A new music students’ association at the University of Auckland is aiming to bring all branches of the School of Music together.
Currently, the university’s Bachelor of Music (BMus) degree offers five different majors – three performance-oriented courses (jazz, pop and classical) as well as musicology and music composition.
However, students from the different schools have not had the chance to get to know one another and share their various skills – until now.
The School of Music Students Association (SOMSA) aims to start running events at the start of next year, including concerts, student barbecues, a School of Music ball and a social student-run orchestra.
SOMSA president Clovis McEvoy, 25, says he saw an obvious need for a way for students from different disciplines to get together.
“Even in simple geographical terms the School of Music is divided, with a 15-minute walk separating the classical and composition students from the pop and jazz students – it’s entirely plausible to get through most of a music degree without interacting with anyone outside your own department.
“It seemed to me that there was a real lack of communication or a sense of community between the different schools and I wanted to do something about it.”
McEvoy, who is in his third year studying composition, founded SOMSA with fellow music students Ella Tunnicliffe-Glass (musicology) and Abigail Sperling (performance – classical flute).
McEvoy is hoping the organisation will be an environment where students can meet to discuss music, find other musicians for projects and get inspiration and support from their peers.
“When I started studying music at Auckland Uni I was barely aware that there were other departments within the music school,” he says.
“It’ll be great for students to have the opportunity to experiment with different disciplines, be inspired by other musical genres and network with other students.”
The association was endorsed by the School of Music at the end of last month. The administrators launched a Facebook page and discussion board, which is now “liked” by 245 people.
Senior lecturer John Coulter, who also acts as co-ordinator of the School of Music student-staff consultative committee, says the School of Music is behind the idea.
“It was a pleasure to watch the newly created Facebook page grow in numbers in a matter of hours,” he says.
“It’s very rare to see such initiative in the student body.
“I know I speak for the majority of the academic staff at the School of Music when I say I’m only too pleased to support SOMSA.”
Jacquie Tyler, a second-year composition student, joined the association shortly after its launch.
“I was immediately interested,” she says.
“It’s an opportunity to help organise events and encourage other students to get involved. I’m enjoying my time at university and want to participate more within the School of Music.”
McEvoy says the association has just completed the paperwork with AUSA to become officially recognised by the university.
“Getting affiliated with AUSA was very important for us. They can offer us advice and support in these early stages and they have the infrastructure in place to help get the social events we have planned up and running.”