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Instrumental Studies

 

Instrumental Level Exams and Procedures

Instrumental Level Exams are performance and repertoire outcomes every applied instrumental student must achieve to continue studying their applied instrument. There are two Instrumental Level Exams; the first exam must be completed by the end of the third semester of applied study, typically the mid dle of the second year of school; and the second exam must be completed by the end of the sixth semester of applied study, typically the end of the third year of school.

Procedure

  1. Instrumental Level Exams occur at the end of the semester and may be completed concurrently with instrumental juries. 
  2. Every student taking the exam must complete a Repertoire List Form prior to the end of the semester.  The Repertoire List Form is available online on the USC Aiken music website under the "Current Students" tab or at the following link:
    Repertoire List Form

    This form is a cumulative list of all works studied in Applied Instrument up to the time of the exam.  It is the student’s responsibility to have the applied teacher sign the form and notify the Instrumental Studies Chair of the intent to complete the exam.
  3. The tests are given one of the following grades by faculty vote:

Pass:    The student may continue in Applied Instrument and work toward the next exam or recital.

Conditional Pass:      The student satisfied elements of the exam, but the faculty has concerns that are serious enough to merit a re-hearing at the next exam period.  Any concerns or conditions of the re-hearing will be offered in writing and explained to the student by the applied teacher.  If the concerns of the faculty are not addressed at the next hearing, the student may not proceed to the next exam or recital until the current exam is adequately satisfied.

Fail:    The student must repeat the exam during the next exam period due to significant inadequacies in preparation.  A second consecutive failure of the exam results in removal from Applied Instrument until the student demonstrates significant improvement or re-auditions for the faculty.

  1. Students will be notified of the results by mail.  Decisions of the faculty are final.
  2. A student may attempt any Instrumental Level Exam twice. 

Grievance Process

Should the student fail the exam a second time a grievance may be filed with the Instrumental Studies Chair.  The grievance should be submitted in writing and include a justification why the student believes the exam was adequately completed, or a proposed solution to meet the conditions of the exam.  The chair will meet with the student and the applied teacher separately.  Upon agreement of the teacher and chair, the student will be permitted to re-take the exam at the next exam period.

Conditions for an Exam Re-Take

Students may be asked to re-take either Instrumental Level Exam due to the following reasons:

  • Insufficient repertoire, either in quantity or quality;
  • Tone quality as it relates to the characteristic sound of the instrument;
  • Musicianship, where the performance may lack in technique, interpretation, or memory (if required);
  • Basic musical skills, such as incorrect rhythm or pitch, or poor intonation.

Instrumental Level Exam Requirements for Non-Majors

Students who are not majoring in music education or the fine arts degree do not need to complete the Instrumental Level Exams; however, students enrolled in applied lessons, regardless of major, are required to complete a jury.


APPLIED INSTRUMENT REQUIREMENTS

Requirements for Music Education Majors :

Repertoire

The individual applied instructor determines instrumental repertoire requirements.  Minimum requirements are outlined in the applied instrument syllabus.  Students registered for two (2) credit hours will be required to complete more repertoire than students registered for one (1) credit hour. Regardless of the credit amount taken, each student will study works from the repertoire that are "platform" pieces of each level of their development. Additionally, fundamental studies/etudes (lyrical and technical) that inherently allow for needed skill sets to manifest themselves in the repertoire in the most beautiful, artistic, and mature manner possible will be covered.

Instrumental Level Exam I

Requirements for the Instrumental Level Exam I are:

  1. Performance of a full range chromatic scale, all major scales, all three forms of minor scales, and all related arpeggios. Students will be asked to demonstrate any of these scales in the format required by the applied instructor. 
  2. Performance of one lyrical/technical etude selected by the applied instructor.
  3. Performance of one solo work (or movement from a work) with piano accompaniment. Students may also perform an unaccompanied work of comparable length and technical requirements.
  4. Ability to sight-read an excerpt of music, demonstrating accurate pitch, rhythm, and expression.

Criteria for Successful Completion of Level I

Students should be able to demonstrate the following technical and musical accomplishments:

  • Perform with consistent and characteristic tone quality.
  • Perform with proper posture and technique.
  • Perform with stable intonation and rhythmic consistency.
  • Perform repertoire with convincing, thoughtful, informed, and expressive interpretation.
  • Perform all required repertoire at a high level.

