GCC Music and the Society Ess

Writing Goals

The goal of this essay is to demonstrate your understanding of how music can reflect, represent, or speak to a place. You will do this by demonstrating the following key writing skills:

  • Crafting an argument: Creating arguable claims (including your main claim – the thesis) and using effective logical reasoning to develop the argument
  • Using evidence to support claims: Demonstrating the ability to identify and incorporate relevant, interesting, effective evidence that enhances and supports the argument
  • Adding to a conversation: Further exploring ideas, concepts, questions, or terms raised by another writer, which calls for your own examples, claims, and analysis as you test, complicate, or add to the ideas raised by another writer
  • Analysis: Opening up meaning for readers, based on evidence from your subject, beyond an opinion-only reaction by offering explanations, insights, and connections between evidence and claims.

The Assignment

In “Los Angeles Is Singing,” Kun claims that “[s]ongs can orient us to where we are, ground us in a sense of home, but they can also help us imagine where we want to go and reimagine just what home can mean” (183). Throughout his examination of this idea, he discusses the wide variety of songs that have been written about Los Angeles.

In this essay, you will select 3-4 songs that relate to Los Angeles in some way and explain: How do these songs offer a particular experience or “phenomenological” understanding of L.A.?

In your essay, you will analyze how particular songs reflect, influence, or speak directly to Los Angeles. The first step is to decide on a focus. Choose one of the following areas of focus:

  • Pick a specific neighborhood or community in L.A. and discuss how the songs represent that neighborhood; this could involve a contemporary look at the area or an examination of a historical moment (such as gangsta rap from Compton in the 1990s, the hard rock scene in the 1980s on the Sunset Strip, the West Coast jazz scene on Central Avenue from 1940s-1950s, etc.).
  • Look into the ways songs represent a particular culture in L.A. Culture in this case could mean ethnicity or country of origin, but it could also mean a subculture that revolves around an activity or place (such as surfers, car culture, etc.)

For the project, you will need to include 3-4 songs (your mixtape).

Source Requirements

This project will require you to do some research to find your songs, which will be sources for the essay. The first step is to discover and listen to songs in order to narrow down the ones you want to include. YouTube, Pandora, Spotify, etc. are valuable tools for this.

Along with the songs, you may want to understand more about the music, cultures, neighborhoods, and histories you are examining. This optional research would help provide important context for your readers and help you to understand your subject better.

In terms of source requirements, you must incorporate cited evidence (e.g. paraphrase/summary, description, quotations) from the following:

  • Josh Kun’s essay, “Los Angeles Is Singing” (add to the conversation that he started about how music represents Los Angeles)
  • 3-4 well-chosen songs

Assignment Requirements:

  • Your essay should be 4-5 full double-spaced pages with 1’’ side margins, 1” header and footer margins, Times New Roman, 12 pt
  • Your introduction should end with a thesis that gives your readers a complex claim that explains how music is able to speak to or reflect a neighborhood, landscape, culture, or community in Los Angeles (depending on how you’ve decided to focus your essay).
  • You must integrate Josh Kun’s essay, “Los Angeles is Singing.” For your readers, you must accurately summarize the ideas, theories, terms, or concepts you are using from your source (making sure your summary is understandable to a reader who is not familiar with the source you’re introducing, but that summarizing does not take over your essay).
  • Your other evidence will come from your own descriptions of the songs (imagine readers don’t know them), quoting of lyrics (if there are any), and any accompanying source material that offers context to your soundtrack.
  • Your essay should engage in analysis of 3-4 songs using one of the foci listed in these directions.
  • Organize your essay around your own ideas/claims about how music represents L.A. (instead of organizing the essay song-by-song). Avoid turning your essay into a simple list of songs (“The first song I picked is…”).
  • Cite all sources in MLA format (in text), in addition to a Works Cited page. Use Purdue OWL (linked on Canvas) to look up proper MLA in-text citations and Works Cited formatting. You can also find how to cite songs, specifically, on Purdue OWL.
  • Proofread for mistakes and edit for clarity. Consider paragraph organization
  • 750 word minimum

