For this written assignment, you will attend a concert or sonic event in New York City that is outside of your usual interests, and translate your experience through writing. It is not necessary to develop an original argument for this writing assignment, but it is necessary to make connections between one or more aspects of the performance and your experience as an unfamiliar listener or participant.


First, choose a concert or sonic event about which you are curious, but is unfamiliar.


Second, attend/participate and while there, you will need to write notes about your observations or you should plan to take extensive notes immediately after the performance is over. The more observations you make during and immediately after the performance, the easier your writing will most likely be. Take the concert program or ticket (if applicable) and attach it to your final paper.


Third, draft your paper by structuring it with:

Your observations of some of the unique aspects of the performance, and

Your engagement with and interpretations of musical and cultural difference.


Some questions you might ask as a general guide:


Who are the performers and how do they present themselves? Who is in the audience? What kind of audience is the concert/event aimed at? How does this sonic event differ from the kinds of events you are used to attending (in terms of degree of formality, interaction between performers and audience, audience behavior, etc.)? Who/what does the audience react to? Who is considered a “good” performer? How does the unfamiliar sound and setting include or exclude you? How does a feeling of difference manifest for you in sound and in the behavior of you and others?


Length: between 4-5 pages, double-spaced with one-inch margins.


Numerous concerts in NYC and the immediate area can be found at:


Also explore cultural centers (JCC), museums, music schools, dance parties (Bhangra dance party, Salsa workshop/lessons, etc.), religious institutions (some have concert programs or you could also attend a session of group prayer and write about the role of sound/music in the prayer), festivals, etc. Other venues or contexts for sonic/musical performance are welcome.

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