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Academic Writing About Music: Questions, Strategies, and Resources: Including Personal Experience

This writing guide was developed in conversation with graduate students at the Lamont School of Music. It addresses common questions that Lamont students have about their academic music writing and offers strategies that Lamont students and Writing Center

Including Personal Experience

Including Personal Experience

Questions to Ask

Questions to Ask

  • How do you decide when to include personal experience?
  • When you include personal experience as evidence, how can you make sure it is doing the work you need it do to?
  • When is your personal experience an experience that others might relate to or identify with, and when is it so specific that it is really only meaningful to you?
  • How do you balance the use of personal experience as evidence?

Strategies to Use

Strategies to Use

Personal experience is usually most effective when…

  • It is balanced with research and cited, credible sources.
  • It closely matches the claim or argument you are making. Use personal experience as evidence only when your individual experience or expertise is relevant.
  • Your listening, playing, or conducting experience can help readers appreciate your perspective, provide context for your arguments, and give readers a reason to be interested in your ideas.

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