How have some of the faculty taken to these new initiatives, which to a more conservative teacher may be considered new and innovative, yet unorthodox?
That’s a really good question…
The Lawrence faculty are at the heart of creating our innovative initiatives. Music for All was originally created by Flute professor, Erin Lesser and Piano Professor Michael Mizrahi, but now over a dozen professors contribute to the program.
Our partnership with our local prison arose out of the tireless efforts of our Piano Professor, Catherine Kautsky.
The Micro-Opera program grew from a collaboration between Opera Director, Copeland Woodruff, Dance Professor, Margaret Paek, and Improvisation Professor, Matt Turner.
On the other-hand it is important to realize that there are many aspects of a music education that aren’t constantly changing and pushing boundaries. Becoming a truly great musician requires rigorous practice, painstaking attention to musical detail, an expansive understanding of theory and musicology. This foundation is a critical part of preparing our students to be able to then push boundaries. We take the development of core musicianship very seriously, so we deeply value our faculty who may be more focused on that core aspect of a student’s music education.
At Lawrence, we are creating an environment where faculty can come together, knowing that growing their own musical potential is integral to the success of the school.
It’s not just about teaching trombone, or whatever you were “hired” to do…
Can you partner with a program outside of your own? Do you want to collaborate with the math department, computer science, or film-making?
We want to support and nurture the growth of each faculty member, because the faculty will then bring students into that beautiful learning process.
This is the most powerful kind of education.
What would you like to accomplish in the next 5-10 years for this program?
A lot of people have a doom-and-gloom attitude about the future of classical music, and music education, but I am infinity optimistic about the vast potential that exists in these areas.
We just need to shift the paradigm.
If students are coming to a conservatory thinking that playing in an orchestra is the only path for professional musicians, they should realize that while this is a great profession, there are other amazing musical careers as well.
In fact, for many musicians, it can be more rewarding to build one’s own unique path, or maybe redefine more traditional ones.
My dream for this conservatory is to continue to combine the highest level of musical training with the highest level of academic training so our students have as many career options as possible in our rapidly changing world. I want our graduates to be musical change agents, defining new musical paths and careers.
A key aspect of this paradigm shift at Lawrence is to provide opportunities for students to develop their creative potential as composers, improvisers, and collaborators.
If you are a string player at Lawrence, there are extraordinary studio lessons, a nationally recognized orchestra program, and rigorous chamber music instruction; but there are also opportunities for composition classes, improvisation classes, world music ensembles, and even an improvisation ensemble.
Helping all musicians achieve their musical goals through our unique melding of world-class music training, exceptional academic training, and a willingness to draw outside of the lines is the dream.
We are also strive to keep the joy and wonder in our music-making. We can be seriously playful and playfully serious at the same time.
We are committed to producing the creative, collaborative, intellectually engaged musicians that will define the future of music-making.