Skip to main content

Guitar Policy

The jury is an examination of applied performance skills, based on repertoire and technical material covered during each semester. It is given during finals week in lieu of a written exam. Participation is required; failure to participate translates as non-fulfillment of course requirements, and a failing grade for Applied Music will automatically be given. Students who have already reached the minimum level requirement for completion of their degree must still participate in juries each semester of enrollment.

The jury serves to evaluate, monitor, and advise the student as to his/her progress and standing relative to completion of applied performance requirements for the degree. At each jury, the student’s performance is “graded” according to a system of “levels,” numbered 0 through 10, which correspond to normal expectations of proficiency for that number of years of study; a complete beginner (i.e., “level 0”) should be able to attempt “level 5” repertoire within approximately five years. The student’s first level rating will be determined during the entrance audition, to determine eligibility for various programs of study. The first official level rating is determined after the student has enrolled, at the first jury. Thereafter, that rating is expected to climb at least one level per academic year, or one-half level each semester. It is expected that performance majors will progress more rapidly, as well as achieving competency in both classical and jazz performance.

While the letter grade for the semester is determined by the student’s private instructor, the faculty jury determines the student’s level rating, based upon difficulty of repertoire/technical material and overall musicality. Guidelines are given herein; however, the faculty jury determines the level based upon other factors of musical performance as well. Therefore, the description of levels given below is, as with any musical performance, subjective, by nature. The faculty jury reserves the right to raise, maintain, or lower ones previously achieved level, based upon subjective judgment as well as relative guidelines. In the event that a consensus cannot be reached by the jury, the student’s private instructor is given final say. If normal progress is not seen, the student may be placed on probation; if two consecutive juries are unsuccessful, suspension or dismissal from the program may follow. The decision of the jury is final.

All music majors, music minors, and non-majors if on music scholarship, enrolled in Music 106-127, Music 500, or Music 700 in the fall and/or spring Semesters must take a jury. Exceptions will be allowed only in the following cases: 1) when an area jury policy has a provision for a waiver, and 2) in the event of illness or injury. Students who miss juries due to illness or injury will receive an Incomplete in Applied Study for the semester and must make up the jury during the subsequent semester prior to mid-term.

Students who are unable to make up a missed jury must submit a written petition to the Division chair prior to mid-term of the first semester following the semester of the original missed jury. The petition must include a complete justification for missing the make-up jury and a written statement of support from the applied faculty member.

The jury for each student shall last approximately ten minutes; Performance majors should sign up for a twenty-minute jury (two adjacent time slots). A minimum of two faculty members must be present, one normally being the student’s instructor. Should the circumstance arise where the student’s instructor cannot be present, the jury may proceed at the student’s request, if agreed to by the members of the jury. The student’s instructor shall supply recommendations to the jury based upon the student’s progress over the course of the semester. If the student or any member of the jury wishes the student’s instructor to be present, the jury will be rescheduled to a time mutually acceptable to all concerned.

Once learned, it is the student’s responsibility to maintain technical skills (scales, arpeggios, voicings, etc.) for all subsequent juries. Unsuccessful attempts at technical drills will lower one’s performance rating.

Each jury member shall be available to any student who may wish to discuss the evaluation.

Required Applied Performance Levels (by degree program) and relative guidelines

  • BA-Level 7: Demonstrated ability in upper positions, reasonable control of tonal properties and projection, proper posture and hand positions, properly executed apoyando and tirando strokes. Representative material may include studies by Sor, Carcassi, Brouwer; completion of   A Modern Method for Guitar, Vol. 1, by William. Leavitt;   Completion of The Christopher Parkening Guitar Method, Vols. 1 and 2, by Christopher Parkening and Jack Marshall; 2-octave fingerings for major and minor scales, modes of the major scale, demonstrated ability to sight-read melody line and chord symbols to selected jazz standards, ability to improvise over simple blues changes.
  • BM in Music Education-Level 7: Repertoire should contain at least one larger work; Representative material may include Cello and/or Lute Suites of J.S. Bach, Suite Populaire Bresilienne of Heitar Villa-Lobos; completion of   A Modern Method for Guitar, Vol. 2, by Wm. Leavitt; ability to improvise over simple (i.e., slow harmonic rhythm) jazz standards, slow to moderate tempi, modes of the minor scale; diminished (octatonic) and whole tone scales. Jazz repertoire should include at least twenty (memorized) tunes.
  • BM in Composition-Level 8: Repertoire should include at least two larger works of contrasting style; ability to improvise over harmonically complex tunes, slow to moderate tempi; ability to write and perform original arrangements of jazz standards for solo guitar; Drop 2 and Drop 3 voicings. Jazz repertoire should include at least thirty (memorized) tunes.
  • BM in Performance-Level 10: Stylistically and technically correct performances of at least one extended work from each period; recital-ready; qualified for admission into Master of Music Degree program in Performance. Completion of   A Modern Method for Guitar, Vol. 3, by William Leavitt; Major and minor scales and modes, 2-octaves, twelve fingerings; arpeggios of diatonic harmony (major and minor), twelve positions; Jazz repertoire should include at least fifty (memorized) tunes; demonstrated ability to improvise over highly modulatory tunes, faster tempi.
  • MM in Performance: Performance skills indicative of a high level of professional competency are required. At least two consecutive juries at Level 10; repertoire should include extended works from all style periods for solo guitar; the complete works for solo guitar by Heitar Villa-Lobos; all of the 25 Estudios, Op. 60, of Matteo. Carcassi; all twenty Estudios of Fernando Sor; all 20 Estudios Sencillos of Leonardo. Brouwer; jazz improvisational skill, and the ability to improvise chord solo arrangements of standard jazz tunes.