Rebecca Martelotti Staff Writer
Music students signed a petition against a proposed policy that would prevent them from taking lessons in multiple instruments. However, “No decisions have been made regarding a change in policy,” said Noel Zahler, Dean of the School of Vi- sual and Performing Arts.
The proposed lesson policy would allow students to take a lesson each semester on their applied instrument. Students may also take a lesson in composition or conducting, should they wish. However, this would be restricted to one instrument at a time.
According to Jennifer Miceli, chairperson of the Music Department and the director of Music Education and Vocal Jazz, the policy has not been instituted and the administration is taking under advisement the lesson policy.
“We are looking at best practices at colleges and universities similar to LIU Post, as well as colleges and universities that we aspire to be like,” said Zahler.
Samantha Komaroff, who graduated LIU Post in 2011 and is now a graduate student studying Music Performance with a concentration in Woodwind Studies, created the petition against the proposed policy. “Putting a restriction on the number of lessons students can take sets us up for failure,” said Komaroff. “The lesson program is meant for students to further their education and obtain the skills to work in music. In order to obtain a job, we must know how to play multiple instruments.”
Undergraduate students in the Music Department are able to major in Music, Instrumental, Vocal Performance, or Music Education. Both undergraduates and graduate students are able to choose from seven areas of specialization: brass, guitar, jazz, percussion, piano, string, or woodwind studies.
According to Miceli, “Each student has a major applied instrument such as clarinet, piano, voice, etc. It is expected [under the proposed policy] that students will take a lesson each semester on their applied instrument and may also take a lesson in composition or conducting, should they wish,” she said. “Traditionally students have been able to take additional lessons of their choice.”
Several Music professors declined to speak with The Pioneer about the proposed lesson policy.
Music Department students have freely expressed their opin- ions. “It’s a real shame for all of us. Our career largely entails the ability to play and teach multiple instruments, but with this cut it
stops us from fulfilling this requirement,” said Joe Donnolo, a freshman Music major. “As a performance major, I will be put at a disadvantage when I audition for performance groups (that require the capability of playing multiple instruments). This program cut will ultimately be a setback in the job market and I feel may stop me from getting a job,” he added.
“What the current adminis- tration is doing is absolutely abhorrent,” said Shekinah MacMillian, a 2007 undergraduate and 2009 graduate alumnus of LIU Post. “Undergraduates being limited to their main instrument and one additional choice of conducting or composition will in no way prepare them for the competitive job market.”
All music students, according to Komaroff, are not only com- peting against each other, but as well with others who have years of experience and the capability of playing multiple instruments. “Without the lesson program, I wouldn’t be the musician I am today,” said Alexander Sherry, a senior Music Performance major. “Touring the country and being hired by Juillard School would have been impossible.”
“For musicians who desire to go beyond their craft and explore the world of other instruments, the lesson program is a gateway to that desire,” said Scott Genovese, a 2011 LIU Post alumnus and current graduate student in Music Theory and Composition. “By limiting the lesson program, that exploration or desire is nothing short of lost.”
“With the talk of lessons being pulled, it makes me have to look into other colleges that are striving to make their music program better, not destroy it,” said Christian Olive, a freshman Music Education major. “LIU Post is where I would truly want to stay because of the caring atmosphere and professors who want to help you grow as a musician.”
“All we want is to learn music,” said Komaroff. “The Department of Music is a part of this school and we represent our school in a positive way in our concerts and our recitals.” The students of the Music Department always play at the LIU Post Com- mencement Ceremony in May and have played at top venues such as Carnegie Hall.
The written petition was created on April 8 and already has more than 95 signatures. The electronic version has 44 signatures. Students have also created a Facebook page, “Save the lesson program of LIU Post Department of Music” as well. “I am planning a meeting where I will speak about what is happening to the Music Department and discuss how administration is not being com- municative with the students,” said Komaroff.
The meeting will be held on April 17 at 5 p.m. in the in Hillwood Commons on the third floor. According to the Facebook page, 380 students have been invited to the meeting, and 47 have already indicated that they plan to attend. “We need as many supporters to attend this meeting as possible,” said Komaroff. “We need to save the music department.”