Below you will find vital information and resources for current music students.
For information on courses, including courses for non-music majors, please visit the courses and programs page.
- Mount Allison Music Library website (Alfred Whitehead Memorial Music Library)
- Preparing to study music at university
- Subject Guide: Music (Mount Allison Libraries & Archives)
- Petrucci Music Library (IMSLP)
- The LiederNet Archive (Art songs and choral texts archive)
- Pianopedia (reference source for classical piano repertoire)
- A Performer's Approach to Ornamentation (V. St. Pierre)
- From Manuscript to Market: Making a Music Recording (L. Pearse)
- Academic Calendar (Bachelor of Music)
- Academic Calendar (music courses)
- Bachelor of Music degree map
- Degree audit forms
- MtA Moodle
- Manuscript paper template
Policies and guides
Performance Handbook and Collaborative Piano Policy
Musicianship Requirements and Exemptions
Find out more
Musicianship at Mount Allison
The BMus degree requires two year-long musicianship courses: Musicianship I (MUSC 1703) and Musicianship II (MUSC 2703). MUSC 1703 is also required for the Major and Minor in Music. These courses consist of practice in three components of aural musicianship skills:
- Sight Singing/Performance and Conducting, and
- Keyboard Skills.
At the beginning of each academic year, students have the opportunity to take a placement/exemption exam in any of the three components listed above, with a minimum 80% required to achieve a placement/exemption for that component. The mark received on the exam will be counted as the student’s grade in that component of the course(s). Students who achieve a placement/exemption will be exempt from attending any classes in that skill component but will still be required to attend the other Musicianship classes for the other components.
If you are not content with the mark earned on any placement/exemption exam, you may choose to attend the classes in that skill component and complete the regular evaluations of that portion of the course. Your coursework will then be counted toward your final grade.
It is possible to test out of all components of Musicianship I and II (dictation, sight singing, and keyboard). A minimum grade of 80% is required for each of the three components to be considered for exemption from the entire course.
For Musicianship I (MUSC 1703), Transcription/Dictation Skills necessary for a placement/exemption correspond to the material found in chapters 1 to 7 of the course textbook.
Course Textbook: Steven Laitz, Skills and Musicianship Workbook (Workbook 2) to Accompany The Complete Musician, 4th Edition (Oxford: Oxford U. Press, 2015).
For Musicianship II (MUSC 2703), the Transcription/Dictation Skills necessary for a placement/exemption involve being able to aurally identify: 1) inversions of the dominant and leading-tone seventh chords, 2) pre-dominant functions of chords, 3) accented and chromatic embellishing tones, 4) six-four chords and contrapuntal expansions, 5) mediant and sub-mediant chord functions. You will also be given two melodies for dictation. No course textbook required.
Exemption in Sight-Singing/Performance involves the demonstration of the ability to sight-read music with accurate pitch and rhythm. This component requires the abilities
- to sing melodies at sight using both fixed and moveable syllables (with or without simultaneously conducting),
- to sing scales and triads (root and inversions) using both fixed and moveable syllables from a given starting note,
- to tap/clap/speak rhythmic patterns at sight on a neutral syllable/sound, and
- to demonstrate proficiency in basic conducting patterns for simple and compound time.
For sight-singing, the fixed system used at Mount Allison is letter names (C, D, Eb, F#, etc.) and the moveable systems are scale degree numbers (1, 2, 3, etc.) and moveable do solfege (do-based major and do-based minor) including hand signals.
For Musicianship I (MUSC 1703), Sight-Singing/Performance Skills necessary for a placement/exemption correspond to the materials found in chapters 1 to 7 of the course textbook.
For Musicianship II (MUSC 2703), Sight-Singing/Performance Skills necessary for a placement/exemption involve being able to sight sing 8-bar melodies in major and minor keys using movable do solfege and to sing scales in major and minor keys (harmonic and melodic). [no hand signals required]
The BMus degree at Mount Allison requires the equivalent of RCM Level Four (see keyboard requirements in the table below). Musicianship I (MUSC 1703) covers the Level One and Two requirements of this sequence. Musicianship II (MUSC 2703) covers Levels Three and Four.
The material required for Keyboard Exemption exams is listed below. ALL technical requirements and pieces for the level attempted must be prepared.
Students may take a placement exam for each semester’s level by performing the final material for the term at an A- (80%) level. For instance, a student in first term MUSC 2703 would prepare all material listed under Level 3 in the table below in order to exempt out of that semester’s keyboard component.
Students may choose to exempt from one or more years of keyboard skills by preparing the terminal material for MUSC 1703 (Level 2 in the table below) or MUSC 2703 (Level 4 in the table below) at the start of their first year. This is particularly useful for incoming piano majors or any students with a strong piano background.
Note for All Levels: Scales are performed legato in eighth notes. Broken triads are performed in triplets. Solid triads are performed with a quarter note followed by a quarter-note rest. Examples of technical requirements can be found here.
All pieces and technical requirements for the attempted level must be prepared, although examiners may choose only select portions.
The keyboard component follows the current RCM 2015 Syllabus. All keyboard skills materials can be found in the Mount Allison University Alfred Whitehead Music Library. All required music is published in the RCM Celebration Series (2015 edition), Levels 1 through 4.
Musicianship Exemptions vs. Entrance Assessment
Please note that the Musicianship Exemption Exams differ in purpose to the online Entrance Assessment. The Entrance Assessment is required for all incoming BMus students (or any student wishing to take MUSC 1101) and is used to appraise your existing knowledge and skills in music theory and musicianship, whereas Musicianship Exemption Exams are optional and determine exemption from one or more components of the Musicianship courses (MUSC 1703 and MUSC 2703). For more information on the Entrance Assessment, click here and scroll down to Step 4.
