Northwestern Region

Grant Beglarian



Four universities are currently taking part in the 1966-67 program, each with a related program in the neighboring public schools: the School of Music, University of Oregon, with public schools in the Eugene-Springfield-Bethel districts (about 100,000 population); the School of Music, University of Washington, with public schools in the Seattle district (about 750,000 population); the College of Music, Willamette University, with public schools in the Salem, Oregon district (about 50,000 population); and the Department of Music, Washington State University, with public schools in the Pullman district (about 15,000 population). A fifth institution, Oregon State University at Corvallis, will initiate its programin cooperation with the Corvallis public schoolsduring the 1967-68 academic year.


Region, Director and Administrative Center   Institutions and Program Heads
      * Oregon State University, Joseph Brye
NORTHWESTERN REGION     University of Oregon, Monte Tubb
  Robert Trotter     University of Washington, John Verrall
  University of Oregon     Washington State University, William Brandt
        Willamette University, Charles Bestor
* Program starting September, 1967  

MONTE TUBBProgram Head

The format for the core curriculum in comprehensive musicianship is as follows:

Basic Musicianship I, II (Freshman and Sophomore years, five times weekly)
Music History I, II (Sophomore and Junior years, three times weekly)
Functional Piano (Freshman year for majority of freshmen, two times weekly)

As at most schools, the students continue private performance instruction and participate in large ensembles throughout their undergraduate studies. The general format is not different in any way from the past. What the faculty find so challenging at this time is the concerted effort to organize the contents and ways of teaching these parts of the curriculum into a plan that eliminates superfluous overlapping and includes all the essential knowledge and skills. We define what is essential by examining music as an aristocratic tradition with strong roots in society meeting the necessity of education in a democracy. This has led to the following goals:

1. Examine the implications of current curricular theory, and of current educational psychology in general, for the teaching of music at all levels. Faculty members in music are traditionally, even passionately ignorant of the best ways of thought as expressed by experts in educational psychology, and of ways in which that thought might help them teach music. We intend to test ways in which more precisely defined objectives, and more imaginative testing methods can benefit the teaching of facts about music, of intellectual skills using those facts, and of psychomotor skills used in performing music. Although the vital juncture where sensitive esthetic experience and acute intellectual reflection cannot be taught directly, we hope to encourage it at least by exemplifying it ourselves.

2. Re-examine the ways in which it is possible to study music, to be involved with music, namely by performing it, listening to it, composing it, and by thinking and talking or writing about it. By paying closer attention to these activities than to the conventional terms, "theory, composition, history and literature, applied music," by which the current crusty curriculum is cursed, we hope to see some fruitful possibilities relevant to our teaching of music.

3. Examine the substantive details of subject matter taught in the core curriculum, attempting to bring them up to date in the light of current scholarship in music. Here it is inappropriate and euphemistic to speak merely on broadening and strengthening; here the terms "reform" and "renovate" and "surgery" are applicable.

4. Examine ways in which faculty and students involved in studies outside the core curriculum can incorporate into their work changing patterns of thought and action, more closely integrated with what will be taught in the revised core curriculum.

5. Establish continuing dialogue with teachers of music outside the university, in the public and parochial schools and in private studios in the community, hopefully leading to improved preparation for tomorrow's musicians, concert audiences and citizens charged with governing our communities. Such dialogue will develop through pilot projects, in-service work for teachers, extension programs among other activities. Some of the current ones are:

(a) Professor Tubb meets weekly with three of the best secondary teachers in this area, who are teaching at schools using an experimental eight-period day, to develop courses in comprehensive musicianship designed for independent study by serious-minded, gifted students. We hope these courses might become eligible for advanced placement credit at the university.

(b) A Saturday class in comprehensive musicianship is taught to junior high girls through choral rehearsals.

(c) Professor Tubb is meeting regularly with the local professional society of private studio teachers in piano and voice.

(d) A doctoral student is teaching functional piano in such a way as to develop a curriculum suited to educational television, collaborating with the Department of Radio and TV on campus.

(e) Professor Tubb will team-teach a class in musicianship for elementary classroom teachers next summer, alongside the consultant in music for the elementary schools in this district. We are painfully aware of the crucial nature of the responsibility borne by the classroom teachers, with or without special music teachers. Ignoring them in the hope they will go away some day is to guarantee failure in achieving continuity in the music curriculum, consigning our lower-division classes the task of retraining faculties most active between the ages of three and seven.

