Singing a song of scholarship

by Andrew Goodell

Prospective music students will have an opportunity to explorethe Simpson Music Department this weekend by observing classes andperformances, as well as auditioning to determine their scholarshipeligibility.

This two-day introduction to Simpson’s Music Department iscalled the Music Weekend.

“The idea is that they get a chance to immerse themselves in theMusic Department,” said Michael Duke, instructor of music.

On Nov. 12, prospective students will be able to attend solofaculty recitals as well as performances by Simpson musical groupsincluding the Jazz Ensemble, Women’s Chorale and MadrigalSingers.

“It’s a showcase for prospective students,” senior MadrigalSingers member Dan Richardson said. “It shows them what we’velearned at Simpson and that they can learn the same.”

Not only do prospective students get a chance to see Simpsonstudents and faculty perform, they will also be allowed to sit inon rehearsals, according to Duke.

Richardson said the Music Weekend targets “prospective studentswho want to narrow down schools.”

There is some degree of pressure put on prospective studentsduring their two-day stay on campus.

According to both Richardson and Duke, the auditions thatprospective students will be participating in are meant todetermine scholarship eligibility.

“They perform and we evaluate them,” Duke said.

Although the department only holds its Music Weekend once duringspring and fall semesters, Duke said these important auditionscould be held any time of the school year.

The auditions help prospective students become familiar with thefaculty.

“If you’re going to be studying with a person for the next fouryears, you want to get to know them,” Duke said.

Prospective students will sit in on Friday’s music classes inorder to see what the academic side of being a music major is allabout. According to Duke, the classes prospective students sit inon are everything from music theory and history to musiceducation.

Duke said the classroom setting shows prospective students animportant aspect of being a music major at Simpson.

“Being a music student is different than being, say, a biologymajor because you have a one-on-one relationship with faculty,”Duke said.

Since the Music Weekend is two days long, prospective studentswill spend the night in the housing units of music majors.

Duke said living in a music-oriented environment for two dayswill provide them with the opportunity to ask questions of Simpsonstudents that they might not feel comfortable asking facultymembers. Music majors, like many students, involve their area ofinterest in their lives as much as possible.

The music department’s comprehensive Music Weekend is intendedto show prospective students the whole experience of what it islike to major in music at Simpson. It is intended to win themover.

“I’m sure there are similar programs at other colleges, but notas in-depth as what we do,” Duke said.