The Eastman School of Music is known as an elite music conservatory, but Eastman is not the only part of UR where music is flourishing.
Recently, students on the River Campus have begun to show growing interest in music across the board.
‘We have seen amazing growth in course offerings and in student participation across the board,’ Chair of the College Music Department and music Professor, John Covach said.
About 25 to 30 percent of all undergraduate students on campus take some type of music class through the department or participate in a performance ensemble.
Senior Lindsay Bronnenkant, who is majoring in Brain and Cognitive Sciences and participates in the wind symphony, symphony orchestra and brass choir, states that music is just as integral to her college education as her BCS courses.
‘I know a of lot science and math people are involved with music and vice versa,’ Bronnenkant said. ‘There is a strong link between the two [and] personally I find that music is the outlet and academics are the job.’
‘ The majority of these students are not music majors, but math, science and engineering students with prior music experience.
‘The non-music majors at the College who I encounter in the lessons and ensembles program seem intensely dedicated to exercising their brains in a multitude of ways,’ Manager of Music Performance Programs Josef Hanson said.
The main components of music education on the River Campus are courses, lessons and ensembles. Participation has soared to new heights in all three.
‘I took lessons for four years over at Eastman during my undergraduate education,’ graduate student Margaret Casazza said. ‘One of the main reasons that I came here to UR is because I wanted to find a strong science program and a strong music program … they are both important to me.’
Faculty members have done their part by greatly expanding their music department course offerings. Over the past three years, the department has drawn on popular music in order to appeal to more students.
Covach teaches’ several courses that reflect this, including History of Rock, The Beatles and Analysis of Rock Music. During registration, all these courses regularly fill to capacity.
In all, more than 40 courses are available to students of all musical backgrounds, ranging from Sondheim and the Modern Musical Theater to Music of Black Americans.
UR has also begun to explore music classes that overlap with other departments, such as Music and the Mind – a course that fuses the Music and Brain and Cognitive Sciences Departments.
Sophomore Nick Stevens, who is a double major in English and music and an active member in many UR musical ensembles’ including wind symphony, symphony orchestra, brass choir and pep band, finds the Music in the Mind class to be fascinating.
‘I am in the music and the mind class right now [and] so far its really at a basic level and we are learning things about basic musical practices, sort of basic functions in the brain,’ Stevens said. ‘I think its going to be really going to be very interesting to see how the two interact and how we perceive sound and associate it with motions.’
Student involvement in performance ensembles has also skyrocketed. This is due in part to the creation of popular new ensembles such as the Rock Repertory Ensemble and the Percussion Ensemble, as well as several student-run ensembles, such as No Jackets Required and the University Pep Band.
The department is looking to continue increasing participation by educating freshmen on the various musical options available to them on the River Campus. Freshmen now receive information on ensembles, lessons and music course offerings both over the summer and in their move-in packet.
The department also holds question-and-answer sessions during freshmen orientation and in the first week of classes, giving students multiple opportunities to learn about and become a part of this growing trend at UR.
Khan is a member of
‘ the class of 2012.