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Music department receives 10-year reaccreditation

ISSUED: 5 January 2017
MEDIA CONTACT: Valerie Owens

SHEPHERDSTOWN, WV — Shepherd University’s Department of Music has been reaccredited by the National Association of Schools of Music (NASM) for 10 more years. The accreditation covers Shepherd’s Bachelor of Arts in music, Bachelor of Music Education, Bachelor of Music in Performance, and Preparatory Program.

Dr. Robert Tudor, chair of the Department of Music, said the accreditation includes approval for a new program—a Bachelor of Music in Performance with a concentration in jazz studies—which started accepting students this month. Tudor said he’s particularly excited about the addition of the jazz program and thinks it will be a popular choice for students.

“It’s a relevant form of making music that involves improvisation, composition, and arranging,” Tudor said. “The skills that someone learns in a jazz degree program can be applied in so many areas. It’s an entrepreneurial degree, that’s why it’s so attractive. Because of the skills you are learning you can go in so many different areas with that degree.”

Tudor said there are also plans to offer an adult jazz learning lab as part of Shepherd’s Preparatory Program and to expand the annual jazz festival. He said NASM’s accreditation report complimented Shepherd for having several strengths, including its music education, composition, piano, and performance offerings, the ensembles students can participate in, and the quality of the faculty.

“They said we have dynamically talented faculty that have relevant professional and current experience in all the areas that we’re teaching,” Tudor said. “Faculty are all very active in performance, composition, research, and music education. None of us are, if you will, ‘retired’ from the active, professional aspect of what we do.”

Dr. Scott Beard, associate provost, assists programs during the accrediting process. He said maintaining the NASM accreditation makes Shepherd more competitive.

“Many of the institutions that our students apply to are NASM accredited, so it’s really important that we have that mark of quality for our performance and our education degrees,” Beard said. “Also, most of the major conservatories and schools of music in the United States are accredited by NASM and carry that mark of distinction. We are very proud of our students and faculty in the Department of Music for achieving this accolade.”

Tudor pointed out that NASM accreditation tells prospective students and their parents that Shepherd offers a quality music education that meets a specific set of standards.

“For example, we have to prove our students gain competency in keyboard skills,” Tudor said. “We have to prove that our students meet a benchmark of music competencies in theory, aural skills, music history, and literature. Without the accreditation, you don’t have that pressure to create the multiple experiences throughout their education to meet those benchmarks.”

NASM was founded in 1924 and currently accredits more than 650 baccalaureate and graduate degree-granting institutions, community colleges, and non-degree-granting institutions.

Listen to the interview HERE.

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