Wright State School of Music to begin offering performance specialist certificates

Performance certificates for advanced musicians seeking intensive musical study in instrumental, piano or vocal will soon be offered by Wright State University’s School of Music.

The one-year, two-semester Performance Specialist Certificate program, which will roll out in the fall of 2021, is aimed at students wishing to pursue concentrated musical study at the pre-master’s or post-master’s degree level.

Daniel Zehringer, professor of music and chair of the School of Music, said students often need an additional year of study between undergraduate and graduate degrees to focus on refining their performance skills, something that is not always possible when they are enrolled in full-blown master’s or doctoral programs.

“This certificate program will fill a void that musicians, regardless of applied area, often need — intensely focused applied instruction and pedagogy that will enable them the flexibility to take that next step in their career, in an affordable manner,” he said.

Christopher Chaffee, professor of music and director of graduate studies in music, said the certificate program will help students who are preparing to go on to further graduate study and want a highly focused time in an institutional setting to prepare and sharpen skills. He said the program will also help students who are looking for that intensity but don’t want the in-depth academic portion that is a normal part of degree study.

“The biggest benefit is more time studying with a ‘master teacher’ and honing their craft while gaining more polish as performers,” said Chaffee.

The certificates will be offered to anyone with a bachelor’s degree in music who successfully audition and have been admitted to graduate school. The three available certificates — instrumental, piano or vocal — each requires 13 credit hours of study.

Students will engage in a course of study that includes applied lessons, ensembles and related courses. At the end of the second semester, they must perform a graded public recital.

“We believe this certificate program will attract some wonderful young artists to our campus to study with our great faculty,” said Chaffee.

Among them is Jackson Leung, professor of music, coordinator of keyboard studies and director of the Wright State University Chamber Orchestra. He is the recipient of the 2010 Robert J. Kegerreis Distinguished Professor of Teaching Award and the 2011 Southwest Ohio Council for Higher Education Award for Excellence in Teaching. As a pianist, he has performed in France, Spain, Japan, Hong Kong and throughout the United States and Canada.

John Kurokawa, lecturer of clarinet, performs as principal clarinetist of the Dayton Philharmonic Orchestra and Cincinnati Chamber Orchestra and has been a featured soloist with both ensembles. He has also presented clinics and performed at institutions, including the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music, Penn State University and Virginia Commonwealth University.

The Wright State School of Music’s graduate program attracts students from Ohio and many other states as well as from China, Hong Kong and Macau.

“This new program will open the door for even more of these kinds of students, but of course will provide the same opportunity for local and in-state students,” said Chaffee.

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