(f) Project Analysis, as a planned analytical guide for school conductors has been dubbed, continues to develop slowly. Members of the Oregon Music Educators Association chose band, orchestral and choral music of the best quality likely to be in most school music libraries to submit to a team of scholars for analysis of the style and suggestions for performance. Enthusiasm grew faster than the project, which brings up many questions, both philosophical and operational.

All faculty members involved in the core curriculum in musicianship meet regularly to discuss musical concepts and to develop their critical capacity toward their own and their neighbor's teaching technique. Redefining terms and reshaping curricula will not guarantee improvements in teaching music, but improvements will be difficult beyond hope with some of the present terms. Keeping in mind William Blake's words, "He who would do good must do it in minute particulars," I am convinced that our task in two years of the present Institute will be to define some genuine questions rather than pretend we might discover neat answers.


The new program at Oregon State University will juxtapose techniques of composition, analysis and performance in one of three theory sections. Emphasis will be on developing the student's ability to recognize musical totality. Class time will be considered more as a laboratory session than as a drill period, and tools will include tapes prepared for ear-training. The students involved in this course will represent aspiring teachers, performers, and composers, as well as some students who are not music majors.

On the junior high school level, one class will be for students who have specific musical interests and backgrounds, and another for those making their first substantial acquaintance with music through a systematic approach.


The program is in two parts: a re-evaluation of the core curriculum in musicianship for music majors, including a pilot class made up of the best freshmen, and a parallel class in one Seattle high school, taught partly by the high school teacher, and partly by two University faculty members. The high school class members are eligible for university credit if they continue their studies as music majors. There are seven members in the high school class and thirteen in the university class, out of a total freshman class of eighty-four music majors. A program in General Music originally intended for a junior high school has not begun yet, and a second pilot program at another high school, which began there after school was well under way and without the severe selectivity of the class presently operating, has ceased to be part of the joint program for the current year.

The University students had prepared original (quasi-) compositions for performance on bassoon, flute, trombone, violin, string bass, and piano. They were very short, explored the consistent treatment of dissonant intervals in some freely determined style, and had to define a central tonality. The assignment was part of a continuing study of scales and intervals that formed the bulk of the first semester's curriculum. Someone always conducted, and the class had to answer questions on tonality, on treatment of dissonances, on transposition, and on notational techniques. Two of the students had publicly performed pieces by George Crumb and Webern, suggesting an unusually advanced level of competence for freshmen. Emphasis was on the interplay among performance, description, composition, and evaluation both of compositions and of performances.

The high school class was assigned the same task as the university class. Lecture-demonstrations on a rational approach to music listening are presented and the regular teacher works with the students to accomplish tasks initially presented by two university professors. The high school owns a small harpsichord, and the teacher hopes to develop a collegium musicum in which he will explore medieval and renaissance music.


Washington State University, in the Northwest Regional Institute, is a school attended by about 10,000 students, with a Music Department enrollment of about one-hundred music majors. The staff of fourteen full-time faculty teaches music education and general university service courses as well as the major curriculum. During the first semester, there were seventy-three students enrolled in the freshman theory course, with which the IMCE project is concerned. These were largely first-year students, somewhat over half of which were music majors, the rest coming from Education or less closely associated disciplines. The instructional staff of the project consisted of one associate professor, two assistant professors and a graduate teaching assistant. The enrollment during the second semester changed to thirty-nine students, almost all freshmen, the reduction being due to the completion of the one-semester requirement for Education students, noncontinuance by students not in music, changes of major by a few, and some failures. One of the assistant professors was not involved in the project during the second semester.

The objectives of the Institute at Washington State are the development of practical musical skills, including music fundamentals, sight-singing, rhythmic and tonal discrimination, etc., and the inculcation of compositional techniques derived from analysis and synthesis of music drawn from the most important stylistic eras of the past. Thus, there are two sides to the project, the first dwelling on what may be termed musical psychomotor skills, and the second dealing with an historical and theoretical examination of musical styles aimed toward the development in the student of the ability to exercise such techniques as counterpoint, melody writing and harmonization within a stylistic matrix. These techniques are learned through analysis and performance of the music, then applied in short compositions.

