Summer at St. Mary's


Professor Jeffrey Silberschlag conducting the Chesapeake Orchestra at the River Concert Series.

Study abroad in Italy

Choir and Orchestra in Alba

You can participate in the Alba Music Festival, two weeks of intensive music making in the north of Italy.




The St. Mary’s Project is regarded by the faculty of the college as the centerpiece of the Honors College Curriculum. It serves as the culmination of (and means of assessing) the whole of a student’s education. By selecting, refining, executing, and presenting a project, students will take ownership of their education and will develop a variety of intellectual and personal skills that are the hallmarks of a liberal arts education.

The project is student-initiated. Though music majors will usually complete it in the music department, it may be carried out in another discipline or in an established cross-disciplinary study area, as long as permission is granted by the music department chair.  The nature of the project can be flexible; it may involve individual research, collaborative work, or contain components of internships, study-abroad programs, etc.  The most popular St. Mary’s Project in Music, though, is a public recital with scholarly program notes.

The St. Mary’s Project in Music consists of two parts: the seminar in the fall, and the project itself in the spring. Preparation for the project, though, begins far earlier––with your first music class, private lesson, and ensemble experience.

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Sophomore Year––First Assessment (fall jury)

At the end of the first semester of the sophomore year, if you are completing work towards a music major, you will play an extended jury for the music faculty. At this jury, and in consultation with your private teacher, the faculty will assess progress being made both towards the completion of the major and in acquiring the skills needed for the execution of the project. Generally, these juries are developmental:  that is, we will be involved with you in a discussion about strengths and weaknesses in performance, ensemble work, and academic work.

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Junior Year (pre-registration and action plan)

At the time of registration for the fall semester of the Senior year, you will file a proposal and an action plan that describes the nature of the project (see Appendix VI and VII). The contract and action plan are signed by you, a member of the music department faculty designated as the faculty mentor (in most cases this will be the instructor of the St. Mary’s Project Seminar), your academic advisor, and the music department chair.

The contract will give a title for the project, along with a description that identifies the nature and type of project, the components of the project, and the form of the public presentation. The action plan will detail what will happen in the first semester.

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Senior Year

Second Assessment (updated action plan)

In the fall semester you will be participating in MUSC 493 (St. Mary’s Project Seminar).  As part of this seminar, you will focus on issues of performance and scholarship.  Most students will be doing work leading towards a graduation recital, and will prepare a set of scholarly program notes that will function as the written part of the project.   As part of this course, the full-time music faculty (who co-teach this course) will prepare a midterm report with copies to you and to the department chair, assessing your progress towards successful completion of the St. Mary’s project. If your ability to complete the project successfully is in question, the report will state this and recommend what you can do to fix any problems.

At the time of registration for the spring semester (when registering for MUSC 494), you will file another action plan.  If the project has changed substantially, you will file an amended contract.

At this same time, if the plans for any part of the project require audio-visual equipment (beyond the equipment necessary for recording a concert), you must make these plans concrete, and work with the audio-visual people in the library to insure that such equipment will be available when it is needed.  If it is necessary to reserve the equipment, you may reserve a date for performance in an appropriate concert hall with the music office at this time.  Please see the information below (Appendix II) about reserving a date and a hall.

Third Assessment (fall jury)

At the end of the fall semester, all graduating students play an extended jury for the music faculty.  At this jury, you will discuss the complete plans for the entire project, perform a significant portion of the music to be performed on the recital part of the project, and submit a significant portion of the written portion of the project (usually, at this point, at least an outline of the program notes, together with at least one completed portion).  Following the jury, the music faculty will evaluate your progress towards completion of the project and will assign a grade for the first semester of the project. If the grade is a passing grade but your ability to complete the project successfully is in question, you will receive a report that will state this and recommend what you can do to fix any problems.

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Other Performers

At the end of the fall semester, music for a performance component of the project (in most cases, recital music) should be ready for distribution to any other involved in the performance (in most cases, an accompanist). In consultation with the private teacher and the music faculty, you will decide on the other musicians at this time.  If the only other musician involved in the performance is to be an accompanist (this will be the normal situation for most performances), please consult the handbook's "Policy and Procedures: Accompanists for Juries and Recitals" for details on arranging for an appropriate accompanist.