Rubric

ENG 101 Essay (1)

ENG 101 Essay (1)

Criteria Ratings Pts

This criterion is linked to a Learning OutcomeThesis

5 pts

Meets Expectations

Writer’s thesis is lucid, focused, and goes beyond common knowledge to explore an idea/issue/question/theory that is complex and interesting to readers. The thesis gives the essay a clear and meaningful purpose, which is clarified early on and develops throughout the essay.

3 pts

Minimal Expectations

Writer’s thesis is limited in establishing common knowledge to explore an idea/issue/question/theory that is complex and interesting to readers. The thesis gives the essay a partially clear purpose, which is clarified early on and develops throughout the essay.

0 pts

Does Not Meet Expectations

Writer’s thesis is missing.

5 pts

This criterion is linked to a Learning OutcomeSelection & Integration of Evidence

10 pts

Meets Expectations

Writer selects powerful, relevant evidence from sources, such as summary, quotation, or paraphrase, and uses them to support his or her own ideas or questions. Writer summarizes ideas/concepts from sources to offer context for readers not familiar with the sources. Writer demonstrates effective use of signal phrases and end citations with each quotation, paraphrase, or summary of sources.

5 pts

Minimal Expectations

Writer selects some evidence from sources, such as summary, quotation, or paraphrase, and uses them to support his or her own ideas or questions. Writer provides limited summaries of ideas/concepts from sources to offer some context for readers not familiar with the sources. Writer demonstrates minimal use of signal phrases and end citations with each quotation, paraphrase, or summary of sources.

0 pts

Does Not Meet Expectations

Writer provides no relevant evidence from sources to support his or her own ideas or questions. Summaries of sources are missing. Writing no information to readers not familiar with the sources. Writer provides ineffective use of signal phrases and end citations with each quotation, paraphrase, or summary of sources.

10 pts

This criterion is linked to a Learning OutcomeAnalyses & Critical Thinking

10 pts

Meets Expectations

Writer explores central idea through thoughtful analysis and reflection. Analysis might include one or more of the following: exploring a significant tension, considering multiple perspectives, considering implications and/or assumptions in a text or idea, applying a text or theory as a lens, and/or asking questions that help the writer understand his or her topic more fully. Writer uses evidence to set up his/her own ideas/claims/questions and maintains a conversation with the sources, instead of just dropping quotes, facts, or expert opinions without commentary or analysis. Writer demonstrates willingness to consider and engage alternate viewpoints (if appropriate).

5 pts

Minimal Expectations

Writer provides minimal exploration of the central idea through limited analysis and reflection. Analysis might include one or more of the following: exploring a significant tension, considering multiple perspectives, considering implications and/or assumptions in a text or idea, applying a text or theory as a lens, and/or asking questions that help the writer understand his or her topic more fully. Writer uses limited evidence to set up his/her own ideas/claims/questions and maintains minimal conversation with the sources, instead of just dropping quotes, facts, or expert opinions without commentary or analysis. Writer demonstrates willingness to consider and engage alternate viewpoints (if appropriate).

0 pts

Does Not Meet Expectations

Writer’s exploration of the central idea through analysis and reflection is missing. Missing analysis of one or more of the following: exploring a significant tension, considering multiple perspectives, considering implications and/or assumptions in a text or idea, applying a text or theory as a lens, and/or asking questions that help the writer understand his or her topic more fully. Writer provides no evidence to set up his/her own ideas/claims/questions. Writer provides no conversation with the sources, drops in quotes, facts, or expert opinions without commentary or analysis. Writer no willingness to consider and engage alternate viewpoints (if appropriate).

