Learning Outcomes | Chatham University, Pittsburgh, PA

Chatham University

Music (BA) Learning Outcomes

Program-Specific Goals & Objectives

This section explains the discipline-specific goals and objectives of the Music program.

1. General musicianship (all concentrations)

Students will acquire:
  1. The ability to hear, identify and work conceptually with the elements of music such as rhythm, melody, harmony, structure, timbre, texture.
  2. An understanding of and the ability to read and realize musical notation.
  3. An understanding of compositional processes, aesthetic properties of style, and the ways these shape and are shaped by artistic and cultural forces.
  4. An acquaintance with a wide selection of musical literature, the principal ears, genres, and cultural sources.
  5. The ability of develop and defend musical judgments.

2. Performance

Students will acquire:
  1. Technical skills requisite for artistic self-expression in at least one major performance area at a level appropriate for the particular music concentration.
  2. An overview understanding of the repertory in their major performance area and the ability to perform from a cross-section of that repertory.
  3. The ability to read at sight with fluency demonstrating both general musicianship and, in the major performance area, a level of skill relevant to professional standards appropriate for the particular concentration.
  4. Knowledge and skills sufficient to work as a leader and in collaboration on matters of musical interpretation. Rehearsal and conducting skills are required as appropriate to the particular music concentration.
  5. Keyboard competency.
  6. Growth in artistry, technical skills, collaborative competence and knowledge of repertory through regular ensemble experiences. Ensembles should be varied both in size and nature.

3. Musicianship skills and analysis

Students will acquire:
  1. An understanding of the common elements and organizational patterns of music and their interaction, the ability to employ this understanding in aural, verbal, and visual analyses, and the ability to take aural dictation.
  2. Sufficient understand of and capability with musical forms, processes, and structures to use this knowledge and skill in compositional, performance, analytical, scholarly, and pedagogical applications according to the requisites of their specializations.
  3. The ability to place music in historical, cultural, and stylistic contexts.

4. Composition and improvisation

Students must acquire a rudimentary capacity to create derivative or original music both extemporaneously and in written form; for examples, the imitation of various musical styles, improvisation on pre-existing materials, the creation of original compositions, experimentation with various sound sources, and manipulating the common elements in non-traditional ways.

5. History and Repertory

Students must acquire basic knowledge of music history and repertories through the present time, including study and experience of musical language and achievement in addition to that of the primary culture encompassing the area of specialization.

6. Technology

Students must acquire the ability to use technologies current to their area of specialization.

7. Synthesis

While synthesis is a lifelong process, by the end of the undergraduate study students must be able to work on musical problems by combining, as appropriate to the issue, their capabilities in performance; aural, verbal, and visual analysis; composition and improvisation; history and repertory; and technology.

The learning outcomes are taken from the National Association of Schools of Music Handbook; the NASM is the primary accrediting agency for collegiate music programs in the United States. Section 1 corresponds to the knowledge and skills associated with the Bachelor of Arts degree, while Sections 2 through 7 correspond to a professional degree, typically the Bachelor of Music. Chatham University increasingly is moving in the latter direction, particularly as our students show interest in the collaborative music education program with Carnegie Mellon and need to pass their audition for admission to that program. I have created a rubric that includes all of the above outcomes, and relates them to Chatham’s current curriculum. This will clearly display deficiencies, but will help to determine, of the outcomes not currently addressed by our curriculum, which are less important and which demand curricular adjustment.