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Featured Academic Unit - Conservatory of Music

Pacific's Jazz Combo performing at the Monterey Jazz Festival in 2015.

Office of the ProvostJan 20, 2016
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This month we're continuing to feature academic units across the University and highlight how they have aligned with the themes and initiatives in the Academic Plan, Crossing Boundaries.  In December we featured the Department of Religious Studies. This month's featured unit is the Conservatory of Music, which has been championing the liberal arts at Pacific for more than 135 years as the oldest college of music west of the Mississippi.

The Conservatory of Music presents a unique brand of hands-on, experiential learning through a wide variety of degree plans. To prepare its students to become the performers, teachers, therapists, composers, historians and music industry leaders of the future, the Conservatory provides them with an educational experience steeped in the tradition of great musical training while equipping them with the skills needed for successful lives in music in the 21st century.            

The Conservatory's 50-plus faculty members are involved in research and performance not only at Pacific but throughout the world. For example, on February 5, Conservatory faculty members with specialties in strings, woodwinds, piano, percussion and voice will present new music composed by composition faculty members Dr. Francois Rose and Dr. Robert Coburn. One of the works is a new chamber opera based on Dr. Rose's study of Nŏh, an ancient Japanese theatrical art form, the result of his sabbatical study in Japan during Spring 2015. This is just one of the many ways Conservatory faculty members blend the old and the new to present their students with the best examples of artistic excellence.  

The Performance Studies department continues its robust output of performances. Recent highlights include the Jazz Combo performing at the Monterey Jazz Festival as the top college combo, and Conservatory instrumentalists and vocalists joined a concentration camp survivor in presenting the opera "Brundibár" to over 1,400 San Joaquin County schoolchildren. The Music Education program provided a study guide, books and notes to teachers to educate their students about the opera and the significance it has to the Holocaust. This week, the Conservatory will host over 35 public school performers to sit side-by-side with Conservatory musicians in the preparation and performance of Gustav Mahler's Symphony No. 1.  

In response to changing student and employer needs, the Conservatory began two new programs in Fall 2015: the MusicTherapy Equivalency Program on the San Francisco campus and the Bachelor of Science in Music Industry Studies on the Stockton campus. The San Francisco Music Therapy program is designed for lifelong learners interested in honing their music skills in healthcare and educational settings. To meet the needs of working professionals, participating students have the option to complete the course sequence at their own pace while receiving clinical supervision from an extensive network of qualified music therapists.            

The Bachelor of Science in Music Industry Studies is designed to prepare students for success in the new music industry, and is the first of its kind in the region. With guidance from an advisory board of alumni and music industry executives, the Conservatory of Music has developed a cutting-edge program that merges theory with practice along with intensive, hands-on training to prepare students with the knowledge, skills and resilience to succeed in the fast-paced music industry. Highlights of the program include: the development of music and video editing techniques, engaging in social media strategies and internships with music and business professionals to provide students with valuable experience. The Music Industry Studies program is strengthened by its cross-disciplinary collaboration with the Eberhardt School of Business in which students take ESB courses, thereby adding knowledge of business practices to their learning portfolios.              

As evidenced by the diverse scope of their research, performance and teaching, the members of the Conservatory of Music are not only educating students in the great traditions of music theory, composition and performance but also are responding to ongoing changes in the music industry to prepare students for success in the 21st century.  

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