General Studio Instruction Requirements
While many aspects of studio instruction will vary among studio instructors, the following procedures and requirements pertain to ALL students taking studio instruction. Failure to meet any of these requirements will result in a lowering of the final grade for studio instruction; significant deviations from these standards may result in a failing grade for the semester and a discontinuation of fee-waived lessons for minors and majors. All of these requirements must be documented on the end-of-semester grade sheets. To avoid confusion, we encourage studio instructors to work together with each student, during the final lesson of the semester, in filling out these forms accurately.
1. Number of lessons
- Studio instructors are contracted to teach 12 ½-hour lessons or 8 45-minute lessons per semester. Instructors must be prepared to begin lessons early enough in the semester, and be present on campus enough weeks during the semester, to make that number of lessons possible. Lessons missed by students (excused or unexcused) may be dealt with at the instructor’s discretion. (Some instructors make up lessons individually, some hold a single make-up day for the semester, and others do not make up missed lessons.) A minimum of 10 ½-hour lessons or 6 45-minute lessons must be completed in order for a student to receive a passing grade. A failing grade for fee-waived lessons for any reason will result in a student having to pay, retroactively, the full fee for the semester’s lessons.
- Students are given one credit per semester of studio instruction, but these credits are issued only in groups of two, for two consecutive semesters of studio instruction (study-away notwithstanding).
- Studio instructors are encouraged to hold at least one studio performance class during each semester. The Department is willing and able to compensate instructors for this time at an appropriate hourly rate.
- All students (majors, minors, and general students) are required to study and complete a minimum of THREE pieces in contrasting styles (or the equivalent, in non-Western instruments and some other traditions) every semester. These may be three short pieces/movements that exhibit contrasting pedagogical principles, three longer pieces of substantial repertoire, or anything in between. Choice of repertoire—including such concerns as appropriateness of difficulty level and length—will be determined between the instructor and the student. A student may continue work on one or more pieces of suitable difficulty for more than one semester, but every semester must include at least some new repertoire.
- For music majors, if memorization is the norm (as in solo vocal and solo piano repertoire, for instance), music performed publicly should be memorized. This includes performance reviews, Thursday Noon Recitals, and junior/senior recitals. Music minors and non-majors/minors are not required to memorize, though individual studio instructors may encourage or require performance by memory at their discretion for all or some of their students. Determination of whether or not memorization is “the norm” will be made by the Music Department faculty, in consultation with studio instructors. Again, individual studio instructors may have more specific requirements for memorization, which will take precedence over these minimal departmental requirements.
3. Performance reviews and grading
- All Music majors and minors are required to perform a 15-minute performance review each semester, during one of the two scheduled review periods after the end of classes. (Students who give Senior Recitals are exempt from this requirement during the semester of the recital.) A subcommittee of the Music Department’s continuing full-time faculty will hear these reviews. Studio instructors are required to fill out grade sheets and return them to the Department Coordinator before performance reviews take place. Faculty jurors will have these sheets on hand for the performance reviews; they will also fill out their own comment sheet during the performance review. Students will be sent copies of all of these forms promptly after the performance review period is concluded.
- Studio instructors are invited to attend performance reviews, but the department cannot arrange the reviews around each studio instructor’s individual schedule. Should an instructor wish to attend any or all of their students’ reviews, s/he must either keep the entire block of time open on both days, or require their students to sign up in a block during a time that is convenient for them.
- Final grades for general students (i.e., those not doing an end-of-semester performance review) are determined wholly by the studio instructor, and are indicated on the grade sheets. Final grades for majors and minors are determined as follows: the studio instructor’s final grade for the semester of lessons counts as 85% of the final course grade; the grade assigned by the tenure-track faculty committee for the performance review itself counts as 15% of the final course grade. This is to assure that the performance review is seen as an important part of the experience for Music majors and minors. Moreover, those Music Department faculty present at the performance review reserve the right to alter the final grade provided by the instructor should any of the general requirements for studio instruction above (repertoire, memorization, public performance) not be met.
Thursday Noon Recital performance
- All studio instructors should strongly encourage their students, particularly the most skilled ones, to perform regularly on the Department’s Thursday Noon Recital Series. The following are the Department’s minimum requirements for participation in the Thursday Noon series. Individual studio instructors may require more of their own students.
- Music majors are required to perform on one Thursday Noon Recital per academic year during their first two years at Macalester (which is not necessarily the same as the first two years of their time as Music majors), and on one recital per semester during their third and fourth years. (Thus, if a major is declared as a junior, the student will be required to do one recital per semester from that time forward.) It is assumed that these performances will be on their primary instruments. In some cases, at the discretion of the studio instructor, it is permissible (and indeed often advisable) to perform the same piece on two separate recitals.
- All Music minors, whatever their year, are required to perform on at least one Thursday Noon Recital per academic year on their primary instrument.
- Studio instructors and students are responsible for documenting these performances on the end-of-semester grade sheet, so that the Department faculty will know the requirement has been met. The Department also retains copies of all programs, so that faculty may see who has performed.
- Non-majors/minors enrolled in studio instruction are not required by the Department to perform in public in any setting, although individual studio instructors may establish their own guidelines for these students, which may include—for students of adequate ability—performance on the Thursday Noon Recitals. We expect an appropriate level of performance for all performers on the Thursday Noon Recitals. We urge studio instructors to discourage students from participating who have not yet reached a general college level of performance ability.
Student evaluation of studio instructors
Studio instructors will be evaluated every semester according to the following process: At the conclusion of the performance review, each student will be given the Studio Instructor Evaluation form and will fill out the form before leaving the location of the review. These evaluations will be collected and passed on to the chair, and then may be passed along to the Music Department faculty according to these specifications: instrumental (Mark Mandarano), vocal (Mike McGaghie), non-Western instruments (Chuen-Fung Wong), jazz (Randy Bauer), piano (Mark Mazullo), and then will go to the studio instructors. A copy will also be kept on file in the Music Department. Faculty members will be available for individual meetings with any studio instructor concerned about or wishing to discuss these evaluations. Studio Instructor Evaluation Forms will be kept anonymous to the fullest extent possible.
These evaluations are meant to provide constructive feedback to the instructors, and to provide the department with a somewhat clearer sense of how our studio instruction faculty are working with students. The Department recognizes that student input is only one part of evaluation and assessment. All studio instructors are welcome both to provide the Department Chair with ongoing updates of their professional and teaching activities, and to meet with the Chair to discuss their teaching at Macalester. Should any information obtained from student evaluations lead the Department faculty to seek more information, further steps such as individual meetings or teaching observation may be taken.
Those students taking studio instruction but not required to do a performance review (i.e., non-majors/minors) will be sent a Studio Instructor Evaluation Form (either as an email document or via campus mail) and will be asked to return it promptly for consideration in the review process.
Other aspects of studio instruction
Studio instructors are strongly encouraged to attend public performances of their students, schedules permitting. It is expected that a studio instructor will attend at the very least the senior recital of any of their students who are music majors or minors.