Cornell University
MUS 3631: Wind Symphony (CU Winds)
Credit Hours: 1 / Admission by audition only
Tuesdays, 4:45-6:25pm, Bailey Hall; Thursdays, 4:45-6:45pm, Lincoln Hall B20

Instructor: James Spinazzola, Assistant Professor of Music
237 Lincoln Hall, jms862 {at} cornell(.)edu, 5-7102
Office hours: Monday, 1-2pm; Tuesday & Thursday, 3-3:30pm;
and by appointment

Teaching Assistant: Corey Keating
ck624 {at} cornell(.)edu


Course Description and Rationale

The goal of this music performance course is to provide the opportunity for you as a woodwind, brass, or percussion performer to rehearse and perform standard and emerging literature in large and chamber ensemble settings.

In this course we will focus on self and ensemble expression, engagement, participation, collaboration, and performance. We will address musical concepts including, but not limited to: ensemble balance & blend, intonation, phrasing & expression, articulation, tone, rhythmic precision, color, and unified interpretation.


All members of this course are expected to commit to personal and ensemble excellence.
Regular and faithful attendance to all rehearsals, dress rehearsals, and concerts is
understood. Please bring a pencil to every rehearsal and use it regularly to mark your
music. Warm up before we begin. (“If you are on time, you are late.”) Commit to being a
supportive, patient, and helpful colleague.

You are expected to become familiar with your part before attending the next rehearsal. The
degree of that familiarity will depend on where we are in the rehearsal period: We will
expect that you have gained first-exposure knowledge before the second rehearsal, that you
have learned essential notes and rhythms before the third rehearsal, etc. Please remember
the following core principles:
• We do not rehearse to learn individual parts, but rather to learn how each part
functions within the score.
• You cannot cram for musical performance.
Section leaders have the added responsibility of leading your section – both technically and
musically – during sectionals and rehearsals. Section leaders are expected to organize and
lead sectionals at least once every two weeks, and to communicate with the conductor
regarding the progress of sectionals. Section members are expected to help create highfunctioning,
efficient sectionals by being on time, prepared, and engaged.

Active Learning

A primary goal for this course is to maintain a rehearsal atmosphere in which you are
consistently engaged in active learning. In the ideal scenario, you are playing more than
you are listening to others play, and when you are playing, your energy is focused out of the
stand. You have learned the essential elements of your part outside of class, and as a result
you are able to focus on listening, watching, and collaborating.

You will occasionally be expected to view brief learning materials (e.g., recordings, videos,
etc.) designed to help you gain initial exposure to new material before class. Additionally,
soloists and principal players may be asked to record brief excerpts outside of class and
send them to the conductor for comments and suggestions.

2019-20 Concert Dates

• Sunday, October 6, Bailey Hall
o Saturday, October 5, 11am-1pm – dress rehearsal in Lincoln B20
o 2:40pm – call time
o 3:00pm – concert begins
• Sunday, November 24, Bailey Hall (with CU Chamber Orchestra)
o Saturday, November 23, 11am-1pm – dress rehearsal
o 2:40pm – call time
o 3:00pm – concert begins
• Friday, March 20, Bailey Hall, 7:30pm
(with A.D. White Professor-at-Large Wynton Marsalis)
o Sunday, March 15, 1-3pm – rehearsal with Prof. Marsalis
o Thursday, March 19, 4:45-6:45pm – dress rehearsal
o Friday, March 20, 4:45-5:45pm – sound-check rehearsal
• Sunday, May 3, Bailey Hall
o Saturday, May 2, 11am-1pm – dress rehearsal
o 2:40pm – call time
o 3:00pm – concert begins
Spring Break Concert Tour
New Orleans, Louisiana – Friday, March 27 – Wednesday, April 1

Regular Season Concert Attire

Formal option 1:
Black suit or tuxedo, white shirt, black or red bow tie, black dress shoes, and black

Formal option 2:
Floor-length black skirt, black pants (no denim), or black long-sleeved dress. Longsleeved
black blouse. Black or plain hose or socks, black dress shoes, simple jewelry.
No low necklines, bare shoulders or midriffs. Open-toed shoes are acceptable with
black or plain hose.

Members who do not abide by the above guidelines will be excused from the
performance and given an unexcused absence, which will result in a failing grade
for the semester.

