The student receives faculty advice and guidance in creating a program of study best suited to achieve interrelated objectives:
- the command of certain basic skills that are universally recognized as attributes of the musician;
- the development of individual musical and intellectual interests;
- a curriculum relevant to long-term personal and professional goals.
In planning an individual program the student must address the following:
- All students will devote a major portion of their efforts to the development of their potential as performers or composers. At the same time, all students are expected to participate in many other dimensions of music making.
- The need to develop and acquire the following basic skills must be kept in mind.
Ear: The cultivation of aural discrimination and aural memory.
Voice: The ability to use the voice to illustrate pitch and temporal relationships independent of an instrument.
Hands: For all performers, technical mastery of their chosen instrument; for nonkeyboard players, at least the minimal capability to decipher the musical sense of a score; for singers, the ability to decipher, at the piano, the sense of an accompaniment. For all, the rudiments of conducting and related body movement.
Eye: The ability to read fluently in all clefs and to comprehend with ease the average keyboard score, four-part vocal music, and standard instrumental scores.
- It is understood that educated men and women should be able to express themselves clearly in their own language, both in speech and in writing. Those who cannot communicate effectively will be handicapped in expressing ideas to others and in developing, defining, and understanding those ideas. Students should take several courses that will require them to write papers demanding evidence of critical investigation, analytical thought, and clarity of organization.
- Music is an international art, and the languages in which it is rehearsed, performed, criticized, discussed, and analyzed are numerous. For singers, the necessity of a basic command of several modern languages is obvious. A student should maintain and develop language facility already acquired and, if desired, undertake the study of additional languages.
- Composers should be aware of previous or unfamiliar musical styles as a possible source of stimulation to creative activity or as a contrasting context to their own musical individuality. Performers likewise should develop familiarity with their musical heritage and should use this knowledge to illuminate their interpretations. For all musicians, contact with less-familiar music and means of music making can lead to a heightening of consciousness of the idiosyncrasies of the music that normally engages their interests.
- The extent of intellectual interests outside the domain of music must necessarily vary with the temperament and background of the individual. For those musicians who are verbally and visually sensitive, the broadest possible exposure to literature and the visual arts cannot fail to be of special benefit, and the cross-fertilization of their discipline through contact with parallel problems can be extremely fruitful. The usefulness of those arts directly connected with music, such as poetry, drama, and dance, is self-evident.