10 pts

This criterion is linked to a Learning OutcomeDevelopment & Complexity

5 pts

Meets Expectations

Writer engages in sustained analysis (answering questions like “how,” “why,” and “so what?”) as claims and evidence are discussed. Writer clarifies what is at stake in the discussion or why an issue/idea matters (the implications and consequences of the essay’s main claim or question). Writer shows awareness of, and anticipates, audience response. Writer’s argument develops and evolves as the essay progresses.

3 pts

Minimal Expectations

Writer engages in limited analysis (answering questions like “how,” “why,” and “so what?”) as claims and evidence are discussed. Writer provides minimal clarification for what is at stake in the discussion or why an issue/idea matters (the implications and consequences of the essay’s main claim or question). Writer shows awareness of, and anticipates, audience response. Writer’s argument has limited development as the essay progresses.

0 pts

Does Not Meet Expectations

Writer has missing analysis (answering questions like “how,” “why,” and “so what?”) as claims and evidence are discussed. Missing clarification of what is at stake in the discussion or why an issue/idea matters (the implications and consequences of the essay’s main claim or question). Writer little or no awareness of, and anticipates, audience response. Writer’s argument has no development as the essay progresses.

5 pts

This criterion is linked to a Learning OutcomeOrganization & Progression

10 pts

Meets Expectations

Writer’s introduction effectively leads readers into the complex claim or question the paper will examine. Writer’s organization moves back and forth between evidence and claims that connect to each other and to the main claim or question guiding the paper. Writer’s conclusion culminates the discussion appropriately by pursuing implications or answers to “so what?” The ending avoids unnecessary repetition and/or summary of the paper, and leaves readers still thinking.

5 pts

Minimal Expectations

Writer’s introduction minimally leads readers into the complex claim or question the paper will examine. Writer’s organization partially moves back and forth between evidence and claims that connect to each other and to the main claim or question guiding the paper. Writer’s conclusion culminates the discussion minimally by pursuing implications or answers to “so what?” The ending avoids unnecessary repetition and/or summary of the paper, and leaves readers still thinking.

0 pts

Does Not Meet Expectations

Writer’s introduction fails to leads readers into the complex claim or question the paper will examine. Writer’s organization fails to move back and forth between evidence and claims that connect to each other and to the main claim or question guiding the paper. Writer’s conclusion fails to culminate the discussion appropriately by pursuing implications or answers to “so what?” The ending has unnecessary repetition and/or summary of the paper.

10 pts

This criterion is linked to a Learning OutcomeExpression & Conventions

10 pts

Meets Expectations

Writer’s essay shows strong command of the conventions of Standard Written English. Care is shown with spelling, sentences, and punctuation (evidence of proofreading and editing). Writer edits and crafts for clarity, coherence, and/or emphasis. Clear transitions connect paragraphs and sentences. Writer shows an awareness of audience and establishes a tone that is consistent with the writing’s rhetorical context and purpose. Writer shows care in formatting, including in-text citations and other requirements of the specified documentation style (e.g., works cited page).

5 pts

Minimal Expectations

Writer’s essay shows minimal command of the conventions of Standard Written English. Care is shown with spelling, sentences, and punctuation (evidence of proofreading and editing). Writer partially edits and crafts for clarity, coherence, and/or emphasis. transitions partially connect paragraphs and sentences. Writer shows some awareness of audience and establishes a tone that is consistent with the writing’s rhetorical context and purpose. Writer shows limited care in formatting, including in-text citations and other requirements of the specified documentation style (e.g., works cited page).

0 pts

Does Not Meet Expectations

Writer’s essay shows no command of the conventions of Standard Written English. No care is shown with spelling, sentences, and punctuation (evidence of proofreading and editing). Writer does not edit for clarity, coherence, and/or emphasis. No transitions connect paragraphs and sentences. Writer shows no awareness of audience and a tone that is not consistent with the writing’s rhetorical context and purpose. Writer shows minimal care in formatting, including in-text citations and other requirements of the specified documentation style (e.g., works cited page).

10 pts

Total Points: 50

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