Commencement Week

The Wind Symphony provides unique and highly regarded musical services during Cornell
commencement weekend. All Wind Symphony members are expected to participate.
Every rehearsal and performance is considered a paid service; assuming full participation,
you will earn approximately $300. Students currently living on campus will have the
opportunity to retain on-campus housing at no extra charge; a signup list will be
distributed during the second week of the spring semester. Following is the rehearsal and
performance schedule:
• Wednesday, May 22 – morning, afternoon, and evening rehearsals in B20
• Thursday, May 23 – morning, afternoon, and evening rehearsals in B20
• Friday, May 24
o Rehearsal at Schoellkopf Field with Glee Club and Chorus – 12:30-1:30p
• Saturday, May 25
o Convocation at Schoellkopf Field – c.11a-1:30p
o Ensemble lunch in Lincoln Hall (Chipotle)
o PhD commencement in Barton Hall – 4:30-6:45p
• Sunday, May 26
o Commencement at Schoellkopf Field – 9:30a-12:00p

Concert dress for commencement performances is black pants or shorts (dressy denim is
fine), black shoes and socks or hose (no open-toe sandals), and a CU Wind Symphony tshirt
(approximately $15, ordered in bulk).

Ensemble Grading

All musicians must register for this course, either for a grade or S/U. You will earn an A in the
course with excellent attendance, consistent preparation and execution at rehearsals and
performances, and class participation based on conscientious review of the guidelines
presented above.

Attendance Policy

If missing a rehearsal or sectional is unavoidable, you must inform the conductor via email at
least two days in advance. (In the event of an emergency, please send word as soon as
possible.) Section leaders must notify the conductor of absences from sectionals before the
next rehearsal. Acceptable reasons for missing a rehearsal or sectional do not include
studying, lab work, prelim preparation, fraternity events, or hunger…you get the idea.

You will be marked tardy if you are not in your chair, with your instrument assembled, five
minutes before rehearsal begins. If, for any reason, you are unable to satisfy that
requirement, it is your responsibility to inform the conductor. Three unexcused tardies will
be treated as one unexcused absence.

o 2 unexcused tardies = no grade change
o 3 unexcused tardies = 1 unexcused absence
o 1 unexcused absence = grade reduction from A to Ao
2 unexcused absences = grade reduction from A- to B
o 3 unexcused absences = grade reduction from B to C
o 4 unexcused absences = a failing grade in the course and dismissal from the

An unexcused absence from a performance will result in a failing grade in the


You will receive a folder and music in the first rehearsal. If your folder is lost or damaged,
you will be asked to pay $8 (our cost) for its replacement. Concert programs are
published on

Statement of Inclusivity and Respect

One of strengths of this ensemble is that our members represent a rich variety of
backgrounds and perspectives. All members are expected to contribute to an inclusive and
respectful class environment by treating others with fairness, honesty, integrity, and
respect. Civil discourse, reasoned thought, sustained and constructive engagement, and a
collaborative spirit are required of all students in this course.

Students with Disabilities: Your access in this course is important. Please give me your
Student Disability Services (SDS) accommodation letter early in the semester so that I have
adequate time to arrange your approved academic accommodations. If you need an
immediate accommodation for equal access, please speak with me after class or send an
email message to me and/or SDS at sds_cu {at} cornell(.)edu. If the need arises for additional
accommodations during the semester, please contact SDS.

Live Performances & Recording

Participating in live performances is a requirement of this course. Live performances will
be recorded and the recordings may be made available to authorized Cornell users (those
holding a valid Net ID and password) via streaming media or its technological successors.

The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) protects educational records of
students, and performances are part of the educational record; students may be identified
individually in the metadata associate with the recordings, particularly in the case of
students with exceptional roles (soloists, conductors, composers, etc.). Students
participating in large ensembles will be given a standard release form to sign to allow the
performances to be recorded and streamed. Students who choose not to submit permissions
forms will not be identified individually in the public metadata associated with the

Our Mission

CU Winds unites student musicians in an ensemble dedicated to the study and performance of emerging and traditional wind repertoire. We explore music making as a vehicle for cross-cultural exchange and collaboration, and in doing so support Cornell's core values of public engagement and global awareness.