New Conservatory Curriculum Aims to Include All Students

The Baldwin Wallace Conservatory of Music is inviting students of all types into their doors with new courses being introduced this year.

Conservatory faculty have created a series of new courses that provide credit to some pre-existing ensembles and explore the creative and cultural nature of music that will be incorporated into the BW course catalog this fall, said Dr. Charles Young, associate dean of the Conservatory. Young said these courses are aimed at current and potential students that are interested in making music part of their academic experience regardless of their major.

“We’re interested in finding ways to use the Conservatory brand as a way to attract students to come to BW to participate in all sorts of academic programs,” said Young. “It became evident to us that we were not reaching out to the general university student here in ways that we could be.”

Young said that the weight of the term conservatory may create a sense of seriousness that makes it seem separate from the rest of the university. He said his experience in public universities has shown that involvement in music programs from non-majors has benefit both the program and the experience of the student.

The push to encourage this involvement comes from the belief that seeing the Conservatory as separate from the university is detrimental, said Young.

“The sense that the Conservatory is different from the rest of campus, in a way, that’s unfortunate for everyone,” said Young. “What we should do is to reinforce everything that happens in those other areas.”

Songwriting and marching band are two of the courses being offered this upcoming fall to encourage students to explore their musical passions.

The Marching Band is a long running club on campus that performs at every home football game and is already made up of students across all majors. Starting next semester, members of the Marching Band will be allowed the opportunity to register it as a class and will receive a scholarship that increases each year they participate, said Andrew Machamer, assistant professor of Music Education and director of the BW Marching Band.

“The push for credit was a big deal, and we’ve also secured [$500] Scholarships for every marching member and $100 extra for every additional year that you’re in the group,” said Machamer.

Machamer said that this is part of a recruitment initiative for the university as well as BW’s recognition and support of the BW Marching Band as a pillar of community.

“Having those two extra tools in place makes it easier for me to talk to an incoming high school senior,” said Machamer. “I can now say ‘Yes you can get credit for being in marching band and yes there are scholarships attached to being in the band.’”

The songwriting class is meant to appeal to students in a broad sense with music and develop a collaborative engagement with music across all sorts of majors, said Assistant Professor of Composition, Dr. Jonathan Sokol.

“If you’re not a music major but you still want to be engaged with music somehow, this is definitely one of those courses that could satisfy that yearning,” said Sokol.

Sokol said students are already experimenting writing songs and the class brings together students with different songwriting strengths to encourage more collaboration. By working together, the students learn the answer to the question of how to make a song, said Sokol.

As part of the initiative to offer campus wide music courses, the songwriting class is included in both the Music Conservatory and Liberal Arts categories in BW’s course catalog, said Young.