The past year I have considered aspects of what makes a healthy music studio through fostering community and culture. How we engage with each other interpersonally informs our professional life and our musical understanding (rehearsal, performance, interpretation, etc). When the COVID-19 pandemic limited these activities, I applied these concepts to the large ensemble.
Hunter's Reflection on Creating & Strengthening Collaborations in the Graduate Student Community
Realizing the role that social, cultural, and emotional surroundings play in creating art, I seek to explore how one’s artistic community can shape performance. With support from the Graduate School’s Leadership Development Fellowship, I looked at the role creating community plays in fostering healthy culture in music studios. Acknowledging there is a correlation between social and interpersonal environment and musical performance, I work to consider how we can create an atmosphere more conducive to learning and ultimately sharing. As a conductor, I am especially aware of how culture informs ensemble performance. In chamber music, interpersonal relationship is essential and creating bonds between studios and their cultures allows more opportunity for fruitful chamber ensemble performances.
This fellowship allowed me to connect with individuals from across campus in order to work together in a community that seeks to make MSU the best institution it can be for all of us. Through the networking, brainstorming, and access to resources provided by this fellowship, I was able to connect ideas across campus and get insight from a variety of perspectives. Academia is often siloed into our individual colleges and areas of research. This fellowship allows us to connect and share for the common good: improving ourselves while improving our colleges, all of which improves MSU.
While the COVID-19 pandemic interrupted our modus operandi, the College of Music had to consider new ways to connect and engage with audiences, stakeholders, students, faculty, and within studios. If nothing else, it proved how valuable live, real-time music-making is. My goals of this fellowship: to explore and consider how to improve studio culture, have not changed. The past year, however, has allowed me to consider other ways that culture plays a role in musical ensembles and how we can build culture in a healthy and productive way.
Unable to engage directly with our studios due to COVID limitations and protocols, I used the time and resources available to refocus research to culture in the large ensemble. Through the fellowship, I’ve been able to connect many of the perspectives I’ve gathered and ideas I’ve formed into ways to connect our curriculum (what we teach and perform), our community (studios, ensembles, schools, and region), and our creativity (unique application and expression of ideas) to building culture. This has led to two conference presentations and is currently being composed in an article format. The resources, opportunity, and support provided through this fellowship has been essential to the traction gained in these areas. I’m excited to see this continue in my personal exploration of studio and ensemble culture, and the work continuing through the College of Music being represented in this fellowship.