Instrumental Level Exam II

Requirements of the Instrumental Level Exam II are:

  1. Performance of a full range chromatic scale, all major scales, all three forms of minor scales, and all related arpeggios. Students will be asked to demonstrate any of these scales in the format required by the applied instructor. 
  2. Performance of one lyrical/technical etude selected by the applied instructor.
  3. Performance of one multi-movement solo work such as a sonata or concerto in its entirety with piano accompaniment. Students may also perform an unaccompanied work of comparable length and technical requirements.
  4. Ability to sight-read an excerpt of music, demonstrating accurate pitch, rhythm, and expression.

Criteria for Successful Completion of Level II

Students should be able to demonstrate the following technical and musical accomplishments:

  • Perform with consistent and characteristic tone quality.
  • Perform with proper posture and technique.
  • Perform with stable intonation and rhythmic consistency.
  • Perform repertoire with convincing, thoughtful, informed, and expressive interpretation.
  • Perform all required repertoire at a high level.

Repertoire for Level II must represent a more advanced level of work done after the successful completion of the Level I test.  Students may not repeat repertoire from the Level I exam during the Level II exam. 

Requirements for Bachelor of Arts – Major in Fine Arts

Repertoire

The individual applied instructor determines instrumental repertoire requirements.  Minimum requirements are outlined in the applied instrument syllabus.  Students registered for two (2) credit hours will be required to complete more repertoire than students registered for one (1) credit hour. Regardless of the credit amount taken, each student will study works from the repertoire that are "platform" pieces of each level of their development. Additionally, fundamental studies/etudes (lyrical and technical) that inherently allow for needed skill sets to manifest themselves in the repertoire in the most beautiful, artistic, and mature manner possible will be covered.

Instrumental Level Exam I

Requirements for the Instrumental Level Exam I are:

  1. Performance of a full range chromatic scale, all major scales, all three forms of minor scales, and all related arpeggios. Students will be asked to demonstrate any of these scales in the format required by the applied instructor. 
  2. Performance of one lyrical/technical etude selected by the applied instructor.
  3. Performance of one solo work (or movement from a work) with piano accompaniment. Students may also perform an unaccompanied work of comparable length and technical requirements.
  4. Ability to sight-read an excerpt of music, demonstrating accurate pitch, rhythm, and expression.

Criteria for Successful Completion of Level I

Students should be able to demonstrate the following technical and musical accomplishments:

  • Perform with consistent and characteristic tone quality.
  • Perform with proper posture and technique.
  • Perform with stable intonation and rhythmic consistency.
  • Perform repertoire with convincing, thoughtful, informed, and expressive interpretation.
  • Perform all required repertoire at a high level.

Instrumental Level Exam II

Requirements of the Instrumental Level Exam II are:

  1. Performance of a full range chromatic scale, all major scales, all three forms of minor scales, and all related arpeggios. Students will be asked to demonstrate any of these scales in the format required by the applied instructor. 
  2. Performance of one lyrical/technical etude selected by the applied instructor.
  3. Performance of one multi-movement solo work such as a sonata or concerto in its entirety with piano accompaniment. Students may also perform an unaccompanied work of comparable length and technical requirements.
  4. Ability to sight-read an excerpt of music, demonstrating accurate pitch, rhythm, and expression.

Criteria for Successful Completion of Level II

Students should be able to demonstrate the following technical and musical accomplishments:

  • Perform with consistent and characteristic tone quality.
  • Perform with proper posture and technique.
  • Perform with stable intonation and rhythmic consistency.
  • Perform repertoire with convincing, thoughtful, informed, and expressive interpretation.
  • Perform all required repertoire at a high level.

Repertoire for Level II must represent a more advanced level of work done after the successful completion of the Level I test.  Students may not repeat repertoire from the Level I exam during the Level II exam. 

Address

The Etherredge Center
University of South Carolina Aiken
471 University Parkway
Aiken, SC 29801
P: (803) 641-3305

Office Hours

Monday – Thursday : 8:30 am – 6:00 pm

Friday : 8:30 am – 5:00 pm

Saturday and Sunday : Closed

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