Section 10.D: Honors Programs

Music Student Handbook

Section Contents

Honors Programs

The Honors Program in Music is an appropriate concentration for the student who has an outstanding academic record and a special interest in pursuing some aspect of musical study in depth and with individual initiative. Gustavus offers departmental honors in History-Literature, Performance, and Theory-Composition. Each program is a 3.50-course unit completed in addition to the Bachelor of Arts with a major in Music. The student must plan the program with the assistance of his or her advisor, be approved as a candidate by the department, and successfully complete coursework and produce a capstone product. A minimum overall GPA of 3.25 and a minimum GPA of 3.50 in music courses are required for entrance and must be maintained throughout the program.

The purpose of departmental honors is to promote individual excellence in the art of music through intensive study in performance including recitals and demonstrated scholarship in support of these performances, advanced analytical and creative work in composition, or through specialized courses and independent research and writing projects in history-literature.

Requirements:

  • Upon entry into this program, students must have and subsequently maintain an overall GPA of 3.25 and a GPA of 3.50 in music courses.
  • Students must receive approval for admission to the honors program by a vote of the Department of Music faculty. This vote is based on demonstrated musicianship, achievement, and initiative.
  • Students will complete a junior project that demonstrates the ability to undertake the senior project.
  • Students will complete a senior project.
  • Students, upon completion of the senior project, must be recommended for Honors by a vote of the Department of Music faculty.

Honors in Performance

The purpose of the Honors in Performance option is to provide qualified students with an opportunity for intensive study of their selected instrument or voice, coupled with a performance project combining research and analysis in a written document supporting the senior recital. Interested students are invited to apply for admission to the Honors Program; those students accepted into the program are expected to display musicianship and initiative of the highest level in the completion of this program. Students work in conjunction with their private teacher and committee in a personalized course of study involving two recitals and the written project.

The outcome of the Honors Program is the preparation of a student to be able to pursue advanced performance studies and/or a career as a performer. The Honors program is student-centered, a recognition the Department gives to promising students who are able to intensify their efforts and are willing to do the extra wok to achieve higher levels in their performance skills. The Honors program is not an end in itself but rather a step in further development.

Program Specifics:

  • Full credit lessons (1.00) should begin during the sophomore year for the student interested in this performance option, thus raising the total to 7 credits (6 of which must be in the primary instrument/voice).
  • An application for the Honors Program should be made during the fall of the junior year.
  • An Honors Committee will consist of the student’s advisor, the student’s private teacher, the area coordinator, and one individual from outside the student’s performing specialty. The committee must consist of at least three members, but in some cases, it will have four.
  • The private teacher, if an adjunct member of the music faculty, may, but is neither required nor expected to contribute to the draft submission portion of the document. The private instructor will however, be invaluable to the committee process in the evaluation of the content included in the final draft of the written document.
  • Committee members should have a knowledge of and sympathy for the subject matter to be researched in the honors project; specifically, they should be able to discriminate the elements of a quality performance in the genre, have an understanding of appropriate stylistic practices, and be able to discern and appreciate the performer’s creative insights and individualized contributions to the music.
  • The same committee will stay with the student through the program except for substitutions made necessary by faculty members on leave, etc.
  • The initial audition for both the junior and senior recital will take place as part of a Monday Night Recital either on a designated pre-recital audition night or on a Monday Night Recital during the semester before the recital. The two prerequisite Monday Night Recital performance appearances are to be completed before the pre-recital audition. For additional information regarding Monday Night Recitals, please see Specific Recital Guidelines in Section 8.
  • Junior and senior Honors Program participants are required to play extended auditions for their committee members three weeks before the recital date. At the second audition, the complete recital program will be presented for committee hearing. Students not prepared to perform their complete recital program at least three weeks in advance will be asked to reschedule the recital date and re-audition with an extended audition three weeks before the new recital date.
  • The committee must approve the first and second auditions by at least a 2-1 vote with the private teacher abstaining from the voting process.
  • The junior and senior recital must be approved by at least a 2-1 vote with the private teacher abstaining from the voting process.
  • The student must arrange for video recording of the senior recital. This recording, with the accompanying written document, will remain in the departmental archives.
  • The accompanying written document is expected to be presented as a finished formal paper on Monday of the twelfth week of the semester during which the senior recital and MUS 395 is completed. Drafts are to have been exchanged earlier as the paper developed.
  • Committee members have ten days to return corrections to the student and the final copy of the written document is to be submitted to the Chair of the committee on the final day of classes for the semester. The final grade is based on the quality of process and product as well as demonstration of initiative.

