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   A Memorial University of Newfoundland Publication

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February 5, 2004


CBC profiles Memorial’s
music program

By Kristine Hamlyn

CBC radio’s regional music program, Musicraft, recently profiled members of the first entry class into Memorial’s master of music degree program and their mentors, in a three-part series called Mentors and Musicians. Each of the three episodes featured two M. Mus. candidates and two mentors from Memorial’s School of Music. Parts one, two and three of the series reached CBC listeners throughout Newfoundland and Labrador on Sunday, Jan. 18, 25 and Feb. 1, respectively.

“The special relationship that develops between a mentor and a student is intriguing and central to education in music,” explained Francesca Swann, host/producer, Musicraft. “And, whether it's learning how to play an instrument, sing or conduct, the kind of learning environment differs from many fields of study in that it's done one on one. Each of these mentor/student relationships has its own dynamic. Everyone is different. That in itself provided me with a fascinating starting point for Mentors and Musicians.”

Ms. Swann described conducting the interviews with the students and their mentors as being very rewarding. She said the appreciation the students and the mentors brought to each relationship simply burst out in all the shows. Director of Memorial’s School of Music, Dr. Tom Gordon, agreed. Having listened to the series, Dr. Gordon said it was gratifying to hear collegues and students articulating so clearly what is central to them as musicians and learning musicians.

Dr. Gordon further pointed out that the special relationship Memorial has with the professional music community, as the only university in Newfoundland and Labrador, was key in establishing the master’s program. “We use the professional community as part of our instructional resource,” explained Dr. Gordon. “And, one of the most interesting things to come out of this Mentors and Musicians series is reassurance that what we had originally wanted to integrate into our program is actually happening.”

“This M. Mus. program has, for every student I talked to, changed the direction of their lives,” added Ms. Swann. “I was surprised at the impact it's had. For example, participants who were considering returning to teach in the class room have, in a couple of cases, had their horizons broadened to the point where they are considering doctoral studies. One student has decided that she will now pursue a career in conducting.”

Dr. Gordon says one of the things every musician has to come to terms with is the fact that they are, themselves, a small business. And, what he finds most interesting is how the Mentors and Musicians series deeply engaged each one of the master’s students with the question: What kind of musician am I going to be and what kind of musical life will I live? “These are questions that intrigue people,” said Dr. Gordon. “The series gave us a chance to listen to people who have lived around us and thought about what it’s taking to become a musician, and they’re thinking out loud. Essentially, it works to demystify the whole business of becoming a musician.”

CBC Radio's Musicraft is all about reaching out to the community and showcasing the musical life of Newfoundland and Labrador. It is broadcast twice on Sunday at 12:35 p.m.on CBC Radio 2 (106.9 FM) and 4:35 p.m. on CBC Radio 1 (640 AM).


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Next issue: February 19, 2003

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