Standing Committee of Institutional Members: Guidelines
(Revised May 2014)
- Section I: Undergraduate Programs
- Section II: Graduate Programs
The Canadian University Music Society (MusCan), formerly the Canadian Association of University Schools of Music (CAUSM), was founded in 1964 for the purpose of establishing a general philosophy of undergraduate and graduate musical education in Canada, and to enable Canadian university teachers of music to discuss common problems and to exchange scholarly ideas relating to all facets of music. In particular, the Society was founded to establish a community of individuals who might meet as university musicians—not separately as musicologists, ethnomusicologists, composers, theorists, music educators or performers.
The Society’s Standing Committee of Institutional Members, formerly the Council of Member Schools, is charged with strengthening and maintaining the position of music study in Canada, especially in Canadian universities.
These Guidelines stem from the MusCan Bylaws, Section 2 (b) on Institutional Membership. The Bylaws refer to two types of institutional members:
2.b)i) Full institutional membership, available to all institutions offering at least one program leading to the degree of Bachelor of Music, or to any other Baccalaureate degree with a major in music, provided that such programs are acceptable to the Standing Committee of Institutional Members;
ii) Associate Institutional membership (non-voting), available to all institutions offering university credit courses in music, not qualifying under (b i) above, but acceptable to the Standing Committee of Institutional Members.
Programs in institutions acceptable for full institutional membership in the Society will in general conform with these Guidelines. Associate institutional membership will be available to other institutions that offer courses in music that meet the standards of courses creditable toward music degrees. The Guidelines are not intended to be interpreted as strict standards, nor are they intended to prevent individual schools from adopting new ideas and approaches for the education of their students. The Society is not an accrediting agency.
These Guidelines represent a revision of those adopted by the CUMS Council of Member Schools in May 1981.
Section I: Undergraduate Programs
The achievement of high standards in teaching and scholarship depends in part upon faculty qualifications and balanced workloads. The quality of instruction is affected by the educational qualifications and the current working knowledge and skills of individual teachers. In addition to teaching and advising students, faculty need sufficient time to keep their working knowledge and skills current and to prepare adequately for teaching situations. As professors within the academic community, faculty members are also responsible for working and producing in the area of scholarship, which includes composition, research, and/or performance. Such endeavors contribute not only to the enlargement and enrichment of knowledge in its broadest sense, but also to the quality of teaching.
- Qualifications. The qualifications of music faculty should support the teaching, research, and artistic programs of the institution. Depending upon the size of the unit and the scope of its offerings, faculty will need varying degrees of versatility and specialization. Candidates for appointment to faculty positions should hold a doctorate or equivalent with suitable specialization, and should demonstrate teaching ability and/or potential. In some fields, especially applied music and composition, educational streams other than the academic one may well have been pursued. Such educational backgrounds should be considered entirely valid insofar as they meet the specific needs of an institution.
- Workload. Music programs tend to have lower student/teacher ratios than other undergraduate disciplines because of the need for small-group and individual instruction, particularly in the areas of applied music and composition. Music faculty should not be expected to compensate for this difference by shouldering heavier teaching loads than professors in other disciplines. The possibilities for excellence in teaching, research, performance, and composition are diminished when reasonable workload limits are exceeded. In order to facilitate the achievement of excellence in teaching and scholarship in music, the following guidelines are offered:
- A full teaching load in music should normally not exceed nine (9) weekly lecture hours or equivalent.
- For instruction other than lecture/seminar courses, we recommend the following weighting in calculating teaching loads:
- Two hours of individual instruction in applied music and composition are normally equivalent to one contact hour in a lecture course.
- Two hours of conducting ensembles, or two hours of instruction in conducting or aural skills are normally equivalent to one lecture hour, but may be weighted more heavily depending on such factors as the sizes and levels of the classes, and the sizes, repertoire, and performance schedules of the ensembles.
- Faculty members with administrative appointments should receive an appropriate amount of teaching relief.
B. Physical Resources
- Classrooms. Rooms of various sizes are required. If these rooms serve also as chamber ensemble rehearsal facilities, they should be equipped with proper chairs for each separate function. All classrooms should be well soundproofed, with adequate temperature and humidity control.
