Ensemble Policy and Regulations

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Schulich School of Music Ensemble Policy and Regulations

Preamble

Preamble

The ensemble program is designed to provide an enriched and cohesive curriculum in practical musicianship for every student. Much of this training is accomplished in ensembles (instrumental, choral ensemble, or specialized) for the duration of a student's studies.

Students are responsible for checking their program requirements carefully in order to verify and fulfil Large and Small ensemble requirements; the Performance Department does not follow the particular enrolment of any student's participation in their Large or Small ensembles.

Note: In some documentation, Large ensembles are referred to as "Basic" ensembles, and Small ensembles are referred to as "Assigned" ensembles.

For each program's Large and Small ensemble requirements, students should refer to the appropriate section of the eCalendar's Music Undergraduate section (all Undergraduate and Licentiate requirements are found under Department of Performance and Department of Music Research: Composition; Music Education; Music History; Theory; Faculty Program. Graduate programs are found in the Music Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies section).

Small Ensembles: All students registered for full-time or part-time studies in a Performance Department program must audition for, and participate in, a Small ensemble (with the exception of Voice Performance Majors who should register for a Large and/or Small ensemble in the semester for which they are registered full-time or part-time).

More information on Small ensembles for orchestral instruments can be found on the Chamber Music website. Jazz majors should refer to the Jazz Combos section. Additional information on other types of Small ensembles can be found here.

Students should refer to the Ensembles website and the program description for clarification on ensemble requirements by program.

Note: In all cases where the term “Director” of an ensemble is used, it is understood to mean the conductor, director, stage director, or coach of the ensemble.

The following policy and 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.

Large Ensembles and Small Ensembles

Large Ensembles and Small Ensembles

For ensemble purposes, the orchestral instruments include:

  • flute;
  • oboe;
  • clarinet;
  • bassoon;
  • saxophone;
  • french horn;
  • trumpet;
  • trombone;
  • tuba;
  • percussion;
  • harp;
  • violin;
  • viola;
  • cello;
  • 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 Small ensembles, the following are considered Small ensembles:

Note: Beethoven Orchestra (MUEN 567) does not count toward Small ensemble credits.
Small Ensembles
MUEN 556 Introduction to Collaborative Piano 1
MUEN 557 Introduction to Collaborative Piano 2
MUEN 560 Chamber Music Ensemble
MUEN 562 Guitar Ensemble
MUEN 570 Jazz Combo
MUEN 578 Song Interpretation 1
MUEN 579 Song Interpretation 2
MUEN 580 Early Music Ensemble
MUEN 581 Introduction to Ensemble Playing for Pianists
MUEN 582 Piano Ensembles
MUEN 584 Studio Accompanying
MUEN 585 Sonata Masterclass
MUEN 589 Woodwind Ensembles
MUEN 598 Percussion Ensembles

Additional Ensembles

Additional Ensembles

Additional ensembles chosen by students in non-performance programs to reflect their particular interests may, with Departmental approval, be applied as Music and/or Free Elective credit. Students in performance may apply a maximum of four ensemble credits as Complementary Performance Courses. Students electing an ensemble will normally be required to participate in the ensemble placement auditions and will be placed accordingly.

Assignments and Auditions

Assignments and Auditions

All students registered as full-time or part-time students in the Department of Performance must audition for a 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 to students.)

Auditions for Large and Small ensembles are mandatory for participation in the ensemble. Information on all auditions for ensembles can be found on the Ensembles website.

Students who cannot participate in the ensemble auditions at the times indicated on the website must contact the Ensemble Resource Supervisor at least two (2) weeks before the date of the audition. The students must submit, in writing, reasons for their lack of availability and, if applicable, submit a recording of their audition materials prior to the day of the auditions. If students miss an audition with an accepted reason, but do not deliver the audition materials to the Department, or if students miss an audition for reasons unacceptable to the Performance Department, they will not be allowed to audition and their assignment will be left entirely to the discretion of the Performance Department. The students may also be subject to grade penalties in the ensemble to which they are assigned.

Assignments for Large and Small ensembles are posted on the Ensemble Resource Office website. Reassignments may be made from time to time during a term and will be communicated to students. Students registered in an instrumental program who are not assigned a Large ensemble following the ensemble placement auditions should take a choral ensemble as their Large Ensemble.

Commitment

Commitment

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 be available to attend all rehearsals, concerts, performances, field trips, recordings, and other activities, which constitute the course requirements of that ensemble. If rehearsals outside of class meeting times occur, advance notice will be given. These additional rehearsals will be avoided when possible.

Failing Grade

Failing Grade

A failing grade in any of the ensembles (large, small, complementary, or elective) 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.

Request to be Excused from a Rehearsal

Request to be Excused from a Rehearsal

Students who cannot attend a rehearsal for a Large ensemble are required to fill out an Absence Request Form as soon as they learn of their conflict. The students may be required to find a replacement for the rehearsal, in collaboration with the Director.

