Foundations of Music Education

Final Project


APA Formatting       Writing

Please choose one of the topics below:



Assessment in Music

Should the standards be assessed to demonstrate academic viability? Can music arguably maintain a place in the core curriculum without standardized testing? 




The Cognitive Properties of Music

Where does music actually come from in our brains?  What is the process?  Why has it evolved?


Contemporary Music Project


Current Topics in Music Teacher Preparation

What are the hot topics in the discipline?  What is being addressed currently?  What are the controversies within the discipline of music teacher preparation?


The Educational Value of Popular Music


Four Educational Methodologies:  Dalcroze, Orff, Kodaly, Gordon

Don't just summarize each.  Compare, analyze, differentiate, etc.


The Influence of Religion in Public School Music Education

Covert or overt?  The role of the music educator?  Is there a balance?  What does research say?


Is Music Advocacy Legitimate?

Must we associate music education with increased academic success?  Is that even legitimate?  What about music for its own sake?


Is Secondary Music Education Elitist?

Are we educating only a select few in our high schools?  Are ensemble programs to blame?  How could secondary music education be more inclusive


Manhattanville Music Curriculum Project


Music Education in Higher Education

Should we overhaul the Music Education Curriculum?  What courses should be taught in tertiary institutions to ensure a well-rounded, professional music educator?


The Pestalozzian Philosophy of Music Education


Praxis Music Education


Small Ensembles: Can They Work in the Large Ensemble World of Secondary Education?

A way to involve the 80% of students who are not in large ensembles? Will ensemble directors push back?


Standardized Testing in Music: Would It Help Our Cause?

Pros and cons?  Would it legitimize music as a core course instead of a peripheral?  What does the research say about testing?


The Purposes of Music

What is it actually "good for"?  What does research really say?


Tanglewood Symposium and the "Go" Project


Testing Musical Aptitude

What is talent?  Can anyone be a musician?  What is required?


World Musics in Music Education


Note:  The notes under the titles are not intended to be questions required to be answered, but to suggest some directions that your paper might go.  Remember that a 5-7 page paper must necessarily have a definite focus.  Don't try to cover too much or your treatment will be shallow.  Above all, the paper should be data-driven, not opinion driven. 


Research Paper Content


Format in APA style (parenthetical citations)


Cover your topic thoroughly.


Research your topic.  Justify any conclusions.  Opinions should be absent or kept to a minimum.


Write for clarity.  You will understand your topic better than your classmates, so make sure you don't get so hung up on details that they miss the point.


Proof-read your paper for punctuation, syntax, spelling, and grammar.  Speak it aloud for understanding!


Paper should be 5-7 pages in length, excluding the references and abstract


One inch margins, double-spaced, 12 point Times New Roman font (refer to the APA Manual for other specifics)


References at the end.


Parts of the Paper


Cover sheet

You've been doing this all semester, so no sweat!



An abstract is not an introduction.  If you write it first, you will not have a good introduction.  Write your abstract last!!  It is a very short summary of your topic and your findings. 



Nail the focus of your topic in the first sentence.  Be clear and concise.



Use headings (see below), but don't forget to use paragraphs.  Check every sentence to make sure that it is clear and necessary toward the focus of your topic.  No tangents!



This is not a "wrap up."  This is where you use your own critical thinking skills to synthesize the information in your paper and to draw some conclusions or discuss your findings.



Check your APA manual for proper formatting.  I'm still seeing mistakes!



bulletLook above under "Research Paper Content."  Did your classmates follow those guidelines?
bulletWas the paper clear and easy to understand?
bulletDid you learn something?
bulletDid he/she cover the topic sufficiently so that you were thoroughly informed?
bulletWas the text written in a scholarly manner - formal wording and structure?



Critiquing Tips


Don't just say "good job!"


Pretend that your friend has asked you to look over this paper before showing it to his/her boss.  Your role is to help make it as good as possible.


Be specific.  For example, refer to specific pages and paragraphs as in "On page 7, paragraph 3, you used 'their' instead of 'there'."