Music classrooms need to be larger than other classrooms for the same number of students, because of the need for pianos and quality audio playback equipment, which are essential. A data projector and a screen for visual display, as well as quality video playback equipment, should be available. Staff lines should be painted on a portion of the blackboards. Member institutions are encouraged to equip some or all of their classrooms with the use of current computer technology, including internet accessibility (preferably wireless).
- Offices and Studios. Pianos and audio playback equipment are recommended in all offices and studios. Recording equipment should be available for teaching studios. Soundproofing of studios and offices should be sufficient to allow concentrated teaching without disturbing others and without interruption from adjacent rooms. Adequate temperature and humidity control should be provided.
Teaching studios need to be considerably larger than the usual office of a university academic in order to provide a satisfactory sound chamber for music-making and to accommodate one or two pianos and playback equipment. In the studios of piano faculty, two pianos not only conserve teaching time but are essential for piano ensemble performance. It is recommended that teaching studios be a minimum of 20 square meters; larger rooms may be required for studios equipped with two pianos.
- Practice Rooms. Facilities should be provided that allows all music students to practice a minimum of two hours per day. Students with a performance specialty should have four hours per day available. The ratio of students to practice rooms at residential universities should not exceed 7:1.
At least two-thirds of the practice rooms should be equipped with pianos, including some grand pianos. The pianos should be of good quality and should be tuned and maintained regularly. Practice rooms must be large enough and acoustically suitable for the number of players and the instruments that they are intended to accommodate. A minimum of seven (7) square meters is recommended for practice rooms without a grand piano. All practice rooms should have adequate soundproofing, temperature and humidity control.
- Recital/Concert Hall(s). Adequate facilities for recitals and ensemble concerts, under control of the music department, faculty or school, are absolutely essential. Students and faculty should have proper acoustical conditions in which to perform. Performance instruments should be concert standard. Ideally, there should be a small recital hall for solo and chamber music performances, as well as a larger concert hall, with an acoustical shell, for large ensemble performances.
- Rehearsal Facilities. If recital and concert halls are not available for regular ensemble rehearsal, separate rehearsal hall facilities are essential. Ensembles must be able to meet regularly within the weekly timetable and in satisfactory acoustical conditions. Therefore, the music department, faculty or school will require preferential booking arrangements if the facilities are shared with other units. Sufficient music stands and chairs should be available in rehearsal rooms and halls.
- Health and Safety Issues. Physical resources need to be accessible, safe, and secure and must meet local health and fire code standards. Acoustical treatments appropriate to the musical function of different spaces need to be provided to ensure the sonic health and well-being of performers, staff, and audience. In addition to concerns about physical spaces, all students, faculty, and staff in music programs should be apprised of musicians’ health and safety issues inherent in practice, performance, teaching, and listening, both in general and in application to their specializations. This includes but is not limited to information regarding hearing, vocal and musculoskeletal health and injury prevention, and the proper handling of potentially dangerous materials and equipment. Specific methods for addressing these issues are the prerogative of the institution in consultation with appropriately qualified health and safety professionals.
- Instrument Collection. Students studying band and orchestral instruments are expected to own their own instruments. However, for band and orchestral performance, the institution may find it necessary to supply those instruments that students cannot be expected to purchase, either because they are too big or too various, or because they might be a second instrument for the student (e.g., percussion instruments, contrabassoon, English horn, bass clarinet).
A collection of instruments to support instrumental techniques courses should be provided. Further, a keyboard lab equipped with electronic keyboards is recommended for most music departments, to facilitate the teaching of keyboard harmony and practical keyboard skills.
- Electroacoustic Music Studio. An electroacoustic music studio is essential if composition is offered as a major, and highly recommended for other majors, especially theory and music education. Rapid changes in technology necessitate a steady commitment of funding to equip the studio and to keep it up to date.
- General Office. A music department normally undertakes many more activities than the usual academic department, i.e., rehearsals, concerts, ensemble touring. Adequate office space and support staff must be provided to carry out these activities, as well as the usual responsibilities assumed by the staff in a department or faculty office.
- Computers. Computers have become fundamental for the work of administrative personnel, faculty and students. Access to the internet and email is indispensable for anyone working or studying at a university, and computer facilities for activities such as word processing and music notation are vital.
