Introduction to the Student Handbook
The Wright State University Department of Music was organized in 1965 with Dr. William C. Fenton as Chair. The university had been established the previous year as the Dayton Campus of Miami and The Ohio State University. Music was housed in Allyn Hall and Warner House (since destroyed). Student recitals were held in the basement of Allyn Hall. The Music Library consisted of four feet of shelf space in what is now the Hanger in Allyn Hall.
From this simple beginning, the department moved in 1973 to the Music Wing of the Creative Arts Center (see FACILITIES, page 7). The Department has shown steady growth since that time. The faculty has increased from two full-time and six part-time positions to include sixteen full-time faculty and sixteen faculty associates.
In the 1970s, seven performing ensembles were established, including the WSU/Community Orchestra, Symphony Band, Concert Band, Jazz Ensemble, Chorus, Brass Choir, and Chamber Singers. The department became a member of the National Association of Schools of Music in 1970, receiving initial full accreditation in 1977. The most recent reaccredidation was in June 1996; in Spring 2005, we again went through the reaccredidation process.
Degree programs have grown to include Bachelor of Music degrees in Music Education, Performance, and Music History and Literature, and a Bachelor of Arts in Music. The Master of Music in Music Education degree was approved in 1974. The Music Department now offers two additional graduate level degrees: the Master of Music in Performance and the Master of Humanities (Emphasis in Music). In 1975, the non-credit Community Music Division was established to provide the same level of applied music lessons to the general public that our students enjoy.
Through the years, the department's commitment to performance opportunities for faculty, as well as students, has resulted in the establishment of four faculty-performing ensembles: the Faculty Jazz Combo, String Quartet, Brass Quintet, and the Wright Winds (woodwind quintet). Since 1985, select students have been able to perform with faculty and area professionals in the Chamber Orchestra. In 1990 the department added the Paul Laurence Dunbar Chorale and Varsity (Pep) Band to its growing list of performance opportunities for students. Recent additions include Men's Chorale, Women's Chorale and the Chamber Players, as well as a wide array of student chamber ensembles.
The Department of Music is committed to preparing music graduates for careers and further study in performing, teaching, conducting, composing, and music-related fields. The department does this through maintaining existing degree programs and by continuing to meet standards necessary for accreditation by the National Association of Schools of Music. In all degree programs, the department provides student counseling to insure the development of an appropriate balance between applied music, ensemble experience, academic courses, and special skills. Students are given many opportunities to discover correlation between the various components of music study. The rigorous standards necessary to prepare students for graduate study are also maintained.
The department continues its efforts to improve quality in the arts in the surrounding region and nation through a variety of faculty involvements in research, scholarly work, community service, and such creative and professional activities as performance, conducting, composition, adjudication, and participation in arts organizations. Because the faculty serves as positive role models, undergraduate music students are inspired to become involved in these same activities during their college years and in subsequent career pursuits.