As I mentioned yesterday, I've been teaching the Sociology of Music this term. Early in the semester, I challenged the class to tackle a larger group project instead of the stale, old, individual academic research/analysis paper for their final project. I proposed these ideas as possibilities:
Write and perform and/or record a sociologically relevant song as a class.
Organize and put on a sociologically-themed concert with local talent.
Produce and publish a sociologically-themed compilation album with local talent.
I also encouraged them to come up with ideas of their own. Several in the class who were not so musically inclined were intimidated by the first option, even though I tried to reassure them that there were plenty of opportunities in the writing process for conceptual input.* There was consensus on the second option, though, so we ran with it.
The class decided to hold the event at a local coffee shop and to make it more of a singer/songwriter-acoustic-thing. We delegated responsibility by dividing into Artist/Venue, Marketing, and Program(/Propaganda) groups. Most students got their first choice of groups, though a few had to settle for their second choice.
Last night, he had the concert. We had seven acts perform, six comprised of students at the college, one from the community. I'm happy to report that it was far more successful than either the students or I had expected! In our debriefing today, that class agreed that we could have better accommodated the crowd in the limited space we had and informed the artists better about what we meant by "social justice," though
* - It's probably also worth noting that I am a musician, own recording equipment, and have years of experience recording and releasing music, not to mention a minor in Music Business with an emphasis in Production. Had I not had this background, I likely wouldn't have felt comfortable with options 1 or 3.
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