Administrative offices need, at minimum, word processing, database, graphics editing, spreadsheet and PowerPoint capabilities. Desktop publishing software as well as programs for processing and printing music are also important. High-quality printing facilities are essential. Ideally, the music office should be completely networked to the university’s central computing facilities.
Faculty members also should have access to word processing and other applications, including music notation software, as well as appropriate printing facilities, as required by their teaching and research, ideally by means of a computer in each faculty member’s office. Access to the university’s centralized computing facilities and to the internet is essential, but will of course depend on the centralized computing infrastructure of each university.
Students should also have access to adequate computing and printing facilities, either in the department or elsewhere on campus. Computers are especially vital to music students for composition and arranging, music processing and printing, and computer-assisted instruction in music theory and aural skills.
C. Music Library
The importance of the library in support of a music program should not be underestimated. Considerable effort and time must be invested by faculty with bibliographic expertise and by professional music librarians to build and maintain a satisfactory collection. A music library requires unusual financial support in order to allow the gathering of:
- a large selection of scores, representative of a broad range of music;
- a broad selection of periodicals and books in music theory, history, criticism, and performance practices;
- a representative selection of audio recordings;
- materials in other media (e.g., DVDs, Blu-ray, videos, CD-ROM), as appropriate to the programs offered;
- Online resources for periodicals, books, audio recordings and video recordings.
The holdings should directly reflect the profile of the academic program of the music department. Specific recommendations are as follows:
- Score, Book, Audio Recording, Video and Periodical Collection. The Music Library Association’s Basic Music Library (www.musiclibraryassoc.org/publications/basicmanual.shtml) is useful as a very minimum standard. Canadian librarians and faculty members are advised to adapt some of the recommendations found there to conditions that are more typical of Canadian universities; for example, the marching-band tradition is almost nonexistent in Canada. The Canadian Music Centre’s publications and staff can also assist in the selection of Canadian materials.
The central core of a music library is the collection of music itself. Students should have access to a wide selection of scores from all style periods of western art music, in a variety of editions where possible. It is especially important in Canada that compositions by Canadian composers be readily available for study.
The collection of audio recordings must represent the finest performances of music from all style periods. It is very important that recordings and scores be in close proximity so that students can have simultaneous access to both the printed score and the recorded performance. Liner notes should also be available to become familiar with performers, ensemble groups and conductors. A large variety of video recordings, representing the finest performances from all style periods, should be available. Online audio and video resources should be available.
The number of reference tools required for adequate study in music is sizable. Further, online research engines have become vital and a variety of them should be part of the library’s infrastructure. By means of interlibrary loan facilities, students can gather additional pertinent materials for serious study.
Monographs and books on music should be selected to support the academic program. These need not be limited to those published in the language in which courses are taught.
Periodicals are an essential component of the library. These should be selected to support the profile of the academic program. 75 periodicals should be considered minimum support for an undergraduate program. These need not be restricted to the language of lectures. Online access to scholarly journals is now an expected part of a library’s infrastructure.
Many scores and books are available from online public domain sites. Both established and less resource-rich libraries find this to be a relatively inexpensive means to provide efficient access to a wide variety of certain materials.
- Listening Facilities. The library or the music department must have a quiet room equipped with earphone playback units of high standard. The number of listening posts required will depend in part on whether or not students can borrow recordings for home listening. On-line audio streaming should be considered a vital resource—especially where access to recordings may be limited. Stations for viewing video recordings are also essential.
Listening rooms must be in close proximity to the collection of scores and recordings. Regular maintenance of listening equipment is of prime importance.
- Room with Piano(s). Within the library and close to the score collection, there should be at least one room with a piano. Students should be able to take musical scores to a soundproofed area where they can study them at the keyboard. Many items in the collection will undoubtedly be designated non-circulating; these materials, and indeed the whole collection, should be available for study at the piano.
D. Bachelor of Music Degree Programs
- Description and Duration. The Bachelor of Music is a professional degree. Many students enrolled in Bachelor of Music degree programs aspire to careers as professional musicians and music educators; for other students, the Bachelor of Music degree serves broader personal and educational purposes.
Programs leading to the degree of Bachelor of Music will include a variety of courses in music, including music history and literature, music theory and composition, aural skills, and applied music, as well as courses in the arts and/or sciences. Normally 65% to 85% of the courses in the degree program will be in music.
