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
​ ow​.​ ​This
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
and​ ​guidelines.
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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