Music department continues to see growth within instrumental studies and ensembles

By Chelsie Gastright, Organizations Editor

April 10, 2013

“Music is one of those life long skills that you can have,” said Dr. Danny Frye, director of University Band and Instrumental Studies. “There are successful musicians who are in their nineties. There are some skills we don’t get to keep that long, but music we do.”

Music is a universal language. It connects millions of minds and cultures, and allows for people of any background to speak to each other without words. At High Point University, the Instrumental Studies degree in the Music Department teaches students how to not only speak the universal language, but how to excel in it.

The history of instrumental and vocal ensembles dates back to 1927, but the formation of an actual music degree is a fairly recent addition. The first music major degrees were formed about 8 years ago and included 3 majors: key board, vocal studies and general studies.

It wasn’t until 4 years ago that the Instrumental Studies program took shape, and allowed students to concentrate on an instrument of choice. There are a total of 17 different concentrations, including: violin, viola, cello, bass, guitar, percussion and drum set, flute, oboe, clarinet, bassoon, horn, trumpet, trombone, euphonium, tuba, saxophone, and music composition.

The music department also offers a total of eight ensembles that students can participate in. These include: pep band, university band, jazz, percussion, flute, chamber orchestra, woodwind chamber, and brass.

All private lessons and ensembles are only one credit hour and are open to any student interested, but the ensembles do not require registration to participate.

Throughout the past four years, the growth of the instrumental division has been something Frye has worked on with other faculty, and it has been rewarding.

“You don’t get a lot of opportunities to build something,” said Frye. “You are often walking into something that is generally established; you may modify it in some way, but you really don’t often have the opportunity to build something from the ground up.”

Since the further development of the instrumental studies program, all ensembles have participated in a variety of concerts and gigs. This year, the music department hosted it’s first ever kaleidoscope concert.

This concert was an hour of continuous music with a spotlight moving around the Hayworth Fine Arts Center, highlighting each ensemble one song at a time.

Mrs. Laura Stevens, instructor of applied music and applied flute, explained how beneficial this concert truly was and what it means for the music department.

“The Kaleidoscope Concert was a really great success,” said Stevens. “The instrumental division is starting to draw large audiences of students and faculty members as well as members of the city of High Point, and I believe our intention is to make this an annual concert.”

However, the Kaleidoscope Concert is not the only achievement that the instrumental division has to celebrate. The University Band has been asked to preform in China and represent North Carolina in an American music festival.

This “Tour de China” will be happening next school year, and it is the hope of the department to take as many ensemble-participating musicians as possible. The details, however, are still in the planning process.

Ask how you can sign up for lessons and become a part of an instrumental ensemble or visit www2.highpoint.edu/music.php for more information.