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.
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.