An artist’s perspective can help an audience appreciate better the works and interpretation they are about to hear. Therefore, program notes are a requirement for all performance projects. Exceptions include:
- Quick studies
- Orchestral excerpts
Working with your performance teacher
At the graduate level, program notes must meet a minimum professional writing standard. Your teacher will mentor you and help you develop your writing skills. Make sure your teacher approves your program notes before you submit them to Graduate Studies.
Deadlines and submission steps
- Two weeks before your performance:
- You must email your recital/recording/opera notes to your performance teacher, with a copy to graduatestudies.music [at] mcgill.ca.
- Your performance teacher will review your notes and work with you until they meet basic requirements for public presentation.
- At least four business days before your concert:
- Your performance teacher will notify graduatestudies.music [at] mcgill.ca by email, with a copy to you, that your program notes have been completed. In rare cases, they may indicate that your notes do not meet publication standards.
- You must email the final PDF version of your notes to graduatestudies.music [at] mcgill.ca.
- Before your performance:
- The Music Graduate Studies Office will upload the final version of your notes to the Schulich School of Music online events listing. If your program notes do not meet publication standards, this step is skipped.
- After the concert:
- Music library staff will convert your program notes to PDF/A format and archive them online.
Evaluated on a Pass/Fail basis. If you receive more than 1 failing grade, you will be asked to redo the notes.
Formatting your program notes
Add this text to the top of your program notes. Insert your recital information where indicated in italics:
Date du récital/Date of recital: insert your recital date
Nom/Name: insert your name
Classe de/Class of: insert teacher's name
These program notes are written by the student performing, and are presented by the student in partial fulfillment of the requirements of their course. Ces notes de programme sont écrites par l'étudiant-interprète et sont présentées en tant que réalisation partielle des critères de leur cours.
Things to Consider
- Program notes should be concise, clear, engaging, and informative.
- In the jazz area, where the artist in many cases also is the composer, the program notes should focus on the musical elements of the work and the compositional process.
- The target audience is educated, but not necessarily musically knowledgeable.
- The audience will be interested in your sources of inspiration, musical or else.
- The words and ideas of others should be acknowledged.
- Write in a consistent writing style and carefully proofread your work.
- Refine your writing techniques with the assistance of GRAPHOS.
- Program notes should not exceed four pages of length.
- Notes should be typed, using 12-point font, and standard margins!
- For title information, see our style guide.