CSUSB Music Department chair Dr. Robert Knop discussed available resources to students on campus and the benefits of being a part of the music program, despite its small size.
Dr. Robert Knop’s philosophy for the music department is centered around giving plenty of attention to all music students, regardless of their skill level. Many other music programs in other colleges and universities tend to require a certain level of skill. Knop praises the department for taking students as they are and giving them a lot of personal attention.
“There’s a cutoff point of that skill level that the other larger departments will not accept them,” Knop says. “We take ‘em where they’re at. We audition ‘em and say, ‘okay, here’s where you’re at, but we’ll take ya in, and we’ll work with you, and here’s what we can do for you.'”
It may be difficult for some music students to enter other universities, especially ones that are more well-known for their performing arts departments, but one thing Knop ensures about his students is that they receive personal attention and experience growth as a result.
“Our department is the same as the others, but we take students that the others don’t,” Knop states.
It is evident that the mindset of the department is to build up and improve musicians no matter where they are at in their musical journey.
Because of the small number of students, instructors in the department are able to give more of their attention to all students. The small amount of students also allows students to know one another really well, making them more than an ensemble, but a family.
“They all help one another. It’s a very close-knit family. Everybody works together. All the more advanced students help the new students,” says Knop. “We just need a bigger family.”
Students who may feel apprehensive about learning their instrument at the collegiate level should not have to worry coming into CSUSB’s music program.
When asked about what new music students should expect coming into the department, Dr. Knop stated, “What they can expect is a very warm welcome, an idea that the basic skills that have to be learned here will be taught to them in a way that they’re not going to feel threatened about them. They’re gonna realize that their skill level, once they get here, is not what they thought it was.”
To those who are not music majors, there are a lot of resources inside the music department that are available. One notable resource is their recording studio. If a musician on campus is looking to record a demo or something similar, there are music technology students who are there to help.
“There’s recording going on here all weekends. Advanced music tech students are recording other students and other people around who need a recording, who need a demo. We utilize out facilities for them to do that for the public. That’s part of their training,” Knop states. “So, if someone who wanted to have a recording here, could come in here, and our advanced music students under the direction of the tech teacher will say, ‘okay, what would you like to do?'”
Anyone who is interested in what the music department has to offer should consider stopping by the building next to the theater as well as checking out some performing arts events during the quarter.