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Dustin Ellingson, Published March 22 2009

Protect MSUM music department from budget cuts

So, there’s this rumor that as a result of Minnesota’s “budget crisis” certain departments within the school system may experience big cuts. I’d love to do my best to make sure the music department I’m currently a part of at Minnesota State University Moorhead will not be deemed “too expensive to maintain,” or however it will be worded, and this is my first step toward that goal.

I’ve heard that the music department is being looked at as inefficient because in the science and English departments the professors teach up to 30, 40 or more students at a time.

In the music department there are a lot of one-on-one lessons where it’s just one professor and one student in the classroom, and herein lies the “inefficiency.” Could you imagine a classroom situation with 30 trumpets trying to figure out what to do with each other, or 30 drummers, or guitar players, or any instrument? It would be chaos.

Finally, somebody is making me learn. These professors can see it from a mile away, to use a cliché, if I have not practiced my curriculum for the week.

There is no way to cram one week’s worth of music practice in one night, and trust me, I’ve tried. Music shows you right away if you’re learning what you’re being taught or not. It is a clear distinction. There is no “memorize, test, and forget.” It’s “learn, retain, and perform” in the music department, and the professors make you want to do it. The emphasis is on personal growth.

MSUM and the state of Minnesota need to stand proud and hold on to their music and arts programs. These elements are intrinsic to human nature and have helped shape the creatures we were into the people we are. Too many schools from all over this country are cutting these departments out. Financial reasons shouldn’t be a consideration considering the importance of this subject. It will be much more expensive to restart these programs once the mistake is realized.

The faculty is the only faculty in town providing weekly entertainment for the Fargo-Moorhead jazz scene that didn’t exist in this magnitude before they put it together. This is big. MSUM is being portrayed in a very pleasant light every week. People think positively about what is going on with this

all-star team MSUM has assembled. To send them away from our community would be a loss.

To send away all of the students who currently study music with us, and the students who will study music in the coming years at MSUM, would be a huge loss, and a sad one at that. Please be proud that you stuck it out when times got tough.

I finally have some direction in my life after five years of “undeclared” study at MSUM. So, where would I be without this department in my life in the coming years? Probably washed up and doing that soak routine at a pub somewhere, sulking on the pile of my dreams. I want to live my dreams and watch them blossom. This faculty is helping me make that happen. I am learning. And MSUM is going to be the place that turned me loose in the world, ready to tackle my hopes and dreams.

Ellingson is a music student at Minnesota State University Moorhead.