New joint music program to be offered

Queen’s partners with St. Lawrence College to introduce new technical music program

Students will take four years of study at Queen’s and one year following at St. Lawrence College.
Students will take four years of study at Queen’s and one year following at St. Lawrence College.
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A new Concurrent Bachelor of Music /Music and Digital Media program will begin this fall, run by Queen’s University and St. Lawrence College (SLC).

The program will teach interdisciplinary skills offered by the Queen’s School of Music and the St. Lawrence Music and Digital Media (MDM) program, and it will be officially introduced in September 2014.The program will combine music theory with digital media classes in order to give students access to increased opportunities in performance and production.

Students will study at Queen’s for four years and complete a fifth year at SLC. The goal is to enable students to finish school sooner than if they had taken both programs separately, as the MDM program is a two-year program.

Students will receive qualifications from both institutions.

Throughout their first four years in the program, students will take the majority of courses at Queen’s, while taking one or two courses per year at SLC.

The fifth year will include a portfolio course, where students put together a multimedia portfolio that they can use for job applications and self-promotion.

Queen’s School of Music Director Margaret Walker designed the program with MDM coordinator and Queen’s adjunct professor Adrienne Shannon.

“She and I have talked a lot over the past three and a half years, the time that I’ve been the director, about ways of getting the two programs to speak to one another,” Walker said.

Both said that a number of students complete the MDM program and then apply to the School of Music, and that it’s common for St. Lawrence students to participate in Queen’s ensembles.

“This is something very new, of having this type of thing between a university and a college ... it’s nice, it levels the playing field, it makes things more equitable,” Walker said.

The School of Music focuses more on theory, classical music and music history, whereas the MDM program offers courses in photography, digital motion graphics and recording.

“If you’re a classical pianist and you want to put out a CD, you have to go and hire someone to do the recording, to design the cover, to do all of these things, whereas a graduate from this program would be able to do that for themselves,“ Walker said.

One of the goals of the program is to give students skills that don’t require them to outsource parts of their career, according to Shannon.

“[Students will] be able to function in a recording studio, work with a digital camera, take some of their own publicity photos, so they’ll gain skills that will be useful to them as musicians and teachers,” Shannon said.

There are also financial advantages to participating in the program.

“Funding opportunities from provincial and national funding agencies are looking for interdisciplinary arts. It’s the way of the 21st century, is bringing dancers and theater and filmmakers and musicians together into creative product, into creative production,” Shannon said.

Shannon added the program isn’t a replacement for either program.

She said that many music students go to Queen’s in order to become teachers or historians, rather than performers. Those students will likely remain the majority.

“If they choose to specialize that’s fine … but there’s others who might want diversified skills,” she said.

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