Dalton State Adds Associate of Music Degree
March 2, 2015
Brandon Pell hopes Dalton State’s new associate of arts degree in music is just the first step.
“I’m really proud Dalton State’s growing to that level,” said Pell, whose discipline is low brass. “It will open the door to a lot more options here. Maybe it will mean we can have a pep band at the basketball games.”
Pell is currently working toward an associate’s degree in general studies, which he says is the closest thing to a music degree until the new program is available fall semester. If all works out with his credits, Pell plans to switch paths to the associate of music in the fall.
Ultimately Pell hopes to study music and teach at the college level.
“I really hope more students join and Dalton State gets the music program going,” he said.
The new associate’s degree was recently approved by the College. Just five years ago, the College had no music classes but has slowly added them over the last few years, said Dr. Ellie Jenkins, assistant professor of music.
“We are really excited to be able to offer this program to our students and community,” said Dr. Andy Meyer, interim vice president for academic affairs. “The fine arts and music programs have an important place on any college campus, and we think this is a great program for us to start with.”
The associate’s degree will require students to take applied lessons, which are one-on-one lessons within their discipline, whether voice or an instrument. Students will have to take either choir for voice or be a member of the Dalton-Whitfield Community Band for instrument, as well as take classes in music theory and history.
“Any student thinking about transferring into a four-year music program needs to start music classes their first semester of college,” Jenkins said. “Some students may just want to continue music but not necessarily get a degree in music. There are all kinds of reasons to have music classes here at the College. Some students may just want to continue singing or playing the instrument they started in middle or high school.”
Currently there are part-time faculty members who teach voice, piano, and brass. Other professors could be added as needed for other students’ disciplines.
The community band is being utilized for student credit because Dalton State has never had a band, which means there are no facilities or equipment for a band.
“The band is growing and I hope to see that connection between the community band and Dalton State grow,” Jenkins said. “This way a student can still take band in college even though we don’t have the resources here on campus.”
For Pell, playing the euphonium is challenging but rewarding. He says music is a passion that he wants to continue.
“I was always very poor at math until I started playing an instrument,” he said. “But I’ve gotten a lot better. It really does help with math skills. There are a lot of reasons to take music.”