Audio Essay

The final assignment for this course asks you to propose and develop an ‘audio essay’ that relates to the themes of the course as a whole. By audio essay, I am asking you to prepare a 15-20 minute audio piece that analyzes a particular social, cultural or economic aspect of popular music that relates to the ideas and topics we have discussed in either the first or the second semester of the course.

The assignment consists of two parts:

1) A short proposal and production schedule: This part of the assignment is worth 20% of your final grade on this assignment. It is intended to ensure that you are making the necessary steps in preparing for your final assignments as it relates to both research and the production of the final audio essay. The proposal should be between 3-4 pages in length. It should outline the topic you have chosen for the assignment, the main topics you expect to cover in your final project, as well as some indication of the resources (both textual and expert interviews) that you will draw upon. It will be accompanied by a production schedule that will outline the key phases of producing the audio essay. It will explain in detail the stages of research and preparation (from reading relevant material to contacting experts) for this project.

Due date: February 13, 2014

2) An audio essay and critical reflection: This part of the assignment is worth 80% of your final grade on this assignment. It will consist of a 20-minute long audio recording that introduces, explains and informs the audience about a topic of your choosing (see, for example, the audio essays produced by Radiolab.) This will require you to write and record a script, interview experts (broadly defined) about your topic, edit material together from various sources (we will discuss copyright in a future class), and submit a finished mp3 for consideration. It should be accompanied by a 5-7 page critical reflection that uses material from the course to reflect on the process of producing your documentary. This can involve a reflection both on the process of producing an audio document rather than written one oras well using other material to reflect on the way in which you used your material and research. Essentially, it should make the case for why this assignment is relevant to this course.

I would like to meet with each of you individually about your assignment during the course of the term to discuss your project. I will also be speaking with you during class while we workshop particular skills related to the development of a project like this, both in terms of script development and technical skills.

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