Performance music courses on tap for Fall Semester

Students will be able to take a variety of performance music courses for the first time at SMCC this fall with classes in piano, guitar, violin, and drumming.

The courses should open up a whole new world for students who want to learn or enhance their musical skills as part of their education at SMCC, said Rich Pitre, chair of the new Music Department. In time, Pitre said, he hopes to build a Liberal Studies academic program with a focus in musical studies.

“This is a whole new venture for SMCC,” Pitre said. “Our goal is to create a robust program that will provide people with solid musical skills. I think we have a lot of musically talented students at SMCC. This will give them an opportunity to further their musical studies education.”

Pitre initially planned to have SMCC offer musical performance classes last fall, but that was derailed because of the pandemic. This fall, there will be at least four musical performance classes offered: Piano Lab; World Drumming; Guitar Theory and Practice; and Intro to Fiddle/Violin.

In preparation for the classes, Pitre has outfitted a classroom with standing keyboards for the piano course. The college has also acquired several guitars and djembe drums for loan to students who take those classes.

Pitre has taught SMCC chorale for many years as a hybrid student club and one-credit vocals course, and the College has also offered classes in music history, theory and the like. But the new courses represent a full-scale commitment to active music-making, Pitre said.

If a Liberal Studies-Music Studies focus program comes to fruition, it would offer a wide variety of music classes, both performance and non-performance, Pitre said. Eventually, he hopes to develop a transfer agreement with a baccalaureate institution so students can seamlessly transfer their SMCC credits and continue their music education.