Make a deal with your child: you'll buy her that new album on iTunes if she listens to it all the way through...and then writes a thoughtful review on it. Her boosted analytical writing skills are more than worth the $9.99! She'll note the high and low points of the new CD, edit her review, and send a copy off to your local paper. Who knows? She may get her 15 minutes of fame!
First, you and your child should look up some reviews of movies, books, or restaurants so you can discuss what analytical writing entails. Look at the similarities and differences in the way different reviews are written. What are the characteristics of a good review?
Your child should listen to the CD multiple times and consider several questions while analyzing the music. Have her take notes on the following questions as she listens to the music:
What genre of music does this artist fall into? What makes this artist distinct in this genre?
How does this CD compare with past work of the artist?
If there are lyrics, what are the lyrics saying in each song? What makes the songs meaningful to the listener?
Who should listen to this CD/who would enjoy this music? Why?
How would you sum up what you think of this CD in one word or sentence?
Give specific examples of positive and negative parts of this CD.
If you could change something about this CD, what would it be?
After listening to the CD and taking notes, she can start writing the actual review. Encourage her to keep her audience in mind as she writes the review. For example, is she writing for the general audience of a newspaper or for a group of her peers? Additionally, she should try to write a review that includes some information about the artist and avoids using the first person.
After she finishes writing her review, edit it and discuss its merits with her. Help her write up a final copy.
Encourage her to look up the address for a local magazine and newspaper, and try to find out the editor's name.
Have her consider sending the review to the address, in the hopes that she'll get published in print. For some immediate gratification, she also may decide to post the review online. Many websites such as Amazon.com and iTunes welcome customer reviews!