The arts community continues to grow in Savannah and Georgia, and is bringing with it a new slate of related jobs. To capitalize on these opportunities, and to bolster arts enrollment in Savannah, Georgia Southern University is developing a new academic program — exclusively on the Armstrong campus — focused on the music industry.
If approved, this new program would be offered under the existing Bachelor of Arts in Music degree and would emphasize music technology and music business. University officials hope the success of this potential new program will thereafter allow for additional academic tracks, such as in music therapy.
“We want to continue capitalizing on the thriving arts and culture scene in Savannah,” said Carl Reiber, provost and vice president for academic affairs. “We expect this potential new program to bring in more students, so we can strengthen our involvement with local traditions such as the Savannah Wind Symphony.”
“To stay competitive, we must modernize our music offerings,” said Steven A. Harper, chair of the Department of Music. “We also must maintain a robust presence in Savannah. We think we can do both by capitalizing on our faculty’s expertise and on Savannah’s existing music industry infrastructure.”
Harper said the vision for the future of the program is that the traditional music degrees (including music education and performance) would likely be centered at the Statesboro campus and music industry would be the main focus at the Armstrong campus. “However,” he noted, “students on the Armstrong campus (music majors and non-music majors alike) would still be able to participate in a variety of music activities, including traditional ensembles.
The proposed new direction for the Bachelor of Arts in Music degree would likely include two concentrations: a versatile general liberal arts concentration (which is currently available on both the Statesboro and Armstrong campuses) and a music industry concentration. The music industry concentration would be fully available only on the Armstrong campus, but also would be open to students who take classes primarily on other campuses (similar to all other Georgia Southern degrees).
Harper noted that ensembles and faculty from the Statesboro campus have performed or are scheduled to perform on the Armstrong campus, and vice versa. That “cross-pollination” will expand in the future.
“The arts scene in Savannah is one of the things that makes this community so special,” Harper said. “And Statesboro is a cultural gem that many in the region haven’t discovered yet. It is important that we continue to look for ways to engage the community with our music programs and to reach an ever-widening audience for our talented students.”