• What do Skidmore music majors do when they graduate?
Auditions, admission, etc.
• Do I have to audition to be admitted to the music department?
• Should I send a recording of my performances to the Music Department (or to Admissions)?
• What sorts of performing ensembles does the Music Department have?
• Do I have to be a music major to be in ensembles?
• Do I need to audition to be in ensembles?
• How many concerts a year do the ensembles present?
• Do student soloists ever perform concertos with the orchestra?
• Are there student-run ensembles?
The Music Major
• PERFORMANCE HANDBOOK - Do I have to be a music major to take private lessons?
• Who teaches lessons?
• How much do lessons cost?
• Is there financial aid to help cover the cost of lessons?
• Can I perform a recital?
• Does Skidmore have jazz ensembles?
• Can I take private lessons in jazz performance?
• Are there any history or theory courses related to jazz?
• Can I give a jazz recital?
• Where do performances take place?
• I have heard rumors about a new music building. Are they true?
The Filene Scholarships and the Filene Scholars
• What do Filene Scholars do when they graduate? (PDF)
How big is the music department? This is not an easy question to answer, but it is safe to say we have a remarkably active musical life at Skidmore. We graduate about 15-18 majors a year, and have 12 full-time faculty and over 20 part-time faculty, plus three staff accompanists. About 40 students begin the music theory sequence each year. Close to 200 students take private lessons in a typical semester, nearly 100 students perform in the chorus, about 45 students perform alongside 25 professionals in the orchestra, and about 15 students perform in large jazz ensemble, while perhaps 30 are coached each semester in one of the five small jazz ensembles.
What do Skidmore music majors do when they graduate? This article about what Filene Scholars have done when they graduated will give you some idea of the rich world of possibilities to which a Skidmore degree can lead. (PDF)
Do I have to audition to be admitted to the music department? No. We view Skidmore’s B.A. music major as fully embedded in the fabric of the liberal arts education, and Skidmore encourages students to keep an open mind about their major until they have been on campus for a couple of semesters. You don’t have to audition to be a philosophy major and you don’t have to audition to be a music major.Should I send a recording of my performances to the Music Department (or to Admissions)? Strong classical performers applying to Skidmore generally enter the Filene Scholarship Competition and send a recording that meets its requirements. Students with other musical interests, such as jazz or composition, can send a short recording—just 10-15 minutes of your best playing or singing or composing is most useful—and music faculty will listen to it. The faculty member may then contact you directly, or pass on comments to the admissions office, or both.
What sorts of performing ensembles does the Music Department have? The large ensembles include the Skidmore College Orchestra (conducted by Dr. Anthony G. Holland, and in which students play alongside some of the best professionals of the Capital Region), the Skidmore College Community Chorus (directed by Janet McGhee, with over 100 voices), and the Skidmore Jazz Ensemble (directed by Mark Vinci). Small, select ensembles include the Small Jazz Ensembles (about 30 students participate each semester in five coached ensembles), the Vocal Chamber Ensemble (directed by Janet McGhee), diverse chamber music ensembles for strings, woodwinds, flute, and brass, the Guitar Ensemble (coached by Joel Brown), and the West African Drumming Ensemble (led by Yacub Addy, the founder and director of Odadaa!).Do I have to be a music major to be in ensembles? No. All music courses, including ensembles, private lessons, and classroom courses in music theory, musicology, composition, and music technology, are open to all Skidmore students, regardless of major.
Do I need to audition to be in ensembles? Most ensembles have some audition requirement. Some ensembles, such as Vocal Chamber Ensemble, or Small Jazz Ensembles, are quite selective. Others, such as the large Chorus, are open without audition, although the students must sing for the director in order to be placed into the appropriate section.
How many concerts a year do the ensembles present? In a typical year, the orchestra presents four concerts, two each semester. The chorus and the jazz ensemble usually perform one concert at the end of each semester. Most of the chamber ensembles perform one concert in Filene Recital Hall each semester, although there are opportunities to perform in other venues, such as the Payne Room at the Tang Teaching Museum. The small jazz ensembles typically perform three concerts each semester, one at the historic Caffe Lena downtown, one at Falstaff’s coffee house on campus, and the final one in Filene.
Do student soloists ever perform concertos with the orchestra? Every December, students compete in the annual Concerto Competition. One student, and sometimes two, are chosen to perform a concerto movement or an aria or song in one of the orchestra’s spring concerts.
Are there student-run ensembles? Skidmore has numerous student-run performing groups, including several a cappella groups, a Cabaret Troupe that performs musical theater, the annual Aids Benefit, among other student-run performance opportunities.
The Music Major
Do I have to be a music major to take private lessons? No. All music courses, including ensembles, private lessons, and classroom courses in music theory, musicology, composition, and music technology, are open to all Skidmore students, regardless of major.Who teaches lessons? Our studio faculty includes six full-time Artists-in-Residence plus some twenty part-time instructors in voice, piano, all orchestral instruments, and some non-Western and traditional instruments such as fiddle and banjo. Most have advanced degrees in their performance area; those teaching orchestral instruments generally hold principal chairs in regional orchestras, including Albany, Schenectady, Glens Falls, the Mid-Hudson SO, and the Lake George Opera orchestra.
Can I perform a recital? Students enrolled in private lessons can, with the recommendation of their teacher, audition to give a full or a shared recital. The Performance Handbook outlines all the policies regarding recitals, private lessons, the concerto competition, and more.
Does Skidmore have jazz ensembles? Students can enroll in our big band ensemble or in one of about five small jazz ensembles coached by our faculty. The big band, directed by Mark Vinci, gives one concert each semester. Senior Artist-in-Residence for jazz studies, John Nazarenko coordinates the small jazz ensembles. The SJEs typically perform three times each semester, once in Falstaff’s, the on-campus student-run cabaret, once downtown at the historic Caffe Lena coffee shop, and once on stage in Filene Recital Hall. The best of our student ensembles also find some work in clubs in Saratoga.
Are there any history or theory courses related to jazz? Yes---we have upper-level seminars in the history of jazz and in jazz theory. Occasionally, we offer topics courses that deal with jazz: among these have been an upper-level seminar on Miles Davis and a 100-level course on Duke Ellington.Can I give a jazz recital? Many seniors who study jazz present a recital as their Senior Project, often featuring their original compositions.
Where do performances take place? The Filene Recital Hall is an intimate, 240-seat hall in which we present concerts by Skidmore students, faculty, and ensembles, as well as a roster of world renowned performers who appear under the Filene Concert Series and the Sterne Virtuoso Series.
The Filene Scholarships and the Filene Scholars
CREATIVE THOUGHT MATTERS
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