Diving into the neuroscience of music

Posted by Julia McCarren on Dec 12, 2017 10:26:24 AM

 

My fascination with music’s effects on the brain began during childhood. I remember sitting in my bedroom as an 8-year-old listening to Avril Lavigne’s 2002 album Let Go on my portable CD player. I sat for hours playing my favorite songs on repeat until I memorized every vocal nuance. Listening to music created otherworldly adventures. The sounds of my favorite songs gave me chills and vivid visual experiences. Music’s power to manipulate emotions mystified me even at a young age.

Battling mental illness as an adolescent, I turned to music, singing in particular, for spiritual grounding. I ambled through middle school in a cloud of depression that made it difficult to connect with the people around me. However, singing gave me the power to express what I could not express through words. Listening to music allowed me to experience the positive and powerful feelings I could not feel otherwise. While singing, the world around me slowed down, and I saw my environment with more clarity. Making music felt like breathing in oxygen after being underwater for too long. It helped me make sense of my life and the world I lived in. 

I always wondered...how? What’s going on in my brain when I’m singing and listening to music?

 

Read More

How to make WMU your home

Posted by Lydia Burton on Nov 22, 2017 2:07:38 PM

 

Those first few weeks after move-in almost seemed like summer camp. It felt like any day I would return to my own bed, home-cooked meals, and of course, my dog. The weeks eventually turned to months without returning to the place I grew up, and I was really missing home. I isolated myself to my dorm room and constantly reminisced about my friends, family, and being able to shower without flip flops on.

Read More

Topics: Student Experience, Student Organizations, Kalamazoo

My career path changed throughout college and I'm glad it did

Posted by Maddie Kunert on Nov 7, 2017 2:28:43 PM

 

When I first came to Western, I was only sure of two things: one, dance was an integral part of my life that I never wanted to live without, and two, I only had four years to figure out how I was going to make that happen. My original plan was to double major in dance and education. I told myself it was a great way to combine my love for dance with my strengths of leadership and organization, but I realized it was mostly just an easy way to avoid the “do you really expect to get a job doing that?” question that artists get a lot. I did have a desire to teach, but I could teach dance without putting myself through the rigor of an additional degree. 

Read More

Topics: Department of Dance, Dance, Student Experience, Careers in the Arts

The Cecily Shives story part II: College bound ballerina

Posted by Courtney Clancy on Oct 25, 2017 1:26:28 PM

 

Despite having two professional dancers as parents, Cecily’s dance journey wasn’t choreographed for her. Just watch her move about the stage or studio, and you’ll see that she got to where she is with her own commitment, resolve and talent.

“You’re only in this because your dad is with the Joffrey,” Cecily recalls peers sneering and suggesting when she was younger. While at times she internalized these resentful jabs and doubted herself, her dad, Willy Shives, reinforced that she was deserving of every role and spot because of her own abilities as a dancer.

“Even the times that I questioned it, he reminded me that he wouldn’t put me in a place that would reflect poorly on him,” she said. “I know I’ve earned [my success], but this flak is something I’ve had to deal with my whole life.”

Read More

Topics: Department of Dance, Dance, College Decision, The Student Experience

We will reign: Melanie George

Posted by Courtney Clancy on Oct 13, 2017 12:49:17 PM

 

Since graduating from Western Michigan University's Department of Dance in 1994, Melanie George has forged a multifaceted career as a jazz dancer, choreographer, educator, scholar and advocate. From our Q&A conversation with Melanie, it is clear that these roles do not just overlap. Rather, they are deeply intertwined and synergistic. According to Melanie in her artist statement, "my scholarship purposely and strategically informs my choreography and pedagogy. I have great interest in upsetting traditional hierarchies in dance on the stage and the page."

For the past week, we have been lucky to have had Melanie back on campus bringing her wide-ranging expertise and perspective to our students. Last Friday, Melanie served as a celebrity judge for the annual Dancing with the WMU/Kazoo Stars competition and scholarship fundraiser, offering thoughtful praise, critique and commentary on the evening's performances. Over the past several days, Melanie has also worked in the studio, teaching jazz dance classes and staging new choreography on first-year students. And later this afternoon, in recognition of her years of research, education, innovation and excellence in the world of dance, Melanie will be presented with the 2017 College of Fine Arts Distinguished Alumni Award for the Department of Dance.

