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Senior Music Students Reflect on Their Time at Post

By Emma Robinson, News Editor

The department of music recently ranked number nine on a list of Best Music Colleges in New York in 2021 for Best Value Schools

“Post offers a conservatory-style program that brings a diverse array of performance and academic opportunities,” the website said. “Undergraduate students can pursue a bachelor of music in music education, a bachelor of science in music, or a bachelor of fine arts in music technology, entrepreneurship, and production. The department provides a variety of public performance opportunities to showcase students’ skills and talents, including solo student recitals, workshops, masterclasses, and concerts both on campus and at major concert halls in New York City and abroad.”

Music students at the university are proud to be a part of the accomplishment.

“When I first heard that LIU’s music program was recognized as one of the best in New York, I was excited, but not surprised,” senior instrumental performance major Jaclyn Smith said. “Over the years, the department of music has fostered an environment where I could grow as a musician.”

Smith is the principal clarinetist of the orchestra, wind ensemble and wind symphony. She has also been a part of some chamber music ensembles during her time at Post.

Senior instrumental performance major Sarah Kadtke, who plays both the flute and piccolo and partakes in the wind ensemble, wind symphony, orchestra, percussion ensemble, and chamber music ensembles, agrees with Smith.

“For my past four years here, the Department’s faculty have consistently gone above and beyond to provide for its students, despite obstacles put in their way,” she said. “The care they obviously hold for us is matched only by their dedication to music and seeing us students on the path to success. I hope that this recognition serves to have that attitude rewarded.”

Despite challenges with practicing and performing music during the pandemic, music students at Post enjoyed their time in their ensembles.

“Having to transition to fully remote learning at the start of the pandemic effectively turned mine [and the rest of the department’s] way of musical life upside down,” Kadtke said. “A large amount of how we function had to stop entirely. On top of that, continuing miscommunication regarding the use and future of our facilities has placed a tremendous strain on the department’s students and faculty.” 

Smith believes that finding free time as a music student can be difficult, and advises students to learn time management skills early on.

“Our academic classes are in the morning, while our ensembles rehearse in the evening, and in between, we have to practice. This leaves many of us with very little time for breaks,” she said.

Although the schedule of music students can be hectic, Kadtke and Smith have made some of their best memories in the Department of Music.

“From my four years in LIU’s music program, my best memory would have to be from the summer of 2018,” Smith said. “For about two weeks, I toured Australia with the Long Island Symphonic Winds, where we performed at multiple venues, including the world-renowned Sydney Opera House.”

Smith also recalls one of her favorite performances during the fall 2019 wind symphony concert.

“One of the pieces we played was Frank Ticheli’s Blue Shades, where I stood up in the middle of the performance to play a one-minute-long solo from memory,” smith said. “Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, that concert was the last time I performed on stage at the Tilles Center.”

Kadtke doesn’t have a favorite performance, but remembers all of her performances at the university fondly.

“I truly cherish every opportunity I receive to perform,” she said. “It does feel especially fulfilling to be able to perform alongside my closest friends in the Department in my ensembles, especially in the form of duets and trios.”

Music students accredit a lot of the department of music’s success to the faculty members and professors.

“I’ve been fortunate enough to receive endless support from my main studio professor, Dr. Susan Deaver,” Kadtke said. “Her influence and teaching made an extremely positive impact in my musicianship – I can confidently say that I would not be the musician I am today without her encouragement over four years.” 

Smith is grateful for Department Chair Dr. James McRoy, who she has been an administrative assistant for this year.

“Not only did we spend lots of time learning conducting techniques, but more importantly, we taught each other plenty of life lessons, and kept each other sane during these busy semesters,” she said.

After graduating this semester, Smith plans on teaching private lessons to aspiring musicians, and Kadtke will be pursuing her Master’s Performance degree at the Aaron Copland School of Music. 

“To me, music is the ultimate form of collaboration between people; it’s so important to recognize that it’s nearly impossible to be a musician in an isolated vacuum,” Kadtke said. “You’ll need to work hard – harder than you can imagine – but it’s essential to recognize and invest in the relationships you have with other musicians. Those relationships, like music, can’t be so easily dismissed by disaster.”

Both Smith and Kadtke will be premiering their senior recitals virtually in the upcoming weeks, interested students can email them at and respectively to request details for streaming. 

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