James Forger: Fall 2013 E-News Introduction

Announcing stronger curriculum for students entering the job market, bold facilities improvements, and the beginnings of a great new jazz artist in residence program. 

James Forger
​Dean, MSU College of Music

The academic year is under way, and we're pleased to report on some exciting developments in the College of Music. A dynamic faculty and staff will continue to make us one of the best collegiate and community music programs around.

First, we continue to strengthen our curriculum to help students channel their talent and spark entrepreneurial thinking. Our Running Start program consists of workshops, courses, internships, performances, and civic engagement activities that enable students to explore their artistry both within and beyond traditional careers. Students are learning business concepts and strategies for a competitive and changing job market, as well as techniques for creative programming, marketing, and management. Running Start is an integrated approach that's becoming part of our DNA. And with increasing support from guest artists, industry experts, the MSU Federal Credit Union, and a new endowment established by Jack and Dottie Withrow, we will keep career-building, entrepreneurial education for music students in the forefront.

Second, we are making important and bolder strides in addressing facilities needs. Significant university and private support has given our performance spaces a dramatic boost. Our newly renovated Byron and Dolores Cook Recital Hall is among the best small recital halls in America. A complete renovation of Fairchild Theatre will take musical performances to the next level with new systems, seating, staging, and variable acoustics.

Planning continues for further facilities improvement to address rehearsal, classroom, and practice spaces needed to attract the best and brightest from around the world. We're confident that this next step can increase our national competitiveness and provide a continually better learning environment for our students. 

The third important development for our college came earlier this year when we made two important curricular changes for music education majors. Recognizing the needs of today's student for excellent as well as efficient, cost-effective education, our faculty developed a streamlined and improved curriculum for future teachers that will significantly reduce the time needed to earn a degree. In addition, a new curricular option makes it possible for the College of Music to admit and welcome jazz performance majors to the K-12 music education track.

Finally, October 14 marked the beginning of the MSU Federal Credit Union Jazz Artist In Residence program. This stepped up the definition of active and out-of-classroom learning for our jazz students who performed and taught across the state with guest artist Antonio Hart. Our students interacted with more than 3,500 individuals from Detroit to Holland, and from Lansing’s Shabazz Public School Academy to Byron Center. This endowment illustrates how private giving can help transform a program and help it rocket forward.

All these developments—from curriculum changes to facility renovations—represent our ongoing efforts to prepare students for bright and fulfilling futures. We're proud to be part of the bolder Spartan community, helping our students become leaders through and in music.

We appreciate the ongoing support of all those associated with these initiatives and the continuing partnerships and investments that are essential for our future success.


James Forger, Dean, MSU College of Music

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