If you were confused or felt that you were missing something when reading a section, that is a sign that more explanation was needed or that something needed to be stated more clearly.  If you had to read a paragraph more than once to 'get it,' you should ask yourself why.






Note:  You must be on the Tarleton network to access articles on these sites.  The easiest way to do this is to go to the Tarleton library first (www.  Access to any of these databases from there requires your NTNET ID and Password which puts you on the network.


Put your search terms directly into the "Discovery @ Tarleton" search box on the Tarleton Library page.

You can also search directly from the databases listed.  Here are some of my favorites

Oxford Music Online



International Index to Music Periodicals Full Text

World Cat



Writing Rubric



Performance Indicators







Paper fails to meet content requirements.

Paper appears to be hastily written

Arguments are unsupported

Exploration of the topic is superficial or contains numerous accuracies.

Movement between ideas is abrupt or illogical.

Introduction and/or conclusion are missing or incomplete.

Paper shows some knowledge of standard works in the field, but incorporates too much unsupported opinion.

Paper includes some inaccuracies.

Ideas are somewhat difficult to follow.

Introduction and/or conclusion are truncated or unclear.

Paper shows familiarity with standard works and terms in the field.

Readers may be left feeling that some aspects of the subject have not be explored.

Paper reviews what others have written about the topic.

Ideas are arranged logically.

Introduction and conclusion are clear.

Paper shows extensive knowledge of standard works and terms in the field.

Readers’ questions and objections are anticipated and answered.

Writer provides new information, clarity, or a unique perspective to scholarly discussion of topic. 

The paper is organized, logical, and supported.

An inviting introduction and a noteworthy conclusion are present.


0 points

21 points

24 points

27 points

30 points

Sentence Structure

Unacceptable deviation from standard usage of grammar, tense agreement, or other sentence structure elements.

Multiple errors in grammar, tense agreement, or other sentence structure elements.  Some words used incorrectly or multiple that require explanation.

Several errors in grammar, tense agreement, or other sentence structure elements. Some words used that are unclear or should have been explained.

Minimal errors in grammar, tense agreement, or other sentence structure elements. Occasional word is unclear or unexplained.

Writing is grammatical. Words selected create sentences that are clear, varied, complete, and uncluttered. Words are explained when necessary. Tenses agree, as do subject-pronoun, subject-verb, and pronoun-reference.


0 points

14 points

16 points

18 points

20 points

Audience Voice Tone

Unacceptable deviation from formal language and word usage.

Significant deviation from formal language and word usage.

Some deviation from formal language and word usage.

Minor deviation from formal language and word usage.

Writing is directed toward an academic audience and is free from clichés, jargon, inappropriate colloquialisms.  Diction is formal, avoiding I and we, slang, and contractions.


0 points

7 points

8 points

9 points

10 points

Spelling Mechanics

Unacceptable number of errors in spelling, punctuation, capitalization, abbreviation, and numbers.

Multiple errors in spelling, punctuation, capitalization, abbreviation, and numbers.

Several errors in spelling, punctuation, capitalization, abbreviation, and numbers.

Minimal errors in spelling, punctuation, capitalization, abbreviation, and numbers.

Words are spelled correctly; rules of punctuation, capitalization, abbreviation, and numbers are observed.


0 points

7 points

8 points

9 points

10 points

Use of Sources

Material from other authors appears to have been cut-and-pasted into text.

Direct quotes often used unnecessarily and/or sentence fragments copied.

Direct quotes sometimes used unnecessarily.

Material from other authors is credited and used as supporting evidence.


Material from other authors is smoothly integrated into text.

Quotations are limited to statements that are particularly striking or examples in which the source’s precise wording is important.


0 points

7 points

8 points

9 points

10 points


Unacceptable adherence to APA style.

Many errors in APA style.

Several errors in APA style.

Minor errors in APA style.

Writing, source documentation, and references follow correct APA style.


0 points

14 points

16 points

18 points

20 points

Total points



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