Note: For Opera McGill policies, please contact opera [at] music.mcgill.ca.

How to submit a request to be absent from a rehearsal

Important: No permission is given to be excused from a rehearsal in the week (7 days) before a concert, including the dress rehearsal and the concert itself.

Absences or tardiness without an approved Absence Request Form (available at sites.music.mcgill.ca/ensembles/absencerequest) will result in a final mark deduction as follows:

  • Excused absences = no loss of grade
  • Tardy to rehearsal, without approved Absence Request Form = loss of one grade point (e.g., B to B-)
  • Absences without approval = loss of one entire letter grade (e.g., A to B)

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.

Reason for Absence Actions Required
  • 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 School does not want students to perform with pain or injury. If students are experiencing pain while playing, then they are permitted to sit in rehearsal in their assigned place without playing in the rehearsal.
  1. Submit online form in advance (if possible) or within three (3) days of returning to school.
  2. Submit doctor's certificate, statement from the Student Health Service, or equivalent via email to the office of the ensembles.music [at] mcgill.ca (Ensemble Resource Supervisor).
  • An audition for a permanent professional engagement
  • A master class
  • A major competition
  • A professional engagement deemed by the Music School to be very important for a student's developing career
Important Note: Permission will be given for no more than three (3) rehearsals.
  1. Submit online form as soon as you learn of the opportunity.
  2. Submit proof of invitation to the opportunity via email to the office of the ensembles.music [at] mcgill.ca (Ensemble Resource Supervisor).
  3. Submit proof of support by your practical teacher via email to the office of the ensembles.music [at] mcgill.ca (Ensemble Resource Supervisor).
  • Family emergency or an especially important family occasion (e.g., weddings, funerals)
  1. Submit online form as soon as you learn of the event.
  2. Submit proof of support by your practical teacher via email to the office of the ensembles.music [at] mcgill.ca (Ensemble Resource Supervisor).
  3. Submit a note from a senior family member confirming the event. An email should be sent directly to the office of the ensembles.music [at] mcgill.ca (Ensemble Resource Supervisor).
  • A conflict between a scheduled ensemble rehearsal and a previous important commitment made by the student
  • A field trip for another ensemble or class
  1. Submit online form as soon as you learn of the schedule conflict.
  2. Submit proof of the conflict with date via email to the office of the ensembles.music [at] mcgill.ca (Ensemble Resource Supervisor).
  • An authorized McGill function
  • A religious holiday
  1. Submit online form as soon as you learn of the schedule conflict.

Preparation

Preparation

If the Director of an ensemble is not satisfied with the quality of the student’s preparation for rehearsals, the Director shall first warn the student. This warning shall be communicated by the Director to the Ensemble Resource Supervisor and Area Chair, who shall inform the student in writing. If, in the Director's opinion, this lack of preparation continues, further action will be taken to remedy the situation.

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 Supervisor, practical instruction teacher, Area Chair, and Department Chair—the Director, in consultation with his/her sectional 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 a student's participation in a performance.

Discipline

Discipline

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

Withdrawal

Withdrawal for any reason obliges the student to make up the credit(s) during a later semester.

Exemption from a Required Ensemble

Exemption from a Required Ensemble

In order to be given permission not to participate in a required ensemble for a term or part thereof, a student must:

  1. be a participant in a major national or international competition, or (in the case of voice students) be given a significant role with a recognized performing arts ensemble, and (in the case of all students) have completed the minimum number of required terms of the ensemble, and have the permission of:
    • his or her practical teacher
    • the Area Chair
    • the Director of the ensemble
  2. have completed all program requirements except the final exam on his or her instrument, or
  3. have completed all musical requirements of his or her program, having only non-music and/or free electives remaining, or
  4. have a significant medical reason.
Note: Permission to not participate in a required or complementary ensemble for a term or part thereof is not an exemption and does not satisfy any credit requirements for a degree.

Rotation in Large Ensembles

Rotation in Large Ensembles

When possible, and to help 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.

Transfer Credits

Transfer Credits

The previous ensemble participation of students coming to McGill from other universities will be recognized if their ensemble experience was similar to that required by the Schulich School of Music; 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 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 and/or Free Elective credit for students in non-performance programs. Students in performance may apply a maximum of four credits as Complementary Performance Courses.

Large Ensemble Extra Credits

Large Ensemble Extra Credits

Large ensemble credits accumulated above the minimum may be applied as Music and/or Free Elective credits for students in non-performance programs. Students in performance may apply a maximum of four credits as Complementary Performance courses. Participation in additional Large or Small ensembles implies that the same policies will apply.

Performance Library

Performance Library

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.

Programs, Courses and University Regulations—2017-2018 (last updated Aug. 17, 2017) (disclaimer)
Schulich School of Music—2017-2018 (last updated Aug. 17, 2017) (disclaimer)