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Academic Year: Fall/Winter 2013/2014

Term: 3

Day/Evening: E

Instructor: Dr. Michael Schutz


Office: Togo Salmon Hall 424

Phone: 905-525-9140 x 23159


Office Hours: Office hours 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 scheduled during the first two weeks of classes and will be widely advertised on 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.

Rehearsal times for all ensembles are pre-determined, and all students accepted must make themselves available at these times. Ensembles normally rehearse 2-3 hours per week, but additional rehearsals may be needed from time to time, and will be announced in advance. Non-music students are welcomed in all ensembles, either for academic credit or not for credit. Non-music students should consult the academic counsellor in their department regarding the suitability of these courses as electives in their degree programme.

In certain cases, keyboard students may receive ensemble credit for accompanying other students in their E3/E6 lessons. In the assigning of accompanists, singers receive first priority. Keyboard students wishing to pursue this option may be required to audition, must have a completed RCM Grade 10, and should have substantial previous accompanying experience. Permission of the E3/E6 instructor is also required. Accompanists must attend all lessons of the student they are accompanying (usually one lesson/week), unless directed otherwise by the E3/E6 instructor. Students may expect weekly assignments from the supervising instructor. Accompanying the McMaster Choir may also serve as a G-3 credit.
Requests for consideration as accompanists should be submitted to the G-3 co-ordinator by April 15 of the previous year, but such requests may also be considered very early in September. Students are responsible for securing permission of the E3/E6 instructor prior to submitting their requests.

Textbooks, Materials & Fees:


Method of Assessment:

1) Testing - 40%
Large Ensembles:
Students will be tested at the end of each term. Testing will take place in small groups, and will involve excerpts from the repertoire studied during the term. The composition of test groups will be determined by the instructor toward the end of each term, and will depend on the repertoire performed and the distribution of students registered for the course. Tests will normally occur during scheduled rehearsal time(s) (usually following the final concert of the term), and may be taped to provide a permanent record. Students will be expected to perform the test material without mistakes, to reflect the musical instruction provided during rehearsals, and to demonstrate fluency in all of the ensemble skills: listening; tuning; balance; blend; musicality; style; and rhythmic, dynamic and phrasal flexibility.
(2 tests @ 20% each = 40%)

The E3/E6 jury will serve as the test for accompanists. Both the instructor and the faculty member assigned to the jury will participate in awarding the grade. Students will be expected to perform without mistakes, to reflect the musical instruction provided in the lessons, and to demonstrate fluency in the following ensemble skills: listening; balance; blend; musicality; style; and rhythmic, dynamic, and phrasal flexibility.
(1 test @ 40% = 40%)
2) 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 these courses, irregular attendance by any student is seriously detrimental to the progress of his/her ensemble. If a student must miss a rehearsal, s/he is expected to inform the instructor (or his/her representative) before the expected absence. Frequent absences, either excused or in excused, will directly affect a student's skill development, and will be reflected in his/her grade for this component.

3) Preparation/Progress - 40%
At each rehearsal, specific assignments for individual practice will be given. Appraisal of each student's success in this area will be based on his/her ability to easily perform his/her individual parts, and to adapt to the give-and-take of ensemble rehearsing.
Students are expected to learn the assigned music quickly, and to demonstrate continuous progress in all the skills that are appropriate to their ensemble (listening, tuning, balance, blend, musicality, style, rhythmic, dynamic and phrasal flexibility.)

1. As soon as the auditions are completed, the G-3 co-ordinator will assign all remaining music students to the Vocal Ensemble, unless other arrangements have been approved.
2. Ensemble assignments are the

Policy on Missed Work, Extensions, and Late Penalties:

McMaster Student Absence Form (MSAF)

This is a self-reporting tool for undergraduate students to report absences DUE TO MINOR MEDICAL SITUATIONS that last up to 5 days and provides the ability to request accommodation for any missed academic work. Please note, this tool cannot be used during any final examination period. You may submit a maximum of 1 Academic Work Missed request per term. It is YOUR responsibility to follow up with your Instructor immediately (NORMALLY WITHIN TWO WORKING DAYS) regarding the nature of the accommodation. If you are absent for reasons other than medical reasons, for more than 5 days, or exceed 1 request per term, you MUST visit your Associate Dean's Office/Faculty Office). You may be required to provide supporting documentation. This form should be filled out immediately when you are about to return to class after your absence.

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.

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