Does getting a music degree just mean locking yourself in practice room all day, emerging only to attend orchestra, wind ensemble, or choir rehearsals? How will studying music at college prepare you, an aspiring professional musician or music teacher, for a job after graduation?
Gregory Jones, chair of IPFW’s Department of Music, says the key difference for his department is providing students with opportunities for “real-world” experiences. We sat down with Jones to discuss how his department creates meaningful experiential learning for students who want to do more than spend four years rehearsing.
1. Connections to Fort Wayne’s Local, Professional Orchestra
The IPFW Department of Music has enjoyed a long and collaborative relationship with the Fort Wayne Philharmonic. Students have opportunities to observe and interact with professionals in the orchestra as they rehearse and during performances, and sometimes students even play backup for “the Phil.”
Many of the professional musicians in the Fort Wayne Philharmonic also teach music at IPFW, which means music students have the opportunity to learn from and network with those who have found rewarding and successful careers in the local music performance community.
2. Connections to Sweetwater Sound
Sweetwater Sound is a music production powerhouse in the Midwest, and is one of the most prominent and desirable employers in the region. Many big-name acts have come through their studios to record, and Sweetwater plays a major role in performances and festivals throughout the area.
Music technology majors at IPFW have the opportunity to intern with Sweetwater to get hands-on experience, and many of those interns go on to be offered full-time careers with Sweetwater upon graduation.
3. Music Education and Music Therapy Majors are Required to Participate in Practicas
Practicas are opportunities for students to put what they learn in the classroom to the test in real-world settings. There’s no better way to find out just how far you’ve come in your education than to put it into practice.
The IPFW Department of Music places special emphasis on practicas for music education and music therapy students.
Music ed majors are required to observe music teachers in high school classrooms, which gives them a first-hand glimpse into what they’ll be doing after graduation. And speaking of graduation, 100 percent of aspiring music ed teachers at IPFW passed their certification exam last year!
Similarly, music therapy majors are tasked with going out to a hospital or a clinic to observe therapists as they work with clients. Moreover, IPFW has a clinic on campus where students have the opportunity to watch music therapists working with other students through a two-way mirror.
4. Students are Encouraged to Collaborate Across Campus
On-campus opportunities for performances, collaborations, and jam sessions abound. Whether it’s entertaining alumni at an event or performing for fellow students during Homecoming, music students at IPFW have plenty of chances to share their talent with their fellow Dons.
In fact, just this past week, Jones said, “There are 16 different gigs my students are performing in.”
So what are the next steps? Ready to find out more about how IPFW’s Department of Music prepares students for a long career in music after graduation through real-world experiences and opportunities for professional connections?
Even as a prospective student, you have a chance to experience it first-hand! Contact the IPFW Department of Music, and ask if you can visit a class, talk to students, or meet with a professor so you can get a “feel” for experience before you apply.
And to learn even more about IPFW, schedule a campus visit and come equipped with the Campus Visit Checklist: