UI School of Music undergraduate enrollment down


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Ever since the University of Iowa School of Music lost its building to the 2008 flood, undergraduate enrollment in the major has fallen and those in the school blame the lack of a permanent location for its students.

According to UI Office of the Registrar reports, only 0.87 percent of undergraduates in fall 2012 were music majors, down from 1.09 percent before the flood in fall 2007.

Without a designated music building, potential music majors may choose not to study at the UI, said David Gier, director of the UI School of Music.

“Prospective undergraduates decide where to go to school on a broad set of criteria, and clearly the fact that we do not have a comprehensive facility or a dedicated concert hall has had an impact,” Gier said.

By 2016, the School of Music will have a core building, located in the heart of Iowa City at the intersection of Burlington and Clinton Streets, The Daily Iowan has reported.

Gier hopes this new building will positively influence undergraduate enrollment in the music program.

“We anticipate that the new School of Music, in combination with the new Hancher, will have a major impact on our ability to recruit the very best students to the School of Music,” Gier said.

Among other features, the new building will house a 700-seat performance hall and a 200-seat recital hall, said Josh Rechkemmer, architect from Neumann Monson Architects. Neumann Monson Architects is teaming up with the university to construct the new School of Music building.

UI Admissions Director Michael Barron said School of Music officials are primarily responsible for the recruitment of music majors.

“Specialized recruiting for selective entry majors such as music is typically the purview of the academic department,” he said in an email. “Potential music majors benefit from the general recruiting that Admissions does, of course.”

Junior music student Taylor Matuszeski said consolidating all of the temporary buildings into one or two key locations would be a “huge step for the university.”

Gier agreed, claiming the new buildings will boast superior amenities.

“When taken together, the new buildings will be among the very best comprehensive music education and performance facilities in the country,” Gier said.

Gier said the new facilities will not only impact music programs – the Iowa City public will benefit as well.

“[The buildings] will inspire generations of music students and the thousands of other students and members of the university community and general public who attend our concerts each year,” he said.

Spread across the east and west sides of campus, the current School of Music locations cause difficulty for some students and faculty.

Kevin Kastens, associate director of bands, said the music school would benefit from having one main location.

“Think if you were a tuba player. You have your lessons in [the University Capitol Center] and your ensemble rehearsals across the river in [the Music West Interim Building],” Kastens said. “Logistics, instrument storage, controlled climate, etc. are all remedied in one location.”

Along with providing convenience, the building will allow more socialization among music majors.

“Our School of Music is a creative, collaborative community,” Gier said. “We learn by listening, practicing together and performing for one another. Being under one roof allows for students and faculty to interact in impromptu ways that are critical to the process of becoming a musician.”

Matuszeski said that the new “state-of-the-art” building would impress prospective music undergraduates and give them the ability to easily “intermingle.”

“Kids will be like, ‘Ah, yes,’” Matuszeski said of incoming students after seeing the new music building.

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