Our most common questions...
1. Can a beginner start in the MA Music program?
No. Students must have some degree of technical proficiency on his or her instrument (including voice). Ours is an ENSEMBLE program, focused on helping individual students continue to learn in small group settings.
2. Do you teach individual technique?
Not so much. Some vocal and instrumental coaching is offered, and students are helped with general musical concepts like rhythm, phrasing and improvisation. Resources like chord diagrams, sax fingering charts, music theory books, and vocal exercises are made available.
3. Do all music students take private lessons?
Most do, and nearly all have at some point. Private lessons are encouraged and supported, but not required of music students. We have many references to offer.
4. Can a freshman join the Rock Band?
This is highly unlikely, unless the student fills a particular instrumental need, is an exceptionally good player, and is extremely mature (and really lucky).
5. What is the balance of boys and girls in the program?
Of the 107 students in the program during 2009-2010, 49 were girls and 63 were boys. Of the girls, 22 were vocalists and 27 instrumentalists. The boys? 10 vocalists and 53 instrumentalists.
6. Do all students audition for the program? Why?
All students applying to the music program must audition, typically via both a recorded and live audition. The cornerstone of our program is the small ensemble, and there must be musically viable instrumental/vocal combinations that allow students to work with others at their level. Placement varies from year to year. In 2012 we were able to place everyone who auditioned in a music class. Going into 2013, eight students were not placed, primarily due to an extremely high number of vocalists, pianists and drummers auditioning.
7. What is the typical progression through four years of music?
This varies widely. It is certainly appropriate for some students to stay within one discipline - four years of Chamber Music for instance, or four years of Jazz. Challenges and opportunities will increase as the student progresses. For most, Foundations of Music Performance is a typical first step, followed by American Roots and/or Music of the World. The strongest and most committed junior and senior singers and players have the opportunity to audition for one of the advanced groups in Contemporary Music Seminar (rock, soul, acoustic). Those with experience in Jazz can also start there as a freshman, or may join that class in later years.
8. If a student has studied classical music but wants to play popular music (rock, blues, jazz, pop, folk, etc.) at MA, what should he/she do?
We've had many students succeed in this scenario. For pianists, it means studying chords and rhythms, for horn players it means learning a new interpretation and feel. For all musicians, including string players, "crossing over" involves a certain amount of learning by ear. Interest and commitment are key elements.