Senior Project Expectations and Guidelines

When you’ve reached 75% or more of your degree completion, the Office of the Registrar will input an expected graduation term (which is one year away); students will receive an email notification from the email address informing them of this expected graduation term.

Check the Registrar’s Office website for details/forms  

IF there are justifiable reasons to extend a graduation term, complete a Change of Degree Completion Form in consultation with your faculty advisor      

  • The “Intent” of the Senior Project      
    1. “capstone” experience, building on things you’ve done AT CAL POLY (no blue-grass recitals, etc.)
    2. reflects multiple areas of your development as a music student (not just one aspect)
    3. must be developed with and supervised by a full-time music faculty member)
    4. cannot be professional work – (can’t be something for which you are being paid)
  • Eligibility for Applying      
    1. midpoint passed (musicianship, theory, piano, applied lessons)
    2. concert attendance current
    3. MU 350 level achieved (recitalists are strongly encouraged to have reached MU 450)
  • Timelines for Applying      
    1. For completion of project in Spring quarter - submit proposal to department by mid-Fall quarter
    2. Note: do NOT plan on taking a Spring Break “vacation”—you’ll need that time

    3. For completion of project in Winter quarter - submit proposal to department by mid-Spring quarter
    4. For completion of project in Fall quarter - submit proposal to department by mid-Winter quarter
  • Process to Apply      
    1. allow at least a month to complete the paperwork for your proposal!! Communicate with your advisor early
    2. fill out Senior Project Form and paperwork needed for your type of project:
      1. recitals must include date, location, repertory (and durations), all assisting performers [see Recital Format Requirements for more information]; total costs; you also need Recording Services form
      2. projects must include scope of project and documentation (timetable, bibliography, etc.) [see Project (Non-Recital) Format Requirements]
      3. BEFORE SUBMISSION, show the paperwork to Dr. McLamore for feedback
    3. completed proposals are due FRIDAY before NOON for consideration at the next faculty meeting
    4. when project is approved, you are issued a permission number for MU 461 (and MU 400 if doing program notes)
      1. you enroll the quarter before you expect to complete the project/recital
      2. “RP” (report pending) grade will be assigned at the end of the quarter you’re enrolled (you don’t enroll again)
      3. a change-of-grade form will be submitted once the project is complete
  • Digital Commons
    • After your recital/project is complete, submit a Senior Project Requirement Form (available on the library website) and State Cashier’s receipt for $12 to the department office for signatures and submission to the library. It is your responsibility to submit all information required by the library and a digital copy of your project (for a recital, your program and digital sound files) to the library via its website, where more details are listed). Check with Music Department staff to coordinate this requirement.
  • Department Graduation Ceremony Participation      
    1. there is an “application form” to participate; it is due the middle of Winter Quarter (your advisor must sign it). 
    2. eligibility for participation:
      1. all required major and GE courses need to be completed or in-process in Spring quarter
      2. concert attendance has to be in good standing
      3. senior project must be completed by Monday (noon) of Spring Quarter tenth week
  • Project (Non-Recital) Format Requirements      
    1. your proposal includes a full description of the project’s purpose and scope, as well as a timetable for completion and supporting documents (and needs to involve multiple music curriculum skills)
    2. you must make the case that you have the expertise needed for the project. The project must reflect musical breadth and include a writing component
    3. to participate in the departmental graduation ceremony, the final draft must be finished before Monday (noon) of Spring Quarter finals week
  • Recital Format Requirements
    • reaching 450-level is advised; if you have had difficulty reaching 350, a recital is not recommended
    • enrollment in applied lessons (and a major ensemble) is required during the quarter that you are presenting the recital
    • you must ensure that your senior recital advisor is available on the date of your recital (s/he assigns your grade!)
    1. Repertory            
      1. the combined repertory should be at least 40 minutes and no more than 50 minutes (NOT including encore)
      2. an encore is not required (but has to be listed on your proposal if you wish to perform one)
      3. we strongly discourage ensembles (due to problems in rehearsal coordination and uneven preparation)
      4. vocal recitals must contain repertory in at least three languages
    2. Program Notes
      1. program notes are required for all senior recitals (along with text/translations for vocalists)
      2. a musicologist guides the program notes as a MU 400 project; the faculty member must have signed the MU 400 space before you submit your recital form
      3. your program notes + repertory page (+texts/translations if required) must be COMPLETELY FINISHED one week before your pre-recital, or the pre-recital will be cancelled; you are not allowed to reschedule until AFTER the notes are finished, and your new date has to be at least five weeks in the future, so there is time to schedule a new pre-recital date for you that is four weeks before the recital
      4. acknowledgments are optional, but—if desired—must be completed by the same deadline
      5. see pre-recital section for the items that you should print and bring to the pre-recital
      6. after passing the pre-recital, all materials are to be emailed (as a MS Word document) to Michele Abba no later than the next Monday
      7. if Michele has questions about items in your program, respond immediately with any necessary changes (failure to respond promptly will hurt your grade)
      8. the grade for MU 400 is separate from your MU 461 (Senior Project) grade
    3. Pre-Recital
      1. the department will schedule your pre-recital between 4 and 6 weeks before your recital date
      2. all assisting performers MUST participate (notify them immediately when your pre-recital is assigned)
      3. bring a printed copy of your program notes, to your pre-recital, along with at least 3 copies of the sheet music and 3 copies of your program page (a copy for your accompanist is recommended)
      4. any proposed encore must be performed at the pre-recital
      5. if the pre-recital is failed, it can be attempted a second time; at least one week must elapse between attempts, and the actual recital still must be at least 4 weeks after the second attempt.
      6. payment for your programs, recording services, and piano-tuning are due on the Monday after the pre-recital
    4. Venue
      1. Room 218 can be used at no cost by music majors; all other facilities require you to pay rental fees. For Room 218, a $50 key deposit is required, payable by check (check is given back to you when key is returned).
      2. all recitals must take place within San Luis Obispo city limits at approved locations
      3. all recitals involving piano must have access to an instrument of acceptable quality (check with Dr. Spiller)
      4. all recitals involving piano must pay for piano-tuning (Dr. McLamore will schedule the piano tuner)
    5. Advertising
      1. announcements of your recital will be added to the Music Department Events advertising
      2. flyers advertising senior recitals are NOT required, but if you wish to create one, Michele is glad to assist. If you develop your own design, it must be approved by the Music Department prior to printing
    6. Recital Day
      1. recital attire should be modest and comfortable (keep the focus on the music)
      2. you should designate an experienced friend (who is NOT the recital proctor nor the recording engineer) to act as stage manager (who handles logistical issues: the lights, chair/stand set-up, rug for brass players, etc.)
      3. the department discourages long, verbal “thank-yous” at the end of the recital; save those for the reception
      4. if you have a reception (NOT required), you should delegate the responsibility to friends or family members
      5. if Room 126 is used for a reception, a $50 key deposit is required, payable by check (the check is returned to you when you return the key AND the room is left in good shape—take photos beforehand!)