If you’ve ever heard of music conservatories at colleges and universities, you’ve probably heard about the cutthroat nature of their programs.
I’ve heard rumors of students putting razor blades between the keys of pianos, of students not speaking to each other, gossiping—needless to say it can get pretty ridiculous.
What I’ve found at Mount Union is entirely the opposite.
There’s certainly an aspect of personal success. They want everyone to do their best and accomplish a lot. But it’s NEVER at the expense of other students. We’re encouraged to succeed, but we’re also encouraged to support others’ successes.
It’s great. There’s an atmosphere of respect and celebration, not of rudeness and jealousy.
This kind of environment is literally the definition of music. Music is all about collaboration and humanity—what better way to embody those characteristics than teamwork and support?
The reason I’m blogging about this is because last night I went out with the piano students in Dr. Liliestedt’s piano studio. They had their performance, called Piano Keys, last night (It was fantastic, by the way!).
But I was really struck by the environment that Dr. Liliestedt has created. They cheer on each other’s successes and offer constructive criticism at their weekly studio classes. She even takes them out to dinner after performances to bond and talk about music.
A lot of the other applied lessons teachers are the same way. I know for a fact that Miss Weber and Mrs. Abbott also do studios where students constructively critique each other.
That’s what I like about Mount Union’s Department of Music. We, as students, want to succeed. And the faculty and students are behind us all the way.