Programs of study leading to the degree Bachelor of Music generally require four years of full-time study. For present purposes, the two-year collegial program (Diplôme d’études collégiales) required for admission to Québec universities’ three-year baccalaureate program is considered to be the equivalent of the first year of a four-year program.
- Admission Requirements. To be admitted to a program of study leading to the degree Bachelor of Music as a regular student, a candidate should:
- demonstrate technical and musical ability and potential;
- demonstrate a firm grasp of the rudiments of music and sufficient ability in aural recognition to undertake courses in music theory and aural skills. A candidate admitted with a weak background in theory and/or aural skills will normally be required to take preparatory course work before entering the first-year credit courses in these areas; and
- satisfy the university’s general admission requirements.
- Core Curriculum. Programs leading to the degree Bachelor of Music normally contain a common core of courses. This core curriculum represents approximately half of the degree program:
- three or four years of individual applied study in an instrument or voice (preferably a one-hour individual lesson per week);
- three or four years of active participation in an ensemble;
- two or three years of music history and literature, including Canadian music;
- three years of music materials, including writing and analytical skills, sight-singing, aural comprehension, and twentieth/twenty-first-century techniques;
- keyboard harmony for all students, as well as basic keyboard skills, if necessary, for students whose major instrument is not keyboard;
- the assurance of basic music technology literacy.
- Areas of Concentration. The distribution of the remaining music courses for the degree Bachelor of Music determines whether or not the degree should be designated as having a specific major or area of concentration. If a concentration or major is to be mentioned, the recommended minimum course content in the various areas of concentration is as follows:
- (a) Performance Major: approximately one-third of the total degree program should consist of individual applied study and ensembles (including accompanying and conducting). A minimum of four years of individual study in the major instrument or voice is essential for a performance program. A public recital is normally required in the final year of the degree program.
- (b) Composition Major: approximately one-third of the degree program should consist of courses in composition and music theory. These courses should include the equivalent of three or four years of composition, including electroacoustic music. A recital of original compositions is normally required in the final year of the program.
- (c) Theory Major: one-quarter to one-third of the degree program should consist of courses in the writing and analysis of music. A major research or analysis paper is usually required in the final year of the program.
- (d) Theory/Composition Major: approximately one-third of the degree program should consist of courses in the writing and analysis of music. A major project, such as a research paper or a recital of original compositions, is usually required in the final year.
- (e) History and Literature Major: at least one-quarter of the program should consist of courses in music history and literature, including bibliography and research techniques. A major research paper is normally required in the final year of the program.
- (f) Ethnomusicology/Cultural Studies: at least one-quarter of the program should consist of courses in ethnomusicology, anthropology and sociology; a bibliography and research techniques course should be present. A major research paper is normally required in the final year of the program.
- (g) Music Education: MusCan strongly recommends that teacher training programs in music leading to certification be of at least five years duration. Such programs often lead to the awarding of two degrees, the Bachelor of Music and the Bachelor of Music Education or Bachelor of Education. In some programs, the music degree is completed before the music education degree; in others, the two degrees are awarded conjointly at the end of the five-year program. In either case, at least one-fifth of the courses in the five-year program should be in music education (e.g., general music methods, vocal and instrumental techniques, conducting).
- Non-Music Courses. Courses in areas other than music usually comprise about 15% to 35% of the entire degree program. Some of these courses may be specified (requirements for study in a first and second language are common), but there should also be sufficient opportunity for students to choose courses that are appropriate to their own interests and goals.
E. Other Undergraduate Degrees in Music
Programs in music leading to another baccalaureate degree (Bachelor of Arts, Bachelor of Fine Arts, etc.) vary considerably. Generally, there is less emphasis on performance in these programs than in Bachelor of Music degree programs. The following guidelines are recommended:
- In programs leading to a four-year degree Bachelor of Arts (or other) with a major or equivalent in Music, approximately one-half of the courses should be in music.
- In programs leading to a three-year degree Bachelor of Arts (or other) with a major or equivalent in Music, approximately one-third of the courses should be in music.
