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SMC sees increase in music majors

Meghan Price | Monday, November 9, 2009

With the number of students choosing to study music increasing nationwide over the past four years, Saint Mary’s music department has also seen an increase in number of students choosing music as their major, music professor Dr. Jeffrey Jacob said.

“Nearly half of our current music majors are freshman,” Jacob said.

Jacob, who is a graduate of Julliard and has been teaching at the college for 30 years, said despite the today’s economy and the difficulty graduates are having, there are 17 freshmen joining the music department.

Jacob said this is nearly double the average of eight new students the department is accustomed to seeing.

Jacob said the nationwide shift is an unexplained mystery to experts. Professionals in the field are unsure of why so many undergraduate students are taking a path that before had not been viewed as a secure career choice.

Jacob said one possibility is students applying to graduate school are attempting to diversify their resumes.

“Today, variety on a students resume is more important then ever,” he said.

Jacob said another possibility was more and more students are choosing to double major.

“The faculty members have been working for the past five years to make the requirements for a music major more compatible with other majors,” Jacob said. “As a result Saint Mary’s has become a leader in Liberal Arts colleges, encouraging and making it possible to double major.” 

First year Erin Brown, who is in the music education program, said she is not worried about her career. Brown said she has known she wanted to teach music for a long time and she is certain she will find a job.

“No matter what their major is, in this economy, everyone is probably a little worried about finding a job,” Brown said. “But as long as there are schools, there will be music in schools and there will be a need for music teachers.”

Jacob said he also is not worried about his students trying to find jobs after graduating. He said that program alumnae go into many different fields but they all do well, whether they continue in music or not, and he is confident that the Saint Mary’s music students will continue to succeed.

“Our graduates go into a variety of vocations,” Jacob said. “But they all find a good job within a year or two of leaving Saint Mary’s.”