John P. Hausmann

A&S, Music History
Music History 204

"This assignment is based on two fundamental assumptions that have guided our thinking and my selection and presentation of material all semester: that music is fundamentally a social experience, and that there are multiple ways of making meaning from a piece of music."

John Hausmann supplemented his "traditional, end-of-semester cumulative exam" with an alternative final project which asked students to "make connections between musical works that, until now, have been discrete and dissimilar." Students picked 10 pieces/songs they had studied in their Music History in Western Civilization course and answered the following questions: 1) In which unit did we originally study this music? Why? 2) What is another unit that we could have studied this music in? Why?

This assignment is more a learning-tool than actual assessment, since the students need to learn while completing the assignment.

—John Hausmann

Students were also asked to compare and contrast five musical pieces they had studied, using a defining features matrix. Examples of the criteria used in Hausmann’s defining features matrix include: "polyphonic," "string instruments," and "male voices."

Hausmann credits the influence of the PT-FLC on his assignment: "most significantly, the project encourages student learning through reconceptualizations and reapplications of existing knowledge." He points out that he used the Defining Features matrix, a classroom assessment technique, "more [as] a learning tool than actual assessment," adding that he wanted his students to complete the Defining Features matrix "as a final learning opportunity for the semester." He plans to use a similar assignment next semester, and may ask students to create their own Pandora station based on randomly-assigned criteria. Pandora, an Internet radio station, relies on user preferences to generate custom playlists, and most students have used Pandora or a similar online service.

^ Top of Page