Music Handbook

See Music Program Handbook

Welcome

Welcome to the West Valley College Department of Music and Dance in the Cilker School of Art and Design. As a music student, you have joined a community of student colleagues, faculty, and staff whose interest, enthusiasm, talent and achievement in all aspects of the musical arts will serve to stimulate you toward the fullest development of your capacities as a music professional. The purpose of this handbook is to guide you in your career as a music student at West Valley College. The music faculty and staff are happy to assist you with any school questions, and we urge you to consult regularly with your major performance coordinator to assure your completion of requirements on schedule.

Mission Statement

The West Valley College Music Department provides an exceptional education through coursework and opportunities for artistic pursuit at the highest level, embracing diversity, creativity, literacy, performance, technology, and engagement with the community. We strive to create consummate professionals by nurturing determination and discipline while supporting artistry and intellect. Our faculty create conservatory and commercial music experiences that foster lifelong learning, university transfer, and direct entry into the music industry workforce.

What Degree Should I Pursue?

West Valley College offers two Associate degrees in Music:

  • 70-unit Associate of Arts Degree
  • 60-unit Associate Degree for Transfer (ADT or AA-T)

Successful completion of the lower unit AA-T in Music guarantees admission to a CSU campus, though not necessarily of the student's choice. In addition, this degree does not guarantee acceptance into the specific program of specialty.

The higher-unit AA in Music provides a comprehensive music education in music history, piano and additional elective units in music above and beyond the music theory, musicianship, applied music and ensemble provided by the AA-T.

The Music faculty strongly recommends students pursue the 70-unit degree, which provides a complete music education, equivalent or exceeding the experience at a four-year institution. The Music faculty also recommends simultaneously applying for the 60-unit degree, the requirements of which will automatically be completed with the completion of the 70-unit degree.

Following these recommendations will give students the advantage of a comprehensive music education from the AA in Music that prepares students for transfer auditions and placement tests, with the fallback of guaranteed CSU acceptance from the AA-T.

Academic Standards

Music students are encouraged to maintain a high level of academic excellence and applied music per-formance. While an average of “C” in all major course work is required, students are encouraged to maintain a minimum of 3.0 GPA in order to meet minimum standards for many schools you may want to transfer to. In reality, transfer schools value community college students, but primarily those who have demonstrated excellence in their first two years of collegiate music instruction. All music majors will be required to pass jury examinations in respective applied areas at the end of each semester. Stu-dents are encouraged to attend the many live faculty and student performances available on campus and in the greater Bay Area.

Within the core curriculum students are required to demonstrate:

  • An understanding of the nature and expressiveness of music through theoretical analysis of musical styles from the fourteenth to the twenty first century;
  • An understanding of various musical genres and historical eras from the Medieval era to the twentieth century;
  • An understanding of various musics of other cultures as introduced in theoretical analysis and a historical context;
  • An ability to demonstrate a synthesis of acquired musical knowledge and analytical kills in classroom performance and composition

Specifically, musicianship studies appropriate to the Associates degrees should produce:

  • The ability to hear, identify, and work conceptually with the elements of rhythm, melody, harmony, and structure;
  • An ability to appreciate and articulate compositional processes, aesthetic properties of style, and the ways these criteria shape and are shaped by artistic and cultural forces;
  • Facility with a wide selection of musical literature, the principal eras, genres, and cultural sources, including music beyond the canon of Western cultures;
  • The ability to develop and defend musical judgments.

The core requirements are designed to produce music majors who will demonstrate:

  • Technically competent and artistic performance skills. Aspects of technical competency will include:
  • proper tone production and articulation;
  • accurate rhythms and pitches;
  • technical facility with scales and arpeggios;
  • The application of all the above techniques to a cross-section of the music from the complete repertory of the particular performance medium;
  • The ability to read at sight with reasonable fluency at the lower-division level.
  • An understanding of the nature and expressiveness of music through analysis of various genes and historical eras, showing competence with compositional styles and musical genres of the leading composers in each era;
  • The skills to competently analyze music tonality (melody/harmony), rhythm (various durations and meters) and forms (small structures such as motives and phrases; larger forms of rondo, sonata-alle-gro, bar-form; and large multi-movement works such as symphony, oratorio, concerto).
  • A general understanding of music in diverse world cultures including compositional and performance techniques instruments, genres, and societal function.

