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Essay About Live Music Performance

Live Performance Essay

[Credit: Joanne Stevens]
Possible Points: 100 (10% of total class grade)

Much can be gained from attending movies and viewing videos. However, the richness and depth of an experience is enhanced by attending a live performance. Your paper will be a critical and descriptive analysis in response to your experiences at a fine arts live performance. Selections may be made from the ballet, theater, opera, symphony, chamber orchestra, etc. College, university or professional performances would be appropriate choices. Please note that a live performance means you are there at the event - it does not include videos or recordings of performances.

Your paper must be typed, double spaced, in MLA format, and it must be no fewer than three full pages in length. Papers that fall short will not be accepted. Extra line spaces or tampering with margins or spacing will be subtracted from the paper’s length.

*Note: You MUST provide proof of attendance to receive credit for this assignment. Proof of attendance only includes a ticket stub, receipt showing proof of purchase, or stamped program. No other documents or photos will be accepted as proof of attendance.

Your paper must include:

1. A description of the history of the performance, noting when it was written and by whom, when and where it was first performed, and, if possible, a brief biographical sketch of the playwright, composer, choreographer, etc.

2. Describe using specific examples how the props and lighting were used as well as the effectiveness of each.

3. Discuss the quality of the performers or individuals you considered outstanding and why. Be sure to use specific examples from the performance.

4. Discuss the musical/vocal or movement qualities of the artists using detailed examples from the performance.

5. Describe the costuming and explain its appropriateness.

6. Your overall evaluation of the experience. What did you enjoy most about this performance? Why? How could the experience have been better for you? Why? (Discuss the experience as related to the performance - not in terms of the weather, car troubles, your date, or other unrelated issues.)

7. A Works Cited page for any outside sources consulted (for background information, history of the performance, etc.) The descriptions and evaluations should be entirely your own.

Fine art: Art that is developed primarily for aesthetic (beauty) purposes rather than for utility.

Examples of fine art performances:

· Ballet
· Modern
· Hip hop
· Folklore
· Ceremonial
· Athletic (figure skating, gymnastics, martial arts)

· Symphony orchestra
· Wind ensemble
· Opera
· Choir
· String quartet
· Ethnic/traditional
· Religious
(No rock concerts, sorry)

· Tragedy, comedy
· Musical theater
· Classical drama

Don’t forget to check the Cultural Events link on the Huma 1301 website to browse through the many live performance offered in the Dallas area.

To write an informative and enthralling musical performance review, you have to put in some effort. Of course, if you are a musician and have an in-depth understanding of music theory, musical styles and genres, then you will feel comfortable with a musical performance evaluation. But what if you do not have a musical education? There is no reason to worry. You only have to be attentive to the details of the performance and have a good ear.

Writing a musical performance review is a creative process which is based on your individual opinion and personal tastes. But it should not be just a simple description. You should focus on the strengths and weaknesses of the musical performance you evaluate. Your subjunctive judgments can be helpful for readers. But you should remember that each of your opinions needs a framework of support.

To Write a Good Musical Performance Review You Should

  • Specify in what style the musicians performed.
  • List the musical instruments that were used.
  • Indicate whether there was a soloist among the performers.
  • Consider the technical elements: the quality of sound effects and light.
  • Examine the setting. Mention whether the scenery distracted attention from the performance.
  • Analyze the audience. What age-groups were most prevalent in the audience?

Guidelines to write Musical Performance Review

    1. Introduce the musicians who gave the performance and state the name of the piece of music you evaluate.
    2. Specify when and where the performance occurred.
    3. Describe the overall musical performance in a few sentences. Be clear and precise.
    4. Explain how the melodies and beats played were effective and helpful in creating a general listening experience.
    5. Analyze the musical style. Explain whether it impressed or disappointed you.
    6. Divide the musical performance into three parts: beginning, main part, and end. Analyze each part.
    7. Give an objective description of a few compositions that were performed. Explain how they affected your feelings and emotions.
    8. Describe the performers. Did they have a palpable chemistry and interaction between each other? How effective was their contact with the audience?
    9. Mention how the audience reacted to the performance: favorably or indignantly. If you have a different opinion, explain it.
    10. Avoid the usage of non-specific terms and clichés, like “interesting”. Instead, use more colorful adjectives to describe the music, such as “breath-taking”, “appealing”, “fascinating”, etc.


  1. In a musical performance review examples, you are supposed to show your attitude towards a piece of music that was played. You should help the readers decide whether the musical performance you evaluated was worth attending or not. That is why, your review should be informative and clearly present your position. If you use musical terms that you do not comprehend fully, do some research to understand them completely before inserting them into your review.

Now you know how academic paper of this type should be written and what tips are necessary to follow. You can look through our musical performance review examples to see the connection between theory and practical skills.