Laughing to Music Final Project
Laughing to Music, final project
PURPOSE: The final project gives you an opportunity to explore some aspect of the course in significant detail. Through it, you develop your skills in finding a problem, addressing the problem, and presenting your conclusions.
DESCRIPTION: You are to come up with TWO items: something tangible that you can turn in for me to evaluate, and a 5- to 10-minute presentation or summary of your work to present in class. The final project will represent substantial thought and reflection on your part. While the form of the final project (paper, video, music, PowerPoint presentation, or any other medium that is suitable) may vary widely, each project will demonstrate engagement with the ideas we are exploring in the course. The assignment is deliberately quite open-ended. Your goal is to show that you are thinking carefully about the concepts we are studying and that you can base your arguments and conclusions on tangible evidence.
FINDING A TOPIC: The first goal should be to find a topic.
IMPORTANT: Let the topic dictate the form of the final project, not the other way around! While it would be possible to say, ?I want to make a funny video?let me figure out how to do that,? you will actually have a lot more difficulty if you go about it this way. It?s much better to begin by focusing on something you?re trying to understand, a question you?re trying to answer, or material you want to know more about. Once you have framed the question, it will be easier to see how best to present your answers.
A starting point might be things that interest you that we are not talking about in this class. Was there something you?d hoped we?d consider that isn?t in the course? Did we touch on something in passing that you want to explore further? Is there something from your other studies that might connect well with the material in this class and shed other light on it?
(Example 1: You are a psychology major and want to explore the psychology of humor.)
(Example 2: You are a theater major and want to try performing some commedia dell?arte.)
(Example 3: You are a musician and want to explore the structure and style of some of the music more deeply.)
In general, it?s better to stay away from material we?ve covered significantly unless you intend to approach it in a way we didn?t discuss.
(Example: If you want to do more with Marriage of Figaro, you could look further into the Beaumarchais play, you could analyze some of the music, or you could apply one of the critical modes discussed in our edition of Frankenstein and examine Figaro from one of those points of view. Alternatively, you could decide to look at one of Mozart?s other comic operas and show how it uses commedia ideas, or you could compare it to Figaro in some other way. These are just ideas?there are other possibilities.)
Brainstorm. What interests you? What have you most enjoyed learning about in the class so far, or what do you most look forward to? If you need help brainstorming, email me or make an appointment to see me.
YOUR GOAL AT THIS STAGE IS TO COME UP WITH A QUESTION YOU WANT TO ANSWER OR A STATEMENT YOU WANT TO PROVE. THEN DECIDE HOW BEST TO GO ABOUT ANSWERING THE QUESTION OR MAKING THE ARGUMENT.
MAKE A PROPOSAL: BY OCTOBER 22, you should submit to me a proposal for your project. This should include:
1. A working title for your project
2. A statement giving the basic thesis of the project. In most cases, this will include the following, but not necessarily in this order:
The question you are trying to answer or the argument you are trying to make.
Something about how the question or argument arises.
What materials you will use to address the question. This may include sources you will consult and other ways of collecting data. How has the question been dealt with before, if at all? If it hasn?t, why not? Make sure that all the resources you need to address the question are readily available to you. (This will require some legwork on your part. Once you?ve narrowed down your question/argument, make sure you have the library resources or equipment that you need, etc. YOU MUST DO THIS BEFORE YOU SUBMIT THE PROPOSAL, and your proposal should indicate what materials you plan to use and how you plan to get them. I would expect that a proposal for a research paper, for example, to include a preliminary bibliography and would indicate where you can find the materials you list.)
3. A description of the project: how will the final project look? Will it, for example, be a 10- to 15-page paper? A 5-minute video and a shorter reflective paper? Will you present a 5-minute comedy routine in class (maybe you want to do a commedia sketch, for example) and supplement it with a short document for me that talks about your process?
Note that even if you don?t write a paper, you will need to give me something written. This can be the equivalent of an artist?s statement: how did you come up with the question you?re addressing? what materials did you use to address it? how does the final product engage the question and what did you find out?
SUBMIT YOUR PROPOSAL TO ME AS A WORD-PROCESSED DOCUMENT VIA EMAIL ATTACHMENT BY THE END OF THE DAY ON OCTOBER 22.
WHAT HAPPENS NEXT: I will look at your proposal and respond. I will try to help you refine your topic, make sure that it seems possible for you to complete your project in the time you have, make sure that the project is substantial enough to meet the assignment, but not overwhelming, etc. Complete topic proposals that meet the criteria listed above will receive full credit. Give this care and attention!
Apart from any grade considerations, being sloppy, superficial, or careless at this stage is only going to harm the final outcome. It will be hard to create a great final project if you haven?t given good thought to the topic and fairly carefully refined your questions.
REGARDLESS OF WHEN THEY ARE BEING PRESENTED TO THE CLASS, ALL FINAL PROJECTS ARE DUE BY NOON ON NOVEMBER 22.
1. You may work in a group, if you like. If you do, submit a group proposal with all of your names on it, BUT also indicate what separate item each member of the group will turn in to me.
For example, suppose you and 4 friends decide to do a commedia sketch for the class. That?s great: submit that as a group proposal. Your proposal still needs to include everything above. IN ADDITION, each member of the group will submit a separate statement detailing what you will do: will you make the costumes and masks? teach the acrobatic skills? act in the production? etc. At the end of the process, each member of the group would turn in a short written reflection explaining how he or she developed the character, made the mask, etc. What sources did you look at to be sure you were being authentic? The point is that there is both a group product and an individual product if you decide to work in a group.
Take note: if you work as a group, you must submit both a group proposal and an individual one. This will ensure that 1) all members of the group are in agreement about what the project is, and 2) all members of the group are contributing significantly and reasonably equally to the final product.
2. You are welcome to show me interim material to make sure you?re on the right track before you turn in the final project.
3. Note that this is a term project: you are to be working on it consistently throughout the semester. The final product should show careful, long-term preparation. (This is a polite way of saying, ?don?t wait until the night before to do it.?) Hastily prepared work is almost always evident, unless you?re an amazing genius.
4. I am a big fan of the ?kazoo factor?: the brilliant, creative idea that I?d never have thought of, but that accomplishes all the goals. Surprise me.
5. Scope: if I were assigning a paper as the final project, I would expect it to be about 10 ? 15 pages in length. I hope that gives you some idea of the scope of the project, even if it?s not a paper. It?s hard to say that a video of X length equals a 10-page paper, so I?m not going to worry too much about this. I will use the topic proposal process as a way to ensure that your project seems both manageable in the time you have and substantial enough to demonstrate a semester?s work.