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Music Handbooks

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Introduction | Recitals | Listening Lab | Jury Examinations | Music Theory | Concert Etiquette | Transfer Students | Organizations | Piano | Basketball Band | Chamber Ensembles | Work Study Opportunities

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This handbook is designed to acquaint music students with information specifically related to music studies. The Music Department exists within the framework of Missouri Southern State University. Students in the department are therefore subject to all regulations issued by the University. This handbook does not attempt to replace the University catalog, but rather seeks to highlight certain sections of the catalog and to expand upon curricular and other related matters in the department. Normally, students follow the University catalog of their entry year, and the Music Department Handbook should be followed for departmental policies. Any substitutions, waivers, exceptions, or other adjustments regarding requirements or policies must be requested in writing and must receive the written approval of the Department Head.


Missouri Southern State University offers a Bachelor of Arts degree and a Bachelor of Science in Education degree with a major in music. Each degree prepares graduates for performance, studio teaching, and/or continued study toward advanced degrees. The Music Department offers state-approved curricula within the Bachelor of Science in Music Education degree for the preparation of teachers of music in the elementary, secondary, public, and private schools.

The faculty are interested in helping students to gain a high level of performance proficiency, a firm theoretical and historical foundation, a solid preparation for a music education career, and a grounding for a music performance career and/or graduate study. All full-time faculty have regular office hours. Please do not hesitate to contact members of the music faculty for assistance in any area of your musical studies. A basic principle in our philosophy of education is a strong desire to help each student become the best musician and the best citizen of the world of art and music they can be.



Senior Recital:

Performance in a Senior Recital is the culmination of four years of applied music study. Students must enroll in an applied lesson the semester of their Senior Recital regardless of the date of their recital. Students may perform their own recital or share a recital date with another Senior.

When a student is given permission by their applied instructor to perform a Senior Recital, the student is required to work closely with their professor in all aspects of preparation. At the discretion of the applied instructor, voice students may perform on a Recital Hearing two (2) to three (3) weeks prior to the student's Senior Recital. A three-member committee will select literature at the hearing and listen to 15 – 20 minutes of the recital.

The University will provide a cassette tape or CD recording of the recital; however, the department encourages the student to hire an outside recording agency who will provide a quality CD recording of the performance. Applied instructors may supply you with the names of possible recording engineers.

Recital receptions are normally held in the Webster Auditorium Lobby following the recital. Requests to hold a reception in MUS 208, MUS 108 or Phinney Hall must be made by the applied instructor to the Department Head.

If the student plans to host a reception, you must make arrangements through your applied instructor who will work with the department secretary. Any set-up preparation should be scheduled through your applied instructor who will again work with the department secretary.

The applied instructor, in consultation with the student and Department Head, will make the final decision should inclement weather or other extenuating circumstances deem it inappropriate to hold a Senior Recital. The applied instructor will contact local radio and television stations informing them of the cancellation. Postings on the auditorium door will also be displayed noting the cancellation.

Should extenuating circumstances deem it inappropriate for a student to perform a Senior Recital, the Department Head, in consultation with the applied instructor, will determine if possible alternatives exist.

Students are required to enroll in a two (2) credit hour applied lesson during the semester of their Senior Recital.

Junior Recital:

On occasion, Junior Recitals are held with the permission of the applied instructor and Department Head, but only as joint recitals. Performance on a Student Recital during the semester of a Junior Recital will be at the discretion of the applied instructor. A Junior Recital does not replace the Senior Recital requirement. No expressed or implied credit is given in this regard.

Department Student Recitals

Student recitals are scheduled on Thursdays at 1:00 in Webster Auditorium.

The Music Department requires a solo performance of music majors each semester of required applied enrollment (B.A. 8 semesters, B.S.E. 7 semesters) with the exception of: first semester freshman; semester of senior recital.

Students are not required to enroll or participate in Recital Attendance once they have fulfilled their degree requirements for this study: B.A. (8 semesters), B.S.E. (7 semesters).

The faculty encourages small ensemble performance and will include them on student recitals when time permits. The student is responsible for completing the Recital Performance form. These forms are located in the Music Office. Signatures from the applied professor and accompanist are required. The form must be submitted no later than the Monday prior to the recital date on which you wish to perform. If a student is unable to perform on a student recital due to illness or some other unforeseen circumstance, the applied instructor will assign the student the grade of an "IN" (Incomplete) in their applied lesson. The student must then perform on the first scheduled student performance recital of the following semester, which serves as a "make-up" performance. When completed, the "IN" (Incomplete) applied grade will be changed to reflect the grade earned. The applied instructor will complete a "Request of Grade Change" form and submit to the Department Head for signature. Dress Code Policy for Department Recital Performance:



Exceptions will be made if character dress is required or permission from applied instructor is given to deviate from the above policy.

