At a Glance
Hi there! My name is Lucia and I am in the Faculty of Music studying Voice and Performance
WHY DID YOU CHOOSE YOUR PROGRAM?
I chose my program because from a young age music has always been a very important part of my life. I am my best and happiest self when sharing my love of music with others, whether through performance, collaboration, or education. I can’t see myself pursuing any other career without music somehow involved! Western offers an amazing music program for professional, hard-working musicians that understand the commitment, responsibility and power music has in our society. There are so many great ways to get involved with the music faculty on campus and an abundance of networking/bonding opportunities with fellow musicians who are just as passionate as you! The music community at Western is very close and supportive of each other, which makes studying here the absolute best!
MY FIRST YEAR COURSES
Music courses in first year are eye-opening and quite the learning experience. Although we have short lectures/classes, your time table will fill up with studio lessons, coachings, masterclasses, ensemble rehearsals and so on. As student-musicians come from different backgrounds and experience with music, courses/topics in first year may come easier to some students, and others maybe not so much. But don’t fret! There are so many resources and supportive people in the faculty who are eager to lend a helping hand to first years if they need it!
*** along with the courses listed below you are expected to take half a music elective and a full year non-music elective. For example, I took ‘Teaching and Learning Music’ for half the school year, and ‘Italian’ for the full year. For more information, see the Western Faculty of Music website.
(DICTATION, SIGHT SINGING, KEY-BOARD HARMONY)
This course, although hard to wrap your head around, will make sense once you dive into your classes and timetables. GIM (General Integrated Musicianship) encompasses three different areas of music practice into one ‘course’: Dictation, Sight Singing, and Keyboard Harmony, These three different topics, though, are taught to students in separate classes/practices. The final grade is determined by your average between these three classes. For sight singing, an hour of your week will be spent with six to twelve other first year music students learning how to use solfege and sight sing music. Quizzes and Tests are frequent, so don’t forget to practice! Don’t worry, they start from the very basics. For your Dictation class, you will learn how to analyze music through auditory learning and how to identify chordal and rhythmic characteristics. This is also one hour of the week. There are also frequent quizzes and Tests, so if you are not familiar with this topic remember to practice every week. And finally, Keyboard harmony is graded through bi-weekly 5 minute keyboard tests. There is no weekly class for this part of the course, but every other week you will be given a small keyboard harmony test that you must prepare on your own. The previous week to the test has a drop in classes where you can show upper year TA’s your progress and they can help you prepare for the test. If you lack piano skills I suggest learning basic scales and chords in different inversions for every key so that you are familiar with how it will be set up!
MUSIC HISTORY: c.900-c.1750
Music History from c.900-c.1750 covers music in the Medieval/Middle Ages, The Renaissance, and the Baroque Era. This course was previously only the Middle Ages and The Renaissance, but then was changed to also include Baroque. That being said, it is a very fast paced course with a lot of content to cover. My professor for this course had a no technology rule and we had to take notes by hand. Be sure to practise your speed writing if your professor decides the same! My prof set the course up to have three ‘tests’ throughout the year for each year (they were more like midterms) worth 30% and also an essay worth 10%. On the tests, one tricky part that a lot of students have trouble with are the ‘listenings’. Each era of music comes with a list of 12-20 pieces that are covered in lecture. Remember to write extensive notes on these listenings in class, as there is a section on the text dedicated to these listenings where you must identify specific characteristics taught in class after hearing a 20 second excerpt. Remember to study these listenings outside of class as much as you can, many of them sound very similar so it is important you can point out specific music techniques or characteristics. The course came with printable anthologies per unit that included the listenings’ musical scores. Again, this was how my professor set up the course for my year and that is subject to change year to year.
Four hours per week you will be a part of some kind of ensemble. For example, if you are a voice student, you will be auditioned and put into one of four choirs. For band/string, these auditions come out with scores to pre-learn for your audition, and for voice there is a sight singing test and a range test. But don’t stress! The auditions are very relaxed and first years are not expected to dazzle the panel. Just remember to be well prepared, dress professional, and walk in with a smile! These courses are graded pass / fail. You will perform in 2-4 concerts with your ensemble per year. These ensembles are taken seriously, and skipping ensemble rehearsal or the concerts may lead to a fail! I met my best friends in ensemble and I really enjoyed rehearsals! This is how Western Music showcases their talent to the London and Western community, so treat these concerts like a professional gig!
