Micah Jones, Program Director
The School of Music at the University of the Arts prepares students to be innovators and leaders. Jazz and contemporary music serve as the nucleus of the School’s curriculum preparing students for careers as performers, composers, educators, and entrepreneurs. Faculty integrate traditional foundations and techniques with experimentation, improvisation, and originality to drive the School’s educational philosophy.
The School of Music is dedicated to the preparation and training of musicians for a career in music performance, composition, and music education. The student’s growth as a musician is the primary goal of the program. Additionally, the Music Business, Entrepreneurship and Technology program provides students with the broad skill sets and entrepreneurial spirit essential to creating their own specific career path within the music industry.
The music program is distinguished by its emphasis on American music idioms, such as jazz and contemporary music, and includes study in European and world traditions. The School’s mission of training professional musicians and educators of the highest caliber is maintained through a conservatory atmosphere, which stresses individualized training, a comprehensive curriculum that includes private lessons with master faculty, an abundance and diversity of ensembles and performance experiences, and a focus on information literacy and critical thinking in all curricular activity. Coursework for instrumental, vocal, and composition majors includes jazz improvisation, jazz theory and ear training, arranging, orchestration, basic piano and jazz piano, music and computer technology, MIDI, recording engineering, music business, world music, and music histories (classical, jazz, rock, and other American styles & genres).
Performance opportunities play an important part in the student’s education by sharpening technical and improvisation skills and increasing the student’s command of repertoire and styles. The School’s numerous performance ensembles represent a wide range of styles and categories of jazz, American, classical, and world music. Students are involved in a rigorous schedule of performances, with over 150 concerts and recitals presented each year.
This contemporary curriculum is organized in three degree programs: the Bachelor of Music in Jazz Studies, which prepares students for careers as music professionals in vocal or instrumental performance or composition; the Master of Arts in Teaching in Music Education, which prepares students for certification as music teachers for kindergarten through 12th grade; and the Master of Music in Jazz Studies, which is a finishing program for highly advanced students preparing for careers as performers or college-level instructors. A unique aspect of the undergraduate program allows students to select a Music Education minor or Jazz Master’s track that may enable them to earn both a bachelor’s and master’s degree in five years.
The School of Music faculty is made up of experienced and practicing professionals, many of whom have attained international stature as performing and recording artists. This professional faculty is supplemented by a long list of guest artists and a regular series of workshops, master classes, and performances.
The Music Business, Entrepreneurship and Technology (MBET) program at the University of the Arts offers courses in music business concepts and structures. These courses are supplemented with topic-specific electives in fields such as Artist Management, Venue Management, Live Music Industry Operations, Recording Industry Operations, Legal Issues in the Music Industry and more. This enables students to choose their path in specific niches of the industry. Courses in Digital Marketing and Digital Distribution are also offered, which are designed to familiarize students with the undeniable role of media in today’s music industry.
The MBET program’s introductory-level audio recording classes are supplemented by production, mixing and mastering classes, and forums designed to get students working together in a studio environment. The School of Music is committed to full exploration of a multitude of genres, techniques, and disciplines designed to inform its students of a wealth of approaches to production. Additionally, the MBET program contains a rapidly expanding Audio Electronics division, which offers instruction in computer music programming, synthesizer development, circuit design, hardware hacking, and interactivity to provide students with the skills needed to create their own unique tools.
Founded in 1870 as the Philadelphia Musical Academy, which later merged with the Philadelphia Conservatory of Music, the School counts among its alumni some of the nation’s most accomplished musicians, including bassist Stanley Clarke, pianists Kenny Barron, Andre Watts, and Sumi Tonooka, vocalists Florence Quivar and Osceola Davis, drummer Gerry Brown, saxophonist Lew Tabackin, trombonist Robin Eubanks, composer Vincent Persichetti, and TV/film composers John Davis and Edd Kalehoff. School of Music alumni can be found in Broadway theater orchestras, on the concert stage, and in studios world wide.
School Learning Outcomes
In addition to goals for individual programs, graduates of all programs in the School of Music will:
- Demonstrate outstanding aural musicianship;
- Demonstrate outstanding cognitive musicianship and theoretical knowledge;
- Understand music in its historical and sociological context;
- Express understanding of music in verbal and written form;
- Be musically literate and technically proficient performers and composers;
- Possess knowledge and experience in a diversity of musical styles and cultures;
- Acquire the skills to use and integrate current technology in support of their musicianship;
- Use all of the above as the basis for creative output.
Workshops in each School of Music department are scheduled at least four times each semester. Faculty and guests teach an array of topics that are supplemental and supportive to the major coursework. Attendance and participation are required as part of the grade in the major.
