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Student Assessment -- Learning Goals

Music: Program Learning goals, First and Second Examination Learning Goals, Dissertation Learning Goals, and Goals for Professional Development and Ethics

Below are the Program and Area Learning Goals in Music and the Learning Goals for the First and Second Examinations. For both the Program and Area Learning Goals it has been indicated where they are assessed by the First and/or Second Examination.

The original goals for the program and areas and for the examinations were reviewed by the area advisers who then consulted with faculty and students in their areas to produce the versions below. There will be further discussion between faculty and students on what the goals are and how students are being prepared for to meet them.

General Music Program Goals

By the time they graduate, students in music should be able to demonstrate:
1. The ability to produce original research or creative work (composition or performance) as specified in the five areas listed below.
2. A readiness to teach advanced courses in their area of specialty and a wide range of introductory-level classes. (Assessed by First and Second Examinations)
3. Broad and specialized knowledge, including familiarity with literature in one or more languages other than English, as required by their specific area (see below), and the ability to communicate that knowledge effectively orally and in writing. (Assessed by First and Second Examinations.)
4. A grasp of professional ethics in both research and teaching.
5. Professional skills and experience that will help them succeed as teachers, scholars, and/or artists.

DMA Music Performance Program

Students in performance should be able to demonstrate:

1. An understanding of advanced tonal and post-tonal analytic techniques. (Assessed by First Examination)
2. An understanding of performance practice in at least two music-historic eras. (Assessed by Second Examination)
3. Doctoral level competence in their instrument or voice and the ability to prepare and independently program recitals.
4. The ability to define and research an original topic related to music performance.


Students in Ethnomusicology should be able to demonstrate:

1. A broad knowledge of musical practices from around the world as well as specialized knowledge of music in at least one world region or representing one major repertoire. (Assessed by First and Second Examinations)
2. A familiarity with current scholarship in the discipline written in English, and with major writings in at least two other languages. (Assessed by Second Examination)
3. A familiarity with relevant current theories and methods in the social sciences. (Assessed by Second Examination)
4. The ability to define a suitable research topic, identify appropriate written sources, carry out appropriate field and/or archival research, interpret their findings, and produce an original piece of ethnomusicological scholarship.
5. The ability to teach courses on general or theoretical topics and on the music of at least one world region, as well as broad introductory courses on World Music. (Assessed by Second Examination)
6. A grounding in professional ethics in all aspects of teaching and research.
7. Professional skills in applying for research funding and presenting their research their research through oral and written means and through multi-media.

Music Theory

Students in Music Theory should be able to demonstrate:

1. The capacity to undertake original scholarly research in any of the three core areas of the discipline (Schenkerian theory and analysis; post-tonal theory and analysis; historical music-theoretical systems), and/or in other, emerging subdisciplines. (Assessed by Second Examination)
2. Comprehensive knowledge of current approaches and developments in the field of music theory. (Assessed by Second Examination)
3. The ability to form original and significant research projects and to present them publicly, in the form of conference presentations and published articles.


Students in musicology should be able to demonstrate:

1. A sophisticated control of the substance, theory, and criticism of both the major issues in music-historical thought and the repertories of the Western music canon and vernacular musics. (Assessed by First and Second Examinations)
2. The ability to engage with questions of music theory/analysis and ethnomusicology at a high level. (Assessed by Second Examination)
3. A scholarly control over a specialized area of research and be able to define an important historical topic within it. (Assessed by Second Examination)
4. The ability to do research in languages other than English and to write in a literate manner. (Assessed by First and Second Examinations)

Music Composition

Students in Composition should demonstrate:

1. A broad familiarity with the tonal and post-tonal repertoire from both analytic and historical viewpoints and the ability both to write and speak effectively about that repertoire. Familiarity with pre-tonal music or music outside the Western canon. (Assessed by First and Second Examinations)
2. An extensive knowledge of 20th and 21st Century compositional and performance techniques. (Assessed by Second Examination)
3. The ability to define an original topic in analysis, music history or ethnomusicology and produce original research.
4. The ability to compose solo, chamber and orchestral or electro-acoustic music at a high professional level and to communicate effectively about their own compositions.