  1. The student must attend all afternoon Student Recitals. Only one (1) may be made-up (see make-up policy).

  2. The student must attend the required number of Special events. This number is set by the Department Head and will vary in accordance with each semester's offerings. Only the Special events listed on the student contract are allowed to count toward attendance credit. Additional Special Events may be made available that would count toward this requirement if posted by the Department Head.

  3. To receive credit for attending Special Events the student must sign their name on the event's program and place it in the black box on the wall outside the Department Head's office. Events that are denoted with an asterisk* require the signature of a faculty member on the event's program as well. The Music Office will record your attendance, and the programs are then placed on file as documented proof of attendance.

  4. Each student will be required to sign and return the Recital Attencance Policy.

  5. Make-Up Policy - The Music Department Head must approve make-up performances.

  6. Formula: Attendance to two (2) Special Events=One (1) Student Recital.

A listing of afternoon student recital dates and Special Events (evening recitals, concerts, lectures, etc.) will be provided to students at the beginning of each semester.


Listening Lab:

The listening lab is located in room L04. Open hours for the lab will be posted on the music major bulletin board and lab door within the first two weeks of the semester. A student monitor must be present in order for you to use the room. The following rules apply:


Jury Examinations:

Jury Exam Form

Jury exams are held at the end of each semester for all music majors taking private music instruction. Exceptions include non-majors, instrumental minors (voice minors are required to perform) and seniors in the semester they are student teaching or who have presented a public Senior Recital. Other exceptions are at the discretion of the applied instructor with the approval of the Department Head.

Jury examinations are designed to be a vehicle for evaluating a student's progress each semester. Cumulatively, the jury examination will account for one-third (1/3) of the student's final applied lesson grade. Juries are a learning experience for both the student and the studio teacher. They provide the private teacher with the opportunity to observe the student in a performance situation and receive feedback from other music professors. The student should prepare for the jury examinations as they would for any public performance. This includes appropriate performance attire.

In preparation for the jury, instrumental students are required to complete and bring with them three (3) Jury forms that outlines materials studied, years of study and other similar information. In collaboration with their applied instructor, vocal students prepare one (1) jury form. Instrumental students are responsible for bringing three (3) copies of their performance material (solo, etude, etc.). These copies are discarded following the jury performance. Any student that does not perform a jury examination will receive a failing applied lessons grade.

If a student misses a jury exam due to illness or some other unforeseen circumstance and has informed and received permission from their applied instructor, they will receive an "I" (INCOMPLETE). The student then performs on the first Student Recital of the next semester for a faculty evaluation. The incomplete is then changed to a formal letter grade.

Note that this recital performance is not in lieu of your normally scheduled recital requirement. Music majors (major instrument) enrolled in a 2 credit hour applied lesson (major or elective) in a semester prior to the Senior Recital must perform on a jury at the semester's end. The jury is the "final exam" for the course.


Music Theory:

First semester freshman theory students are required to take the Theory Placement Exam.

This test is taken the first day of theory class and provides the professor with information regarding your prior knowledge. If your test result is below average, you will be required to take part in study sessions lead by a student tutor. You will continue these tutorial sessions until the instructor feels you have become proficient with basic music fundamentals. These sessions are designed to equip you with a proper foundation of music theory and serve as a basis for future theory studies. Study Groups and tutoring sessions will take place at a time arranged by you, your study group, and the tutor.


Concert Etiquette:

If possible, arrive at the concert hall at least fifteen minutes before the performance, so that you can relax and read the program notes.

Although you may refer briefly to the program while the performance is in progress, reading it steadily will distract you from the music and is considered poor manners.

Bear in mind, too, that at many concerts, latecomers are not allowed to take their seats until some logical break in the music occurs.

During the performance, the audience is expected to remain silent; absolute silence helps the performers to concentrate and enhances the emotional intensity of the experience. Performers can be distracted by talking, coughing, humming, or incidental noises which will also distract and annoy other audience members. Be respectful of those performing by turning off all cell phones, beepers, and watches with alarms.