MUS 395 - Honors in Performance (0.5 course)

This course includes presentation of a Senior Recital with an accompanying paper.

Performance Project: Basis for Constructive Criticism and Approval of the Recital:

(Approval is required from at least two committee members to pass)

  • Quality: a performance with characteristic tone quality and musical and technical security; demonstrated evidence of solid preparation in the medium; presentation of quality literature in the medium performed without major flaws
  • Memory: committee will determine early in the process (2-1 voting process) whether all or part of the recital must be performed from memory
  • Depth of Understanding: a demonstrated knowledge of appropriate stylistic practices and handling of the musical material in a characteristic manner
  • Creative insight: appropriate musical interpretation
  • Appropriate criterion for judging a student’s work is directly related to the goal of the study; every instrument/voice preparation is different

Guidelines for the Accompanying Written Document:

  • The overall length should be ten to twelve pages of polished prose, double-spaced, with one inch text-align:justify; text-indent: -.25in; tab-stops:list 1.0in'> The paper should be written and formatted in MLA (Modern Language Association) style. Students may consult Hacker’s A Writer’s Reference, Fifth Edition (Boston: Bedford/St. Martin’s, 2003) for format details. Also see Helm and Luper, Words and Music: Form and Procedure in Theses, Dissertations, Research Papers, Book Reports, Programs, Theses in Composition, Revised Edition (Totowa, NJ: European American Music Corp., 1982) for additional format information.
  • The purpose of the written document is to combine the student’s theoretical knowledge and historical knowledge with advanced work within a performance medium.
  • Students should view the written document in the following ways: as an end in itself, as part of preparation for more advanced performance studies, and as a means to improve performance practice.
  • The written document must include a copy of the recital program with both program notes and translations (if applicable).
  • The document will contain an introduction that includes a statement concerning the rationale of the program, e.g., why the repertoire was chosen with regard to languages (if applicable), historical style, forms, technical aspects, etc.
  • The document will contain a discussion and/or analysis of each piece indicating the way in which the performer’s knowledge and use of music theory informed the preparation for and performance of the program. Areas to be addressed include but are not limited to form, tonal/harmonic analysis, texture, etc.
  • The document will also include a discussion and/or analysis of each piece indicating the way in which the performer’s knowledge and use of music history or musicology informed the preparation for and performance of the program. Areas to be addressed include but are not limited to musical style, role of accompaniment, performance practice issues, place of work in the composer’s output, place of work in the area’s literature, etc. The discussion of theoretical and historical considerations may be written separately or combined into one section when analyzing a work.
  • The document will conclude with a self-reflective statement that considers the performer’s experience in this recital setting.
  • After all needed corrections and revisions have been made, the written document must be submitted in a form acceptable as a writing sample for graduate school entrance, job application, or other professional use. Therefore, it is expected to be of the highest possible written quality as befits a student receiving a Bachelor of Arts degree in Music with Honors from this institution. This document will be kept permanently in the departmental archives and may be made available to prospective Honors Program candidates as a model for their consideration.