Departmental Attendance and Grading Policies

  • If you do not earn a passing grade in a core music course (major ensemble, applied lessons, music theory), that course must be repeated.
  • Class attendance is a vital component in a complete musical education; students are expected to attend all meetings of their classes in the music major.
  • Attendance at all rehearsals and performances of primary and secondary ensembles is absolutely mandatory. While each conductor institutes different policies, unexcused absences from rehearsals are totally unacceptable and carry consequences for the student’s grade.
  • West Valley College Academic Regulation 5.6.1 states:
    “Instructors may drop students from class if they fail to attend the first class meeting, if they fail to attend at least one class session during the first three weeks of instruction, or when accumulated unexcused hours of absence exceed ten percent of the total number of hours the class meets during the semester.”

With 15 weeks of instruction, this means:

  • If a class meets 1x per week, the student may be dropped after missing 2 classes
  • If a class meets 2x per week, the student may be dropped after missing 3 classes
  • If a class meets 4x per week, the student may be dropped after missing 6 classes

This material was developed to help entering music students better prepare themselves for first year level music classes. While much of this material will be discussed and reviewed in classes, it is in the student’s best interest to have a working knowledge and familiarity with some theory, music terminology and music history.

A theory placement examination is administered to all incoming music students. Students may wish to take MUSC 005 – Fundamentals of Music during the previous Spring or Summer sessions for an in-depth review before beginning the traditional theory sequence in the Fall.

Please review the material on the following pages prior to your start at West Valley. The faculty would like entering students to be familiar with the following:

  • Read both treble and bass clefs;
  • Understand basic rhythmic notation for both notes and rests;
  • Know major and minor key signatures;
  • Understand whole and half steps as they relate to scales;
  • Understand simple triads (three note chords);
  • Understand basic musical terminology as related to tempo, style and performance.

All new transfer students must take placement exams in theory and audition for admission to a major performing ensemble and an applied area. Email the appropriate music coordinator before the start of the semester for times and dates of these exams:

Lou De La Rosa

Lou De La Rosa

Music
Music Instructor / Chairman, Department of Music & Dance

(408) 741-4663
lou.delarosa@westvalley.edu
Music Building MU-4

Troy Davis

Troy Davis

Music
Director of Instrumental Music and Jazz Studies

(408) 741-2682
troy.davis@westvalley.edu

Theory Placement – Incoming Freshman

It is Department Policy that all Freshman shall be required to take a general music fundamentals test for placement purposes prior to or during the first week of the term. Based on the results of the test, students will be advised to enroll in the appropriate courses:

  • MUSC 003A Music Theory, Level 1 and MUSC 020A Musicianship, Level 1; or
  • MUSC 005 Fundamentals of Music

Theory Placement – All Incoming Transfers

It is Department Policy that all transfer students will be required to take a written and aural examination prior to or during the first week of the term. Those who do not pass the test will be advised to audit the appropriate theory class as determined by the theory area coordinator until such time as they are ready to proceed to the next level.

Applied Music Placement – Incoming Freshman

It is Department Policy that incoming freshmen intending to be music majors will demonstrate basic competencies in technique and musicianship in their major performance medium in accordance with criteria and performance list established by the vocal, instrumental, and keyboard areas. The music co-ordinators have a set of specific criteria indicating the appropriate literature for each instrument or voice.

Applied Music Placement – All Incoming Transfers

It is Department Policy that all transfer students be expected to meet the department requirements in applied music prior to acceptance for enrollment in applied music courses in their major performance medium. Students who are deficient shall be placed according to their demonstrated skill level. No trans-fer student can opt out of lessons without passing a junior qualifying examination. Contact the appropri-ate music coordinator for complete information.