- In programs leading to the degree Bachelor of Arts (or other) with a minor or equivalent in Music, approximately 15% to 25% of the courses should be in music, depending in part on whether it is a three- or four-year degree.
Section II: Graduate Programs
- Qualifications. Faculty teaching in graduate programs should hold a doctorate or equivalent with suitable specialization, and should have a proven record of successful teaching in their discipline. In all fields where doctoral programs are offered, the staff should be scholars, composers or performers of international reputation with a proven record of graduate level teaching.
In musicology and theory, the faculty should have a substantial record of research and publication in the discipline. Music education faculty should have teaching experience in elementary or high schools as well as a substantial record of research and publication or professional service. An emphasis on research and scholarly publication is especially important where doctoral degrees in music education are offered. Composition faculty should have active careers as professional composers, while performance faculty should be accomplished and experienced professional performers.
- Workload. Weightings similar to those in use at the undergraduate level are useful for graduate teaching. In particular, the supervision of a graduate student’s independent work should be calculated into the teaching load. The weight assigned to such supervision may be affected by whether or not the graduate student is actively pursuing research and utilizing academic supervision in a given year.
B. Physical Resources
In addition to the facilities required for undergraduate programs, access to computing facilities for research is essential. Graduate students may also require special work and study space. Adequate practice room facilities is essential for graduate students in performance, and a well-equipped electroacoustic music studio is essential for graduate students in composition.
C. Music Library
A well-developed music library is of prime importance for universities offering graduate degrees whose principal objective is scholarly research. The library should contain substantial holdings of scholarly journals, collected editions, reference works, monographs, and research sources, including online search engines, covering all major areas of musical scholarship. There should also be a comprehensive collection of audio and video recordings representing the literature of music. The library should also have adequate staff and budget to maintain and build the collection.
For doctoral work in musicology and theory, library facilities must be adequate to accommodate the ongoing research needs of the students as well as the faculty members.
D. Master’s Degree Programs
- Duration. Master’s degrees usually require a minimum of one year in residence, provided that the prerequisite undergraduate program contains an adequate degree and level of specialization in the field to allow continuance at the graduate level. Longer periods of residence will be appropriate for students who require qualifying studies in addition to their graduate program.
- Admission Requirements. Students admitted to master’s degree programs should be clearly exceptional in their area of specialization and should have high standing in their overall undergraduate record. In order to ascertain applicants’ qualifications in the major field, auditions should be mandatory for performance students, and in other fields applicants should be required to submit papers, essays, or compositions, as appropriate for the discipline. Students admitted to master’s degree programs should have undergraduate degrees with substantial work in the area of graduate specialization. All baccalaureate degrees that are prerequisite for graduate music degrees should provide a core curriculum in theory, analysis, aural training, history, and performance to the level specified in the guidelines for undergraduate programs.
- Musicology. The prerequisite undergraduate program in music history should provide a thorough grounding in all periods of western music history and the analytical techniques necessary for dealing with the music, as well as a general knowledge of non-western music. It should also include introductory studies in bibliography, research methodology, cultural history and languages.
- Theory. The prerequisite undergraduate program in music theory should include advanced courses in traditional and contemporary theory, harmony, counterpoint and analysis. In addition to the development of music writing skills, the program should provide for the development of research skills, through courses providing training in bibliography and research methods and the opportunity for writing papers on theoretical topics.
- Composition. The prerequisite undergraduate degree in composition should provide extensive study in free composition resulting in a body of works produced by the student in a variety of forms and media. The program should also include advanced undergraduate courses in traditional and contemporary theory, harmony, counterpoint, analysis and orchestration, as well as at least an introductory course in electroacoustic music.
- Music Education. The prerequisite undergraduate program should provide training in instrumental and vocal techniques, specialized music education techniques, and arranging. Applicants for master’s degrees in music education should also have had successful teaching experience in elementary or secondary schools.
- Ethnomusicology/Cultural Studies. The prerequisite undergraduate program should provide a general knowledge of non-western music. It should also include introductory studies in bibliography, research methodology, cultural history, anthropology, sociology and languages.
- Performance. The prerequisite undergraduate program in performance should provide the student with substantial solo and ensemble experience as well as a broad repertoire appropriate for the instrument or voice. In addition, the student should have undertaken historical, theoretical and analytical studies at a level sufficiently advanced to allow continued study at the graduate level.