Accompanying Written Document: Basis for Constructive Criticism and Approval”

(Approval is required from at least two committee members to pass)

  • Quality: a written document that demonstrates knowledge of theoretical and historical basis for the works performed; demonstrates mature writing style and a thoughtful approach to the discussion of recital literature
  • Depth of Understanding: demonstrates knowledge of appropriate stylistic practices and an application of historical and theoretical knowledge gained in the course work required for the major extended to the music included in this undertaking
  • Creative insight: acknowledgement of appropriate musical interpretation

Honors in Composition

The purpose of the Honors in Composition option is to provide qualified students with an opportunity to focus on composing original works and presenting them in performance. Interested students are invited to apply for admission to the Honors Program; those students accepted into the program are expected to display musicianship and initiative of the highest level in the completion of this program. Students work in conjunction with a committee in a personalized course of study.

  • Departmental Honors in Composition consists of the following:
  • Independent study/composition oriented
  • Student-centered (assists students in improving composition skills in the discipline of music)
  • Goal-oriented (individually tailored for each student)
  • Advisor-approved (knowledge of subject matter and sympathy for project’s goal)
  • Committee assisted and approved (enabling and facilitating the attainment of quality, depth, and creative insight in reaching the goal)

The outcome of the Honors Program is the preparation of a student to be able to pursue advanced studies in composition. The Honors program is student-centered, a recognition the Department gives to promising students who are able to intensify their efforts and are willing to do the extra wok to achieve higher levels of composition and creative skills. The Honors program is not an end in itself but rather a step in further development.

Program Specifics:

  • An application for the Honors Program should be made during the spring of the junior year.
  • An Honors Committee will consist of the student’s advisor, the area coordinator, and one other individual with interest in the project. The committee must consist of at least three members, but in some cases, it will have four.
  • Committee members should have a knowledge of and sympathy for the subject matter to be researched in the honors project; specifically, they should be able to discriminate the elements of a quality, original composition and performance project.
  • The same committee will stay with the student through the program except for substitutions made necessary by faculty members on leave, etc.
  • Entrance into the Program is accomplished through successful evaluation of a composition project from MUS 291, MUS 391, or another specialized music composition course.
  • The committee must approve this project by a 2-1 vote.
  • The senior project (MUS 396 - Honors in Composition 0.5 credit) must be approved by a 2-1 vote.
  • The student must arrange for the public presentation and video recording of the project. The accompanying written document and the video recording will remain in the departmental archives.
  • The first draft of the project is due on the Monday of the twelfth week of the semester while the final paper is due on the last day of classes for the semester in which the course is taken.
  • The committee determines the project grade.

Basis for Constructive Criticism and Approval of the Project:

(Approval is required from at least two committee members to pass)

  • Quality, inventive approach to the creation of works with performance of the composition(s)

Guidelines for Accompanying Materials for Composition:

  • The overall length should be five to ten pages of polished prose, double-spaced, with one inch text-align:justify; text-indent: -.25in; tab-stops:list 1.0in'> The paper should be written and formatted in MLA (Modern Language Association) style. Students may consult Hacker’s A Writer’s Reference, Fifth Edition (Boston: Bedford/St. Martin’s, 2003) for format details. Also see Helm and Luper, Words and Music: Form and Procedure in Theses, Dissertations, Research Papers, Book Reports, Programs, Theses in Composition, Revised Edition (Totowa, NJ: European American Music Corp., 1982) for additional format information.
  • Accompanying the project should be a copy of the program with analytical program notes included.
  • The student should write a 250-word descriptive abstract of the project.
  • Honors in Composition projects emphasize the inventive rather than imitative approach in the creation of works. For MUS 396, a work of fifteen minutes duration that presents carefully crafted and innovative music is required.
  • After all needed corrections and revisions have been made, the analytical program notes must be submitted in a form acceptable as a writing sample for graduate school entrance, job application, or other professional use. Therefore, it is expected to be of the highest possible written quality as befits a student receiving a Bachelor of Arts degree in Music with Honors from this institution. This document will be kept permanently in the departmental archives and be made available to prospective Honors Program candidates as a model for their consideration.
  • A public performance of the work is required.

