By Jen Cardone | The Duquesne Duke
The Mary Pappert School of Music was recently named one of the top 58 schools for music education in the country in the new edition of Creative Colleges: A Guide for Student Actors, Artists, Dancers, Musicians, and Writers.
Author Elaina Loveland said she recommends the top college programs and that they are not ranked numerically.
“Because admission to colleges in the arts is largely subjective (like with auditions, art portfolio reviews, creative writing samples), there is no way to have a statistically valid ranking based on numeric data,” Loveland said in an e-mail.
Loveland said the criteria for recognition include extensiveness of curriculum for the major, available scholarships, activities for students in their field and achievements of alumni.
Duquesne has been featured in each edition of the book since 2005, Loveland said. Of the 260 recommended programs, only 58 are named in the book.
In an excerpt from her book, Loveland says Duquesne’s music school “offers undergraduates the opportunity to study music technology and music therapy — and that makes its program rise above many others.”
“Also, the option of allowing students to take business courses as electives is another unique offering,” the excerpt says. “And the Electronic Ensemble is a distinctive performing opportunity for students, which is not available in many other programs.”
Dean Edward Kocher said he is “very happy, especially for the faculty and staff who worked together many years to make the learning environment possible.”
Kocher said the term “creative college” means a place where the learning environment fosters each student’s ability to become the best through discovery of creative ways of music making.
The school’s undergraduate program is comprehensive, and it helps the students build a variety of skill sets focused around four separate programs: music performance, music education, music technology and music therapy according to Kocher.
All prospective students go through a strict audition process. If they are selected, they enter the music school knowing they will need to learn more than their major. They are educated in theory, history, sight singing, aural skills, conducting and keyboard skills. Along with this, each student participates in the liberal arts core to earn a degree Kocher said.
He believes that because the program has been recognized, the school is properly represented in excellent performance and teaching.
“Many students are employed in creative positions in a broad range of music occupations because of the music education agenda,” Kocher said.
The main goal of the music program is to “prepare individuals for the professional field” directly after graduation, according to Kocher.
Looking ahead to the future, Kocher sees the music program “striving to remain at the forefront of music teachers and learning and continuing to find ways to give students outstanding learning opportunity that relates to life of professional musicians.”
Director of music admissions Troy Centofanto said the rating is not a surprise.
“The music school is no different than before the listing,” Centofanto said. “Because I am an alum and former professor, I always knew it was a competitive and quality school.”
Centofanto also said he is confident the school will continue to be a destination for “traditional music education.”
“I see the music program opening doors to create more opportunities for students in the future,” Centofanto said.
Junior flute performance major Kaylee O’Donnell, whose favorite aspect of the music school is the faculty, was happy about the ranking.
“It’s pretty exciting and I’m proud to be here and part of it,” O’Donnell said.
Junior Brianna Bortz, a music education major with a focus in viola, said music students “get the opportunity to teach out in the field and see a lot of observations for teaching younger children.”
Bortz also took pride in the Creative Colleges recognition.
“It’s nice for Duquesne to be in public for a good reason,” Bortz said. “Positive publicity is a good thing and makes me feel like I’m in a good place.”