In this section, Teresa Neff discusses what she hoped students would learn by critiquing each other’s analyses.
During the course, I asked students to submit written reflections on their peers’ musical analyses. I asked them to comment on two ways in which the analysis was successful, two concepts they would explore further, and one new point about the song that was based on the presentation they heard. I created this assignment because I wanted students to really listen to each other. There’s something about knowing that you’ll need to write about a presentation that makes you attend more closely. But more than that, I wanted them to work toward the idea of critiquing someone else’s work.
This was important because, ultimately, critiquing others’ work enables you to look at your own work in new ways. You learn things to apply in your own analyses and writing. I wanted to give students the chance to go through that process.
They didn’t share their critiques with their peers. They only shared them with me. The class was too large to do in-depth peer review, and I wanted the assignment to be more focused on using the process of analyzing other’s work to make their own work better.