Music students collaborate in class (photo credit: SNHU Music – Facebook)

As business students know, the journey down the hill on River Road can at times feels death-defying, especially in the winter. Webster students may not be aware that they are not alone. Right across the street is the Madison House, SNHU’s center for all things music.

While there is no music performance major offered at SNHU, there is a music education program. This is a combination of a music major and an education major. Students participate in regular classes alongside lessons, orchestras and practice times. Only a handful of students are in the major, but they do the work of many. As advocates for their program, their busy schedules help the major grow to new heights. 

If those reading this forgot about the major or didn’t know it existed, it would be hard to place blame. The few students spend most of their free time practicing.

Coordinator of Music, Sophia Santerre, is always looking for ways to boost awareness for the major. “We are working on creating more awareness about our music programs, both the Music Education degree program, as well as the several performing groups and music lessons offered on campus as courses. Our students are hoping to perform the National Anthem at more events, and are becoming more actively involved in advocating for the music program. It is also a goal to create an event on campus that would involve inviting area school musical ensembles to come and perform for each other and receive a “critique” from the SNHU music faculty,” said Santerre.

On the student level, Kate Campbell (‘22) aims to promote the major and the student’s work to a wider audience. She said, “It’s all about getting ourselves out there and getting more exposure for our major. There is so much we have done and will continue to do, be it holding more performances, working with different clubs or having a social media presence. People will care about the major once they hear about it, so it’s important to do that outreach and get our name out there.” 

SNHU has a special music education department that draws many students in. Matey Thygesen (‘22) said, “SNHU’s music ed major is so unique because it immediately gets you into the classroom. This doesn’t happen at many other schools. You can have more experience by the time you graduate, which makes you much more appealing to hire. You also will quickly find out if it is the major for you. At some schools, people don’t realize they don’t want to be a music educator until they are a senior, and by that time it’s too late.” 

Santerre emphasizes this, saying, “The greatest aspect in all of the education majors at SNHU is the amount of field base work students get to do. Students are working in classrooms in the Greater Manchester area every semester. The student teaching experience is a full year, not just a semester. It is a huge draw for potential students knowing that they will be “teaching” throughout their entire undergraduate career.”

Campbell emphasized that the best way to grow the major is to involve incoming freshmen. She also stated that adding more practice space to campus would be beneficial to promoting the major to prospective students.

“Every music major has a very similar schedule, so we all often go to practice at the same time,” Campbell said. “That is near impossible to facilitate in Madison House now, but with more practice spaces on campus we would be able to have more flexibility with when we practice.” 

The Madison House, formerly the home of the Phi Delta Psi fraternity, doesn’t provide as much space as Music Education students would like.

Taylor Bouchard (‘22) agreed.“I understand why our schedules are the way they are, but it makes practicing so much harder. That being said I still feel like we have a lot of growth happening, there is just so much more we can achieve.” 

Students in the music education major hope to help to promote their program so that it can continue for future SNHU generations.

Anyone looking to support the music program can attend SNHU’s jazz combo’s performance on April 26 on the Green Space. All are welcome to attend. 

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