MUSIC 3243








Note:  You would be very wise to read everything on this page.  Failure to comply with the specifics of this assignment just because you didn't bother to read them will really tick me off!

Guidelines for Oral Presentation

This will be a brief (5-6 minute) oral presentation on a topic dealing with popular music. 

Here are some elements you might include in your talk: 

1. Very brief biography. Do not give a chronology of album releases or concert tours with dates.  Do not list awards won

2. Musical style (origins, development); for example, you could discuss the early, middle, and late  style characteristics of a singer or a style

3. Analysis of one or two representative pieces. Be sure to bring your own recordings for demonstration. Have then cued or noted for the “DJ”

4. Distinctive features that set your topic apart from others; for example, how heavy metal differs from punk. What makes it popular and with whom is it popular? Why is it different than something/someone else?

5. Importance or role (if any) of your topic in the history of American popular music. (Ex: protest music or one performer’s influence over later performers)

6. Do not choose your favorite performer/group/music style/cd etc. UNLESS you can present information valuable to the rest of us.  Just because you love it doesn’t mean we will learn something. 

See your Course Outline for Presentation Dates

NOTE:  You will need to turn your notes with listening examples and sources cited in to me after your report. This includes any PowerPoint files if used in your presentation.  (Save your PowerPoint onto a disk to turn in).  Notes and sources do not have to be typed or in any particular form as long as the information is there and it is legible.  I will return them to you by the next class session.  Be sure to put your name on EVERY item you turn in.


Sample Topics

(by no means an exhaustive list, but a point of departure)


  1. The Political Effects of  ____ Music

  2. The Role of the Lyricist in Popular Music

  3. Music That Scares Our Parents

  4. Does Music Promote Violence?

  5. The 27 Year Itch

  6. Rock Music on TV Commercials

  7. Dick Clark and Rock and Roll

  8. The Effect of Music Videos on Popular Music

  9. Country Music Hooks

  10. Classical Music used in Popular Songs

  11. Is Rap Music?

  12. Social Statements in Popular Music Styles

  13. What is Real Country Music?

  14. The Subject of _____ in American Popular Music

  15. Early Women Rock Stars

  16. Music Plagiarism

  17. Is American Idol the Most Popular Music?

  18. What the Top 10 Singers (singles/groups/albums) Have in Common

  19. A History of Lip-syncing

  20. Classically Trained Pop (rock/country/jazz)  Musicians

  21. Rock (country/pop/blues/rap) Song Parodies

  22. Is It Country or Rock?

  23. Singers Who Think They Can Act

  24. Actors Who Think They Can Sing

  25. The Psychology of Popular Music (Why we like what we like)

  26. Popular Music in Movies (television)

  27. Dance Crazes in Popular Music

  28. New Directions in _______

  29. Copyright Laws Are Your Friends

  30. The "Crossover" Phenomena

  31. How the Mickey Mouse Club Launches Careers

  32. Do Rockers Have to Be Unstable?

  33. My, How You've Changed (a "then and now" look at a particular performer or group)

  34. How _________'s  (performer/group/style) Philosophies Sabotaged Their (his/her) Career

  35. "American Pie":  What Does It Mean?


 *Note:  These are only samples.  You do not have to choose one of these topics.




 Oral Report Grading Criteria

The letter grades across the top of this rubric describe the levels below.








Pertinent information leading to informative analytic conclusionAnalysis of information attempted with some successAnalysis of information attempted, but faulty or incompleteDocumented facts presented without analysis or conclusionUndocumented facts presented without analysis or conclusion


Information presented in logical, interesting sequence, holding audience attention

Information presented in logical sequence

Difficult to follow, disjunct sequence of prepared information

Organization questionable, appeared to be adlibbed

No discernible organization

Subject knowledge

Full and confident knowledge of subject

Sufficient knowledge of subject

Sufficient knowledge of parts of subject

Knowledge of subject  questionable or adlibbed

Knowledge of subject incorrect or incomplete


Clear speaking voice, no reading from notes, good speech patterns, consistent eye contact, no distracting elements