Instruments

The Music Department provides musical instruments for student use. Instruments are issued according to the following criteria:

  1. Ensemble need.
  2. Approval of applied music instructor
  • Students must be using the instrument in a primary or secondary performing ensemble.
  • Students issued instruments must fill out an Instrument Loan Contract. This form holds the student financially responsible for any loss or damage which may occur to the instrument/equipment while in his care. Unpaid fees for lost and stolen equipment will freeze student records and put a hold on registration until all fees are paid. The student must keep school instruments in good and proper con-dition as to be determined by the ensemble conductor. All instruments will be assessed for damage upon cleaning and billed to student upon completion of repairs.
  • The student must not have West Valley College equipment repaired or adjusted by any off-campus repair shop without prior approval of the Department of Music.
  • All West Valley College instruments and equipment must be checked in to your ensemble conductor no later than 3 p.m. the day of Juries without prior approval.
  • Summer use of instruments requires the approval of the Director of Instrumental Music.
  • Instrumentalists must purchase their own mouthpieces/reeds/bows/mallets.

Pianos and Percussion Equipment

  • Pianos and Percussion equipment are maintained on a periodic basis. Students noting any problems with instruments should let the Music Department Chair know immediately.
  • Grand pianos are only available for piano majors practice with the consent of the full time faculty.
  • Practice Rooms

    Practice rooms are available daily to music students between the hours of 7:30 am and 10 pm Monday through Thursday and 7:30 am to 4:30 pm on Friday.

Lockers

  • Lockers are available to students enrolled in a WVC music performance course. Preference is given to instrumental music majors, then voice majors, then non-major instrumentalists.
  • Lockers must be checked-out with the music coordinator during the first week of each semester.
  • West Valley College assumes no responsibility, nor liability for instruments or equipment stored in Department of Music lockers.

Use of Digital Music Center and Recording Facilities

Lab facilities are controlled by the Director of Commercial Music. Labs are all limited access rooms. Do not take food or drink into any of the lab facilities.

Lab Access/Studio Rules

  • No food or beverages will be allowed in the studios at any time. Closed containers, such as water bottles, should be stowed in backpacks.
  • No writing upon or posting of notes on the workstations, hardware, furniture or walls is allowed.
  • Users may not connect peripheral devices to studio hardware without permission. The repatching of cables and equipment other than the user accessible patch bays or the moving of cables, equipment, tables, or tampering with security devices within the studio is not allowed.
  • Problems with any hardware or software should be written in the studio sign-in log in those studios where one is provided or reported to the instructor or his assistant.
  • No installation or removal of application and system software, or the changing of default video, print-er, desktop, etc. parameters on studio workstations is allowed.
  • File storage on workstation is limited to classroom defined procedures. All other material will be erased periodically.
  • Lab use is an extension of instruction of the Department of Music, therefore, all work performed in the lab should support class assignments. Printing papers for other classes, personal e-mail, live-chat messaging, surfing the web, etc. in a manner that is not part of the Department of Music assignments is not allowed.

Music Library

The Music Library is located in the Library building. The library contains books, music scores, and per-formance editions of a wide range and variety of musical styles and periods. The check-out procedures for these materials are the same as for all main library materials. The music library follows the Library of Congress classifications for cataloging materials. Following is a brief guideline for finding materials:

  • M: Performance editions of music, collected works, miniature scores
  • ML: Books about the literature of music and musicians
  • MT: Books about the theory of music

Noise-Induced Hearing Loss

Hearing health is essential to your lifelong success as a musician. Your hearing can be permanently dam-aged by loud sounds, including music. Technically, this is called Noise- Induced Hearing Loss (NIHL). Such danger is constant. Noise-Induced hearing loss is generally preventable. You must avoid overex-posure to loud sounds, especially for long periods of time. The closer you are to the source of a loud sound, the greater the risk of damage to your hearing mechanisms. Sounds over 85 dB (a typical vacuum cleaner) in intensity pose the greatest risk to your hearing. Risk of hearing loss is based on a combination of sound or loudness intensity and duration.