Honors in History-Literature

The purpose of the Honors in History-Literature option is to provide qualified students with an opportunity for intensive study of a particular aspect of music history or literature in a specially designed intensive research and writing or research and performance project. Interested students are invited to apply for admission to the Honors Program; those students accepted into the program are expected to display musicianship and initiative of the highest level in the completion of this program. Students work in conjunction with a committee in a personalized course of study.

Departmental Honors in History-Literature consists of the following:

  • Independent research oriented
  • Student-centered (assists students in improving research and writing skills in the discipline of music)
  • Goal-oriented (individually tailored for each student)
  • Advisor-approved (knowledge of subject matter and sympathy for project’s goal)
  • Committee assisted and approved (enabling and facilitating the attainment of quality, depth, and creative insight in reaching the goal)

Program Specifics:

  • An application for the Honors Program should be made during the spring of the junior year.
  • An Honors Committee will consist of the student’s advisor, the program administrator for the area, and one other individual with interest in the project. The committee must consist of at least three members, but in some cases, it will have four.
  • Committee members should have a knowledge of and sympathy for the subject matter to be researched in the honors project; specifically, they should be able to discriminate the elements of a quality, well-written, researched, and supported document.
  • The same committee will stay with the student through the program except for substitutions made necessary by faculty members on leave, etc.
  • Entrance into the Program is granted through successful evaluation of a research project from MUS 102, MUS 291, MUS 374-375, MUS 391, or another specialized history-literature course.
  • The committee must approve this project by a 2-1 vote.
  • The senior project (MUS 397 - Honors in History-Literature 0.5 credit) must be approved by a 2-1 vote.
  • The student must arrange for the public presentation and video recording of the project. The document and video recording will remain in the departmental archives.
  • The first draft of the project is due on the Monday of the twelfth week of the semester while the final paper is due on the last day of classes for the semester in which the course is taken.
  • The committee determines the grade for the project.

Basis for Constructive Criticism and Approval of the Project:

(Approval is required from at least two committee members to pass)

  • Quality writing that demonstrates knowledge of the language of the discipline, proper form, a creative approach to the topic, scholarly research, and a general command of the issue
  • Demonstrated ability to lead the reader logically and systematically from point to point
  • In the case of a performance, the ability not only to create the performance desired, but to rationalize performance practice decisions made on scholarly, theoretical, and historical grounds as well
  • In the case of a thesis, to ability to successfully argue and defend the research

Guidelines for the Accompanying Written Document:

  • The overall length should be ten to twelve pages of polished prose, double-spaced, with one inch text-align:justify; text-indent: -.25in; tab-stops:list 1.0in'> The paper should be written and formatted in MLA (Modern Language Association) style. Students may consult Hacker’s A Writer’s Reference, Fifth Edition (Boston: Bedford/St. Martin’s, 2003) for format details. Also see Helm and Luper, Words and Music: Form and Procedure in Theses, Dissertations, Research Papers, Book Reports, Programs, Theses in Composition, Revised Edition (Totowa, NJ: European American Music Corp., 1982) for additional format information.
  • A 100-word abstract of the project is required.
  • Projects for Honors in History-Literature are in-depth scholarly inquiries into some aspect of Western music history, non-Western music, or music literature. These projects should emphasize the argumentative rather than descriptive or compilation approach to research. Original theses may be undertaken as well as projects that combine historical and musicological issues in the context of performance practice. Other projects may be proposed; their merit will be assessed by the committee and with recommendation, be approved.
  • After all needed corrections and revisions have been made, the written document must be submitted in a form acceptable as a writing sample for graduate school entrance, job application, or other professional use. Therefore, it is expected to be of the highest written quality as befits the conferring of a B.A. in Music with Honors from this institution. This document will be kept permanently in the department archives and be made available to prospective Honors Program candidates as a model for their consideration.
  • A formal presentation of the project is required.

Revised: August 2008