Written by James C. Diaz, October 20, 2015

Last October 17-18, 2015, the UP College of Music conducted a 2-day curriculum review held at the One Tagaytay Place Hotel in Tagaytay, Laguna. The whole team of participants, was composed of 30 faculty members, 2 retired professors, and 9 secretariats from different offices of the college. The participants included the incumbent dean and 2 previous deans of the college. The curriculum review was spearheaded by Dr. Verne dela Peña, who was the moderator and one of the presenters at the same time. The main objective of the curriculum review aims to revise current programs to suit the needs of students such that potential graduates will finish more on time, reduce rate of student drop outs from the program, and still preserve the college as a beacon of hope to aspiring musicians to get the best training ever; to equip them with knowledge and experience to get them ready for concert stage performances, further studies or research work, and employment locally and internationally.

First day began with a breakfast at 7:30 AM at the plenary hall of the hotel, upon arrival of the participants, majority of which took the chartered bus that transported them from the UP College of Music, amid the impending threat of typhoon Lando. The plenary session com-menced earlier than the intended time, at 9:00 AM, with Dr. dela Peña and Dean Jose Buenconsejo both welcoming the participants and at the same time laying out the ground work for the need of the gathering. Each of the participants were given a kit that include the 2015 College of Music Student Handbook, writing materials, and a booklet that contained the program or agenda with statistical comparison of data based on student performances per subject and per department, that served as an aid in analyzing how to come up with a revised curriculum. At 9:30 AM, session 1 ensued with esteemed retired professors from the Music Education Department, Leticia del Valle, and Mauricia Borromeo, former dean of the college, who gave a brief history of the college program in retrospect of its development from its inception until the first decade of the 2000s. Sessions 2-4 were about crafting a new vision/ mission statement and core values, identifying areas of strengths and weaknesses of the program, and deciding whether the Certificate in Music (CM) degree will be retained, vis-à-vis deciding on a common structure of Bachelor of Music (BM) and Diploma in Creative and Performing Musical Arts (DCPMA). The presenters were Dr. Ramon Acoymo, former dean and incumbent Chair of the Voice and Theater Department; Prof. Jocelyn Guadalupe, Chair of the Music Education Department; and Dr. Verne dela Peña, Chair of the Musicology Department, respectively. Second day continued with sessions 5 and 6 which were on deciding on structure specific department programs, e.g., Major and Minor subjects, and on finalizing the new structure of the academic programs. Presenters were the respective Chairs of the eight Departments: Keyboard, Voice and Theater, Strings, Winds and Percussion, Composition, Conducting and Choral Ensemble, Music Education, and Musicology.

The proceedings of the curriculum review were as follows: 1) New vision statement: “A community of thinking and creative performing artists and scholars”, which was refined on the second day into: “A community of thinking and creative performing artists and scholars transforming the world through ideas, sound, and movement”; 2) Core values such as social and environmental responsibility, integrity, excellence, academic and artistic freedom; 3) The CM program to be shelved; 4) The DCPMA and BM programs to be reduced to 3 years and 4 years, respectively; 5) Minor subjects to convert from 1 unit to 3 units; and 6) Subjects from each cluster, per department, that need to be retained or taken out from the existing program in order to fit the new program into 3 or 4 years. The intended revised curriculum is hopeful to be implemented in AY 2017-2018. The session successfully adjourned at 2:00 PM.