Visual and Performing Arts at USM

Visual and Performing Arts at USM


The University of Southern Maine is a comprehensive University with a wide variety of programs, in business engineering, and the liberal arts. One of the strengths of having an arts program within that context is that unlike students who go to conservatories they’re able to pair strong arts programs in both the performing and visual arts with a more comprehensive education in the liberal arts. – In the department of theater we offer a BA major, we offer a minor in theater, we offer dance minor, combined with with the music department we have a BM which is the musical theater course The course is really looking at skills and preparing students yes to enter the industry but also to enter comparable industries. They get practical experience as actors and performers. We have a comprehensive program for young people as designers, lighting, sound, stage design. There’s a number of practicums where they actually get hands-on experience and we’re key to encourage students to look out or we help to look out for internships where they can they can be attached to the local professional theatre or summer stock theatre and and really understand the width and the breadth of the performing arts and in many ways. The general rule is we stage three major productions each semester They can be dance productions, musical productions, musical theater productions, opera, or straight plays. the University of Southern Maine’s art department has two major degrees, a BA and a BFA. The BFA being the professional degree and a BA having more of a general degree. Both though can be very intensive in studio art. We have a number of different studio areas. We have painting and drawing we have sculpture, ceramics photography, digital arts and we have a printmaking studio as well. The arteducation degree prepares students for k-12 teaching experience. Its accredited nationally through NASAD, as the department is, and it allows students than to not only be certified in the state of Maine but also that that certification can go with them nationally. We started a unique program in art and entrepreneurial studies, a number of years ago now which merges business courses with art courses and then has a very strong internship component as well. One young woman Alaina Harris now has started a pretty nice business in terms of designing her own bags so she’s taken that the creative skills as a designer, the understanding of business through the business school, she worked for Sea Bags as an intern, and now had the stuff to keep going on her own usm offers undergraduate degrees in music performance, music education, and liberal arts degree. We also offer an undergraduate degree in composition, music composition. The performance degree is divided into categories of traditional classical performance, musical theater, and Jazz Studies. The faculty in the USM school of music are very dedicated to the students. It’s a very student-driven place we talk about ways and strategies for helping students constantly in our faculty meetings. We advise very carefully, we meet with students one-on-one. [background music and talking] On the other side of that though, these are very heavy individuals in their fields nationally. For ensembles at USM we have The University Orchestra, which is a traditional strings and winds, brass, percussion ensemble. We also have a concert band and wind ensemble conducted by Trae Blanco who is one of our new faculty and he’s brought with him a tremendous amount of energy. A very demanding professor, expects a lot of great things from the students. We have choral groups. The University Chamber Singers and the University Chorale. The Chamber Singers is a highly selective group with a very rigorous audition. They plow through a lot of music in a semester, they tend to be very good readers and they are also called upon to perform many different events throughout the community over the year. We have a large jazz ensemble and also little jazz combos. Our piano studio is led by dr. Laura Kargal who is a very committed teacher. These students play incredibly difficult literature. They have a studio class where the students work with her, work with each other working on their individual performances. Music education is one of our biggest programs in the USM School of Music. Most of the students who come into music education are as committed to the idea of educating children as they are to the art of music. This commitment to getting our students into the schools is a theme I think that resonates well with USM’s overall theme, that is the theme of an engaged University. A university that’s not hiding behind its ivory tower and its walls and educating students in vacuum, but in fact is sending students out into the world to learn what the field is like and maybe even to improve that field through research and creative activity

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