Topic: College of Fine Arts

June 17, 2016

Music for All

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With Ball State now a sponsor of Music for All’s summer symposium, faculty in the School of Music will have a greater say in developing curriculum for its programming, including the camp's orchestra track.

Music for All brings its national summer music camp back to campus this month—this time with Ball State as a corporate sponsor.

“We’ve always called our summer symposium ‘America’s Camp,’ but now it’s Ball State’s camp as well,” said Eric Martin, president and CEO of Music for All. “We look at our extended relationship with the university as a partnership in the truest sense of the word.”

This year’s symposium takes place June 25-July 2. More than 1,500 middle school and high school instrumental music students, plus band directors, come from roughly 40 states and abroad to learn from renowned teachers and artists. Ball State has hosted the symposium since 2011; under the sponsorship agreement, it will continue to do so through 2023.

The camp is a boon for the School of Music, said its director, Ryan Hourigan. “To get that number of students in front of our faculty — interested in what we can offer them as potential future undergraduates — that’s a real opportunity for us.”

Camp has become a recruiting tool

Taking advantage of that recruiting opportunity is Doug Droste, associate professor of music who is Ball State’s director of orchestras.

“We look at our extended relationship with the university as a partnership in the truest sense of the word.”

— Eric Martin
CEO of Music for All

Droste came to the university three years ago, but his history with Music for All dates to his 2005 involvement with the summer symposium during the years it was held at Illinois State University (1992-2010). It was a no-brainer for him to get involved with it at Ball State, leading the camp’s student orchestra track. Other tracks include concert band, jazz band, marching band, color guard and drum major.

“There really isn’t a better recruiting tool for us than to be able to have someone come onto campus and work with us, taking lessons with us to see how we’ll teach,” Droste said.

Incoming Ball State freshman and viola player Whitney Larson is one such recruit. During 2015’s Music for All, she studied under Droste, which not only gave her a chance to get to know him but put her at ease during her application and audition process for the School of Music.

“I definitely believe spending that week on campus influenced my college decision,” said Larson, a native of Avon, Indiana, who’s played her instrument for eight years. “A big part of that was feeling what it’s like to play under Professor Droste’s baton. It’s important, especially for music majors, to have a good relationship with and trust the faculty with whom they’ll be working closely.”

New opportunities for Ball State spring from sponsorship

Music for All

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More than 1,500 students will attend this year’s camp, with attendance expected to increase annually in the coming years.

CEO Martin hopes Ball State’s sponsorship of the symposium creates opportunities for the university — and not just for its School of Music. “We want to encourage future collaboration across all colleges.” One example could be an interdisciplinary team of students creating a documentary about the symposium, which is experiencing record growth in attendance. “We project a 7 percent to 8 percent growth annually in the years to come.”

Other changes that have resulted from Ball State becoming a corporate camp sponsor: mention of the university in Music for All’s national advertising campaigns; School of Music faculty having a greater say in the camp’s curriculum; and expanded recruitment opportunities for Ball State’s Office of Admissions.

Hourigan said it’s not just Ball State that wins from the camp’s presence in Muncie. The camp has an estimated $2.2 million annual economic impact on the city and east central Indiana, according to economist Michael Hicks, director of Ball State’s Center for Business and Economic Research.

“We’ll do our part to make sure this symposium never leaves town,” Hourigan said.