Course Catalog

Critical Thinking: Writing a Review

Intermediate | This class focuses on reviews of live performance, recorded media, books, and online products/experiences. We’ll discuss the ethics of unbiased criticism; how to start writing; writer’s block; the elements a review must cover; writing a book or film review without revealing all the plot; advance preparation; and gauging the review to your prospective reader. Participants should bring one of their own reviews for discussion (writers remaining anonymous), and then examine some professional reviews demonstrating how and how not to be a critic.

Beginning Fall 2021, we will be adding select in-person classes back to our course catalog. The majority of our classes will still be offered via Zoom.

If a class says IN-PERSON in its title, it will take place in person at our permanent home in Seattle.

If a class says ASYNCHRONOUS in its title, it will take place on Wet Ink, our asynchronous learning platform.

If a class does not have a marker after its title, it will take place via Zoom.

Instructor: Melinda Bargreen

Class Type: 1 Session

Start Date: 07/08/2018

Days of the Week: Sunday

Time: 1:00 pm – 5:00 pm PDT

Minimum Class Size: 5

Maximum Class Size: 15

$108.00 Member Price:
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$120.00 General Price:

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Melinda Bargreen

Melinda Bargreen is a Seattle-based writer and composer who is the author of “Classical Seattle” (University of Washington Press, 2015) and “50 Years of Seattle Opera” (Marquand Press, 2014). Her award-winning choral works have been featured in performances from China to Belgium, as well as on PBS television (in the “Christmas at Belmont” holiday program of 2011). She was classical music critic of The Seattle Times from 1977 to 2008, covering decades of great arts and also the planning, financing and acoustical design of two major Seattle concert halls (Benaroya Hall and McCaw Hall). Melinda has written freelance reviews and articles for several national and international publications, including the New Grove Dictionary of American Music, the U.K.-based MusicWeb International, The American Record Guide, Symphony Magazine, Muso Magazine,, and The Christian Science Monitor, among others. Voted "Seattle's Best Critic" in an earlier survey by The Seattle Weekly, she also is a former contributor to NPR's "Performance Today" series.

Some of her choral works can be accessed at Santa Barbara Music Publishing ( and at her own website ( Melinda has been a speaker at several colleges and universities, from Cornish College and the University of Washington to Gordon College (Mass.). She has lectured for the Seattle Chamber Music Society, Orcas Island Chamber Music Festival, the Seattle Music Teachers, the Ladies Musical Club,and the Women’s University Club of Seattle, among others.

In addition to her freelance work for The Seattle Times, she has written articles about opera for the OMNI Hotel and Montage Hotel Magazines. Melinda holds B.A. and M.A. degrees from the University of Washington, and a doctorate in English and Comparative Literature from the University of California, Irvine.

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