The ensemble program comprises areas of activity designed to provide an enriched and cohesive curriculum in practical musicianship for every student. Much of this training is accomplished in the context of an instrumental, choral ensemble or specialized ensembles, over the period that students normally spend on studies.
Students are responsible for checking their program requirements carefully in order to verify their basic (large) and small ensemble requirements; the Performance Department does not follow the particular enrolment of any student's participation in their small or large ensembles
For each program's basic (large) and small ensemble requirements, refer to the appropriate section in this publication (all Undergraduate, Licentiate, and Artist Diploma requirements are found in Department of Performance; graduate programs are in the Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies Programs, Courses and University Regulations publication also available at www.mcgill.ca/study).
In those cases where a student in the orchestral training program is registered for additional academic sessions, he/she must also register for a basic (large) ensemble for each additional session. (For exemptions, see Exemption from a Required Ensemble.)
A student in the Performance Department who is not assigned a basic ensemble following the ensemble placement auditions may take a choral ensemble (after having a placement audition with the conductor(s)) or see the Ensemble Resource Administrator to examine if any other options are available to the student.
Small Ensembles: Generally, all students registered as full-time or part-time students in the Department of Performance must audition for, and participate in, a small ensemble. For each program's small ensemble requirements, please refer to the appropriate section in this publication (all Undergraduate, Licentiate and Artist Diploma requirements are found in Department of Performance; graduate programs are also available in the Programs, Courses and University Regulations publication at www.mcgill.ca/study).
Performance majors as well as sufficiently advanced players and singers from other programs are encouraged to participate in one or more small ensembles that meet their particular interest.
The following policy and its regulations apply to all students performing in all ensembles, large or small, required, complementary, or elective. They apply also to all students who have been assigned to an ensemble for any reason, including conducting students, composers- and arrangers-in-residence, and others.
Basic ensemble training requirements vary by program and according to the student's practical concentration. For ensemble purposes, the orchestral instruments include flute, oboe, clarinet, bassoon, saxophone, french horn, trumpet, trombone, tuba, percussion, harp, violin, viola, cello, and double bass. Voice majors may choose from a group of vocal and choral ensembles appropriate to the level of their development.
In all programs which specify an assigned small ensemble, the following are considered assigned small ensembles:
|MUEN 556||Introduction to Collaborative Piano 1|
|MUEN 557||Introduction to Collaborative Piano 2|
|MUEN 560||Chamber Music Ensemble|
|MUEN 570||Jazz Combo|
|MUEN 578||Song Interpretation 1|
|MUEN 579||Song Interpretation 2|
|MUEN 580||Early Music Ensemble|
|MUEN 581||Piano Ensemble Seminar 1|
|MUEN 582||Piano Ensemble Seminar 2|
|MUEN 584||Studio Accompanying|
|MUEN 585||Sonata Masterclass|
|MUEN 589||Woodwind Ensembles|
|MUEN 598||Percussion Ensembles|
Additional ensembles chosen by students to reflect their particular interests may, with Departmental approval, be applied as Music Elective credit. Students electing an ensemble will normally be required to participate in the ensemble placement auditions and will be placed accordingly.
All students registered as full-time or part-time students in the Department of Performance must audition for a basic (large) ensemble in the beginning of the school year. (If a mid-year audition is offered for a particular year or ensemble, notice will be given prior to the start of the academic year.)
Auditions for basic (large) ensembles are mandatory.
A student who cannot audition for a basic ensemble at the times indicated on the website must give due notice to the Ensemble Resource Administrator in the Performance Department of their non-availability at least two (2) weeks before the date of the first audition. The student must submit, in writing, the reason for their lack of availability and (if applicable) submit a recording of their audition materials prior to the day of the auditions. If a student misses an audition with an accepted reason, but does not deliver the audition materials to the Department, or if a student misses an audition for reasons unacceptable to the Performance Department, that student will not be allowed to audition and his/her assignment will be left entirely to the discretion of the Performance Department.
Assignments are posted on the Large Ensemble notice boards (located in the main hallway of the Strathcona Music Building). Reassignments may be made from time to time during a term and will also be communicated to students.
In the case of the Jazz Ensembles, an open challenge system is used as follows:
Ensembles are courses. Each student who has registered for an ensemble, or who has been assigned to an ensemble, has made a commitment to the ensemble and is required to attend all rehearsals, concerts, performances, field trips, recordings, and other activities, which constitute the course requirements of that ensemble. Except for reasons of ill health or in the case of an excused absence, any unexcused absence may result in a failing grade for the student.
A failing grade in any of the ensembles (large, small, complementary, or elective ensembles) obliges the student to make up the credit during a later semester. A subsequent failure in the same course may result in the student being required to withdraw from the program.
