjoy the concert!

email icon Email: John Thomsen
phone icon Phone: (prefer email)

Creative Arts

Last Updated: 4/25/16