At a concert or recital, audiences express their enthusiasm by applauding at the end of a work; if a work has more than one movement, audiences do not customarily applaud between movements. At an opera, however, audiences often applaud at the end of arias, duets, and ensembles. At jazz concerts it is quite appropriate to applaud following an improvised solo.

Taking photographs and using recording equipment are not permitted unless you have prior approval from the director or performer.


Transfer Students:

Transfer students must meet with the Music Department Head prior to enrolling as a music major. The student's prior coursework is evaluated, and the student is informed as to which courses transfer and apply toward completion of the music degree.

Transfer students are required to submit an official transcript to both the Registrars Office and the Department Head for review. Additional documentation may also be required (i.e. catalog course description, course syllabi, professors name and phone number). A theory placement exam is required for transfer of music theory coursework, and a performance exam may be required for applied study transfer credit. The students theory placement exam score will determine in which theory course they are to be enrolled. Once this evaluation is complete, a student file is created and the Registrar's office is notified of courses approved for transfer. A course of study will be outlined, and the student will then be assigned a faculty advisor who will further assist with course registration.

Music Education majors are also assigned an advisor from the School of Education.



CMENC [Collegiate Music Educators National Conference]

MENC serves as the leader and spokesperson for music education in the United States. Presently there are more than six hundred student chapters on University campuses. The purpose of collegiate membership is to provide opportunities for professional development for University students of music education through not only on-campus activities of the chapter, but also participation in state, regional and national meetings of MENC.

Yearly dues are minimal and include a subscription to the Music Educator s Journal (national MENC journal), Teaching Music, and Missouri School Music Magazine (state periodical).

Students should join who love music; want to work actively to improve music education, and who want to identify with other leading professionals in their chosen field of music education.

Missouri Southern consistently has one of the largest University CMENC chapters in the state and the music faculty strongly encourages all music majors and participants to join this worthwhile organization.



Piano Proficiency

The music faculty believes that each student must acquire proficient piano skills prior to graduation. Therefore, the student is required to pass a piano proficiency exam prior to graduation. To this end, students are encouraged to enroll in piano studies each semester. Proficiency examinations are given once each semester (November and April) before a committee made up of music faculty members. The selection of exam literature and materials for the proficiency exam is under the supervision of the piano staff and Department Head. The piano staff will complete a sophomore year piano progress review. Students not on track to successfully pass the proficiency exam will be notified and the director of piano studies, in consultation with the Department Head, will work to assist and make recommendations to the student regarding an action plan. Piano Proficiency Requirements B.S. Instrumental Certification


B.S. Vocal Certification, B.S. Double Certification, All B.A. A. Prepared piece B. Harmonizing a Melody C. 1. Hymn 2. Accompaniment 3. SA and TB

Piano Accompanying

The accompanists set accompanying fees for Junior or Senior Recitals. In essence, the student is contracting with the accompanist for the performance and a set number of rehearsals. Applied Instructors will assist the student in the selection of an accompanist. Currently, the accompanist fee policy for department student recitals and juries is: The student will pay the accompanist $30 for 2 rehearsals and the recital or jury. All other requests of a student accompanist will be at the sole discretion of the accompanist. Additionally, each accompanist will set his or her own accompanying fee.


Basketball Band:

The basketball pep band provides entertainment and support for the basketball teams at most home games. The enthusiasm is high, and so is competition to be selected. Members of this ensemble receive a monetary stipend for their performance.

Pep Band Performance Policy

All music majors who are a part of the Pep Band must also be enrolled in the large instrumental performing ensemble at MSSU (Fall-Marching Band, Spring-Symphonic Band).

Non-music majors may audition and be a part of the Pep Band under the following guidelines:

  1. Have performed four (4) semesters in a large instrumental performing group at MSSU.

  2. Receive no scholarship (exception would be the Jazz Orchestra scholarship generally limited to rhythm section players: piano, bass, drums, guitar).

  3. Pep Band members will receive a stipend of $300. This will be paid at the end of the performance season. Should the student owe money to the University, this stipend will be deposited to their account through the business office.

  4. Audition and acceptance into the Pep Band by the Director.


Chamber Ensembles:

Both vocal and instrumental chamber groups may be made available should there be student interests. Ensembles have included: Trombone Choir, Percussion Ensemble, Brass Choir, and Various Vocal Ensembles.


Work Study Opportunities:

The Music Department offers the following work-study and student employment opportunities. Work hours and payment vary with each position. Recording Manager (Student Employment) Record all music performances held in Taylor Auditorium and Webster Auditorium. This individual is hired by the Music Department Head.