Get to know more about Distinguished Alumna Melanie George in her interview with the Fine Print:

Read More

Topics: Department of Dance, Dance, Careers in the Arts, Alumni, We Will Reign

We will reign: Palmer Jankens

Posted by Courtney Clancy on Oct 10, 2017 3:44:02 PM

 

Meet Palmer Jankens, a self-proclaimed entertainment sound nerd and this year's Distinguished Alumni Award honoree for the Department of Theatre. From designing for prestigious theatre companies and productions throughout Chicago to mixing shows around the world, Palmer has built a career doing what he loves. And by the sounds of it, the experiences he was afforded during his time in the Department of Theatre's design and technical production program had a lot to do with his success. Hear all about it here:

Read More

Topics: Careers in the Arts, Department of Theatre, Alumni, We Will Reign

We will reign: Alex Jokipii

Posted by Courtney Clancy on Oct 6, 2017 5:31:25 PM

 

2017 School of Music Distinguished Alumnus Alex Jokipii has held the position of Principal Trumpet with the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra for nearly two decades. In addition, he has appeared as a soloist on countless occasions, and he has performed as a guest Principal Trumpet with numerous world-class symphonies and orchestras. But according to Alex, his success was far from instant.

In our interview with Alex, he touches on the struggles of totally reinventing the way he played trumpet when he arrived at WMU in 1988. He also talks about learning harsh lessons of time management and hard work, and he discusses how persistence played a part in breaking through as a professional (Mary Brodbeck, 2017 Frostic School of Art Distinguished Alumna, also asserts that persistence is the key to success as an artist. We're noticing a theme here...).

Learn what - and who - contributed to Alex's great success as a musician in his responses below.

Read More

Topics: School of Music, Careers in the Arts, Alumni, We Will Reign

We will reign: Mary Brodbeck

Posted by Courtney Clancy on Oct 4, 2017 4:51:40 PM

 

Each fall, the Western Michigan University College of Fine Arts recognizes four alumni who have put their stamp on their field. 2017 Frostic School of Art Distinguished Alumna Mary Brodbeck has done just that. Mary's artwork, which employs traditional Japanese woodblock printmaking methods to transfer ink to paper, has received critical acclaim in both Japan and the United States. With a portfolio of celebrated work, a series of prints housed in the Detroit Institute of Arts' permanent collection, and an extensive career of teaching, visual storytelling and printmaking, Mary continues to share her art and expertise with the world. Today, Mary's sharing even more with us.

Read Mary's essay below to learn about not only the time-honored art of woodblock printing, but also about the turning points in Mary's career and the traits that allowed her to succeed.

Read More

Topics: Frostic School of Art, Alumni, We Will Reign

Frostic School of Art students collaborate with Audiotree Music Festival

Posted by Courtney Clancy on Sep 18, 2017 11:16:23 AM

 

Next weekend, Audiotree Music Festival will return to Arcadia Creek Festival Place, once again bringing "music and community together" in downtown Kalamazoo. But this year, the artists on stage aren't the only ones sharing their talent with audiences; the work of Gwen Frostic School of Art students will also be on display for concertgoers to enjoy.

Read More

Topics: Frostic School of Art, The Student Experience, Kalamazoo

The Cecily Shives story part I: To be a ballerina

Posted by Courtney Clancy on Sep 7, 2017 12:21:09 PM

 

Ask any young child what they want to be when they grow up, and ballerina often makes the list of ideal occupations. But how many of these dance dreams actually come true?

For Cecily Shives, a 2017 BFA graduate of the Department of Dance, the dream of becoming a ballerina has remained alive throughout her life. As a toddler, Cecily was already dancing around her family’s home in pointe shoes, and then in eighth grade, she was voted “most likely to become a ballerina” by her peers.

Well, her classmates had it right. This fall, Cecily will pirouette into the professional world as a company member with Ballet San Antonio.

Through a series of three installments, we’ll be profiling Cecily and the many steps – and turns, spins and leaps – she’s made in her journey to become a professional ballerina. We’ll open with the early days.

Read More

Topics: Department of Dance, Dance, Careers in the Arts, Alumni

About the Fine Print

The Official Blog of the WMU College of Fine Arts

Western Michigan University's College of Fine Arts is a place where passion meets practice, and The Fine Print is your lens into the lives of our students, faculty and community.

From behind-the-scenes looks at our performances and exhibits to tips and resources for prospective students, The Fine Print is rich with content that is both interesting and valuable. Subscribe below to read The Fine Print and stay in-the-know.

Subscribe to Email Updates

Not sure where to start your college search?

Step back and get some perspective.

Download our free college comparison worksheet to determine your priorities, compare your options and approach your college decision in a more strategic and critial way.

Download_College_Comparison_Worksheet-01-01.png

Recent Posts