Clear speaking voice, refer to notes, speech patterns somewhat inexact (pauses, repetition of some words), fairly consistent eye contact

Clear speaking voice, notes read  more than half the time, use of distracting speech patterns more than one time, occasional eye contact

Hesitant speech, read notes, distracting  speech or movement patterns, rare eye contact

Unclear speech, read notes (or rambled), consistent distracting speech or movement patterns, no eye contact


Well-researched, varied sources

More than one reliable source

At least one reliable source

Information from questionable sources

Information only from anecdotal sources and personal opinion


Excellent media selection, seamless integration

Sufficient media well integrated with speaking

Sufficient media, but used awkwardly

Insufficient media for topic, or media took up too much time

No media


5 to 7 minutes

4-5 or 8-9 minutes

3-4 or 9-10 minutes

2-3 or 10-11 minutes

Less than 2 or more than 11 minutes






State your name and the title of your presentation at the beginning.  State the intent of your presentation (the conclusion you will support, the analysis you will undertake, the point to which your material will be directed).


A good rule to follow:  1) tell us what you're going to say, 2) say it,  3) tell us what you said.   This is a simple matter of voicing your intent so that we know what to listen for as you go through your material to make your point.  Then, at the end, you will restate your intent (which should be your conclusion or analysis).  For example, you might say, "I'm going to show why the music Elvis sang in the 50s is better than anything he did later in his career", instead of "I'm going to talk about Elvis".   Wrap it up with a conclusion.  And by the way, "Well, that's the end of my talk" is not a conclusion.



Don't just present a bunch of "Trivial Pursuit"- type facts and information.  Analyze your information and draw conclusions.  At the end of your presentation, I should not be able to say: "And your point is . . . ?"




Be careful not to use too much text on ta Powerpoint slide.  Wordy slides distract your audience into reading instead of listening to you.  "Bullet" important points in a very few words to aid your audience in following your elaborations.  You should really have no more than 20 words per slide at the most.


Make your clips short.  Play only a short section to make your point. 


You may also use other visual elements:  album covers, photographs, memorabilia, etc.



How to use MP3 audio files with PowerPoint

Please note:  I know there are other ways to do this, but please follow this procedure

  1. Save your PowerPoint file in a new folder and name it Powerpoint_yourname

  2. Copy all of the mp3 files that you plan to use into the same folder (do this first, before you link them to the slides)

  3. On the slide in which you wish to insert the audio file, click insert - movies and sounds -  sound from file and choose the mp3 from the folder containing your PowerPoint and mp3 files.  This will link the mp3 to the PowerPoint slide.



How to use video links with PowerPoint (like YouTube, etc.)


  1. Bring up the YouTube video.  While it's playing, select and copy the URL in the address bar.

  2. In your PowerPoint, type "video" on the page where you want the clip to play. 

  3. Select that word, right click on it and choose "Insert" on the toolbar at the top.

  4. Choose "hyperlink" and in the blank provided, paste the URL that you copied.

  5. Test it (but you have to be in Slideshow mode) and when you click that word (that should be underlined now as a link) the YouTube video should play. 


Note:  This works the same way with any hyperlink




No caps/hats, no gum


Try to avoid distracting vocal mannerisms such as "like" pr "you know"; leaning on the lectern, shifting your feet, propping your foot on the lectern or on your other foot,  hands in pockets or fiddling with objects on the lectern.   You get the idea.  The focus should be on what you are saying, not on you.


Begin your presentation by announcing your name and the title of your subject


Speak slowly and clearly.  Do not rush through, mumble, or speak at a low volume.


Do not read the entire report.  Use notes if you wish, but as a guide.


Practice your timing.  Don't lose points because you don't have as much material as you thought or because you ramble on too long.  Don't forget to allow for the time your music clips will take.





Your participation grade will suffer if you fail to attend class to hear your fellow classmates' oral presentations.






Created and Maintained by Vicky Boucher


HomeTopMusic DeptSyllabusCourse OutlineLinks