Unlike UW Seattle, Pacific Lutheran University and the University of Puget Sound, UW Tacoma does not have a school of music. This is due to a combination of factors which include limited funding, lack of space and difficulties with starting a new major. While there are no plans to create a music major for this campus, there still are ways for students to get involved with music.
UWT does offer a few music-related classes. Dr. Michael Berry explained that not all of these are about classical music.
“… We don’t … train opera singers here [at UWT] but we have a program that … treats all musics as equal and giv[es] students exposure to those,” Berry said.
Dr. Berry — who teaches music courses at both the Tacoma and Seattle campuses — is a classical bass player who plays with local symphonies. At UWT, he teaches Music Appreciation, the history of Rock and Roll, Rap Music Identity and Culture, Introductory Music Theory and Music and Crisis.
In addition to Dr. Berry’s classes, students interested in music at UWT can take classes with lecturer Kim Davenport. Davenport has a background in classical piano and teaches Music Appreciation, Exploring Classical Music in Our Community and the Musical History of Tacoma. She also teaches music major classes at the University of Puget Sound.
“I teach several music classes that I’ve gotten to design myself,” Davenport said. “They are classes based on my background which is in classical music. But they’re specifically designed knowing that we don’t have a music program here. So they’re designed for non-majors.”
Students wanting to take any of these T ARTS courses can sign up for them when registration opens. However, they should note that these classes do fill up quickly.
Piano players can participate in UWT’s open piano time and play on the grand piano in the Carwein Auditorium in KEY 102 on Wednesdays from 11:30 a.m.–12:30 p.m., Thursdays 6–8 p.m., and Fridays 3–5 p.m. There is also a piano in the University Y Student Center that is available for students to play during their regularly scheduled hours.
UWT students are able to take music classes at the Seattle campus with instructor permission or through cross-campus registration. However, seniors should note that their last 45 of 60 credits must be taken at the UWT campus.
Students can also audition for University Symphony Orchestra, Concert Band and Choral Union in August every year at PLU. Students should be sure to contact the conductors of the group they are interested in auditioning for. PLU has many student ensembles that offer concerts and holds student recitals which are free and open to the public.
UWT students can also take music classes at Tacoma Community College through dual enrollment. However, the final year residency requirement for UWT seniors applies here as well. Additionally, UPS offers concerts, events and master classes that are open to the public. Most of these are free, unless otherwise noted.
Lastly, students can audition for symphonies, local youth symphonies, or summer music camps in their communities. They can attend music concerts and take private lessons with a friend or a teacher near them.
Both Berry and Davenport encourage students to look for how they can see music in their everyday life and get involved.
“There’s lots of different angles to get into music and … ways for students to get involved.” Davenport said. “Even if you can’t take a music class while you’re here, get involved after you graduate … Life is busy and hectic [so] you need things in your life for personal fulfillment and music is great for that.”