Music department in ‘Treble’

A handful of music major requirement and prerequisite music classes have been cut for the 2016 spring semester here at Los Medanos College.

Music 013 and Music 014 — Musicianship one and two —are listed as required courses music majors needed to complete to acquire their degree. Both courses have been removed from the class roaster.

Diane Maltester, LMC professor who was to teach both classes, was notified within the first three weeks of the spring semester that the classes were to be cut because not enough students had signed up for the courses.

Maltester had stated it was “the first time in 30 years,” the school had cut courses needed for music major.

“Obviously, it is very rare that we would cut a major class that’s for transfer.” remarked Maltester.

The class cuts can come as a major obstacle and set back for music majors, especially those who had planned on transferring or graduating at the end of this spring semester.

John Chandler, a music major here at LMC, had faced this very dilemma upon realizing his Music 14 class had been canceled.

Chandler had already submitted his applications to UC Berkeley, CSU East Bay and SF State with every intention to leave LMC behind with an Associates Degree in music under his belt at the end of this 2016 spring semester. However, the last course he needed to meet his music major requirement was now beyond his reach.

“I quickly realized that I needed to talk to admissions and a counselor to figure out what I could do to be able to graduate with the degree this semester,” said Chandler, sharing what his first initial thoughts were upon seeing the class cancelation, “It would be a major setback to have to stay at LMC another semester to take just one class.”

Along with the Music 14 class, Chandler had also planned on taking a Music 77— Chamber Chorale — which was another class he needed for his degree.

But—surprise, surprise! Chamber Chorale is also included on the list of music classes that had been cut from the department.

In the end, Chandler was able to sign up on an alternative ensemble class that could satisfy the practical requirement for his degree — Jazz Ensemble (Music 70) — and managed to arrange independent study sessions with Maltester for Music 14 to ensure that he graduates and transfers out of LMC like he had originally planned. While Chandler was able to avoid a major set back in his education plan, a handful of other students may not be so fortunate.

Along with Chamber Chorale, the Music department has lost additional courses that provided vocal instruction, such as: Applied Music (Music 8), Class Voice (Music 65) and Jazz and Vocal Popular Techniques (Music 67).

Music 65 and 67 had acted as a prerequisite for vocalists who are interested in pursing a major in music while Music 8 was a class music major and minors have access to private lessons.

Silvester Henderson, a well known and long time professor of 23 years here at LMC, had planned on teaching the vocal courses but was unable to do so.

At the end of last 2015 fall semester, Henderson had re-ran for the Academic Senate President position at LMC. Unfortunately, the vote hadn’t come back until a week or two before the fall semester came to an end.

Henderson had gained the Academic Senate position but at the cost of being unable to take on the vocal instructional classes.

“I couldn’t teach them, which really bothered me a lot.” said Henderson, “I really wanted to teach the courses.”

And since the vote had came back so late, the district had no time to hire a professor to take on the classes in Henderson’s absence.

Henderson expressed his concern for the lack of music classes available this spring semester.

“The choir area was like the largest component to the department, we were a major feeder to all of the other general music courses — theory, piano…” said Henderson, “The students that were in the choir — they were taking the theory classes, they were taking the piano classes, they were taking the general music classes. So it really hurt the department big time.”

The district is already in the process of hiring a new faculty member to cover the vocalist classes and Maltester stated the Music 13 and 14 classes should be available again in fall semester of 2016.