CRC’s music department offers a variety of programs to music majors

The Cosumnes River College music department offers a variety of classes for its students.    The department is broken up into three sections: performing, instruction and specialization.

In the performance section, classes include the orchestra, concert band, jazz band and gospel choir, which are performing groups that put on concerts. In the instruction section, students learn about the different histories of music and also develop skills for playing instruments, such as guitar and piano. In the specialization section, classes include working with professional music software and how to integrate music with children.

“I like the program because everyone turns into a close-knit group,” said 20-year-old music major Taylor McCauley, who plays the saxophone. “The classes here are great; we perform in front of each other and give each other critiques to improve which helps us as musicians and benefits us for our futures.”

Kurt Erickson, a music professor at CRC, said the music department is “going through a Renaissance” with “lots of positive things going on,” such as hiring a new vocal professor, Omari Williams and having a variety of different programs to accommodate students.

“One of the best things of the music programs is you have to go to the same classes with the same people which builds the atmosphere that you’re always progressing with,” said Julius Field-Ridley, 18, a music major who plays the guitar. “I think we have some really great teachers that help each and every one of us.”

Erickson, who is the director of the Composer’s Ensemble, said that the ensemble is a concert where “students create and perform their own music,” which is a “unique thing because no other community colleges in California has anything remotely like this.”

Gabriel Lopez, a 25-year-old music major who plays the tuba, said the program prepares students for a four-year university.

“What got me into the music program was the Composer’s Ensemble because I’m able to write whatever music I want,” Lopez said. “Also, we get to know the musicians and be exposed to all different kinds of music.”

Another program the music department has to offer is the Applied Lessons Program.

“The Applied Lessons program is where music majors get weekly free lessons from professional musicians,” said Grant Parker, the chair of the music department. “It fulfills the national requirement for music students that have to study one-on-one with someone on their instrument.”

To get into the program, there are three requirements: students must declare themselves as a music major, be enrolled in one of the music theory courses and be enrolled in one of the major performing ensembles.

There are 20 spots available per semester, and students have to audition for a spot. When students get that spot, “they get one-on-one with the finest instructors in the region,” Parker said.

Typically, music lessons can range from $60 to $100 per hour with an instructor, so this opportunity is something students should apply for, Erickson said.

“If you are a musician who is getting free lessons from a quality instructor, what more could you want?” Erickson said.

The music department invites everyone to attend their concerts in May, such as the Composer’s Ensemble on May 1-2 at 7 p.m. Ticket prices are $5 with a student discount and can be purchased in advance online. The Student Recital is another event that showcases the students’ performances, which is free on May 12, at 10:30 a.m. and 7 p.m.