ATS2900 - Writing about music: Headlines and hashtags - 2018

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

Chief examiner(s)

Dr Paul Watt


Dr Paul Watt

Unit guides



  • Second semester 2018 (On-campus)


Twelve credit points of first-year Arts units.


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 this unit, students are able to:

  1. Identify and discuss social and historical developments of the media that have given rise to the modern profession of writing about music.
  2. Evaluate the ways in which social media aids, distributes and sometimes subverts ideas about music.
  3. Employ professional writing skills across a range of contexts to produce work about music in print and digital forms.
  4. Work in teams to solve problems collectively.


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

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