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MUSIC 1GR3A Ensemble:Chamber Orchestra

Academic Year: Fall 2015

Term: Multiterm

Day/Evening: E

Instructor: Prof. David Bowser


Office: Togo Salmon Hall 416

Phone: 905-525-9140 x 23668

Office Hours: Monday 5:00-6:00PM by appointment

Course Objectives:


These courses teach, through playing / singing, the principles of ensemble performance -- listening, tuning, balance, blend, musicality, style, as well as rhythmic, dynamic and phrasal flexibility. Students will be given specific direction in the development of those skills appropriate to their ensemble, and are expected to show continuous progress in their development. As these courses form part of the performance component of music degrees, all ensembles normally perform at least one full concert per term. In addition to regularly scheduled rehearsals, 2+ hours per week of individual and / or group practice will be required.

Course Structure:

The requirements of these courses are fulfilled through participation in one of: McMaster Chamber Orchestra, McMaster Choir, McMaster Concert Band, McMaster Jazz Band, McMaster Vocal Ensemble, McMaster Flute Ensemble. Each type of ensemble has a particular structure, and somewhat different requirements. Admission to these ensembles is by audition. Auditions will be schedules during the first week of classes and will be advertised in campus. All students who have experience with one or more of these ensembles are strongly encouraged to schedule an audition. Music students who play keyboard instruments, guitar, etc., and who do not have choral or instrumental ensemble experience, will receive priority placement in the Vocal Ensemble.




Method of Assessment:

McMaster Chamber Orchestra Rehearsal and Concert Schedule

Fall Term:

Monday, September 21, 2015, 6:30-8:30PM

Monday, September 28, 2015, 6:30-8:30PM

Monday, October 5, 2015, 6:30-8:30PM

Monday, October 12, 2015, Thanksgiving – no rehearsal

Monday, October 19, 2015, 6:30-8:30PM

Monday, October 26, 2015, 6:30-8:30PM

Monday, November 2, 2015, 7:30-10:00PM

Friday, November 6, 2015, 7:30-10:00PM (YouTube video deadline)

Saturday, November 7, 2015, PRE-DRESS REHEARSAL 2:00-4:30PM

Sunday, November 8, 2015, DRESS REHEARSAL 10:00AM-12:30PM

Sunday, November 8, 2015, CONCERT 3:00-5:00PM

Winter Term:

Monday, January 11, 2016, 6:30-8:30PM

Monday, January 18, 2016, 6:30-8:30PM

Monday, January 25, 2016, 6:30-8:30PM

Monday, February 1, 2016, 6:30-8:30PM

Monday, February 8, 2016, 6:30-8:30PM

Monday, February 15, 2016, Family Day – No Rehearsal

Monday, February 22, 2016, 6:30-8:30PM

Monday, February 29, 2016, 6:30-8:30PM

Monday, March 7, 2016, 7:30-10:00PM

Friday, March 11, 2016, 7:30-10:00PM (YouTube video deadline)

Saturday, March 12, 2016, PRE-DRESS REHEARSAL 2:00-4:30PM

Sunday, March 13, 2016, DRESS REHEARSAL 10:00AM-12:30PM

Sunday, March 13, 2016, CONCERT 3:00-5:00PM

All rehearsals and concerts take place in Convocation Hall.


Marking Scheme:

End of Term Tests: 40% (2 tests @ 20% each)

Students will be required to submit a YouTube video of their performance of orchestral excerpts at the end of each term. Students will be expected to perform the excerpts without mistakes, to reflect the musical instruction provided during rehearsals, and to demonstrate fluency in all of the ensemble skills. Deadlines for submission are: first term -- 5:00PM, Friday, November 6, 2015; second term -- 5:00PM, Friday, March 11, 2016.


Participation: 20%

Each student’s willingness to accept direction, and his/her efforts to incorporate the instructor’s suggestions into his/her performance at each rehearsal and concert will be appraised. Because of the co-operative and experiential nature of this course, irregular attendance by any student is seriously detrimental to the progress of her/his ensemble. If a student must miss a rehearsal, s/he must inform the instructor by email before the expected absence. Absences, excused or in-excused, will directly affect the student’s skill development, and will be reflected in her/his grade for this component. Promptness is also expected and lateness will also have an impact on a student’s grade.


Preparation / Progress: 40%

Specific assignments for preparation and individual practice will be given weekly. Appraisal of each student’s success in this area will be based on her/his ability to easily perform her/his individual parts, and to adapt to the give-and-take of ensemble rehearsing. Students are expected to learn assigned music quickly, and to demonstrate continuous progress in all the skills that are appropriate to the ensemble: listening, tuning, balance, blend, musicality, style, rhythmic precision, dynamics and flexibility in phrasing.


Please Note the Following Policies and Statements:

Academic Dishonesty

You are expected to exhibit honesty and use ethical behaviour in all aspects of the learning process. Academic credentials you earn are rooted in principles of honesty and academic integrity.

Academic dishonesty is to knowingly act or fail to act in a way that results or could result in unearned academic credit or advantage. This behaviour can result in serious consequences, e.g. the grade of zero on an assignment, loss of credit with a notation on the transcript (notation reads: "Grade of F assigned for academic dishonesty"), and/or suspension or expulsion from the university.

It is your responsibility to understand what constitutes academic dishonesty. For information on the various types of academic dishonesty please refer to the Academic Integrity Policy, located at

The following illustrates only three forms of academic dishonesty:

  1. Plagiarism, e.g. the submission of work that is not one’s own or for which other credit has been obtained.
  2. Improper collaboration in group work.
  3. Copying or using unauthorized aids in tests and examinations.

Email correspondence policy

It is the policy of the Faculty of Humanities that all email communication sent from students to instructors (including TAs), and from students to staff, must originate from each student’s own McMaster University email account. This policy protects confidentiality and confirms the identity of the student.  Instructors will delete emails that do not originate from a McMaster email account.

Modification of course outlines

The University reserves the right to change dates and/or deadlines etc. for any or all courses in the case of an emergency situation or labour disruption or civil unrest/disobedience, etc. If a modification becomes necessary, reasonable notice and communication with the students will be given with an explanation and the opportunity to comment on changes. Any significant changes should be made in consultation with the Department Chair.

McMaster Student Absence Form (MSAF)

In the event of an absence for medical or other reasons, students should review and follow the Academic Regulation in the Undergraduate Calendar Requests for Relief for Missed Academic Term Work. Please note these regulations have changed beginning Fall 2015. You can find information at If you have any questions about the MSAF, please contact your Associate Dean's office.

Academic Accommodation of Students with Disabilities

Students who require academic accommodation must contact Student Accessibility Services (SAS) to make arrangements with a Program Coordinator. Academic accommodations must be arranged for each term of study. Student Accessibility Services can be contacted by phone 905-525-9140 ext. 28652 or e-mail For further information, consult McMaster University's Policy for Academic Accommodation of Students with Disabilities.

Academic Accommodation for Religious, Indigenous and Spiritual Observances

Students requiring academic accommodation based on religion and spiritual observances should follow the procedures set out in the Course Calendar or by their respective Faculty. In most cases, the student should contact his or her professor or academic advisor as soon as possible to arrange accommodations for classes, assignments, tests and examinations that might be affected by a religious holiday or spiritual observance.