Music classes harmonize students’ lives

Share This:

The music department at Dixie State University is smaller than other schools’ departments, but the sense of community among majors and non-majors alike is what draws some students to the program.

The community setting was a factor for James Hetrick, a freshman music major from Las Vegas, when he first looked at colleges.

“I’m talking to people from different majors, but we all come into the band room, and that’s like our home, as cheesy as that may sound,” Hetrick said.

The department is currently home to about 110 music majors. Music department chair Glenn Webb said music can help people in many components of their lives.

“It trains your brain for all the opportunities that are out there,” Webb said. “It’s cooperative work in bands and orchestras and choirs … It’s a great thing — a great set of traits and qualities for any job.”

For students who are interested in pursuing or continuing their music education but are not music majors, all is not lost. It is not impossible for non-music major students to stay involved in music classes.

“I feel like it helps with every aspect of your life if you are involved in music,” said Liza Teo, a sophomore integrated studies major from Long Beach, Calif. “My plan was always to major in music, but I didn’t see myself pursuing a career in music. I still wanted to stick with it, which is why I take band and [stay] involved as much as I can.”

Associate music professor Gary Caldwell, said the plan is to carry on as usual and keep growing as a department.

“I hope to build quality as well as the quantity, but we’ve had good numbers, so that hasn’t been our biggest concern,” Caldwell said. “We will continue to build our programs, do our performances and teach music so that students are more prepared. It’s a process. It doesn’t happen just in one semester or one year, in any skill, to grow the quality of the program.”

In terms of recruitment for the program, Webb said the members of the department faculty visit the local middle and high schools each year. Andrew Swan, a freshman music major from Tooele, said he was drawn to Dixie after just one visit.

“It’s why I came to Dixie — for the music department,” Swan said. “Everbody’s really friendly and helpful. This is really the only music department in the state that I can do all the things that I do.”

Swan is involved in the choir, orchestra and band and said at other universities he may not have been able to be involved in everything as easily as he is at DSU.

“One visit to Dixie and you’ll just see everybody and how friendly everyone is,” Swan said. “It’s just a great environment to be in.”

Each ensemble and band performs during the semester, and, according to the music department website, April is full of shows in the Eccles Fine Arts Center. Friday is the much-anticipated symphony band performance.

“I’ve invited President Nadauld and his wife,” Caldwell said. “They’re going to come and we’re going to do a little bit of a musical tribute to him since he’s retiring. I’ve got a couple of pieces selected just for that.”

Concerts are either free or $1 for students. Non-students and members of the community pay $5, and all of the money from their tickets is donated to music scholarships.

“Musically and artistically, visual arts here are important things,” Webb said. “Every university has to have a music department to bring cultural activities and events to the campus.”

Swan said the end-of-semester performances are always the biggest because they have had the most time to practice.

All the anticipated concerts are fun to look forward to, Hetrick said. 

“It’s hard to pick a favorite,” Hetrick said. “Rehearsal in the college setting demands so much discipline. The process leading up to the concerts is amazing to see from when you first get your music to the last day when you’re sitting on stage.”

A full schedule of the remaining concerts for the spring is available online at dixie.edu/finearts and a schedule for shows next semester will be available at those concerts.