Write a 600-800 word essay discussing a particular song or composition that you feel best expresses your personal and social identity

Music and Identity Paper

To reflect on how our taste on music can manifest our personal and social identities as an individual or as part of a community.

Write a 600-800 word essay discussing a particular song or composition that you feel best expresses your personal and social identity

Things to think about. Music is a manifestation of the personal and social identities of an individual or group.

The function of the music, the structure of it, the context in which it is performed, etc., all reflect the cultural environment that surrounds a musical performance and indicate significant values of the people who create it. Recognizing and understanding how music reflects the identity of a community is an important means of “getting to know” other people and how music expresses “who they are.” I want to “get to know you” and discover what music says about “who you are.”

Your task is to choose ONE example of music that you feel best expresses the many facets of YOU, i.e., your identity. This will prove more difficult than you think if you put some thought into it. Don’t tell me what music means to you, explain how the example you have chosen represents who you are. For example, as an American, what one example would you choose to reflect your “American” identity? Does Rap define who we are? Kelly Clarkson? Norah Jones? Bruno Mars?

Does the music of Mozart and Beethoven represent us, even though its origin is European? How about Jazz? What kind of jazz? Which composer and from what era? Defining “American” identity through one example of music is impossible, yet in this class (and others) we only have time to focus on a few examples from countries often much larger than the USA and with histories much older than our meager 225+ years of existence as a nation. Yet, through just a few music examples the spiritual beliefs, political philosophies, attitudes and activities of many aspects of life are revealed.

We are able to learn something about the people of other cultures and gain a greater understanding of “who they are.” So, ask yourself some questions: What music do I like to listen to? What music do I like to perform? Why? How does this music reflect me personally, my philosophy of life, my goals and desires, my spiritual beliefs, my personal history and life experiences?

How does this example reflect your social identity. Start with some of these questions and soon you’ll think of more. Then pick ONE example that says it all (or as much as it can) and tell me about it and why you picked it. Make sure to integrate the musical terms we learned in this unit into your essay, especially when describing your musical examples.

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