A Multi-tiered Approach to Teaching Writing and Research


Using a Women-and-Music course as a model, this praper offers strategies for student success in an undergraduate writing-and-research seminar. Three papers of different types and topics offer more variety than a semester-long research project and provide a platform for increasingly independent thinking: a short paper that guides both content and structure by having students address questions related to assigned reading; here students learn about socio-cultural influences that forced Fanny Mendelssohn Hensel to remain an amateur musician despite her obvious talents; a short position paper that evaluates comments made by Vienna Philharmonic players regarding the addition of women to the ensemble; students discern the players’ concerns, provide supporting quotations, then evaluate their merit; while the structure is still guided, students have more freedom with content; a longer research paper on a contemporary female composer chosen by the student, allowing freedom with both content and structure. Preparatory assignments for each paper also teach cumulative research skills, from “structured notes” to outline assignments, to multi-tiered bibliography assignments related to the research paper. Assignments become refined through in-class discussions and individual consultations with the instructor.


Pedagogy, Writing, Research


Pedagogy and Curriculum


Paper Presentation in a Themed Session


  • Julie Hedges Brown
    • Associate Professor of Musicology, School of Music, Northern Arizona University, United States Arizona, United States
    • Dr. Hedges Brown graduated from Yale University with a PhD in Musicology. Her research emphasizes nineteenth-century music, especially the history, biography, reception, and analysis of Robert Schumann and his music. Her publications have appeared in top venues in her field, including the Journal of the American Musicological Society, 19th-Century Music, the Journal of Musicology, Nineteenth-Century Music Review, and the book anthology Rethinking Schumann (Oxford University Press, 2011). She is currently writing a book that explores different facets of reception history in relation to Schumann's 1842 chamber music. Dr. Hedges Brown is Associate Professor of Musicology at Northern Arizona University.