Eugene, OR – At the University of Oregon’s School of Music, the blaring horns and trilling voices are but a few of the sounds of music students hard at work. Despite the rigorous program, music students are enjoying their time at the School of Music. Colin Hurowitz, a second-year music percussion performance major, is one of them.
“I noticed everyone here is always tired which is good,” he says, “that means that everybody is working all the time; there’s always work to be done and there’s always more we can learn.”
Hurowitz, 23, is auditioning for the university’s music education program at the end of the term, and aspires to teach music in high schools in the future.
“I would love to teach high school students,” he says, “They don’t realize that they have options…and I think that’s a problem.” Hurowitz has yet to teach in high schools, but has talked to enough teachers to know that there is a common problem “as far as funding goes; as far as leadership goes; as far as what the students should and shouldn’t be doing.”
Rebecca Sacks, a general science post-baccalaureate student who’s singing with the university’s opera ensemble, expresses the same sentiments.
“I think everyone should have the opportunity to pursue the arts. I think it’s one of the most important things that any student should have; the opportunity to explore.” Sacks says, “I think it’s heartbreaking that schools think that it is the first program to be cut from any curricula.”
Before coming to the university, Sacks had been a music major in Stanford when she was an undergrad.
“I loved singing; I worked as a singer through undergrad,” she says, “but sort of as I kept working at it through undergrad and considered applying to grad schools in music, I realized that it wasn’t what I really wanted to be doing with the rest of my life.”
Sacks did not want music to become work, and was gradually finding the study of music a chore. Nevertheless, Sacks says that the approach towards music at UO’s School of Music is a very different experience from her undergrad days.
“A lot of the singers here approach the performance as this kinetic experience, as a skill that they have learned, whereas at Stanford, all music you performed was also this intellectual exploration,” she says. “What I observed is that that was less so in this department, and I don’t think that’s necessarily a bad thing because I think not having to do all that not singing work gives you more time to focus on technique, tone quality and performance.”
Anna Black, a Brighton High School senior from Rochester, is currently at the School of Music, touring schools with music programs across the country to decide on where to go. She has heard nothing but praise for UO’s music program. “People said one of the violin teachers here were really good.” She says.
Black, a member of the Rochester Philharmonic Youth Orchestra, has been playing the violin since she was 5. Despite the negative opinion about majoring in music from her grandfather, Black, like many other music students, says that she is optimistic about her career choice.
“I think it can be pretty realistic if you have the dedication,” she says, “you kind of have to be an entrepreneur and a business person at the same time because you really have to sell yourself to get work.”