HU music majors: Harmonies and hard work

By Kelli Esquilin

There are 13 departments and roughly 60 different majors at Hampton University. Shelia J. Maye Ph.D., dean of the department of music, claims that though most majors require certain skills and a bit of passion, no major requires the intense focus, passion, and desire to succeed other than the music department.

Maye said, “Being successful in music not only requires a desire to succeed, but the drive to become an excellent musician and performer. It necessitates a measurable amount of time, effort, and self-motivation for the students to excel in their craft.”

Corey Langston, a sophomore music education major from Virginia Beach, majored in music because of his passion for it. He wants to one day direct a high school band ensemble and have his students reach a profound collegiate level of musical education for them to be more prepared for their future.

The music department has three major sequences: music recording technology, music education, and music performance.

Sheerah Parson, a senior music vocal performance major from Charlotte, N.C. said, “Music is my passion, it’s something that I feel like I have to give back to the next generation; to teach them and flourish their talent.”

Hampton University expects their students to complete to two hours of homework per subject a day, but with music majors, finding that free time is a sweet rarity.

“I’m taking 10 classes this semester,” said freshman music education major Jeanette Worth of College Park, Md. “I end up doing about three hours of academic homework a night and a minimum of one hour practice a night. I don’t go to sleep until 2 a.m. most nights.”

Not only do music majors have to take the academic core courses required by the administration; they have to take their music classes in consecutive order and pass them in order to move on to the next required course.

“All of our classes, other than history are two or one credit courses up until our junior year, where we take upper-level music education courses” said sophomore Curtis Stembridge, a music education major from Queens, N.Y. “So as freshmen and sophomores, we have to take at least nine classes”

Most students take up to 17 credits per semester, but music majors have to take 19 and there more than seven courses. Most courses are only 1 or 2 credit(s), which is unlike other majors where their major classes are usually 3-credit courses.

Calandra Harris, administrative secretary for the department of music, said that normally any extra credits over 17 are $350 per credit, but music majors get a waiver for that fee.

In addition to academics the music majors have to take private lessons with professors in their instrument of choice. Students pay out-of-pocket for those lessons as well. A half-hour lesson is $17, while an hour lesson is $35.

This equals to $750 worth of lessons for the entire academic year.

Majors also have to gain 12 recital credits to pass their recital classes. That means that in addition to their classes, and practicing their instruments, they have to go to 12 recitals a semester for the first six semesters that they attend Hampton.

Furthermore music majors have to join an ensemble for all four years. The ensembles include jazz band, marching band, orchestra, and gospel choir.

Lastly, in order to graduate, all music majors except music recording technology majors must perform a junior and senior recital.

Tiffany Jackson, a senior music performance major, business management minor from Palm Beach, Fla. said, “I love music, it’s all I know and what I grew up on. However music as a major is very time consuming, between practicing, schoolwork, and going to recitals. A student has to have tremendous time management.”

The writer is a junior at Hampton University Scripps Howard School of Journalism and Communications