As the music faculty of PBA’s School of Music and Fine Arts were crafting a master’s program, the discussion came down to one question: What do we do best?
“Performance,” said Dr. Ken Phillips, chairman of the music department. “We have an outstanding performance faculty.” He noted that PBA music professors studied at some of the finest music schools in the country, including Juilliard, Indiana University, and the Cincinnati Conservatory of Music.
Building on the faculty’s strength, the Department of Music’s first- graduate program will be the Master of Music in Performance, a curriculum designed to teach world-class musicianship and prepare students for careers such as professional musicians, private studio teachers, and academics. The new degree program is accredited by the National Association of Schools of Music.
The rigorous curriculum will include applied lessons and solo performance, chamber and ensemble performance, music literature, research and pedagogy – the method and practice of teaching. While a career in performance is likely to be the ultimate goal, many of the program’s graduates will teach music while in pursuit of that dream.
“They will be prepared to be outstanding performers as well as outstanding teachers,” Phillips said.
“I can tell you for certain that the students are going to get much more individualized attention than they would in many schools,” Dr. Lloyd Mims, dean of the School of Music and Fine Arts, said. “They are going to be working with faculty members who are dedicated to the development of the whole person. Everything in the music performance world boils down to finding the one teacher who is going to help me be the best musician I can be.”
Mims explained that master’s-level musicians will be expected to demonstrate exceptional technical facility, musicianship and the ability to reach listeners on a more-subtle level. He said auditions should reflect that the musicians “not only can play the notes or sing the passage, but that they can move an audience with the performance skills they have honed and with the emotional and musicianship skills they have embraced.”
Potential graduate students may come from the PBA undergraduate community, local professionals who are ready to raise their level of musicianship, or international musicians who are well aware of the university’s outstanding music faculty. Auditions for the inaugural class of Fall 2018 will run through late May or early June.