MGSA Letter .pdf
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Dear Mason Gross Administration,
This letter is written on behalf of the student body at Mason Gross School of the Arts.
We must express our dissatisfaction with ongoing practices by the administration of our Music
Department and their lack of consideration for our best interests. This semester has been a time
of growth for all, but the process has taken a toll on the education we are receiving n
includes but is not limited to conservation efforts affecting our lessons and faculty, and the
accountability of the faculty to fulfill their duties to the students and abide by department policies
Recently, Music Department Interim Director, Dr. Min Kwon, announced to the
underclassmen of the Music Education Department that students cannot take applied major
lessons during their “full-time student teaching.” Mason Gross advertises the “conservatory
approach,” which should sanction the finest private instruction to all of its students for the
entirety of their time at the school. As a fourth (or fifth) year student many of us are auditioning
for competitive graduate programs and the finest professional performance positions in the
country, even while student teaching. Taking lessons, and having the opportunity to play in
MGSA ensembles and is something that many of us would like to maintain. The ensembles at
Mason Gross are led by phenomenal conductors; considering we are spending time on the
podium for the first time in front of students, our time spent with them is invaluable during this
period of growth for us as teachers. Removing eighth semester seniors would negatively impact
the ensembles and inhibit the growth of younger students in the performance groups. Eighth
semester students are considered to be the most advanced musicians in the department.
Removing us from the ensembles is an immediate drop-off in students who received the most
education on their instrument, it’s simply not sensible.
The policy for students to take lessons during an eighth semester has been in place in
past semesters and has been beneficial to a number of students, we should have the same
opportunity. Decisions like these are being made without explanation when they directly affect
us, the ones who are paying for it. Tuition rates are high and continue to rise. As students
studying privately at Mason Gross, we also pay an additional $500 a semester for lessons. We
all came in thinking we could spend eight semesters with our teacher. What is even more
disheartening is when students have gone to their private instructors to discuss this policy
change, their instructors were unaware changes were made. We feel misinformed and that our
educational well-being is not considered in these decisions -- the ones investing in our
Further, it has come to our attention that students are not receiving the correct amount of
lessons or chamber music coaching hours. These are a select few specialized PTLs, full-time
faculty, and it is unacceptable. To reiterate, applied major lessons are an additional $500 to our
tuition and other school fees. Applied major lessons are individual lessons between the student
and the faculty member taught in a location that is most convenient for the student. Students are
required to take on a substantial amount of accountability at MGSA as if we are professionals
and we should not be burdened by these professors not fulfilling their obligation. Not receiving
the instruction that we pay and work for is an incredible disservice and extremely unprofessional
on behalf of the instructor and our institution. This small group of professors should be held
accountable because their responsibility should be, and is not, our students.
Mason Gross is challenging environment and students work hard to find success. We do
not feel we have the support of the people in the highest positions in our Department. We hope
that this letter finds you well, and that we can all grow as a school.
Undergraduate Music Students of Mason Gross School of the Arts
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