Faculty of Fine Arts

Department of Music
Ska, Rocksteady, Reggae, Dancehall
FA/MUSI 1570 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 jounal 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 badly when it is written over a 5-10 day period. The entries are repetitive and banal. The marks tend to be low as a result. 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 plan to postpone everything until 2 weeks before the due date. In this case, please make an exception and get started early. Your marks will be better. You have 5 months to write this paper, use all of that 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. Also make sure your journal contains content which applies to our Electronic music genre. Electronic instruments must be prominent. Also stay away from song on the songs we plan to play in class [they are listed in the song book].


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 London and moved to New York in 1956. This is not going to be rewarded.


In the written portion of your journal please do not write about what instruments you are hearing. We already know that this song has an electronic Bass and an 80's sound so you get no marks for repeating such banal and gratuitous information. Do not tell us about how prominent this New Wave style was or about how the singer used to go to the Ritz. These are facts and will be dealt with harshly if found in your write up.

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 Reggae 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."

Include factual information about the songs but this does not belong in the write up. 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. Check here to see the complete list of songs that may not be included in your journal.


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 4 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. If you are trying to be clever and copy and past the same journal entry to multiple places in your journal you will receive ZERO for the assignment for your dishonesty.


The outline prescribe the minimum number of songs you can use for each of the 4 sections of your journal. You can use more if you want, but these are minimums. Spread aroung the material among as many different styles and artist as possible. Your journal can include any music from Jamaica, even Rhythm & Blues type material. If you really love Bob Marley and decide to put in 70 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, dilligent work. You should set a goal of including no more than 2 songs from an artist. Multiple songs from a single artist (even if they are your favorite) is not desired.Try to cover many artists and many styles. Even if you hate Mento, you should include some Mento artists.

©Copyright 2020, Ray Williams. All Rights Reserved