Honors in Music
Graduation with Honors in Music is the highest honor that can be bestowed upon a musician at Culver. In offering this opportunity, the Fine Arts Department encourages students to make a major contribution to the music program here, and we offer our highest recognition to these musicians for their involvement and achievement. There are four parts to the process: prerequisites, coursework, examination jury, and the recital.
The Examination Jury
A student may apply for Honors in Music in any band or orchestra instrument, voice, piano, organ, carillon, or music composition. If a student is taking private lessons at Culver in more than one area (such as trumpet and voice), he or she may pursue honors in both concurrently, with prior consent of both instructors. The minimum prerequisite requirements for Honors in Music are as follows: Enroll in Concert Band, Percussion Ensemble, Orchestra or Choir, as appropriate to the honors area, for the full Senior/First Class year, earning a grade of B or better. It is strongly recommended that a student be enrolled in an ensemble for more than just one year, since the extent of a student's contribution to music at Culver is considered when a student applies for Honors.
Enrollment in or satisfactory completion of Music Theory (Music Theory AP), Music History, or, preferably, both, with a grade of B- or better. Enrollment for at least the full Senior/First Class year in private music lessons at Culver in the area in which Honors is sought with a grade of B or better. Since a very high standard of performance is expected from an Honors candidate, one year of private lessons is usually not enough to prepare a student for Honors in Music. The one-year minimum assumes considerable training prior to coming to Culver, or an unusually high level of performance due to prior ensemble experience.
A student must have the approval of his/her instructor and the Chairman of Fine Arts to apply for Honors in Music. The process works like this:
The student notifies the private instructor(s), and if the he or she feels that the student has the proper background and qualifications, the instructor will recommend this to the Chair. This must happen no later than October 1 of the Senior/First Class year, permitting time to prepare for the Honors requirements. Once approved, the student prepares a recital of about thirty minutes’ duration, comprised of at least three or four major pieces.
- At least one of these pieces must be performed from memory. (More than one area means memorizing one selection in each.)
- Recital pieces should be works learned during the Senior/First Class year, rather than re-working pieces learned from earlier years. Students choose selections with the approval of the teacher.
- The program should contain a variety of styles or periods (e.g. one Baroque, one Classical, one Romantic, and one Modern work) as is practical.
- Honors recitals will take place on a date determined by the Fine Arts Department, usually in April or early May. It is necessary that this be a departmental decision due to complicated scheduling problems at this time of the year.
A thorough understanding and presentation of the music is both expected and required: § On or about December 1 the music faculty will meet for a mid-year jury to assess whether or not the student is on track in preparing the information and the recital.
Students perform portions of the pieces, and progress will be assessed. Approximately two weeks prior to the time of the recital, the student meets with the music instructors and the Chairman of the Fine Arts Department. § The student will assemble copies of the music for each faculty member, present the research portfolio, and perform any or all of the recital selections for this panel.
The student will also research the pieces being performed, the voice or instrument itself, and some general information about the historical music periods or music theory involved in their pieces, which they will present in the form of a portfolio. A guideline for this is outlined below. If, in the majority opinion of panel, the student is not adequately prepared, either by the research or the performance, the student will be told and the honors process will go no further.
A student who performs well but is clearly unprepared for the questions may be removed from Honors consideration at that time. As well, a student’s musical performance that is not up to the expectation for Honors in Music shall not be allowed to proceed with the recital.
For school year 2005-06 the music faculty will consider having a February date option for recitals. The timetable for announcing and preparing the juries and recitals will then be adjusted forward to the middle of the Junior/Second Class year.
Several students may perform their recitals together in one program, at the discretion of the members of the music faculty. For the recital, if more than two or three students are performing, they may be asked to adjust the length of a portion of their program.
After a student passes the jury, the final decision to award Honors in Music is made by the same committee following the recital. Proceeding with the recital is not an assumption that Honors in Music is automatically earned. Students will be notified as soon as the faculty can meet following the completion of the recital.
The following guidelines are suggestions for preparing the portfolio of research for the Honors jury:
While it is assumed that the student's private instructor will provide some hints on preparing for the interview with the Board, it is ultimately the student's responsibility to prepare for the questions.
The knowledge gained in Music Theory and Music History classes is very important preparation for the Board interview. Investigate the key, style, form, and other characteristics of the recital pieces.
The student is also expected to know biographical information (including dates) about the composers of the pieces as well. This includes an understanding of what period (such as Classical or Baroque) the composer fits into, and naming significant works by the composer for other musical media. An instrumentalist should know about the history of his or her instrument. When did it take its present form? What composers first started writing for it regularly and when? What earlier instruments were succeeded by it when this instrument became the norm? Cite major composers for his or her instrument (or voice) from several major periods of Music History, and to compare and contrast how the instrument or voice was used in those periods. Make very general comparisons of the Baroque, Classical, Romantic, and Modern periods of Music History.
Basic Music Theory questions may also be asked, such as the spelling of basic intervals and chords, playing these on the piano, if able to do so.