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The Large Ensemble Attendance and Grading Policy applies to all of the large instrumental ensembles within the Conservatory, including the Peabody Symphony Orchestra (PSO), Peabody Chamber Orchestra (PCO), Peabody Modern Orchestra (PMO), Peabody Wind Ensemble (PWE), Peabody Opera Theatre Orchestra (POTO), and Peabody Studio Orchestra (PST). Peabody’s large choral ensembles — the Peabody-Hopkins Chorus (PHC) and Peabody Singers (PS) — and large jazz ensembles, are governed by the same attendance and grading policies outlined herein. Early music and jazz ensembles, however, are not included within the instrumental Large Ensemble rotational scheme. All students assigned to Large Ensemble are expected to participate in all the individual ensembles to which they are assigned over the course of each semester. Unless a student has been released by the Ensemble Office from any given program for reasons outlined below, all students are required to perform in all programs to which they have been assigned.

Grading

The Large Ensemble course is graded using the same letter grading system as classroom courses. A single composite letter grade is issued at the conclusion of each semester which encompasses all of a student’s large ensemble experiences during that semester. Separate grades are not issued for participation with each individual concert cycle or event. Similarly, a single composite attendance record is maintained by the Ensemble Office for each student throughout the semester, which is used to determine their maximum attainable grade. The final grade is determined by the Director of Ensemble Activities in consultation with the ensemble managers and the conductors of the various ensembles.

Large Ensemble grades are based primarily upon the following four factors, all of which are considered when assigning ensemble grades:

  • Preparation and performance
  • Contribution to the ensemble
  • Cooperation and professionalism
  • Attendance

Attendance

Attendance alone does not determine a student’s final Large Ensemble grade, but does determine their maximum attainable grade before other factors are considered. Therefore, it is incumbent upon each student to attend all rehearsals and performances for the individual ensembles to which they have been assigned. Students are expected to know their individual ensemble assignments, and to know the specific rehearsal and performance schedules of those assignments as determined by the Ensemble Office, which are distributed electronically via the Peabody website, and posted as hard copies on the ensemble bulletin boards. The schedules for the entire academic year are posted at the beginning of the summer before school starts, and are not expected to change once set.

Unexcused absences or latenesses to ensemble services will cause a student to accrue grade reduction points as indicated below. The word “penultimate” in this context refers to the last rehearsal before a dress rehearsal.

  • Late to a regular rehearsal: 1 point
  • Absent from a regular rehearsal: 3 points
  • Late to a penultimate rehearsal: 2 points
  • Absent from a penultimate rehearsal: 4 points
  • Late to a dress rehearsal: 3 points
  • Absent from a dress rehearsal: 6 points
  • Late to a concert call time: 4 points
  • Absent from a concert: 10 points
  • Late to a recording session: 4 points
  • Absent from a recording session: 10 points
  • Late to a composition reading: 3 points
  • Absent from a composition reading: 6 points

Based on the total number of accrued grade reduction points during a semester, a student’s maximum attainable grade before other factors are considered will be as follows:

  • 0-1 points: A
  • 2 points: A–
  • 3 points: B+
  • 4 points: B
  • 5 points: B–
  • 6 points: C+
  • 7 points: C
  • 8 points: C–
  • 9 points: D
  • 10 or more points: F

Any student who is absent from either of the final two rehearsals of any concert cycle to which they have been assigned, i.e. the penultimate rehearsal and the dress rehearsal, may be removed from the program at the discretion of the ensemble manager or its conductor. An unexcused absence from any concert or recording session will result in a failing grade. Willful neglect of ensemble responsibilities may be considered cause for removal from any program, or a reduction of grade, or both.

Rehearsals

Students are expected to be present and on-time for all rehearsals, that is, to be warmed up and in their seats ready to play at the exact scheduled starting time of each rehearsal. Anyone arriving after the tuning note has been given — or, in the case of choral ensembles, after warm-up has begun — will be considered late. Anyone who may be present in the rehearsal hall but who is still unpacking their materials or assembling their instrument(s) will also be considered late. Leaving a rehearsal prior to its scheduled completion is considered the same as being late in terms of the grade reduction points assessed.

Preparation

The rehearsal cycle for each concert is intended as time for collective work on the interpretation of the music being prepared, and the overall development of the ensemble’s sound. It is not practice time during which individual musicians learn their parts. Every effort is made to provide players with their assigned parts as soon as possible before the first rehearsal of a concert cycle, usually at least two weeks in advance. Therefore, players are expected to pick up their parts as soon as seating assignments are posted, and prepare them thoroughly before the first rehearsal. Failure to pick up assigned parts well in advance of the first rehearsal is unprofessional, and shows a lack of commitment and contribution to the ensemble. Sight reading at a rehearsal is an indication of insufficient preparation, and when detected will result in the lowering of a student’s grade.

Electronic Device Policy

The use of cell phones, tablets, laptop computers and other electronic devices during rehearsals is distracting to everyone and is strictly prohibited unless there is a legitimate emergency. Cell phones must be in silent mode during rehearsals and out of sight. Each violation of this policy will result in a full letter grade reduction. Repeated violations of this policy may also result in expulsion from the ensemble with a failing grade.

Excused Absence or Lateness

To request an excused absence from an ensemble rehearsal, or to request an excused lateness or early exit from an ensemble rehearsal, students are required to fill out and submit the appropriate Excuse Request Form on the Peabody website. All such requests are evaluated by the ensemble’s manager, who will either approve or deny the request, and inform the student of their decision by return email. The ensemble managers are the sole authority with regard to the approval or denial of any excuse request. Any absences or latenesses not documented by an approved Excuse Request Form will be considered unexcused. Forms submitted more than a week following the date of absence or lateness will not be approved.

Lateness, early exit, or absence due to conflicts with a private lesson, including make-up lessons, will not be excused. Conservatory faculty are aware of this policy, and students are expected to work with their teachers to ensure that neither regular nor make-up lessons conflict with the student’s ensemble obligations. Each student is responsible for arranging their schedule to avoid any conflicts with ensemble rehearsals and performances. It is also important that students schedule their degree recitals such that no conflicts are created with any ensemble rehearsal or performance, as no excuse requests will be approved under these circumstances.

Illness, Injury, and Medical Leave

Students who are experiencing a short-term, non-contagious illness not confining them to bed, or a minor injury, are still required to attend rehearsals. They should submit the appropriate Excuse Request Form to let the ensemble manager know the circumstances. If the illness or injury prevents them from playing their instrument, then they should audit the rehearsal, either by sitting in their seat within the ensemble, or in a seat within the rehearsal hall close enough to hear the conductor. They should have their part(s) in hand and follow the rehearsal carefully, marking whatever issues are covered. No other course work may be undertaken during this time, and no electronic devices may be used.

If the nature of an illness or injury is such that it confines the student to bed rest, or could potentially expose others to a contagious illness, then the student should inform the ensemble manager no later than two hours prior to the rehearsal by submitting the appropriate Excuse Request Form. Woodwind, brass, harp, and percussion players are required to provide an acceptable substitute, providing the substitute or the Ensemble Office with their part(s), and should inform the ensemble manager who to expect in their place at the rehearsal. String players in ensembles with less than four players to a part are also required to provide a substitute, provide them with the music, and inform the ensemble manager who to expect in their place.

Students experiencing illnesses or injuries which cause them to miss more than one consecutive rehearsal are required to submit the appropriate Excuse Request Form, and should confer with the Peabody Director of Student Affairs to ensure that they are receiving adequate evaluation and treatment for their condition. Ensemble managers will require confirmation from the Director of Student Affairs before excusing any such absences. Students who have significant illnesses or injuries that interfere with their ability to meet their ensemble obligations are encouraged to consult a primary care practitioner at the Student Health and Wellness Center on the Homewood campus for treatment or referral to appropriate specialists. Appointments can be made by calling 410-516-8270. They should also confer with the Director of Student Affairs about how it will impact their academic progress, or whether a medical leave of absence is an option. Physical and occupational therapist services are now offered onsite at the Peabody Clinic for Performing Artists.

Tendonitis and other similar repetitive motion injuries do not exempt a student from fulfilling the large ensemble requirements of their degree program. Instrumentalists who are suffering from such repetitive motion injuries on a long-term basis may be assigned to a choral ensemble during their recovery at the discretion of the Ensemble Program Manager. Vocalists who are on vocal rest are still required to attend choral ensemble rehearsals.

Submitting an Excuse Request Form under false pretenses is a violation of the Student Conduct Code, and will subject a student to disciplinary action which may include, but is not limited to, expulsion from the ensemble with a failing grade.

Professional Leave

Under special circumstances, students may request professional leave from a rehearsal or performance for a direct conflict involving major performance or audition opportunities. Students should not make any advance assumptions about whether such requests might be granted, and there may be certain high-profile concerts or other events, such as recording sessions, for which no such requests will be considered. Requests for permission to miss a rehearsal for such professional reasons are considered on a first-come basis, and must be submitted no later than two weeks before the date of the rehearsal in question. Such requests will not be granted for absences from a dress rehearsal, concert, or recording session. Limitations are placed on the number of students, especially within the same section, who might be allowed excused absences for professional opportunities on the same day.

Requests for an excused absence to be granted for an audition opportunity must be accompanied by an official letter of invitation from the school or performing organization offering the audition. Students should first check with the organization offering the audition to determine whether it could be rescheduled to a time that does not conflict with their prior ensemble obligations. Requests to be granted leave from an entire program — that is, a concert and all its associated rehearsals — must be submitted no later than two weeks before the first rehearsal for that program.

Requests to be granted an excused absence for a performance opportunity must be accompanied by an employment contract or letter of agreement between the student and the performing organization. Ideally, to be given fullest consideration, these requests should be submitted at the beginning of the semester. Students are strongly cautioned that any absences due to professional performance opportunities that they agree to before the start of the academic year are not automatically excused, but are subject to the same criteria as any other such requests. All instrumental students except string players who are excused from any rehearsal are required to provide a substitute player. String players in an ensemble with less than four players to a part are also required to provide a substitute player.

Students who have been asked to perform in Peabody sponsored activities, such as pop-up concerts, residencies, etc., should inform the Ensemble Office immediately if it will create a conflict with their Large Ensemble obligations.

Instrument Problems

Missing an ensemble service due to a student’s personally owned instrument being in need of repair will not be considered an excused absence. If a student’s instrument is being repaired or is in sudden need of repair, they should contact the Ensemble Office in advance so that a substitute instrument can be provided.

Travel

The Ensemble Office is aware that many Peabody students travel great distances from their home cities and countries to study here. However, when school is in session students are expected to be here, attending all scheduled classes and rehearsals. Students are also required to be here on the day of their scheduled large ensemble placement audition prior to the start of the fall semester. Students should not make, or allow anyone to make for them, any travel plans which would cause them to miss a scheduled class day, either in part or completely. Absences on days which precede official school vacations or other breaks, or on days which follow them, will not be excused due to any travel arrangements which have been made.

Employment

Many students have jobs, either on or off-campus, sometimes completely unrelated to their studies at Peabody, and the income those jobs provide can be very important. However, each student’s Peabody obligations and responsibilities come first, and students should not accept any outside employment which interferes with those obligations. Absences or lateness caused by a student’s employment obligations will not be excused, and any requests for special accommodations to be made to rehearsal or performance schedules will not be considered.

Family Events

There may be times when a student is required to attend an important family event that causes them to miss one or more rehearsals. These are normally events which have been planned for some time, like weddings, family reunions, and other similar events. Due consideration will be given to excuse students when sufficient advance notice is provided to the ensemble manager, no later than two weeks prior to the absence. A substitute player acceptable to the ensemble manager and its conductor must be provided in such cases for any missed rehearsal at the time the request is made. In no cases will such an absence be approved for the last two rehearsals of a concert cycle, or the concert itself.

Other Emergencies

It is recognized that there are sometimes unforeseeable and uncontrollable circumstances which can prevent a student from being on time, or even making it to a rehearsal at all. These occurrences are rare, however, often independently verifiable, and are considered on a case-by-case basis. They can include, but are not limited to, extreme weather conditions, family emergencies, death of a loved one, traffic accidents, legal matters, and other situations over which the student has little or no control. They do not include things like oversleeping, failing to allow enough time to arrive, having to get something to eat, and so on.

Students should notify the Ensemble Office immediately, if it is safe and possible to do so, if they will be late or absent from a rehearsal due to a legitimate emergency, and should submit an Excuse Request Form along with any supporting documentation within one week of the lateness or absence.

Appeals

Students who wish to appeal any of the decisions made by ensemble managers with regard to attendance or grading issues under this policy should make their concerns known in writing via email, and must follow the order given below. Include the specific dates and details of whatever issue is being appealed, and include previous communications and whatever supporting documentation may be available.

  • First, email the specific ensemble manager whose decision is being appealed. If a satisfactory solution cannot be obtained, then;
  • Second, email both the Artistic Director of Ensembles and the Executive Director of Large Ensemble Operations with all the same information. If a satisfactory solution cannot be obtained, then;
  • Finally, email the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs who will act as the final arbiter.