The faculty of music has launched a new master’s program focusing on community music. The new program will be offered in addition to Laurier’s music therapy program and be offered part-time.
The community music program will be a fairly unique program. According to Lee Willingham, director of community music, the music department “researched this carefully, and we’re the only program in Canada that’s offering a degree program in community music.”
“There’s one in the United States, and there’s one in Ireland and there’s a kind-of one in England, so internationally, we’re one in three or four,” he continued.
The goal of the program, according to Willingham is “to recognize top quality in leadership in music with some kind of publicly recognizable degree [and] another goal is to improve and deepen the skills and the theoretical framework and the research ability that people have, that are out there [already].”
The program will be accepting eight students for its first year, and hopefully more in subsequent years. The program aims for quality of students rather than attracting a large number of students.
Glen Carruthers, the dean of music, explained that, “We were looking for something that would be a little different that fit well with Laurier’s vision and mandate, and a community music program which essentially takes what it is that we do out into the wider community seemed a natural fit.”
The community music program is the second graduate level program to be launched in Laurier’s music faculty.
“There [has] always been a feeling at Laurier, in the faulty of music specifically, that we could benefit from more graduate offerings, but it was also felt that there was no reason for us to directly duplicate what it was that our neighbors at Toronto and Western were offering,” continued Carruthers.
“[The program is] complimentary, in a sense, looking at ways of using music in a wider context, in one case a clinical application [and] in one case community application.”
Carruthers explained that the goal of the program is not to be large, but rather to produce a high quality of students who can bring music into a community setting and educate the general public as to what events are happing within their community.
According to Carruthers, there has already been a great deal of interest expressed in the community music program.
Third-year music student, Amyna Alam, was unaware of the new music program being offered for graduate students, but expressed an interest in the new program upon hearing about it.
“New opportunities like this make me, and other music students, feel like our jobs will actually be there when we get there,” she told The Cord.