ANY STUDENT WHO CANNOT ATTEND A REHEARSAL FOR ANY ENSEMBLE IS REQUIRED TO FILL OUT AN "ENSEMBLE EXCUSE FORM." THIS FORM IS AVAILABLE ON THE ENSEMBLE PAGE OF THE SCHULICH SCHOOL OF MUSIC (www.mcgill.ca/music/current-students/undergraduate/all-students/ensembles/policies-absences). For Opera McGill policies, please contact the Opera McGill Department directly (opera [at] music [dot] mcgill [dot] ca).
Students are required to submit a completed form at least eight (8) days prior to the rehearsal that will be missed, stating the reason for the request. Students who have missed a rehearsal due to illness must submit one of these forms within three (3) days of returning to school. In such cases, a doctor's certificate or statement from the Student Health Service or equivalent medical service must be submitted electronically via email or in hard copy to the Office of the Ensemble Resource Administrator.
Students may be excused from a rehearsal of an ensemble for the following reasons; however, submitting a form with one of these reasons does not guarantee approval of a request:
Sickness, or emergency medical or dental work.
IMPORTANT NOTE: ANY STUDENT WHO IS EXPERIENCING PAIN WHILE PLAYING OR SINGING SHOULD INFORM THEIR PRACTICAL TEACHER AND THE DIRECTOR OF THEIR ENSEMBLE(S), AND SHOULD SEEK APPROPRIATE MEDICAL ATTENTION. Students should not be reluctant to admit to injury; it is entirely acceptable for students to be excused from ensemble rehearsal(s) for health reasons. The Faculty does not want students to perform with pain or with injury. * If a student is experiencing pain while playing, then it is permitted to sit in rehearsal in their assigned place without playing in the rehearsal.
For reasons 2, 3, 4, and 5, the request must be accompanied by authorization from the student's practical teacher and the appropriate Area Chair. This permission is given for no more than three (3) rehearsals.
Students are not excused from ensemble rehearsals for either of the following reasons:
Absences or delays (especially, but not limited to, tardiness) without an approved Ensemble Excuse Form will result in a final mark deduction as follows:
If the Director of an ensemble is not satisfied with the quality of preparation that a student has been making for the ensemble, the Director shall first warn the student. This warning shall be communicated by the Director to the Ensemble Resource Administrator and Area Chair, who shall inform the student in writing. If, in the Director's opinion, this lack of preparation continues, the student will be required to perform the music for a committee consisting of the Director of the ensemble, the Chair of the area (Strings, Woodwinds, Brass, Voice, etc.) and the Department Chair. If this committee decides that there has been a lack of sufficient preparation, the student will be required to appear before the Area Chair to show cause why he or she should not be required to withdraw.
For any particular performance, if – after a written warning to the student(s) at least two (2) weeks prior to the performance, with copies to the Ensemble Resource Administrator, practical instruction teacher, Area Chair, and Department Chair – the Director, in consultation with his/her coaches, feels that the performance of a student or group of students will not meet a certain minimum standard established by the Director, the Director may cancel the performance of the student(s).
The Director of an ensemble may recommend that a student withdraw from an ensemble for disciplinary reasons. A student asked to do so will be required to appear before the Department Chair, Area Chair, and Director to show cause why he or she should not be required to withdraw.
Students who are required to withdraw from an ensemble for reasons of lack of preparation or discipline will be given a grade of F, which will be reflected in their Grade Point Average (GPA).
Withdrawal for any reason obliges the student to make up the credit(s) during a later semester.
In order to be given permission not to participate in a required ensemble for a term or part thereof, a student must:
Whenever possible and musically satisfactory, and in order to ensure equal opportunity and experience for students in the large instrumental ensembles, the seating of students in these ensembles may be rotated periodically throughout the term or year. The Director of the ensemble, along with the guidance of the Area Chairs and/or practical instruction teachers, will determine whether or not rotation is possible and musically satisfactory.
Situations will arise where students are required to miss classes – both in the Schulich School of Music as well as in other faculties – because of field trips. Teaching staff in the Schulich School of Music are encouraged to assist students who approach them for information about course content and assignments that have been missed. Nonetheless, the onus remains on the student who goes on a field trip to complete class work, to fill in all necessary forms and hand in proper documentation of the trip.
For Forms, please see Request to be Excused from a Rehearsal.
The previous ensemble participation of students coming to McGill from other universities will be recognized if their ensemble experience was similar to that required of McGill students; determination of this experience will be approved by the Area Chair and the Department Chair. In general, transfer credit is made on a term-for-term basis (not by credits) and usually does not exceed two (2) terms. Students are normally not permitted to reduce the basic (large) ensemble training requirements of their McGill program to less than the number of terms required for them to complete the rest of their program. In such cases, transfer credit may be given as Music Elective credit.
Basic Ensemble Training credits accumulated above the minimum may be applied as Music and/or Free Elective credits. Participation in additional large or small ensembles implies that the same policies will apply.
Students are responsible for the music that has been loaned to them for their use, and for its return in good condition to the Gertrude Whitley Performance Library. Students will be required to pay for the replacement of any music that has been lost, stolen, or damaged, and a hold on a student's Minerva account can be placed by the Performance Librarian should music or fines not be handed in to the Library.