The Skills Sections have functioned in much the same way during both semesters, using programmed texts, prepared tapes, tutorial drills and periodic examinations to develop the student's abilities. The History-Theory Section was begun half-way through the first semester, after the students had become oriented in the course through the fundamental steps in musicianship as well as one lecture each week on such subjects as aesthetics of music, acoustics and a review of cultural history. During the half-semester, musical styles from plainchant through Notre Dame polyphony were studied. The development of techniques and styles up to the end of the sixteenth century was investigated during the second semester. An experimental programmed text in modal counterpoint was put into use during the latter study in an effort to increase the efficiency of the teaching process. The music of each period was performed in class, and the compositions of the students were similarly read, discussed and criticized. Recordings and prepared tapes, as well as visual aids were used in class and in the listening laboratory.

At the end of the first year, the program seems to be a qualified success; it could not be other than qualified, considering its experimental nature, the lack of faculty experience in dealing with this particular approach, and the large amount of preparation involved for each class meeting. Nevertheless, in comparison with sophomore students in a similar concurrent music history class, taught in the traditional manner, the freshmen in the project class show generally more musical and theoretical comprehension of the factual history as well as of the development and sequence of musical styles. They have been called upon to deal with music "from the inside out" by being challenged to apply what they know. The class morale has been excellent throughout, and the faculty, tired but enthusiastic, is looking forward to the continuation of the program, improved by this year's experience.


The objective of the Willamette program has been to develop a two-year course of study embodying elements of musical training usually presented under the separate headings of theory, literature, formal and stylistic analysis (aural as well as written), elementary composition, and performance (including conducting), all presented within an historical context.

The comprehensiveness of this program was not to be arrived at through the sort of one-man integration involved in such programs as the Juilliard Literature and Materials of Music course but rather through the establishment of a pedagogical working relationship between specialists trained in the various separate disciplines involved in the program.

The procedural starting point for developing the actual working techniques of the program has been an extension of the team teaching technique, the team in this case consisting of four teachers representing the disciplines of composition, theory, history, literature, performance and conducting.

The first year of the course was divided into the following units:

  1. The first six weeks were devoted to a team-taught review and drill of music fundamentals, aural as well as written. 

  2. Following this the class was divided into three sections, each section being assigned to a separate teacher. One of these teachers covered, in an elementary manner, the principles of late baroque and early classic harmonic writing, analysis and ear training; the second teacher covered elementary 16th century contrapuntal writing and analysis together with elementary melodic ear training; the third teacher covered elementary classic formal analysis, aural and visual. 

  3. At the end of a five week period each section rotated, with the section that had just covered harmonic theory going to the teacher covering 16th century counterpoint; the 16th century counterpoint section going to the teacher covering classic formal analysis; the formal analysis section going to the teacher covering harmonic theory. 

  4. At the end of another five weeks the sections again rotated so that by the end of the third rotation each section had covered the same three areas but in a different order, with each teacher having taught his subject matter to sections possessing increasingly sophisticated backgrounds.

  5. For the final two months of the year the class was re-sectioned to yield the following three groups: 
    a. A section comprising a chamber music performing ensemble;
    b. A section of keyboard performers;
    c. A section of students interested in the compositional disciplines.
    For this unit of study the classic period was taken as a historical focus with the major stylistic elements of the literature of this period being investigated. In the case of the first section this investigation was carried out through the chamber music literature; in the case of the second through the keyboard literature; in the case of the third through compositional exercises. The sections met together from time to time for lectures of general interest to all three groups, for performances of keyboard chamber music, and in order to form larger performing groups for the playing of works composed by the students in the compositional section. Although the principal focus was the Classic period the stylistic implications of this period for the 19th century and, particularly, the contemporary literature were also investigated.

For the second year of the course it is planned that the sections set up during the last two months of the first year will again be rotated, with the compositional section moving to the chamber music teacher; the chamber music section moving to the keyboard teacher; and the keyboard section moving to the composition teacher.

There will be six rotations in all during the sophomore year covering all of the major stylistic periods from the renaissance through the contemporary with each student being exposed to each of the three pedagogical approaches, but each one in a different order.