Recommended maximum daily exposure times (NIOSH) to sounds at or above 85 dB are as follows:

  • 85 dB: (vacuum cleaner, audio playback at 1/3 volume) – 8 hours
  • 90 dB: (blender, hair dryer) – 2 hours
  • 94 dB: (audio playback at 1/2 volume) – 1 hour
  • 100 dB: (audio playback at full volume, lawnmower) – 15 min.
  • 110 dB: (rock concert, power tools) – 2 min.
  • 120 dB: (jet planes at take-off) – without ear protection, sound damage is almost immediate

Certain behaviors (controlling volume levels in practice and rehearsal, avoiding noisy environments, turning down the volume) reduce your risk of hearing loss. Be mindful of earbuds. See chart above.

The use of earplugs and earmuffs helps to protect your hearing health. Day-to-day decisions can impact your hearing health, both now and in the future. Since sound exposure occurs in and out of school, you also need to learn more and take care of your own hearing health on a daily, even hourly basis. It is im-portant to follow basic hearing health guidelines. It is also important to study this issue and learn more. If you are concerned about your personal hearing health, talk with a medical professional.

If you are concerned about your hearing health in relationship to your program of study, consult the appropriate contact person at your institution. This information is provided by the National Association of Schools of Music (NASM) and the Performing Arts Medicine Association (PAMA).

For more information, check out the resources provided on the NASM website.

Musculoskeletal Injuries Associated with Specific Instruments

To reduce the chance of injury from repetition or poor posture, please read Practice Considerations for the Musician by Sean McGowan, DMA

Violin/viola

  • Neck pain
  • Thoracic outlet syndrome (left)
  • Carpal tunnel syndrome (left)
  • Cubital tunnel syndrome (left)
  • Flexor carpi ulnaris tendinitis (left)
  • Rotator cuff tendinitis (right)
  • Extensor carpi radialis tendinitis (right)
  • Temporomandibular joint dysfunction

Cello/string bass

  • Neck pain
  • Ulnar nerve entrapment (left)
  • Flexor carpi ulnaris tendinitis (left)
  • Rotator cuff tendinitis (right)
  • Extensor carpi radialis tendinitis (right)

Vocals

  • Vocal cord strain
  • Facial and neck muscle strain
  • Focal dystonia of vocal cord muscles

Clarinet

  • Carpometacarpal joint strain (right)
  • Carpal tunnel syndrome
  • De Quervain’s syndrome (right)
  • Lateral epicondylitis (right and left)
  • Temporomandibular joint dysfunction

Oboe

  • Extensor carpi radialis tendinitis (right)
  • Lateral epicondylitis (right)
  • Ulnar nerve entrapment (right)
  • Posterior interosseous nerve entrapment (right)
  • Back and neck pain
  • De Quervain’s syndrome

Trombone

  • Focal dystonia of lip
  • Lateral epicondylitis (right)
  • Strain of orbicularis oris

French Horn

  • Temporomandibular joint dysfunction
  • Strain of extensor carpi radialis (right)
  • Strain of dorsal wrist ligament (right)
  • Strain of orbicularis oris

Percussion

  • Lateral and medial epicondylitis
  • Flexor carpi ulnaris tendinitis
  • Extensor carpi radialis tendinitis
  • De Quervain’s syndrome
  • Carpal tunnel syndrome
  • Achilles tendinitis

Guitar

  • Triceps tendinitis (right)
  • Focal dystonia of index and middle fingers and thumb (right)
  • Thoracic outlet syndrome (left)
  • Carpal tunnel syndrome (left)
  • Flexor carpi ulnaris tendinitis (left)
  • Strain of dorsal interosseous (left)

Harp

  • Neck pain
  • Flexor and extensor tenosynovitis of thumbs
  • Extensor carpi radialis tendinitis (left)
  • Medial epicondylitis (left)
  • Flexor hallucis longus tenosynovitis of big toe (right)

Saxophone

  • Back and neck pain
  • Extensor carpi radialis tendinitis (right and left)
  • Temporomandibular joint dysfunction

