Sunday, January 24, 2010

Graduate Orals

Hello fellow U-of-Lers,

during one of my numerous talks with Dr. Christensen this semester, we discussed the oral exam we have to take before we can graduate. I know that they posted an announcement about "practice" sessions Friday (and if someone has those and could comment to remind us all, that would be great), but here is what I've found out...

My impression was that the purpose of grad orals (at UofL, I'm not speaking categorically, although it would be interesting to know someone else's experience) is to fill in holes and get us ready for teaching/ the next step. Following are some sample questions, and I hope you'll forgive any unclear passages, as I was writing these on a post-it as fast as I could:

-what are you going to do next year (future plans), and how did you prepare for that/ what project/course gave you the start for that?

-what's the most impt thing you've learned and how could you apply it to the future?

-discuss thesis (or culminating graduate project) in a very brief way

-what course/event has lead to critical juncture in my thinking?

[These next are more specific for me and my thesis work, but could give some direction for the rest of you as to what to expect:]
development of symphonies, text and music in symphonic form

form, history of genre, where it took place in history, composer, cultural mileau in which it took place, contemporary composers/works

I don't know how valuable this will be to anyone, but this next nugget will be. Since I've been a student for so long, I have quite an ingrained "test anxiety" reflex. I got the clear impression that I was not something to be worried about or dread. Basically, as long as you are clear, concise, and reasonably intelligent, you should do find. And after two years of graduate work, it's nice to hear that!

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