Musicianship Exemption Exam Details
Musicianship Exemption exams take place during the first week of classes in the Fall term. It is expected that even students attempting full exemptions should attend the relevant class for the first week.
Sight-singing Exemption Test: First Tuesday of classes, times TBA by individual sign-up
Keyboard Exemption Test: First Thursday of classes, times TBA by individual sign-up
Dictation Exemption Test: In-class during the first week of classes, no sign-up necessary
For more information and further inquiries concerning exemption and placement policies for Musicianship courses, please contact Dr. Gayle h Martin at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Letter grades in applied music courses
Results in all University courses at Mount Allison are submitted as letter grades.
The following are guidelines for the interpretation of these letter grades as they apply to the studio component of applied music courses.
The studio component will be evaluated by considering the following criteria as work throughout the term:
- Professionalism: attendance at lessons, studio classes and rehearsals; punctuality; attitude (towards instructor and peers)
- Preparation: preparedness of all assigned pieces within an appropriate time frame
- Progress: steady progress and improvement; making effective use of appropriate daily practice time
- Increasing technical polish and interpretive maturity
- Flexibility: openness to new ideas and suggestions; an ability to compromise and follow instructions
- Listening: the ability to listen carefully and to adapt to what is heard
- Behaviour: acting respectfully, responsibly, and courteously when working with your fellow musicians (including collaborative pianists)
- For singers and collaborative pianists: proper diction and understanding of the text
A+: is awarded to a student whose work is of professional calibre, exceeding the expectations for the above criteria.
A: indicates outstanding work, clearly meeting all expectations for the above criteria.
A-: The student’s work is quite well prepared, meeting the expectations for the above criteria well beyond the minimum requirements
These grades indicate the above criteria are well met.
B+: is awarded to a well-prepared student, whose work is almost but not quite polished and mature enough to deserve an A-.
B: indicates that, in addition to adequate preparation and progress, the student meets the above criteria beyond the minimum standards.
B-: The student’s work is above the minimum acceptable expectations of the above criteria for this course level. There are areas of weakness, but reasonably good preparation and progress are demonstrated. There is no reason to doubt that the student can continue successfully in the music program.
Marks in this range are an indication that the student meets the expectations for the above criteria in an acceptable way for this course level.
There are obvious weaknesses that need to be addressed, but satisfactory preparation and progress that range from average to tolerable.
According to University Senate regulations, the grades listed in the categories below are not sufficient to proceed to an applied music course at the next level.
This range indicates that the work is to some degree below the minimum standard expectations for the above criteria.
The work is sufficient for a passing grade, but not sufficient to proceed to the next level of study.
The grade indicates that the student’s work is of wholly unacceptable quality and does not meet the expectations for the above criteria.
Recitals and juries
Results in all University courses at Mount Allison are submitted as letter grades. The following are guidelines for the interpretation of these letter grades as they apply to applied music courses, juries, and credited recitals.
This range of grades indicates varying degrees of excellence.
A+: is awarded to a student whose work is of very high calibre in both technical accomplishment and artistic maturity. An exceptional level of preparation should be apparent.
A: indicates outstanding work that is secure and shows a high calibre in both technical accomplishment and artistic maturity.
A–: The student’s work is quite well prepared, polished and secure. There is technical and musical accomplishment well beyond the minimum requirements for this level.
These grades indicate a good performance.
B+: indicates a well-prepared, musically and technically sound performance – a presentation almost but not quite polished enough to deserve an A–.
B: indicates that, in addition to adequate preparation, the student displays musicianship and/or technical accomplishment beyond the minimum standards.
B–: The student’s work is above the minimum acceptable standard for this course level. There are technical and musical weaknesses, but the repertoire is of adequate difficulty and the jury material is reasonably well prepared and presented. There is no reason to doubt that the student can continue successfully in the music program.
Marks in this range are an indication that the work is of acceptable standard for a music student at this course level.
There are obvious technical and musical weaknesses that need to be addressed, but the repertoire is of adequate difficulty and the standard of performance is from average to tolerable.
Students preparing credited or non-credited recitals should note that if the quality of preparation is poor and could potentially lead to one of the grades listed in the categories below, the Music department, on the recommendation of the studio instructor, has the right to cancel a planned student recital.
This range indicates that the work is to some degree below the minimum standard expected of a music student at this level.
According to University Senate regulations, the work is sufficient for a passing grade, but not sufficient to proceed to an applied music course at the next level.
The grade indicates that the student’s work is of wholly unacceptable quality in preparation, musicianship, and/or technical accomplishment.
The Concerto Competition will not be held in the 2021-2022 academic year
Winners will be selected to perform with the Mount Allison Chamber Orchestra or Symphonic Band.
Application deadline: N/A
Eligibility: any current full-time Mount A student in good standing may apply.
Eligible works: pieces for solo instrument or voice and band. Examples are concerti, concert pieces, and transcriptions if approved. Note: repertoire must be approved by the applied instructor (for BMus students) and by the conductor before the Aug. 1 deadline.
A score must be provided with the application form, with a link to a recording. If no full score is available at the time of the application a piano score is acceptable.
Format: The competition will consist of one live round, which will be held in early November 2020. Pieces must be performed from memory in the competition, with piano accompaniment, up to a maximum of 20 minutes.
If selected to perform with the orchestra or band, the conductor will decide upon the length of the actual performance.
Prize: Winner will perform with the Mount A Chamber Orchestra or Symphonic Band in the winter term of 2021. No cash prize will be awarded.
Judging: Competition will be judged by a panel of three: the directors of the Chamber Orchestra and Symphonic Band (or one conductor and another member of the Music faculty), and one professional musician from outside of Mount Allison.