Bassoon

  • Back and neck pain
  • Temporomandibular joint dysfunction
  • Dental problems
  • Strain of teres major and pectoralis major (right)
  • De Quervain’s syndrome

Flute

  • Thoracic outlet syndrome (left and right)
  • Ulnar nerve entrapment (left)
  • Extensor carpi radialis tendinitis (left)
  • Back and neck pain
  • De Quervain’s syndrome (left and right)
  • Focal dystonia of ring and little fingers (left)

Trumpet

  • Maxillofacial and lip trauma
  • Pharyngeal dilatation
  • Bagpipes
  • Focal dystonia of ring and middle fingers (right)

Tuba

  • Strain of orbicularis oris
  • Keyboards (piano/organ/accordion)
  • Thoracic outlet syndrome
  • Medial and lateral epicondylitis
  • Tendinitis of wrist flexors and extensors
  • Carpal tunnel syndrome
  • De Quervain’s syndrome
  • Dorsal wrist ganglion
  • Focal dystonia of thumb, finger, hand, and foot muscles

Note: This table is based on reports by Chong et al. (1989), Fry (1986a and 1986b), and Norris (1993). This is not an exhaustive list of all MSIs or instruments.

Addtional Information

Concert, Jury, and Recital Requirements

Concerts

All music majors are required to attend concerts for ensembles to which they are assigned. Concert reports are required in addition to other concerts that do not require a report.

Jury

A jury is defined as a private performance of a student in front of a music faculty committee. A commit-tee must consist of 3 music faculty members, one of whom is a full-time instructor. The Jury is designed to evaluate student progress in accordance to their applied lessons at the end of every semester.

Each student taking applied lessons must take a jury at the end of that semester. Each student will be allotted 15 minutes to complete the jury. A jury performance schedule will be posted no later than one week in advance of the scheduled jury dates. Except for emergencies, juries cannot be postponed or rescheduled. Students are expected to keep their schedule free on the date of juries so they can comply with assigned jury times.

Attire: Juries are important and, for the reasons outlined above, one’s attire should reflect this. Semi-formal or business casual attire is expected: Coat and tie, dress, skirt and blouse, or for mal pants outfit, dress shoes. Jeans and tennis shoes are inappropriate.

Evaluation: The point of a jury is to provide an objective opinion of a student’s progress. All juries will be recorded onto video. Students will receive their jury assessments and video recordings from the Studio Instructor within one week of the jury performance. The formal assessments will be kept in the student’s permanent record. The assessment and video recording will also be shared with the student’s private instructor.

Recital

A recital is defined as a public solo performance on campus. All students enrolled in applied lessons will perform as a soloist at least once a semester in a recital.

Major Performance Ensemble Requirements

Music majors must be enrolled in at least one 1 major ensemble each semester using their principal in-strument. Guitarists, pianists, and composers may be placed in any major ensemble by the music faculty based on the needs of the ensembles. Those major performance ensembles include MUSC 042 Concert Choir, MUSC 048 Symphony Orchestra and MUSC 049 Symphonic Band.

Staff Collaborative Pianist

Regular accompaniment is provided for all music majors and students enrolled in MUS Applied Music. The collaborative pianist rehearses with the student outside of lesson time, attends lessons when sched-uling allows, and supports the student’s performance efforts. In rehearsal, the pianist/coach provides instruction in matters of diction, musicality, characterization, stage presence, and/or technique.

NO STUDENT MAY REGISTER FOR APPLIED MUSIC ONLY. In order to receive applied instruction, a student must be enrolled in a major performing ensemble. The following level proficiencies for instrumental and vocal students are currently required by the music faculty. In addition to these basic skills, individual applied courses of study are on file with each applied instructor.