- Conducting. The prerequisite undergraduate program in conducting should provide the student with both instrumental and choral conducting experience. In addition, the student should have undertaken historical, theoretical and analytical studies at a level sufficiently advanced to allow continued study at the graduate level.
- Programs. While graduate degrees are primarily advanced study in a specific field, they are also the normal preparation for university teaching. Thus, requirements for these degrees should have the focus necessary to develop and demonstrate a high level of achievement in the area of specialization, as well as providing the breadth of knowledge necessary for university teaching.
- Musicology. The major objective of the master’s program in musicology should be to develop the student’s ability to do research and to report the results of that research. This should take the form of a thesis or several research papers. The program should provide appropriate courses, seminars and/or tutorials for advanced study in musicology and for the development of research and writing skills. A reading knowledge of two languages other than their own should be required of students.
- Theory. The major objective of the master’s program in music theory should be to develop the student’s ability to do research and creative theoretical work, and to report the results of that work. This should take the form of a thesis or several research papers. The program should provide appropriate courses, seminars, and/or tutorials for advanced study in music theory and for the development of research and writing skills. A required reading knowledge of two languages other than their own is strongly recommended.
- Composition. The main objective of the master’s program in composition should be to develop the student’s creative ability and craft. This should be demonstrated by a substantial thesis composition. The program should also include courses, seminars, and/or tutorials of advanced study in areas such as harmony, counterpoint, theory, analysis, electroacoustic music, and orchestration.
- Music Education. Master’s degrees in music education may have primarily a professional or a research orientation. Both types of programs should provide courses in bibliography and research techniques and advanced courses, seminars and/or tutorials in specific areas of music education. The professionally oriented program should provide instruction at advanced levels in performance, conducting, arranging and various music education techniques and methods. The research-oriented programs should have as their major goal the development of research and writing skills, which should be demonstrated in a thesis or in several research papers.
- Ethnomusicology/Cultural Studies. The major objective of the master’s program in ethnomusicology should be to develop the student’s ability to do research and to report the results of that research, with an emphasis on the development of fieldwork and archival skills. This should take the form of a thesis or several research papers. The program should provide appropriate courses, seminars and/or tutorials for advanced study in ethnomusicology and for the development of research and writing skills. A required reading knowledge of a language other than their own is strongly recommended.
- Performance. The principal aim of the master’s program in performance is to develop the student’s performance skills and repertoire to a professional level. This development should encompass the repertoire, pedagogy, and performance practice of the historical periods appropriate to the performer’s instrument or voice. Of particular importance is a thorough acquaintance with the music of our own time. These goals may be met by appropriate courses, seminars and/or tutorials together with individual performance instruction and ensemble requirements. The program should require appropriate public solo and ensemble performances to demonstrate the candidate’s technical and interpretive skills.
- Conducting. The principal aim of the master’s program in conducting is to develop the student’s performance skills and repertoire to a professional level. This development should encompass the repertoire and performance practice of the historical periods appropriate to two broad areas of instruction—instrumental and choral. Of particular importance is a thorough acquaintance with the music of our own time. These goals may be met by appropriate courses, seminars and/or tutorials together with individual conducting instruction and ensemble requirements. The program should require appropriate public ensemble performances to demonstrate the candidate’s technical and interpretive skills.
E. Doctoral Programs
Doctoral candidates should be permitted to undertake research only in those specific areas of study where a faculty member expert in the area is available to supervise the dissertation and where satisfactory library resources are available for research on the topic.
All doctoral programs should include comprehensive examinations that test the candidate’s general musical knowledge as well as ensuring the highest level of knowledge in the candidate’s particular field.
Doctoral dissertations in musicology, theory, and music education must display original scholarship expressed in satisfactory literary form and must be a distinct contribution to knowledge. A doctoral dissertation in composition must be a musical composition of major dimensions and should be accompanied by a written analysis of the work or some other appropriate theoretical essay. Doctoral programs in performance should require a major public performance(s) for the candidate’s instrument/voice centred on a selected topic and should also require a major essay or thesis developed out of the performance topic.
Doctoral dissertations and performance examinations should be judged not only by the department offering the program, but also by external examiners with international reputations in the field.