Thursday, September 6, 2007

Wheaton College - Academics

I have now been at Wheaton for two weeks. I already wrote about what went on during the first six days, orientation, but I've almost been too busy these past eight days to even think about how much has happened, let alone reflect on it and write about it. But I think now I'll give it a shot.

I have seven classes this semester. Here follows a list with some commentary:

Aural Skills I - Easily my hardest class. Sight singing and dictation are the two components. But they are two very important skills for a musicians, so I intend to give it my best.

Class Piano I - The Conservatory requires that I pass a piano proficiency exam in order to earn a degree, and I have elected to do so by completing the class piano sequence. So far, no problems. I am somewhat self-taught at piano, I just have never had formal instruction.

Intro to Music Tech - Now this is a fun class. Tuesday, for example, we had a lecture on the interior hardware of Apple computers. I am really glad that the Conservatory requires this class; technology is only going to become a more important tool for musicians in coming decades.

Music Theory I - I took AP Music Theory in high school, but even amidst the topics that are review for me, I am learning a few new ideas. Here's something my instructor said during yesterday's lecture that really stood out to me: "Music is not always an exact science; sometimes more than one answer exists. The important issue is the reasoning behind each answer, and if it lends something to the listening experience."

Physics of Music - I did not register for this course when I originally registered for classes in June. But, after consulting with my advisor early last week, I dropped a literature course that AP English Literature credit made unnecessary and replaced it with physics. I think I'll like this class. It's basically acoustics, so half the curriculum is studying how instruments produce sound and the other half how auditoriums and similar facilities are built. And I just finished two years of physics in high school, so the physicist's methodology is still fresh in my mind.

Single Reed Techniques - To teach music, one has to be proficient enough on every instrument to correct students. The first instrument I will learn (after trombone and piano) is the clarinet, and then, next quad, saxophone. Clarinet isn't all that hard, actually. I'm sure my tone is horrible and my intonation is worse, but I am getting the notes!

Wellness - This is the required introductory course for applied health sciences, both as a major and within the general education program. It's half lecture/half lab. The lecture components involve study of contemporary issues and biblical perspectives on health and wellness. The lab component involves varied physical activities. I think that I might actually get something out of this class. It's certainly unlike anything I've ever formally studied before.

In addition, I am taking private trombone lessons and performing with the symphonic band, both of which are credit-earning courses. So I have a very full academic schedule this semester, but I'm confident that I will be successful.

But of course, there is more to Wheaton College than its rigorous academic programs. More on other elements of the college life later.

This is Rubio, over and out.

No comments: