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Alternatives to an Onsite Recital


A recital – a public performance of music studied during a term of instruction – has always been an axiomatic component of a conservatory education.  The prescriptive rules and regulations for a recital at Peabody guide decisions on length, repertoire, scheduling, recording, the concert program, and even appropriate dress and subsequent receptions.

A recital is also a culminating exam or capstone project.  The printed concert program states that the recital is given in fulfillment of degree requirements. While the recital has traditionally represented the final measure of accomplishment in performance, composition, or conducting, the larger Conservatory curriculum has been broadened to reflect the skills required of an educated musician in the 21st century. With the global pandemic following the spread of COVID-19, these new skills are immediately in demand.

Accordingly, for AY 2020-2021, the recital requirement can be expanded into broader capstone project that reflects the following values and program-level learning objectives:

  • EXCELLENCE IN CRAFT | A successful project will demonstrate the mastery of skills that have been set for an individual student in a studio and a cohort of students in a program of study. For performers, this would likely include the performance of instrument-appropriate repertoire that has been studied with a major teacher.  However, for some students it may mean the performative presentation of skills that model a different path to a unique outcome.

  • PERFORMANCE FLEXIBILITY | While usually construed to mean performance in a variety of styles, here flexibility will also mean the ability to perform in non-traditional media, venues, and circumstances.

  • COMMUNICATION, MARKETING, and PRACTICAL SKILLS | The ability to design, propose, and mount a project requires a custom set of project management skills, as well as the analytical skills to adapt to a rapidly changing landscape.

Project Proposal

Students propose a capstone project, which may range from simply performing a recital beyond the Peabody campus to creating an interactive presentation of musical materials.  A successful capstone proposal will include the following components:

1. STATEMENT | An appropriate introduction to the project and its relevance. For a performance, this will be a program of the repertoire with program notes. For other projects, a broader statement would include an explanation of why the topic will be presented in the proposed format. 

2. OBJECTIVES | A statement of objectives should clarify what the project hopes to accomplish with a view to how any non-performance elements should be evaluated. 

3. VENUE | A presentation of the “venue” (virtual or onsite) and an overview of needs and potential challenges.  This would include issues of technology: streaming versus playback, synchronous versus asynchronous, the need for recording equipment and musical instruments, etc. This section should also address the issues of using intellectual property: the use of copyrighted music, text, or video. There should be a clear manifest of all performers and personnel involved in the project and a timeline of events. capstone proposals will be evaluated for linkages to partner organizations and other similar entities. Engagement with such venues may require consultation with LAUNCHPad/Office of Community Partnerships.

4. DOCUMENTATION | A proposal must explain plans to appropriately preserve the project, both for the short term need of grading the project and the long term need of preservation. This statement should include at least a preliminary statement of access rights. 

5. APPROVAL | A successful proposal will include the following approvals:

  • A statement of approval from the major teacher.
  • A statement confirming a consultation with the Arthur Friedheim Library about the use of copyrighted materials, the means of preserving the project, and subsequent access rights.
  • Additional approvals may be required to ensure the use of instruments, technology, and other students at an offsite location.

Timeline and Workflow

Students should register for a recital in the semester in which they intend to complete the capstone project.  A proposal must be assembled in a digital container [details forthcoming: Blackboard or Teams].  Academic Affairs, in consultation with the Concert Office and the Registrar, will signal final approval of the project.  The project must be approved one month in advance of the event.

Approved by the Chairs Committee on 6 July 2020