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
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).