STUDIES IN THEORY I/II
This is a full year (1 credit) first year engineering calculus course. This course is considered to be one of the more difficult first year engineering courses and I would recommend attending every lecture to ensure that you stay on top of course content because it moves fast. This is also one of the courses where I highly recommend doing all of the recommended problems because similar ones usually will pop up on the quizzes as well as the exams. The grades for this course are heavily reliant on the midterm and final exams so it is important to do well on them.
MUSIC HISTORY INTRODUCTION
The first year Music History Introduction course is half a year and covers how to study Wetsern classical music eras by analyzing music through the elements of music. This course is only an Introduction into music history and consists of a midterm exam, a final exam, and usually two mini essays and a final essay. The course is usually three lectures per week at 1 hour each, with one of those time slots occasionally being a tutorial. Each lecture may have specific readings per class and many of these readings are on the exams, so remember to read your readings and make notes on how your prof references them in class. This course is known to mark very hard on their essays, so if you have trouble with writing I would recommend running your theses by your TA (they are usually the ones grading the pape), have your friends read over your paper, and DO NOT LEAVE YOUR THEM TO THE LAST MINUTE. Also, there is A LOT of content to cover and memorise. What helped me is to always re-write my lecture notes the night after class and review content daily. The textbook for this course that we used was ‘Music in the Western World, a history in documents’ by weiss and taruskin, but this is subject to change depending on the professor who teaches the course for your semester!
"APPLIED STUDIES' (STUDIO/COACHINGS)
Although you won’t see this ‘course’ on your timetable, every music student privately studies their instrument with a studio professor and a coach (unless you are a piano student, then only a studio prof). Your private lesson time will usually take up one hour of your week, and coachings usually last thirty minutes. In your lesson with your studio professor, you will work on your current repertoire and your technique with your instrument. Once accepted to Western Music, an email will be sent out asking you to submit your top three professors you would like to study with, and the music admin will try to match you with your teacher. Sometimes there is only one teacher for a specific instrument, so you will have nothing to worry about! You can research the music professors on the western music faculty site online! Coachings, on the other hand, are done with your designated pianist who will help you with your repertoire and play the piano accompaniment for your pieces. One day every week will be your studio’s masterclass, where the other students studying with your prof perform for each other. Each prf sets their masterclass up differently, some have students give feedback to the performer, others give feedback directly to the students. Each studio prof’s masterclass expectations are different, some have you perform every other week, other once a month. First years get leeway for about a month and then the expectations are usually the same for all students no matter their year. Each studio has 1-2 recitals per year where you will play either one or a set of pieces solo onstage. Take your lessons and coachings seriously! These are the people helping you directly develop your performance skills. Always be diligent, professional, and kind to your coach and studio prof. They are always there to help and care about your success and well-being as a student!
KEY BUILDINGS ON CAMPUS
1151 Richmond St London, ON N6A 2X2
1151 Richmond St, London, ON N6G 2V4
MY FAVOURITE STUDY SPOTS ON CAMPUS
The Third and Second floors of the music building have these beautiful day-light lit study spots for quiet time.
Sometimes I enjoy getting out of the music building to do some personal study time or just sit and listen to some music… where I like to go is downstairs of the University College (UC). It’s the first building on the right up the hill from Talbot College. It's very quiet and the lights are usually off so it is also relaxing and chill.
An amazing place to find solo repertoire if you are stuck. They also have an amazing online database with music related articles and research to help your essays. The librarians are also so so so so nice and extremely helpful when you are looking for something specific.
This website really helped me refresh and practice my ear training and dictation… its free!
“ That Classical podcast” and “Music Student 101”... Great for walks to class!
FINAL WORDS OF WISDOM
Music students are really stretched out for time, and sometimes it's hard to find any time to study or practice with all these classes! I suggest to Incorporate your practice time and study time into your schedule! By doing this you set out chunks of time to work on your personal progress, and you don’t have to cram last minute for a studio recital or lesson or an exam.
Make friends that are not in music! Although music friends are life-long friends, it's nice to branch out and meet people with other interests similar to yours. Take a break from music now and then and discover what western has to offer. There are COUNTLESS clubs and committees to join or get involved with.
STAY HEALTHY! It is so important to stay as healthy as you can. University is notorious for changing eating and exercise habits, so create a health schedule separate from your academic schedule to keep up your well-being. The rec center has awesome beginner classes like yoga, there are sports you can join with residence or intramurals, or just scheduling some time into your life to go on a daily walk will do wonders for your body, your studying and your sanity. I promise!
Enjoy your time at Western. It is an amazing school! I’m so happy for you and for your choice to pursue something you love. It may be daunting and scary, but you are courageous and you can do it! If you ever need any other advice, this is my email: email@example.com