The number of hours of unexcused absences permitted per semester in the School of Music may not exceed the number of credits per course, i.e., in a three-credit course, no more than three hours of unexcused absences are permitted; in a two-credit course, no more than two hours of unexcused absences are permitted, etc.
The School of Music is located in the Merriam Theater building at 250 South Broad Street. Facilities include fully equipped music studios, practice rooms, two class piano laboratories, a digital drum lab, and classrooms. The School’s MIDI and Recording Studio is a recording and music technology facility, with a complete 32-input recording studio, MIDI and computer labs, computer and synthesizer workstation labs, and an audio-for-video dubbing and editing lab. Most practice rooms are equipped with acoustic pianos, plasma monitors, LCD projectors and sound systems. A suite of fully equipped percussion and drum set studios is available for student practice. In addition, the entire campus is equipped with Wi-Fi.
The University’s historic Merriam Theater, Gershman Building, Arts Bank, and the 200-seat recital hall in the Ellen and Ronald Caplan Center for the Performing Arts, are used for student and faculty performances. The Music Library contains books, manuscripts, journals, scores, records, tapes, and compact discs, as well as listening and viewing facilities, a music education information center, and access to the Internet for students.
The first Wednesday of each month is devoted to a concert of select student performances.
Performance and Composition majors may not schedule other commitments during the time designated as First Wednesday and attendance is required. In addition, all School of Music students are encouraged to attend student and professional performances on a regular basis.
In addition to the general CPA requirements for graduation, the following must be fulfilled:
BM in Jazz Vocal Performance, Jazz Instrumental Peformance, or Jazz Composition: Senior Recital
- Performance majors must present a satisfactory graduation recital before the public (satisfactory performance to be determined by majority vote of a faculty jury).
- Composition majors must submit a satisfactory substantial work in the Senior year, to be publicly performed, adjudicated by the Composition faculty. The performance of an acceptable work(s) constitutes satisfaction of the Recital Requirement.
- The recital must include musical selections as stipulated by the faculty and must conform to School of Music recital requirements and public performance policy and guidelines (see Senior Showcase).
BS in Music Business, Entrepreneurship and Technology: Senior Project
With the help of a faculty advisors, MBET students will select a project of particular relevance and interest. Students may work independently or as part of a team. Each student must propose and implement a plan to create a substantial senior project as the capstone to his or her undergraduate education, which will be presented to, and evaluated by a faculty panel.
Exit Requirements for the MAT in Music Education
Successful completion of all course and related requirements shall lead to the granting of the Master of Arts in Teaching with a major in Music Education, provided that an overall GPA of 3.0 or higher is maintained. However, approval of the MAT in Music Education Committee is required for recommendation for teacher certification. It should be noted also that the initial Instructional I Certificate cannot be issued by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania Department of Education unless PDE testing requirements have been met.
Exit Requirements for the Master of Music in Jazz Studies
All MM students must complete a satisfactory graduate project and a graduate recital in order to meet the degree requirements for completion of the Master of Music.
The recital must include musical selections as stipulated by the major teacher and department and must conform to the guidelines as stated in the school policy governing recitals and Senior recitals.
All MM candidates are required to maintain a cumulative GPA of at least a 3.0.
Attendance at lessons
Students must attend all private lessons as scheduled except in the case of illness or emergency. It is the student’s responsibility to notify the teacher if he/she is unable to keep the appointment time. Failure to give at least 24-hours prior notice may result in forfeiture of the lesson. A maximum of three lessons per semester will be made up in the case of excused absences.
- Lessons missed because of unexcused absences will not be made up.
- Lessons missed due to the teacher’s absence will be rescheduled and made up by the teacher or his/her designee.
- Unless circumstances render it impossible, “make-up” lessons for the fall semester are to be completed prior to the spring semester; “makeup” lessons for the spring must be completed by June 15.
- Normally, students are entitled to 28 one-hour lessons during the academic year (14 per semester).
Lessons during the summer term
With permission of the Director of the School of Music a student may enroll in Applied Music Instruction to be taken during the summer session. Consultation with the Director is required to ensure that the correct level of instruction can be made available. Students may enroll in Applied Music Lessons in the summer to retake a previously failed semester with the intention of progressing forward. If the lesson has a jury component, the jury must be completed with results reported no later than the third day of the fall semester. Students who fail the same level jury more than once or fail a total of more than one jury during his/her matriculation at the University, will be recommended for dismissal in accordance with Academic Review and Department Policies published elsewhere in this Catalogue.
Change of Major Teacher
Students who wish to petition for a change of major teacher must:
- Secure a “Request for Change of Major Teacher” form from the Director of the School of Music.