First Exam

Eligibility to take the Exam:
Students in the Ph.D. tracks who matriculate in the doctoral program directly after the baccalaureate are asked to do both parts of the First Exam--Part A is a written examination; Part B is a two-week paper written on a given topic--at roughly the thirty- credit mark. Students in Ethnomusicology now take both Parts A and B unless they have a master’s degree in Ethnomusicology. Theory students do not take Part B, but they do take the Musicianship Examination, formerly called Part C of the First Exam and still described under the rubric of the First Exam in the Student Handbook. Only students holding a master’s degree are admitted into the DMA program in Performance, and are therefore not required to take the First Examination. DMA composers are not required to take Part B, but those who enter without a master’s degree must take Part A.

First Exam Learning Goals, Methods of Assessment and Preparation

Part A of the examination is meant to demonstrate facility in writing a coherent essay, and to demonstrate competence in basic knowledge of foundational concepts and terminology. We want to ensure that new students in each of our areas are operating at the level expected of entering doctoral students. The two-week paper (Part B) gives us a sense whether students can undertake sophisticated research in a strange new area, formulate a research agenda, and present findings in literate prose and in a well-argued exposition. Preparation for these exams is mainly in the 70000-level introductory proseminars in musicology, analysis and research methods in ethnomusicology as well as initial doctoral-level seminars.
The results of the First Exam are useful in alerting students where they are currently deficient in one or more of the skills necessary for advanced doctoral study, and in alerting faculty to areas that need to be strengthened in the student’s broad preparations. In a more general sense, performance on the First Exam provides useful signals to the faculty in its adjustments to the curriculum to ensure that first-year students are being prepared to enter into the more advanced stations in the program.

Second Exam

Criteria to take exam:
Students must have earned at least 45 credits and have passed their language requirement. Students in the Music Theory track must have passed the Musicianship Exam. [Note: most students take the exam after completing 60 credits.]

Learning Goals, Method of Assessment and Preparation

DMA Music Performance
The Second Exam aims to determine that the student has the requisite knowledge to be an effective studio teacher at the college level. In order to pass the second exam, students must successfully pass three component sections that accomplish the following: (The first two are in written format, the third is oral.)

1. Demonstrate a thorough knowledge of the history of their instrument, its repertoire, historical development, and pedagogy.
2. AnalyzerepresentativeworksofWesternartmusiccomposedbetween 1600 and the present. One of the works will be a post-tonal work composed in the 20th or 21st Century.
3. Giveapresentationofapieceofmusicfromtheirrecentrepertory(a work from the second recital is recommended). This is the oral portion of the second exam. The presentation is comprised of an historical survey of the work, including publication history, analysis, and recommendations for musical performance.
Coursework in the DMA program provides a good deal of the background needed to pass the exam, including private lessons, courses in analysis, and performance practice, and seminars in musicology. Other preparation is provided by previous musical and academic training and professional experience.

The second exam in ethnomusicology is designed to prepare students in two specialized teaching areas, including at least one that relates directly to their dissertation research. It does this by assessing the student's familiarity with the scholarly literature in two subjects: either music of two major world areas (e.g. South Asia, Latin America) or major repertoires (Black Music of the Americas); or the music of one major world area or repertoire and a cross-cultural topic (e.g., "music and nationalism," "music and gender"). For each subject, and in consultation with faculty, students prepare a list of relevant books and articles on which they will be examined. They are expected to include scholarly work in one or more languages other than English. The written portion of the exam requires two days. On the first day students are asked to write one well-organized essay on each subject, chosen from three or four that are posed; and to identify 15 terms selected from a list of thirty. On the second day they must describe and identify five or six recorded examples provided on a CD. During the oral exam (given approximately ten days later), students may be asked to elaborate on some of their answers. All questions posed in the written and oral portions of the exam relate to the two subjects chosen by the student and to their specific reading lists. Music 71200 (Research Techniques in Ethnomusicology); a variety of seminars in Ethnomusicology in theory, general topics, and geographic areas; as well as possibly independent study with a faculty member prepare students for this exam.

The theory area has four things we want our students to be able to do before they begin work on a dissertation: 1) demonstrate a thorough knowledge of repertoire (particularly in their chosen periods); 2) demonstrate the ability to analyze music; 3) demonstrate a familiarity with historical theoretical systems; 4) demonstrate familiarity with current trends in the field, including recent theoretical systems. Our exam is structured accordingly. On the first day of a two-day written exam, students are given a short, unfamiliar piece from their chosen period and asked to analyze it. On the second day, students are asked to write three two-hour essays: 1) repertoire (e.g. trace a particular genre through the chosen period); 2) theoretical systems (e.g. Rameau, Formenlehre, theories of rhythm); 3) current trends (e.g. neo-Riemann, transformation, embodiment, analyzing popular music). A one-hour oral exam is designed both to follow up on aspects of the written exam and for more broad ranging discussion. All four of these examination areas (repertoire, analysis, historical systems, current trends) are dealt with throughout the required and elective coursework in music theory.

