GREAT FALLS- Great Falls CollegeMSU students interested in studying music now have more options when beginning their secondary education.
The college has expanded the number of music courses this fall.
The curriculum is taught by instructors who are local musicians that are involved with music programs and organizations around the state, and have the credentials to teach at a college level.
New courses include aural perception and music theory, along with keyboarding skills.
“The courses are going well,” said Sam Krahn, who teaches the Aural Perception and Music Theory courses. “The classes are a little bit new for a lot of students, so there’s a lot to learn in terms of the language of music; they might have experience performing, but having to read music in a specific way and write music is a bit of a challenge.”
Instructors say the expanded curriculum gives students who are graduating high school and wanting to pursue music more options without having to leave the city.
“A launching pad for students interested in a career in music to start here, then maybe transfer up to one of the main campuses of the universities in Montana to finish their education and then from there they can go off to graduate school,” said Adjunct Professor Dorian Antipa, who teaches an in-person Enjoyment of Music class.
Antipa says the music class was previously offered online, but he believes giving the course a physical meeting location will help students’ education.
“It’s great of course to have the online course, especially for people who have busy work schedules,” he said. “But with an in person class, we’re able to get into deeper discussions about the music and discussions and go outside of the scope of what’s presented in the book.”
They also say any student who simply wants to learn more about music is welcome to enroll.
“We have such strong public string education programs in the schools (in Great Falls), there’s a lot of people who play growing up and then they’re busy doing other things in life,” said Great Falls College MSU Violin Instructor Megan Karls. “They put it aside for a few years, and then they’re excited to dust the instrument off, pull it out of the closet and relearn and hopefully surpass what they used to be able to do.”
Instructors say they’re excited to partner with the college as the added classes allow interested students to begin building connections with the local music scene.
“Of course I love teaching here, I love the opportunity; but I think this is more of a great opportunity for the community of Great Falls. This is really something that we haven’t had until now,” said Keyboard Studies Instructor Tyler Menzel. “I think that it’s great that Cindy Stevens, our Department Chair, has really sort of realized the untapped potential that we have in terms of higher education for music in Great Falls.”
Instructors say students will still have to leave Great Falls to earn a bachelor’s degree in music.
However, they’ll be able to earn a two-year Associate of Arts degree through the courses and can transfer the credits into a four-year music program.
For more information, visit Great Falls College-MSU’s website.