As a sophomore music major I feel the need to respond to the information presented in the opinions piece “A Note to Mercer’s Music School” from the last issue of The Cluster. The opening paragraph was quite flattering to the music school and its students, something that I’m sure was highly appreciated by all those associated who read it. However I’d like to address some of the information that followed.
The first issue mentioned in the article is the separation between the music students and the rest of the campus. I’ve heard it frequently referred to as “the gap” and we are aware it exists. However it is a little strange that music students are specifically targeted. While true we do spend the majority of our time in McCorkle, it is simply due to the fact that our classes are all held in that building, which becomes true for most majors after their general education classes are done.
Music majors start into their core major classes from the first semester on. While many freshmen have mostly general education classes their first semester, we are instantly submerged into our major with classes including music theory, musicianship and piano. While that fact doesn’t help the gap between the music students and the rest of campus, it is necessary if a music student hopes to complete their degree in four years time.
The next paragraphs address the issue of a society in which fine arts are “dying out.” Although I commend the attention to an important issue as well as recommend and encourage students to attend concerts on campus, I’m not entirely sure referring to Google as a source was the most credible way to draw attention to it. The article then turns the blame onto Townsend and the apparent “lack of promotion” of our concerts. This statement seemed to bother many music majors, especially those who work closely with the music school to ensure that concerts are advertised around campus. We advertise through flyers and posters in public buildings, such as the CSC, as well as having the concerts featured in Bear Blurbs that go out to Mercer’s community. Concerts are also advertised in the entertainment section of The Cluster, the newspaper you are currently holding.
The article then states that Townsend should “come to the students” and suggests that like students who participate in flashmobs and impromptu poetry readings, music students could bring music onto campus instead of simply in McCorkle. While the idea is sound and inspired, no one simply walks up to an engineer and tells them to build things on campus because we want them to. Simply because engineers, as well as music majors, are probably a little busy with classes.
It is also implied that Mercer’s music students are not involved on campus which is not true. For example, the Mercer Singers are present at many school functions such as the Christmas Tree Lighting and Founder’s Day. Music majors are involved on campus in many ways, some being RA’s and PA’s, some involved in Greek life and other extracurricular activities, as well as many having jobs on campus. Just because we aren’t always carrying our instrument, doesn’t mean we’re not involved on campus.
The point of this article was not to be confrontational, but simply to set facts straight about the Townsend School of Music and its students. We are aware there is a gap between our school and campus, the same as there might be between other majors. We are involved on campus and would love to see fellow Mercer students at our concerts. Many of us have non-music major friends that venture into McCorkle from time to time. Everyone is welcome to stop by.