The exam tries to assess whether or not the student commands mastery over material both general and specialized sufficient enough that the faculty believes that the student is competent to move on to the dissertation and eventually take his or her place as a colleague in the discipline.
The exam is divided into two parts:

(a) a two-day written examination that is extremely comprehensive in nature; there are four three-hour segments:

(i) essays about topics that are broad and may range across the entire spectrum of Western music and the methodologies used to study it (students must deal with two out of three essay questions; this portion of the exam tests for both command of a broad range of key issues) and the ability to synthesize diverse views and schools of thought;
(ii) Short essays on extremely specific topics (students wrestle with fifteen out of twenty-five “identifications”); these require students to have a broad “factual” and to-the- point knowledge of music history;
(iii) discussion of major works; the works (students choose to write on two of three) are announced six weeks prior to the exam, with the questions about them testing students’ ability to apply analytical techniques at a sophisticated level while placing the works into the broadest historical context;
(iv) discussion of documents (generic) at a level that would, at the very least, suffice to explain what the document is all about to a colleague from another discipline (students choose four out of five); students must demonstrate an ability to recognize various types of documents, decipher and interpret them, and, once again, place them into a rich historical context;

(b) a one-hour oral examination that focuses on two specialized areas that the student has chosen well in advance and always in consultation with faculty members; moreover, students must submit an annotated , core bibliography and, where relevant, a list of works for each area; in almost every instance, one of the areas that students choose is related to their prospective dissertation topics, so that they have the opportunity to demonstrate their preparedness to undertake research in their chosen area.

Finally, although there is no one-to-one correlation between any portion of the exam and any particular course that students might have taken, the courses will have prepared them to think analytically, synthesize materials, “store” data in the back of their minds, learn repertory, assess methodologies, and write clearly, all of which are required for successful performance on the exam.

The goal of the exam is to determine if students are prepared to teach composition and modern and contemporary music as well as basic courses in music theory and literature. They must be able to analyze works of music, demonstrate a familiarity with the literature and techniques of modern and contemporary music and demonstrate a broad familiarity with music literature since 1600.

On the first day of the written exam students are asked to analyze a short piece. On the second day they write two essays: one on twentieth-century compositional techniques and one on tonal and post-tonal repertoire. Approximately two weeks later they have a one- hour oral exam on a composer of their choice. The learning goals for the exam are 1. That the student be able to produce an independent analysis of a work of music; 2. That the student have a command of the innovative compositional techniques of the previous and current century; and 3. That the student demonstrate a command of the tonal and post- tonal repertoires by being able to provide specific commentary on a number of individual pieces and genres and be able to contextualize the development of those genres and synthesize their understanding of individual works into a larger framework.
Students in composition take a variety of seminars in theory, musicology that familiarize them with repertoire and issues in the study of various repertories. They also take two Composers Seminars that specifically address contemporary composition techniques.

Music Dissertation

Learning Goals

In the dissertation students should be able to :

• Demonstrate mastery of the scholarly literature relevant to their topic.

• Demonstrate the ability to conduct original research incorporating where appropriate current theoretical approaches and research methodologies.

• Demonstrate the ability to reason and write at a professional level.

• Conceive, execute, and complete a scholarly monograph of substantial length and significant content.

Composition Learning Goals

In the Composition part of the dissertation a student should demonstrate

• The ability to compose a extended work of music.

• A command of the editorial or notational techniques necessary for effective presentation of the work.

• Mastery of the medium (instrumental or electro-acoustic) in which the work is composed.

DMA Dissertation Recital

In the dissertation recital, the student should demonstrate an ability to do the following:

• Develop a program for a major recital. If appropriate, that program can explore repertoire that forms the topic of the written dissertation.

• Master that program independently, working out all technical and interpretive challenges.

• Compose accurate, informative, and well-written program notes for the program.

• Perform the program at a professional level before a public audience and a panel of adjudicators from the music program.