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The Dartmouth
February 22, 2024 | Latest Issue
The Dartmouth

Music department offers community service option for majors

09.26.12.arts.musicalinstrument
09.26.12.arts.musicalinstrument

Music professor Steven Swayne, who came up with the idea for the new culminating experience, said that the "mini-FSP" to New York City will take place April 5-7. The trip will allow students to both view performances and interact with professional musicians, he said.

"What we will do during that time in New York is not only go to a couple of events," Swayne said. "Our intention is to have students meet with various practitioners in music in different capacities, some as a whole group and maybe some one on one, to talk through and imagine what futures in music can look like."

The mini-FSP will allow students to attend musical performances while also getting to interact closely with other music students, according to Will Lowry '13, a music major with a concentration in piano performance.

"It's a unique opportunity to experience so much incredible music in a short period of time and an opportunity for the music majors to have more time together, to get to know one another better with an incredible faculty member, Steve Swayne," Lowry said.

The omnibus recital, which will take place on March 3, is an opportunity for all music students who wish to perform to do so in the same place, Swayne said. From a practical standpoint, the joint recital will give students and faculty members a way to support and enjoy the performances of many students at the same time.

The recital also offers a way for students to advertise their upcoming individual or collaborative recitals, Swayne said.

The community service aspect of the culminating experience encourages students to partake in two to four music-related acts of community service for approximately four hours total in order to allow students to share their abilities with the community, Swayne said.

"I want our students to recognize that the talents and skills that they have worked on during their time at Dartmouth are talents and skills that their wider community will profit from when our students go out into that community," he said.

There exists a wide variety of community service activities that music majors can participate in based on their interests, according to Helen Damon-Moore, director of service and education at the Tucker Foundation.

Students participating in the program are expected to perform during the Day of Caring on Sept. 29, attend a dinner at a local Lutheran church through Students Fighting Hunger and perform at the Upper Valley Haven, according to Damon-Moore. Other potential community service opportunities include performing at local schools or participating in shows with other ensembles.

There is a plethora of opportunities for community service available to music majors, according to Tucker Foundation Student Director Damayanti Desai '13. Matching students with an appropriate community service project depends on the interests and abilities of music majors and their availability at the times of certain event.

The community service activities can take a wide variety of forms and do not have to be formal to effectively impact the community, according to Julia Floberg '11, a classical music student relations advisor at the Hopkins Center for the Arts.

"The exciting thing about it for students and the community is the fact that they get to share their craft in a way they've never been able to before," she said. "Oftentimes, they're stuck in a practice room in the basement of the Hop and no one has any idea how talented they are."

The community service aspect of the new culminating experience, Damon-Moore said, has the ability to affect both music majors and community members in a positive way.

"Making the talents of Dartmouth music majors available to the community, and simultaneously helping Dartmouth music majors to see that there's a bigger world, is very exciting," she said.

The new program also allows students to take an active role in their culminating experiences, according to Ryan McWilliams '14, the student liaison between the music students and the Tucker Foundation.

"It really lets them take what talents they have and bring them out and inspire others," McWilliams said.

The program also provides an excellent opportunity for music majors at the College to perform for a broader audience than they may be used to, Desai said.

"This would be a great way to get people out of the classroom, especially given how isolated our school is," Desai said. "It's a great way to get people to interact outside the Dartmouth bubble."

The new culminating experience program was initially met with some confusion by music majors, who were unsure of what to do in the realm of community service. The program, however, will likely gain momentum as the music community familiarizes itself with its requirements, she said.

"I think that right now because it's new we're all trying to figure this out," he said. "Once we get further down the road and people see the kinds of things that are being done and the response that we're getting, it has the potential of snowballing."

The community service aspect of the program gives music majors the ability to "touch a lot more people," according to Lowry.

As part of his community service, Lowry plans to perform at the Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center along with other pianists participating in the culminating experience. Lowry said that though this performance is not an "enormous undertaking" for the music majors involved, it has the potential to be a very meaningful experience for both the patients and student performers.

The flexibility of the new program allows music majors to participate in additional community service opportunities as they are made available.

"I think that one of the unique aspects of this community service requirement is that it allows us to pick up new things as we go as new opportunities present themselves," he said. "The way that it's organized is very professional, and I think that the flexibility that it offers is definitely going to be a strength of the program."