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If you expect to incur expenses beyond the use of an accompanist and the recording of the concert, you, together with the mentor, will prepare a budget for these extra expenses. All students are expected to bear some costs, and the college will not reimburse for the first $200 spent.  If you expect expenses to exceed this, during the winter break, you will prepare an itemized application for funds, and must deliver this application to the mentor and the department chair by the end of the first week of the spring semester.  The department chair will work with the college to determine disbursement of available funds.  This usually is limited to $200 (beyond the initial $200 borne by you), but more may be requested and may be granted, depending on the availability of funds that year. Once funds are granted, you may purchase services or goods and apply, with receipts, for reimbursement. You may also use purchase orders to pay for needed items or services (for help with this, see the people in the Music Office). You should not, in any case, assume that all expenses will be reimbursed unless there is prior written approval from the mentor and the department chair.  Not all expenses for a project will be reimbursable, even if the total beyond the first $200 comes out to be less than $200. For details on what is eligible for reimbursement, speak with the mentor and the department chair.

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Hall Reservation

At the beginning of the spring semester, you will schedule a concert date in an appropriate hall. The Music Office will help with this.  Normally, the concert will take place in St. Mary’s Hall, but other venues are possible. The date should be cleared with the music department faculty. The date of the performance must be no later than the last day of classes in the semester of graduation (see information below about deadlines).

NOTE: It is the student’s responsibility to obtain agreement from other musicians (though the list of musicians used must be worked out with the music faculty––see details above).  The student is also responsible for arranging rehearsals and for payment, if necessary. In short, it is the student’s responsibility to arrange all details of the performance––booking the hall, arranging for publicity, requesting the recording of the concert, arranging for ushers, preparing a program, etc.  All of these issues must be handled through the music office.

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Fourth Assessment (and archiving)

In the seventh week of the spring semester, you should meet with the faculty mentor to show your progress towards the completion of the whole project.  The faculty mentor will submit a midterm report. If your ability to complete the project successfully is in question, an evaluation will state this and recommend what you can do to fix any problems.

The written part of the project is due three weeks before the last day of classes. You can get the actual date for any current academic year from Academic Services (it is posted on their website).

To be turned in at this time is the written part of the project and a no-more-than-250-word description of the whole project (this is called the “Abstract”). This is due at this time whether or not the performance has taken place.

After the performance has taken place, you must archive the whole project.  This is from the College Guidelines for St. Mary’s Project:

In order to maintain a record of St. Mary's Projects, students are required by the deadline of December 10 for the fall semester and April 29 for the spring semester to submit to the Office of the Registrar a 3.5" disk, CD-R, or DVD-R of the written project and, if appropriate, an artifact: for example, an audio or video tape. In all cases, the disk labeled with name and project title, and saved as a single comprehensive document in Microsoft Office programs (Word, Excel, or PowerPoint) should include a project abstract of no more than 250 words. Students may not retrieve their archive copy after it has been turned in to the Office of the Registrar.

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Final Assessment

The mentor, in consultation with members of the music faculty, will make a final assessment of the project.  If the project is accepted, the mentor will submit certification to the Registrar that the project has been completed, and will submit a final grade.

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Summary of Information in Preparation for Graduation for all Music Majors

Sophomore Year

Jury at the end of the fall semester to determine prospects for completing the major (see “Sophomore Year––First Assessment” above).

Junior Year

Spring semester: At the time of pre-registration for the following semester, you must file a Proposal and Action Plan with the Registrar describing the nature of the project (see "Junior Year" above).

Senior Year - Fall semester (see "Senior Year" above).

  • In St. Mary’s Project Seminar, begin recital preparations and work on program notes for recital (non-performance projects also possible).
  • At time of registration for the spring, file Action Plan and, if necessary, updated Proposal. A-V equipment (beyond recording), if needed, should be reserved. If such reservations make it necessary to have a confirmed recital date, that date can be reserved at this time.
  • Budget for expenses (beyond accompanist, recording, piano tuning) prepared with the mentor.
  • End of the semester, extended jury for the music faculty.  Play significant portion of the music to be performed.  Outline for program notes submitted to the jury.  Faculty must approve graduation recital in order for it to take place. End of semester, all music for the recital involving other musicians (accompanist, etc.) must be distributed. Musicians chosen in consultation with the mentor and the department chair.

Senior Year - Spring semester

  • Between first week of classes and six weeks prior to concert, reserve a hall for the recital.
  • Before the seventh week of classes, meet with mentor to show progress towards completion of project, and have in hand either a complete outline or significant portions of the completed project. Mentor submits report with copy to you.
  • Submit complete program notes to Music Office no later than two weeks before recital.
  • Three weeks before the end of the semester, written project and abstract due to mentor.
  • Last day of classes, all material – including recording of performance -- due in Registrar’s office. Mentor submits final grade.

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