1 intro + 3 body paragraphs + 1 conclusion
Pick a notable musical performance that has resonated with you over the years, something you either listened to, watched, attended, or participated in. This could be your favorite song or album, it could be a concert or festival you attended, it could be a performance that you participated in (a choir concert, a cello recital, your band’s first gig, that time you DJ’d a friend’s party), it could be a Super Bowl halftime show or a Grammy performance that you thought was interesting, it could be a religious ceremony of some kind. Any musical performance that stuck with you.
In Chapter 2 of our Critical Themes reader on music, gender, and sexuality, Josh Pilzer discusses many of the ways that “music gets called up for the delicate work of managing gendered and sexual identities.” Write a short essay (600-700 words) on how this notable musical performance that you have chosen to discuss does that delicate work. How does the music or performance mediate, communicate, construct, or perform gender and sexual identity? The general goal of this assignment is to show that you have read and understood Pilzer’s chapter, but don’t just rehearse his ideas; importantly, your discussion should evoke your own personal experience, your feelings and emotions, your reactions to and opinions of the performance. If you are comfortable, this could mean discussing how your musical experience reflects your own gender or sexual identity, but not necessarily. Your account can engage any element of your experience: if you’re talking about a concert you attended or watched on TV, you might discuss the crowd and the scene, the stage performance (dancing, visual art, etc.), or any other contextual element.
Consider any of Pilzer’s themes, as may be relevant:
How does the performance work towards the construction of gender? How is sexual identity expressed? What kinds of societal power relations are reflected in the performance of gender? How is the body, movement, or dress of the performance implicated? What about the voice? Does the performance reflect normative gender roles, or fluid and changing identities? Is space being made for alternative gendered and sexual practices, or is it rooted in traditional, normative musical space? What intersectional issues are present?