Laurier announces academic pathway agreement with Randolph College for Performing Arts

Photo by Eva Ou

Wilfrid Laurier University’s faculty of music has announced that they have created a partnership with Randolph College for the Performing Arts, allowing students at both institutions to receive both a degree and a diploma from each school in certain programs.

The pathway agreement will allow Randolph College students to complete an additional two years of study at Laurier after their graduation to earn a bachelor of music (BMus) degree in either community music or self-directed studies on top of their performing arts diploma.

As for Laurier students, those who are currently enrolled in their third year of the BMus for voice performance can enrol in Randolph’s performing arts diploma to graduate with both a bachelor’s degree and performing arts diploma.

“We had long realized there was interest amongst our students and potential students in musical theatre, and we also recognized that we didn’t have capacity to introduce that kind of program on our own,” said Glen Carruthers, the dean of the Laurier faculty of music.

“Coincidentally, Randolph College had been looking for an academic partner for a number of years. They ultimately reached out to us and we were highly receptive and so things moved forward with ease and a lot of enthusiasm.”

Randolph College for the Performing Arts is located in Toronto, Ontario and has alumni performing in many capacities, such as live theatre shows and television roles. Laurier alumni are currently performing in venues, such as the Metropolitan Opera and Carnegie Hall. The added value of a musical theatre diploma can help enhance skills for roles in places like Broadway shows, as some Randolph alumni have achieved this success.

“One of the features of musical life in the twenty-first century is that success seems predicated on versatility. At the end of the twentieth century there were a lot of us asking what kind of skills students need to succeed in the twenty-first century as a musician. I don’t think we need to ask that anymore,” Carruthers said.

Though this academic pathway agreement has just been announced, the faculty of music is always looking for new ways to enhance the student experience and continue to be one of the top music programs for students in Canada.

“We know that the ability to move seamlessly between a number of different art forms and a number of different sub-disciplines is a tremendous advantage for anybody in the professional world and it’s important that graduates are able to move from one career focus to another.”

Current Laurier voice-performance students have experience in productions, as they perform an opera each year — this year’s opera being Cendrillon — and Laurier offers an opera diploma to students once they have graduated from voice performance.

The added benefit of a Randolph College diploma is that, on top of Laurier graduates’ voice skills, they will also learn about acting for film, TV and stage, musical theatre vocals opposed to opera, as well as a combination of dance including ballet, jazz and tap all in their curriculum.

“A lot of our graduates will go on to teach or go into business — a lot of them already do all these activities simultaneously. They will teach during the day and then perform in the evening. This program will enable our students to gain a greater diversity of skills that they will use in the professional world,” Carruthers said.

For Randolph College graduates, they have the choice to enrol into Laurier’s community music degree, a new program introduced in 2017, or into a self-directed studies program where they are free to explore electives outside of the faculty.

“What we were looking for are the programs that either align most obviously with the kind of skills that Randolph are likely to have, or those programs that afforded the most opportunity to transfer credit,” Carruthers said.

“The community music program makes sense because community theatre and arts connect with community music and the self-directed study is the program with the most flexibility. So if a student is really intent on gaining skills in arts administration or entrepreneurial skills in music, the setting in which to do that is self-directed study.”

Though this academic pathway agreement has just been announced, the faculty of music is always looking for new ways to enhance the student experience and continue to be one of the top music programs for students in Canada.

“Institutionally, we were asking the same thing: how can we remain relevant and how can we use our limited resources and so forth. The answer to that is clear, too: it’s partnering with institutions who already have strengths in particular areas where we would like to develop expertise,” Carruthers said.

“We’re constantly looking to provide students with the skills to have a high and satisfying quality of life upon graduation, so in that process, we look far beyond ourselves to find experiences that will benefit our students and I think this is a

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