- State reasons for requesting a change of teacher.
- Obtain the signed approval of the present and the requested teacher.
- Obtain the signed approval of the department chair.
- Obtain the signed approval of the Director of the School of Music.
Such changes are not usually affected in mid-semester. If the change is approved during the semester, in addition to the process stated above, the student must also drop and add the appropriate instructors’ section number in Student Self-Service prior to the end of the semester’s Drop/Add period..
The School requires that every student must change applied major teachers following the fourth semester of study with a particular teacher. Students are given the option of requesting a specific teacher, or the Department Chair or Director can appoint one. This policy reaffirms the consistency of high quality of instruction in each applied area, and ensures a diversity of teaching and learning perspectives in the major.
All first-, second-, and third-year performance and composition majors must take a jury examination in their applied area upon the completion of the second, fourth, and sixth semesters of applied study. This usually occurs in May during the week of or immediately following classroom examinations. However, students who began their matriculation in midyear, transferred from another institution, or have failed their jury in a prior year may be scheduled to take the examination in December.
Students are evaluated in comparison to the Minimum Applied Jury Requirements in their major. A list of these requirements is given to each student by his/her major teacher at the beginning of each year. The jury consists of at least two faculty members in addition to the major teacher (who may be present but may not grade). The jury examination is graded Pass/Fail, but also includes areas of optional letter grading evaluation.
Failure in any single “Pass/Fail” aspect of the jury examination constitutes a failure (F) in the entire jury examination. A student who fails the jury fails the entire semester in the applied major; this jury examination may not be retaken until the following semester. A grade of F will appear on the student’s transcript for the major lessons, and the student will receive no credit for the semester’s work in major lessons. The student must repeat the failed semester of applied study and retake the jury examination at the completion of the next semester. A student who fails the same semester jury examination more than once or who fails a total of more than one jury examination during his/her matriculation at the University will be recommended for dismissal.
The requirements that are tested in the jury examination are those that have been established, by a departmental faculty committee, to be the minimum set of skills and knowledge necessary for successful completion of applied study. Requirements are established for each year of study and are considered cumulative: e.g., a jury examination of a second-year student may include requirements from the first year.
It is possible for a student to pass the jury examination and yet receive a failing grade in the applied lessons, due to the different grading and evaluation criteria for each. However, a student who fails the jury will receive a failure in the applied lessons.
Senior or Graduate Recital/senior showcase
All fourth-year students are required to present a solo or group performance during a designated period in the spring semester. This is the official recital required for graduation. The showcase is graded Pass/Fail and will appear on the student’s transcript. Recital grading is decided by a majority vote of a faculty committee. Grading criteria includes many different aspects, including duration, preparation, performance, and presentation. A sample evaluation form is distributed at the beginning of the semester to all students who are scheduled to present a Senior Showcase.
All performances are audio- and videotaped by the School for archival and grading purposes only; they are not meant to be professional-quality productions or student demos. Due to federal copyright laws, duplication by the School or the student is expressly prohibited. All performances are staffed (sound, light and video) by University personnel, and the official programs must be printed by the School.
A senior recital meeting will be held during the fall semester prior to the scheduling of recitals, during which faculty and staff outline the requirements such as the selection of material, ensemble personnel, performance date, setup, stage presentation, etc. Attendance at the forum is mandatory for all students who will be presenting a showcase and is factored into the final recital grade. Each student’s major teacher and department chair must approve all aspects of the recital program in writing. Approval must be received by the School of Music administrative staff in writing at least two weeks prior to the recital.
Students failing the Senior Showcase may be given one more opportunity to present a successful one prior to the end of the semester. If that attempt fails, the student must wait until the following semester. A student who has not presented a satisfactory showcase cannot graduate.
The meeting, the preparation, and the showcase are intended to provide a valuable educational and professional experience for the student.
Both departmental and specialty ensembles are available to all music majors without the need to take an audition. There is another category of ensembles, known as Showcase Ensembles, that requires an audition or assignment by the Coordinator of Ensembles or the Director of the School of Music. The School reserves the right to assign scholarship award recipients to perform in an ensemble in which that student is needed. All music majors are expected to perform in at least one ensemble during each semester of full-time study at the University.
For information on current and recent ensemble opportunities, please visit the School of Music website.
Professional Standards of Behavior
Students are required to maintain high standards of professionalism in studio, classroom, rehearsal, and performance commitments. Failure to follow directions and absence from or lateness to rehearsals, performances, and related activities may result in Academic Censure, including lowering of grades, course failure, removal from the class or ensemble, or suspension.
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