Some Tips for a Successful Music Review For You
1. Who Should Write a Review?
Writing an informative and captivating music review can be a challenging task. It is helpful if the reviewer is a musician and understands music theory, musical styles, and the type of music to be reviewed. It is essential for the reviewer to be aware of the target audience for which the music review is intended. My reviews are targeted to music teachers who have in in-depth understanding and appreciation of music.
2. What Does the Reader Want to Know?
The reader of my column is educated, has an in-depth understanding of music, including music theory, conducting,, and music pedagogy, and a level of musical understanding in all genres of music. Typical readers want to know about the product. They are looking for new ideas for presenting music in concerts and on the football field. They want music that will add diversity to their concert programming. Readers want to know certain things about each piece of music; specifically the level of difficulty, and any unusual demands placed on the different instruments and the appropriateness of the music for performance.
Here is an example taken from one of my recent music reviews:
Here we have ten minutes of Spanish flavored music that has many dynamic types of shading, and is sprinkled with sustained lines, weaving counter lines, and thick, resonant chords. The contrasts in mood are very well handled. It is a rousing number that exudes rhythmic intensity, and Spanish bravado. This exciting musical composition brings out a sense of adventure, and student will enjoy the brisk tempo and fiery Spanish rhythms.
Another review contains a subtle warning to the reader:
This is a challenging piece in that the flutes must be proficient at rapid tonguing and the high tessitura of the trumpets and horns can be demanding. The snare drum solos are effective and provide smooth linkages between sections. However, the dynamics must be carefully observed to make these transitions effective. A proficient xylophone player is necessary in this piece.
The title of the piece, the composer/arranger, an name of the music publisher should be at the top of the review.
3. What About the Style of Writing?
It is best to avoid using terms such as: “you” “your” and “I” in the review. It is assumed that whatever is written is the expressed opinion of the reviewer and if not, than that statement should be quotations. It is also helpful if the reviewer avoids the use of clichés, and generic, non-specific terms such as “interesting,” and accumulates a list of colorful adjectives that can be used to describe the music. The words “appealing” “fascinating” and “exciting” are more suitable that is the word, “interesting.”The following are a few helpful descriptive terms for use in music reviews:
freshness of sound, absence of musical clichés, colorful work, use of sonorous pedal-points, the crisp and intense combination of….., splashes of percussive color, a deep woody bassoon solo…, leads to a warm, mellow four-part horn chorale, a tender, expressive melody by the oboe. Read the rest of this entry »