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Changes in the Music Department

By McKayla Phillips
On November 7, 2018

Changes made to the music department will help students graduate in a more timely manner.
Photo Courtesy of McKayla Phillips

Concord University’s music department will be experiencing some changes beginning January 2019.

In a September meeting with students, professors explained the changes to the music education program.

The program will be cut from 135 to 120 credit hours.

“It took around six months to work on the changes. Multiple meetings occurred between music faculty, then music faculty and the provost, and music faculty and the education chair. Recent music education graduates were also contacted so we could understand the student perspective as well,” says Dr. Jacob Womack, Instructor and Collaborative Pianist, about the process.

Students have the opportunity to stay on the old catalog or switch to the new catalog. In the new catalog, a number of classes will have changes. Methods classes and some others will be only offered one or two more semesters. Additionally, several courses have been consolidated but still contain the necessary information for the Praxis Music Content Knowledge Exam, and the number of one-hour courses offered will be limited. “Music faculty felt it was best to limit the number of 1-credit courses offered as they can create problems when students made schedules. Furthermore, a new state mandate for seniors in the education field had a significant impact in what courses we could keep and which ones to consolidate,” stated Dr. Womack.

Reducing a music education program can be a challenge. Dr. Womack states that a student must be certified at all grade levels, not just, for example, kindergarten through 5th grade level.

The changes made to the program will “make the path to graduation more accessible for students with the hopes of more people graduating in a timely manner,” says Dr. Womack. “Music education students hopefully will no longer need to consistently take twenty credit hour semesters to graduate in four.”

Sophomore music education major Cassidy Hicks says she believes these changes will benefit her. “I think that having fewer credit hours will help me to accomplish my goals quicker, but I also believe that losing some of our most important classes will affect my success as a music educator.” She explains “Not having brass, woodwinds, percussion or string methods will make my knowledge less for teaching a band and kicking out piano lessons will also lesson my knowledge of accompanying my choir. Lessening the amount of voice lessons I take does help with the excessive amount of credit hours I take; however, as a Vocal major, I feel as if my voice lessons are the most crucial part to my degree.”

Cody Jewell, a freshman disagrees. “I believe it is a bad thing for the music department because it is limiting the amount of music intake. They will benefit me in keeping me on track to graduate but will ultimately limit my education.”

Compared to other music programs, Dr. Womack stated that Concord’s music program is ahead of the game. “Music education programs statewide have curriculum that often require 135 or more credit hours to graduate. Concord is ahead of the curve and has made the new catalog 120 credit hours.”

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