As of fall 2021, students at Sacred Heart University can now pursue a bachelor’s degree (B.A.) in music.
The new program will be based in the department of media and performing arts in the School of Communication, Media and the Arts (SCMA). It will be currently accepting those who wish to enroll into the program.
“The music program has grown to be the largest performing arts program at Sacred Heart,” said Prof. Joseph Carter, director of academic music programs. “In response to the unprecedented growth over the past several years, a music major is the next logical and prudent step as Sacred Heart continues to expand its arts curricula. The demonstrated demand for music classes at SHU suggests that it is reasonable to anticipate significant interest for this new major.”
According to Keith Johnson, director of bands and orchestra at Sacred Heart, students in the program will be able to choose from concentrations in either music performance or music production.
“The music curriculum will give students a broad range of communication, organizational and problem-solving skills that are applicable to a wide range of jobs within the music and arts fields,” said Carter.
Since its founding, Sacred Heart has offered a music minor program. However, with the new major, students will expand on these skills by taking more specialized classes.
“Students will gain the skills necessary to excel as music professionals, educators and producers through more advanced study, in-depth practice and practical or applied experience,” said Carter.
“There’s an enormous amount of potential for the music major program,” said Johnson. “Graduates will be able to pursue opportunities as performers, producers, recording engineers, composers, music executives, agents and more. In addition, students will be able to become certified music teachers through the newly established master’s in music education program in the Farrington College of Education.”
According to Carter, this program will begin in the fall of 2022. However, there are some students in the music and theatre arts programs who believe there are issues that need to be resolved before the major begins.
“I love the idea of having more musicians on campus,” said junior Ben Carson, who plays guitar and is involved in both the theatre and performing arts program on campus. “But there currently aren’t enough practice rooms, which isn’t ideal when there are really no other places on campus to practice.”
Other students feel that the school needs to improve the pre-existing programs.
“I feel as though there is a lack in funding for the practice rooms,” said senior Mason Duckworth, who is a member of the choir and minoring in music. “There were many times when I would want to rehearse the music I was given for performances or class, but since we only have a small selection of practice rooms, they are most likely all always taken.”
However, the department believes that this problem will soon be addressed.
“This was key to the original proposal,” said Carter. “More practice rooms and a second dedicated music classroom with piano. This is in the process of being set up.”
“It’s no secret that we need acoustically tuned music facilities for both individual and large ensemble practices,” said Johnson. “Over the past decade, SHU has demonstrated a commitment to building needed academic, residential and athletic facilities. With the establishment of this new music major, this is definitely an opportunity to build new and exciting facilities for the performing arts.”