Faculty of Fine Arts

Department of Music
Rhythm & Blues, Soul, Funk & Rap
FA/MUSI 1520 6.0


The journal is a very important component of your final grade. In order to excel in this course you must earn a top grade in this assignment. The best way to get a good mark in the journal is to do a good job. This sounds like a cliche but it is true. There are few short cuts to a good mark in the journal. Work hard at it and you will be rewarded. The people who do the best in the journal demonstrate that they put a lot of work into it. You really have to show that you didn't start the journal 2 weeks before it was due. Believe me after 150 entries, it will be obvious to a 10 year old if you burned through the Journal in 5-10 days.



We will received a lot of journals and 3-ring binders make the lot difficult to transport and therefore we are banning them. Also, we are asking that you do not submit journals in bulky oversized packaging. Keep your submission in business-like form. If yoour bulky journal manages to reach the marker's desk it will automatically receive a deduction of 10%.


Your journal MUST have a proper Table of Contents. The Songs MUST be numbered. The Pages MUST be numbered. If you still submit a journal without these attributes you will receive the appropriate mark.


A journal reads very bad with it is written over a 5-10 day period. The entries are repetitive and banal. The marks tend to be low. The best advice I can give is to start early to give yourself time to be creative and deliver a solid paper. Many of you reading this will postpone everything until 2 weeks before the due date. Please make an exception and get started early. Your marks will be better. You have 5 months to write this paper, use the time.


You must fulfill the minimum requirements of 150 songs. This means you cannot submit a journal with 149 songs. The marks plummet dramatically for journals that do not meet the minimum requirements set out in the syllabus. Ditto for the minimum 30 page requirement. Read the directive in the syllabus carefully and do you best to fulfill what is requested.


This is the most important component of the journal. Make sure your write-ups are personal and interesting. To avoid repetitive banality make entries over a long period and don't be afraid to get personal. Keep facts and figures [i.e. anything that is public knowledge] out of the write up portion. We don't need to read that the singer was born in Clarksdale, Mississippi and moved to Chicago in 1936. This is not going to be rewarded.

Here are examples of what we definitely do not want:

  • "This song is very catchy and has a great beat."
  • "This is one of my favourite songs."
  • "This song has a slot but constant beat."
  • "I would classify this song as slow"
  • "The singer's voice is very soft."
  • "The song starts out with a great beat."
  • "The song gets louder in the middle."
  • "This song has a very Disco type feel."
  • "This song start out fast then it builds up when the chorus hits."
  • "This song went to number one on the Billboard Hot 100 chart."
  • "The saxophone has always been a powerful instrument."
  • "The clap and hi-hat pattern sound very appealing."
  • "I hear many electric guitar sounds.

List data [songname, artist, release date, label, etc] about each song entry but keep this date outside of the 'write-up' portion. Ideally, it can be placed directly above each journal entry. My suggestion is to tabulate this data in some appealing way. Your write up should contain personal information and reactions to the music. Anything that can be found on the internet does not belong in your write up portion.

We do not want songs played in class to be used in your journal. You cannot know what we will play in class, so here is a list of songs very likely to be played. These songs cannot be entered into your journal. If they are, you will not be credited for these songs.


Put some effort into presenting your journal as a serious document. A Journal make up of hand written sheet ripped from an exercise book held together with a staple doesn't impress upon the markers that you took this assignment seriously and it certainly looks very bad when put beside a well presented journal from a fellow student.


Every late journal will receive a 100% deduction in marks. Illness and doctor's notes do not apply to the journal. With 5 months to do this assignment there can be ABSOLUTELY NO EXCUSE for a late journal. If you feel a flu coming on a week before the due date contact FedEx, UPS or a Courier service to deliver your journal to the Music Office. Once again, there is ZERO TOLERANCE for any late journal. No excuse will be accepted. Just to make sure this is clear I will repeat: NO EXCUSE WILL BE ACCEPTED FOR LATE SUBMISSIONS.


Everyone has the internet these days. The markers have heard of Google. They have used Google. Any suspicious entry will be checked. If there is a match, the entire journal may be rejected and given a mark of zero.


Spread around the material among different genres and artist. If you really love Ray Charles and decide to put in 30 songs from him in your journal, you are making a mistake. Devoting 20% of your journal entries to one artist is not a demonstration of hard, diligent work. Try to cover many artists and many styles. Even if you hate Blues, you should include some Blues artists.

© Copyright 2020, Ray Williams. All Rights Reserved