Instrumental Major Requirements

Applied Music I

  • Chromatic Scale
  • All major scales and arpeggios
  • Scale tempo - eighth notes: quarter = 70 Freshman level sight reading
  • Prepared solo and etude of contrasting styles

Applied Music II

  • Chromatic Scale
  • All major scales and arpeggios
  • All melodic minor scales and minor arpeggios
  • Scale tempo - eighth notes: quarter = 80
  • Freshman level sight reading
  • Prepared solo and etude of contrasting styles

Applied Music III

  • Chromatic Scale
  • All major scales
  • All melodic minor scales and minor arpeggios
  • All harmonic minor scales
  • Scale tempo - eighth notes: quarter = 90
  • Sophomore level sight reading
  • Prepared solo and etude of contrasting styles

Applied Music IV

  • Chromatic Scale
  • All major scales
  • All three forms of minor scales
  • All major and minor arpeggios
  • Scale tempo - eighth notes: quarter = 112
  • Sophomore level sight reading
  • Prepared solo and etude of contrasting styles

Requirements for Classical Instrumentalists

  • Each student must prepare one etude and one movement of a piece from the solo repertoire for the student’s instrument. Ideally these two pieces are of contrasting styles, to demonstrate both lyrical and technical elements of performance. If the repertoire is written with accompaniment, an accompanist is required for performance.
  • Students must perform scales (see above). Scales do not need to be memorized.
  • Students must sight-read short melodies.

Requirements for Jazz Instrumentalists

  • Each student must prepare one composed etude or piece of literature for the student’s instrument.
  • Each student must perform one jazz standard and perform an improvised solo section, as well as the melody.
  • Each student must perform one jazz transcription which grows in complexity and length each semester.
  • Students must perform scales (see above for scale requirements). Scales do not need to be memorized.
  • Students must sight-read short melodies.

Voice Major Requirements

Applied Music I

  • Beginning knowledge of English and Italian lyric diction Sight reading
  • 3 songs prepared by memory (at least one in a foreign language, usually Italian)

Applied Music II

  • Knowledge of International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA) for English and Italian
  • Sight reading
  • 3 songs prepared by memory (at least one in a foreign language, usually Italian)

Applied Music III

  • Knowledge of German & French lyric diction
  • Sight reading
  • 4 songs prepared by memory (2 in a foreign language)

Applied Music IV

  • Knowledge of IPA - English, Italian, French, German
  • Sight reading
  • 4 songs prepared by memory (at least 3 in a foreign language, including German Lied)

Requirements for Classical Vocalists

  • First year students must prepare 3 classical pieces in a minimum of 2 languages (English and Italian) by memory.
  • Second year students must prepare 4 classical pieces in a minimum of 3 languages (English, Italian, and German) by memory.
  • All music must be performed with a collaborative pianist. No a cappella music is allowed.

Requirements for Musical Theater Vocalists

  • First year students must prepare 2 classical pieces and 1 musical theater piece in a minimum of 2 languages (English and Italian) by memory.
  • Second year students must prepare 2 classical pieces and 2 musical theater in a minimum of 3 languages (English, Italian, and German) by memory.
  • All music must be performed with a collaborative pianist. No a cappella music is allowed.

Piano Major Requirements

Applied Music I

  • All major scales from memory, hands together, four octaves, sixteenth notes, quarter = 60
  • All major arpeggios from memory, hands together, four octaves, in triplet eighths, quarter = 60
  • 1 prepared Bach Two-Part Invention

Applied Music II

  • All major scales as above, in tempo: quarter = 68
  • All major arpeggios from memory in duple eighths, quarter = 108
  • All melodic minor scales and minor arpeggios from memory 1 prepared etude/solo from memory
  • 1 prepared Bach Two-Part Invention

Applied Music III

  • All major scales, hands together, from memory, four octaves, sixteenth notes, in tempo, quarter = 72
  • All melodic and harmonic minor scales and arpeggios from memory, hands together, four octaves, sixteenth notes: quarter = 60
  • 1 prepared Bach Two-Part Invention
  • 1 prepared solo from memory

Applied Music IV

  • All scales, in tempo: quarter = 80
  • All major and minor scales and arpeggios as above in sixteenth notes: quarter = 66
  • 1 prepared Bach Three-Part Invention
  • 2 prepared solos from memory

See Degree and Certficate Options

Last Updated 10/12/20