Welcome from the Chair
On behalf of the Department of Music at the University of Mississippi, I extend greetings to current and prospective students, our alumni, and friends. A favorite line from Frank Zappa reads: "Information is not knowledge. Knowledge is not truth. Truth is not beauty. Beauty is not love. Love is not music. Music is the best." In an age in which some have come to confuse even just access to information with real knowledge, it is important to appreciate and nurture and keep alive the concept that there is an intuitive and direct understanding of a kind that most people on the planet will be lucky to ever know even once. As musicians, we seek this "best" thing every time we practice our craft, as performers, educators and scholars.
The Department of Music at the University of Mississippi prepares students for careers as professional musicians and educators, provides every student at the University a chance to experience music, and serves as a center of musical art and culture for Oxford and the surrounding Mid-South area. Degrees offered to undergraduate students are: Bachelor of Arts in Music (B.A.) and Bachelor of Music (B.M.) with emphases in music education and performance. The Department also provides numerous courses and performance opportunities for non-music majors, as well as opportunities for members of the community to learn about music as a part of human culture and experience. Graduate degrees include the Master of Music (M.M.) with emphases in music education, music performance, and choral conducting, and the Ph.D. in music education.
Performance opportunities include: Bands - including the "Pride of the South" Marching Band, Wind Ensemble, Symphonic Band, Concert Band; Choirs - including the Ole Miss Concert Singers, Men's and Women's Glee Choruses, Chamber Singers; Opera Theatre; University Orchestra; Jazz Ensembles; The Mississippi Early Music Ensemble; The Ole Miss African Drum and Dance Ensemble; Percussion Ensembles of various types, including the Steel Drum Band, Salsa Band; Instrumental Chamber Ensembles; and opportunities for solo recital performance.
Over 160 students are enrolled as Music majors at the University of Mississippi. The Department provides a breadth of musical experience as well as individual attention for students in the studio, in classes and in the many and varied ensembles, allowing students to reach their fullest potential. Our students enjoy an academic and artistic environment in which scholarly and creative work is actively produced. In recent years, our students have achieved recognition by performing in such venues as the American Choral Directors Association National Convention and the National Opera Association National Convention, winning National Association of Teachers of Singing competitions; performing in regional orchestras and participating in major music festivals; presenting research at state, regional and national professional conferences; and being awarded numerous teaching positions at schools, colleges and universities throughout the country.
The professions that our graduates most typically enter include middle school and high school band, choir and orchestra instruction, elementary school music instruction, studio piano instruction, and community college, college and university instruction. But our students have also enjoyed careers as composers and arrangers, conductors, accompanists, orchestral musicians, opera singers, soloists, and church musicians, arts administrators, music publishers, music contractors, music retail store managers, instrument technicians and recording technicians.
The Department also provides numerous courses and performance opportunities for non-music majors: UM students may take classes designed to give an overview of music literature (courses include Introduction to Music Literature - sometimes referred to as "music appreciation" or Introduction to World Music Cultures) or Fundamentals of Music Theory; non-majors may also audition for one of the ensembles - our ensembles enroll students from all of the University's schools.
Our faculty includes performing specialists on all band and orchestral instruments as well as piano, voice, organ and harpsichord, and specialists in conducting, music education, music pedagogy, music history and literature, ethnomusicology, and music theory. In addition to teaching and performing, music faculty members contribute to the discipline of music as authors of journal articles, books or monographs. Faculty have also issued commercially available CD's and delivered presentations and performances both on the national and international stage. And our faculty are dedicated to service to our students - ours is a faculty united in its interest in development of our students - and to our University, the region, and the music profession, nationally and worldwide, through numerous professional and pedagogical organizations.
As part of its service mission, the Department of Music provides, for the University of Mississippi and the Oxford community and the surrounding region, access to musical enrichment by encouraging Music faculty, students and staff to participate in culturally enriching outreach, and makes available, as a service to schools, arts organizations, businesses and the general public, the unique professional expertise of the faculty and staff. Our faculty are especially involved in area public schools and state and regional teaching organizations, making over 150 visits each year to work with middle school and high school band, choir and orchestra programs, and presenting clinics, workshops and masterclasses for such organization as the Mississippi Music Teachers Association, the Mississippi Music Educators Association, and the Mississippi Bandmasters Association. Our department also hosts workshops, festivals and clinics, including the Ole Miss Choral Festival, the Mid-South Honor Band, the Piano Discoveries Summer Piano Camp, and the Youth Music Theatre Workshop, for area elementary, middle, high school music students and teachers. Our faculty are very active in service to regional, national and international professional and pedagogical organizations, including the American Choral Directors Association, the College Band Directors National Association, the National Opera Association, the National Organization of Teachers of Singing (state and Southern region) conference and student auditions, the National Conference of the Organization of American Kodaly Educators, the Music Educators National Conference, the American Musicological Society, the Society for Ethnomusicology, the Society for Music Theory, the College Music Society, the National Trumpet Competition, and numerous other such organizations, as officers and active members of committees.
The University of Mississippi Department of Music is located in the music building - which houses classrooms, state-of-the art rehearsal and practice facilities, faculty offices, and the newly renovated David H. Nutt Auditorium (a 395-seat recital hall). Other Music facilities at the University of Mississippi include: the Gertrude C. Ford Center for the Performing Arts (a 1,300-seat theatre/concert hall, Meek Auditorium (a newly-renovated performance space for theatre and opera, seating 150); Fulton Chapel (a 650-seat concert hall) and Paris-Yates Chapel (seating 250, and the home of the university's 32-rank, 1642-pipe organ built by Karl Wilhelm).
Oxford, home of Nobel Prize-winning author William Faulkner, is a culturally rich town, recognized world-wide as a mecca for the creative arts. Residents and visitors enjoy an astounding array of cultural and entertainment opportunities, including concerts, plays, festivals, sporting events and more. Located 75 miles southeast of Memphis, Tennessee, Oxford is easily accessible from Interstate 55 and is less than a six-hour drive from Atlanta, New Orleans and Nashville.
We invite you to visit our campus to learn more about the Department of Music. If I can assist you in any way, please do not hesitate to contact me.
Charles Gates, D.M.A.