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BALDWIN WALLACE UNIVERSITY

CONSERVATORY OF MUSIC
Department of Music Theory, History & Literature,
and Composition

Guidelines for Completion of the Senior Project in Music Theory and Music
History and Literature

The Senior Project is a capstone experience for students in the Music Theory and
Music History and Literature major. One may think of it being similar in scope and
importance to the Senior Recital of a Music Performance Major, in that it showcases
comprehensively what one has learned about practicing in the field through the
research and presentation skills of the student. The goal of the project is to provide
experience doing independent, original research on a topic in music theory or music
history that will prepare the student for similar work in a masters level program.

Project Scope
Your Senior Project should be a topic of original research. There is no minimum nor
maximum length for a Senior Project. However, it must represent a significant
amount of work. Most successful projects consist of several chapters and range
between 30 and 70 pages. All projects must have a written component and an oral
presentation, although alternative media for presentation of your research findings
will be considered. It is the students responsibility to make sure the project is
progressing on schedule, that all steps are being followed, and that all
deadlines are being met.

Senior Projects must meet the following standard: significant original research on a
current or emerging field of musical scholarship, presented at a level consistent with
high quality undergraduate or graduate-level writing and presentation. Projects
must meet expectations for citation style currently used in the field
(Chicago/Turabian).

Steps for Completing the Senior Project

Spring Semester, Sophomore Year


Step 1: Register for Research Techniques (MUC-329)

Fall Semester, Junior Year

Step 1: Take Research Techniques (MUC-329)


Work on the Senior Project begins during the Spring Semester of the Junior Year. All
Music Theory and Music History and Literature majors are required to take MUC-
329, Research Techniques. This course is designed to accomplish three goals:
provide familiarity with and practice using library resources, provide instruction in
designing a project of reasonable size with clear goals, and practice appropriate
forms of academic citation.

Step 2: Decide on Your Topic and Identify Your Project Supervisor


To be completed by the 12th week of the semester.
One of the requirements for MUC-329 is the selection of a topic for your Senior
Project. Once the topic has been identified, meet with the Chair of the Department to
discuss the scope of the Project and who should supervise your work. Project
supervisors need to be full-time faculty members who are planning to be available
during the following academic year.

Step 3: Register for Senior Research (MUC-411 or MUC-421)

Step 4: Meet with your Project Supervisor


To be completed by the last day of classes of the semester.
Be prepared to discuss your project topic with your Project Supervisor. He or she
may add sources to consult or suggest changes to your projects thesis to make it
more manageable or focused. At the end of this meeting, you should have a list of
goals for the acquisition and reading of sources. In summary, you are working
together to establish a timetable and expectations for your work on the project
going forward.

Spring Semester, Junior Year

Step 5: Consult with Your Project Supervisor at the Beginning of the Semester
To be completed by the end of the first week of classes.
Review your progress on the goals set out at your Spring meeting. In many cases,
the central question to be addressed by your project may need to be modified, and
additional sources may need to be consulted. Work out a plan for concluding your
research. Set up a weekly meeting time.

Step 6: Gather Sources and Conduct Research


Spend this time gathering sources, reviewing the current scholarship about your
topic, and taking notes. You should plan on having most of your sources identified
and read by the beginning of the Fall Semester.

Step 7: Start to Write and, More Importantly, Edit Your Project Prospectus
Senior Projects should represent your best writing. Good writing is rarely achieved
on the first draft. Start writing immediately so that you and your project advisor
may start the process of editing. Plan on writing at least four drafts of your
Prospectus (maybe more!). Bring updated drafts to each meeting with your Project
Supervisor.

Note that Baldwin Wallace University provides supplementary instruction and advice
on writing through the Writing Lab. Contact Robin Gardner at (440) 826-2417 to set
up an appointment with a writing specialist. Your Project Supervisor may require
you to present a draft of your paper to the Writing Lab for review before he or
she reads it.

Step 8: Register for Senior Project Presentation (MUC 410)

Summer Between Junior and Senior Years

Step 9: Continue to Conduct Research and Start to Write the Paper


Spend this time gathering sources, reviewing the current scholarship about your
topic, and taking notes. You should plan on having most of your sources identified
and read by the beginning of the Fall Semester.

Again, your Project Supervisor may require you to consult with the writing specialists
at the Writing Lab before giving final approval to move forward with your project.
Contact Robin Gardner at the Writing Lab at (440) 826-2417 to set up an appointment.

Fall Semester, Senior Year

Step 10: Assemble the Project Review Committee and Distribute Your Prospectus
To be completed by the end of the second week of classes.
It is your responsibility to set up the Review Committee. The Review
Committee must consist of three full-time faculty members: your Project Supervisor,
the Chair of the Department, and one (or two) others from the department.

Step 11: Schedule Your Senior Project Defense


Must be competed by the second week of the semester.
Senior Project Defenses are to take place in the twelfth week of the semester. Work
with Craig Reynolds in the Main Office to schedule a room. Work with your Project
Review Committee to schedule a date and time during the twelfth week of classes.

Step 12: Continue Writing and Sharing Drafts with Your Project Supervisor
You should expect to be writing and editing your project up to the middle of the Fall
semester. At some point, you and your Project Supervisor will agree that you are
nearing the end of the writing phase of the project. You should plan to spend the
next couple of weeks editing your paper.

Step 13: Register for MUC-410: Senior Presentation

Step 14: Distribute Your Paper to the Review Committee


To be completed two weeks before the Review Session; no later than the end of
the 10th week of the semester.

Step 15: Attend the Review Session


The Review Committee will ask questions about the content and process of
researching and writing the paper. This session typically takes about 40-60 minutes,
with the Project Supervisor presiding. At the conclusion of the Session, Review
Committee members meet without the student present to discuss the project, the
grade that the student should earn for his/her work, and whether any changes need
to be made before a grade will be awarded.

Step 16: Meet with Project Supervisor


Immediately following the Review Session, the student will meet with the Project
Supervisor who will give detailed instructions on what changes need to be made to
the paper before the final version is submitted. Two copies of your revised paper
must be presented to your Project Supervisor before the last day of classes.

Spring Semester, Senior Year

Step 18: Start Planning the Senior Presentation


The Senior Presentation is a different means of presenting the information you have
researched about your topic. It is intended to simulate a presentation that a scholar
would give at a professional conference. Select a component of your project that
will fit within a 20-minute time slot. Work with your Project Supervisor to draft
your script, and practice giving the presentation to him or her. Be aware of time
limitations. Senior Presentations will be scheduled during the eighth week of
classes.

Step 19: Give the Senior Presentation

Step 20: Congratulations!


Youre done. Revel in the satisfaction of becoming an expert in a field of musical
scholarship.

Other Important Notes:


Incomplete projects (i.e.: those that lack citations, proper formatting, edits required by
the Review Committee or Project Supervisor) will not be accepted and will result in a
failing grade for the project. If your Project Supervisor or Review Committee says that
you need to do something to bring the project up to contemporary professional
standards, then do it.

You must pass each course in this sequence to proceed on to the next course. Failure to
do so will put you a full year out of sequence and jeopardize your ability to graduate
on time. In other words, keep track of and meet your deadlines!