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(January 24, 2002, Gazette)

New master of music program
Leading the way

Dr. Tom Gordon. Dr. Tom Gordon.

In the fall of 2002, Memorial’s School of Music will become the first school in Atlantic Canada to offer a master of music program. The decision to offer such a program has been a long time coming, according to the school’s director, Dr. Tom Gordon.

“Over the first 25 years, the school grew from eight students and three faculty members to 150 students and 18 faculty. Then we reached a point where the full professional program was in place, we had all this wonderful expertise and we found ourselves saying ‘what next?’”

The question did not remain unanswered for long. The School of Music was already a large and diversified program. Offering graduate study in music seemed like the next logical step.

“However, it was not simply a matter of what next,” Dr. Gordon said. “There were a number of compelling reasons, one of which is that there is no graduate program in music east of Montreal, despite the fact that there are seven university music programs.”

The new master of music program will offer students three specialization options: performance, performance pedagogy and conducting. The courses will directly address the wide variety of career and life skills a musician must possess, including a range of other learning and experiential opportunities that will give students experience in teaching and introduce them to various entrepreneurial skills.

“We have all of the elements of a conventional master of music degree in performance,” he said. “We have also added to this the development of life skills for the business part of being a musician. We have a course in music career building that will feature professionals from the community and will teach students how to build a good press file, how to prepare a grant application, etc.”

The program will also make use of the wide variety of excellent resources available in Newfoundland. Students will have the opportunity to learn from CBC’s production studio, the Newfoundland and Labrador Arts Council, Newfoundland Symphony Youth Choir, and more.

As Dr. Gordon pointed out, “Typically a graduate student will study for two years, practice for eight hours a day and give a couple of recitals. We not only want to encourage our students to give recitals, but also to facilitate them in making a professional level compact disc out of the second of those recitals.”

The program is guaranteed to be unique and is already attracting a lot of interest from students across Canada.

“Since we made the announcement we have had a huge amount of interest expressed in it and a number of applications are already in for next year’s class,” remarked Dr. Gordon. The School of Music anticipates taking eight students for the first class in September 2002, and seven to eight each year after that. For more information on the program please visit