Faculty of Arts

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This unit entry is for students who completed this unit in 2016 only. For students planning to study the unit, please refer to the unit indexes in the the current edition of the Handbook. If you have any queries contact the managing faculty for your course or area of study.

Monash University

6 points, SCA Band 1, 0.125 EFTSL

Undergraduate - Unit

Refer to the specific census and withdrawal dates for the semester(s) in which this unit is offered.



Organisational Unit

Sir Zelman Cowen School of Music


Dr Paul Watt



  • Second semester 2016 (Day)


What is the role of the music writer? What prompts individuals to write about music? What skills does one require to become a successful music writer? This unit explores the rise of writing about music, and the many personalities who have long aspired to be the arbiters of taste, the keepers of standards and, in some instances, even the philosophers of their craft. Such writers have plied their trade in newspapers, journals, books, and, more recently, social media including Facebook and Twitter. By investigating key debates that have often sparked controversy and notoriety, the unit examines the role and function of music critics, broadcasters, journalists, philosophers, academics, magazine writers and bloggers, considering the agency that such individuals have exerted in the media past and present. In addition, students have the opportunity to develop key writing skills and produce work in print and digital forms.


Upon completion of the unit, students are able to:

  1. understand developments pertaining to the historical and social history of the press that have given rise to the modern profession of writing about music;
  2. articulate personal aesthetic standpoints concerning various forms of musical composition and performance, as well as how scholars have approached the topic of music and meaning;
  3. evaluate the ways in which social media aids and subverts ideas about music and writing about music;
  4. demonstrate key writing skills and produce work about music in print and digital forms.


Within semester assessment: 100%

Workload requirements

Minimum total expected workload to achieve the learning outcomes for this unit is 144 hours per semester typically comprising a mixture of scheduled learning activities and independent study. A unit requires on average three/four hours of scheduled activities per week. Scheduled activities may include a combination of teacher directed learning, peer directed learning and online engagement.

See also Unit timetable information

Chief examiner(s)

This unit applies to the following area(s) of study


Twelve credit points of first-year Arts units.