Music Studies (Instrumental) Senior Lauren McCarty
I am a fourth year Music Studies (Education) major in the College of Fine Arts. Last fall my Horn Professor sent me an email discussing the possibility to do a one-on-one internship with him. My goal after a few more years of undergraduate and graduate school is to play my horn, and hopefully find a teaching job at a small university. In setting goals for the IE Pre-Grad internship, Professor Patrick Hughes and I decided to explore the life of a Music School Faculty.
We started the year off by discussing some of the roles a professor has such as: teaching, holding workshops, being a committee member, performing for the college and community, and the concept of being known locally, nationally, and internationally and what you have to do to achieve this. There was a Horn Workshop held in Kansas City, Missouri that I had hoped to attend, but unfortunately due to prices I was unable to afford the trip. My teacher had asked me to come and participate in his master class. This would not only give me the opportunity to see how to run a master class, but as well it was me that would get to participate side by side with him. He did however rehearse his lecture with me and we discussed ideas to incorporate. These conferences are also important as a professor of a large university for networking.
In my aspirations to continue school, Professor Hughes gave me the task of researching schools that I am interested in attending in the fall of 2008. I was encouraged to read the bio's of the Horn Professors, examine the repertoire for auditions, and then make a list of teachers and schools. After combining a list of places my next task was to create an email in which I informed the teacher of my interest in their program. Professor Hughes and I sat down and made a list of all the important questions a graduate student (to be) should ask. A few of those questions included: The opportunity for scholarships or assistantships, the numbers of graduate verses undergraduate students in the Horn Studio, opportunities to teach privately in the surrounding high school/middle schools, and opportunities to perform. After bringing in a rough draft to my professor, I emailed it out to those six schools I had interest in. I am pleased to say many have already emailed me back with positive responses.
Another task of being a college horn professor is the task of conducting Horn Choir. Horn Choir meets once a week for a couple hours, and all the music (horn) students are required to attend. The UT Horn Choir has roughly twelve students. In the middle of the semester we throw a concert together with all the music we've been practicing. This year, as part of my internship, I was asked to conduct and rehearse Jesu Joy of Man's Desire with the ensemble, and then at our concert I made my debut as Horn Choir Conductor. It was a thrilling experience!
Part of our assignment for the IE Internship was to interview our professor. At this point is where my professor discussed the different "hats" he has to wear around the music school. Professor Hughes talked about how his students are his number one priority. He searches for gigs for them, teaches at least three to four private lessons daily, and of course runs the Horn Choir. There are many other jobs he has, but those were already included in my interview summary posted previously. We also discussed how to achieve tenure, which he just received at the beginning of the semester. Firstly it helps to be well liked around your own university. In addition, being known locally, nationally, and internationally are all areas the board takes into consideration when approving or denying a professor for tenure. There are also many more logistical aspects of this, but the international category seemed almost impossible for me to fathom! Professor Hughes told me, how his trip to Thailand this last semester was in fact helping his cause to be known internationally. He flew out for a week and taught lessons, classes, and performed with an orchestra during his stay. The whole experience was amazing, and boosted his appeal for the tenure position.
Throughout our meetings, I found that I was much more motivated and scared all at the same time about this field of work I am in. It is a hard lifestyle to maintain, yet not impossible! Professor Hughes and I talked about how this is what we love, and there's no reason you shouldn't continue to do what you love. The individual time spent focused on graduate school, who to study with, what to look for in a program are all ideas that enriched my time spent in this internship. Going to the meetings held by the IE Internship Sponsors was interesting in a whole different way also. It gave me a new perspective on students around campus fulfilling that about which they are passionate. One thing that stuck out to me when the faculty members came to speak was that each one of them said something like, "if you are not passionate and don't love what you are in, then get out now" I think many students forget to enjoy life, and these professors were simply encouraging them to find what it is that in fact does make them happy. It didn't matter if it was liberal arts, mathematics, science, or music as long as it was what you love then pursue it with all you have.