Mary Pappert School launches new program


Kellen Stepler | staff writer

To be the best, you have to learn from the best.

And now, Duquesne’s Mary Pappert School of Music has launched a new program to provide students with valuable resources and hands-on experiences to learn more about the music industry.

The Institute of Entertainment, Music and Media Arts (IEMMA) program is designed to promote students’ skill sets to better prepare them in the constantly evolving entertainment field. IEMMA (pronounced I’m a) offers real world situations and the opportunity to work alongside industry leaders in areas like composing, recording, performance, engineering and production.

Duquesne professor and IEMMA director Tom Kikta describes IEMMA as students applying their skill sets in real world situations through seminars, clinics and projects. The first phase of IEMMA is a public lecture and seminar series that will run through the 2019-2020 academic year.

The IEMMA Experience began Friday, Sept. 20, with voice actor Jeff Bergman. Bergman, one of the voices of Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck and the original Gus the Groundhog, shared his experiences in the School of Music’s PNC Recital Hall.

Not only is IEMMA an initiative for school of music students, but also for law and business students as well. Kikta said that Duquesne’s Red Masquers attended the Jeff Bergman event.

Additionally, IEMMA benefits law students through a course with music law, and business students learning about music agents, negotiation and contracts.

The next lecture, titled “Hybrid Mixing with Solid State Logic and Sweetwater Music,” will be Tuesday, Oct. 22 at 7 p.m. A three day interactive seminar for audio engineers and producers, the Oct. 22 date is free and open to the public at the Dr. Thomas D. Pappert Center for Performance and Innovation.

Other events scheduled include “Composing for Film,” with Hollywood composer Michael Andreas, a gaming creation seminar and more.

In the “Composing for Film” event, Andreas will mentor student composers’ skills to make their works more effective. Once that stage is done, it will go to audio engineering students to create Foley and dialogue audio.

According to Duquesne’s IEMMA webpage, IEMMA will “help each student develop an entrepreneurial mindset that can, in turn, help them generate multiple revenue streams through their creative abilities in all media including performance, recording, producing, composing, engineering, managing, publishing and distribution, gaming and more.”

Like most industries, the music industry is all about connections. Kikta says that IEMMA will absolutely benefit students in the music school through networking.

“We are better positioning our students in the world and industry,” Kikta said.

Kikta also noted the advantage Duquesne students will have, because they will already have these connections in school. These connections through IEMMA make the university more competitive for prospective music school students.

Founded on Duquesne’s Spiritan tradition, the mission of IEMMA is to awaken and equip each student’s unique talents and aspirations for their career, to instill excellence and professionalism with a foundational and ethical core and to provide the entertainment industry with visionary leaders and professionals for the field.

Kikta notes that not only does the program align with Duquesne’s Spiritian mission, but also is part of the university’s strategic plan.

Not only can Duquesne students benefit from IEMMA, but the Pittsburgh region can as well. For the Jeff Bergman event, Kikta invited the Carnegie Mellon and Point Park acting department to attend. While Duquesne students will be front and center at the clinics, the region can benefit by seeing what’s going on at Duquesne.

According to the website, “Students benefit from an environment equipped with the latest hardware and software necessary for development of the advanced techniques required to be successful.”

Additionally, IEMMA offers Sound Stage Sessions, a program through which music technology students can prepare, set up, run and strike recording sessions for music ensembles at Duquesne.

It simultaneously helps ensemble performers learn how to conduct themselves in a recording studio environment. Students will perform, mix and master recordings to be broadcast, downloaded and streamed under the guidance of Grammy Award-Winning sound recording faculty and seasoned stage musicians.