Wednesday, October 17, 2018

SMWC 2018-19 Academic Year Brings New Students

Each fall, we like to introduce a few of the incoming music and music therapy students who have joined the SMWC community. Some were recently interviewed to learn more about them and their decision to come to the Woods.
Autumn Wilson
Autumn Wilson is a freshman music therapy student who plays both viola and percussion. 

What drew you to pursuing a degree in music therapy at Saint-Mary-of-the-Woods? I knew that I didn't want to go any further than five to six hours away from my hometown, so that greatly limited my choices of schools once I decided I wanted to pursue music therapy. I had never heard of SMWC until I found out someone I knew was joining the program here, so I later decided to check it out when I began looking for music therapy programs. I love the atmosphere and the people. Besides having a beautiful campus, I was drawn here because of the genuine, friendly, and helpful people I met.

When did you start learning viola? I began playing the viola in fourth grade as part of our local youth symphony which has since been dissolved and implemented into the school system. It was called Plymouth Community Youth Orchestra, but I'm glad that the program grew so much that it was incorporated into the school system.

How has your view of music changed since you’ve been studying here at Saint-Mary-of-the Woods? Although I've been playing music for a long time in both band and orchestra, I've really learned how multi-faceted music is because there are many aspects. My view on music hasn't really changed; it has expanded and I'm grateful. My journey has just begun, and I look forward to learning and growing more as a student, musician, and as an individual.
Robert Euhl, first year MT student

Robert Euhl, a percussionist, is a second degree student in his first semester of the undergraduate music therapy program. 

Many colleges are beginning to offer a bachelor’s degree in Music Therapy. What lead you to choose Saint-Mary-of-the-Woods? With being a husband, father of three children, and having roots in Bloomington, IN, commuting was (and is) my only option. While looking through the nearest-by colleges offering music therapy, I first looked at the cost. There appears to be great effort made here at SMWC to find financial aid for students and that is something for which I'm very grateful. I also felt drawn to SMWC which is something I didn't feel with the other schools. There is an inner voice I believe we all have that when we listen, points us in the direction we should go. I am guilty of not listening to my inner voice sometimes (which is one reason I'm only now, in my 40's, pursuing music therapy) but this time I listened and scheduled a campus visit. While on the campus for the first time and seeing the organic garden, the conservatory, the rich history of the campus and how the value of sustainability (the garden, no unnecessary lights were on in the buildings, etc.) lined up with mine, my mind was basically made up. The program is not easy though and I occasionally let myself become stressed out and whine about it a little, but then I remember why I'm here and why I'm here to stay to the serve others to my fullest ability.

What inspired you to pursue this degree? This will be my second degree. My first degree is an Associate of Arts in General Studies from Indiana University. It was one of the many ways I delayed studying music therapy. But, because some of the credits from IU transferred to the music therapy program here at SMWC, it will take less time to complete my degree here. I was inspired to pursue music therapy back in 1993 while I was employed as a CNA in a nursing home working with Alzheimer's residents. Being a musician, I would often play the piano or a guitar for the residents during dinner or at random in the day room. There were certain songs I would play that almost always created a festive atmosphere involving dancing, singing, hand clapping and laughing. For a short time while the live music was happening, the residents were brought out of their institutional situation and transported to their little music festival in the day room. There's nothing like live music! One day my nurse supervisor said to me between songs on the piano, "you know, there's a professional field called music therapy you might want to consider." 
A light shined in me as a beacon of purpose at those words and the illumination has never faded. I tried to ignore it through the years because of various unfounded fears and discouragement from others. But eventually, after countless jobs that had little meaning for me and experiencing the unhappiness that comes with them, I followed the beacon toward my true service. Furthermore, I will never again ignore my calling and I would encourage others to not ignore theirs either. Doing so does not serve well.

Bridgett Sider is a freshman music major studying voice and her mother also attended the Woods.

What have you learned about yourself as you have started studying music at Saint-Mary-of-the-Woods College?
Bridgett Sider, music major
So far, I've found that I love studying music far more than I thought I did in high school. Here at the Woods, I have an incredible opportunity to study in a gorgeous building with amazing teachers and I'm beyond excited to continue my education here.

When did you begin studying voice, and why did you become interested in theatre? I started studying voice when I was very young, but it wasn't until a few years ago that I actually got a teacher and got into choirs and things. Musical theatre was always part of my life since I was very young, but I never got the chance to be involved with it until high school. I was drawn to theatre because I just had this love of being on the stage, and joining the Bristol Renaissance Faire only helped that love grow. That was my first experience on an interactive stage, and I think it has greatly fueled my drive to become more involved in theatre.

What would you tell someone who was considering studying music at Saint-Mary-of-the-Woods College? The community here is amazing. The amount of support you get the moment you walk into the Conservatory is incredible, and I only have good things to say. 
Katelyn ("Katy") Pell, MT major

Katy Pell is a first year music therapy major who is also a member of the SMWC Madrigals and is a Musician of Promise Scholarship winner.

What is a favorite aspect about being a Pomeroy/”Woodsie”? My favorite part about being a "Woodsie" is being able to be a part of all of the traditions and learn about the history of the school! 

Why did you decide to study music therapy at Saint-Mary-of-the-Woods College instead of another college or university? When I first visited during a college visit, I immediately felt connected to the campus. I loved the close-knit community that SMWC has, and I knew that I wanted to be a part of it! 

What types of music do you like to play, and what type(s) do you hope to become more familiar with throughout your studies? I enjoy playing all types of music, but I would love to learn more about hip-hip and how to play it.

New music and music therapy students (Not pictured: Bridgett Sider)
It is always exciting every year to welcome new students into the Department of Music and Theatre! We wish all new students in all our programs (MAMT, MTED) well as the academic year progresses.

Blog Post Editor/Author: Sharon R. Boyle, MM, MT-BC is Associate Professor of Music Therapy and Coordinator of the Undergraduate Music Therapy Program. Interviews were conducted by Caroline Steinrock Music Therapy Student Assistant. Photo Credits: Caroline Steinrock 

To learn more about the Music and Music Therapy programs at Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College, check out our website here. 

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