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Theory Class Cancellations at Post

By Kristen Linsalata
Staff Writer

Skjermbilde 2014-01-29 kl. 22.26.38

The cancellation of the Music Theory courses, commonly referred to as the MUS 90 series, has caused outrage among students in the Music department, who are required to take the classes.

When freshman Kelli Shahinian entered LIU Post’s Music Education program, she was extremely cognizant of the fact that the major she chose could change the trajectory of her scholarly career. However, as Shahinian learned more about her major, she began to fear that her graduation date might be postponed. Shahinian also found that two of the four Music Theory classes were being cancelled every semester despite the fact that 14 other students require this class as well.

The problem lies in that music theory classes, such as MUS 90 and 92, are offered solely in the fall semesters, and others such MUS 91 and MUS 93 are only being held in the spring semesters. These cancellations could prevent a student from practicing theory with an instructor for more than a semester. Shahinian is not alone when she states that theory courses, such as the MUS 90 series, should not be cancelled due to their paramount importance to the major.

“As a Musician, not being able to practice theory for more than a semester, not sitting in every other day and really going over theory with an instructor, because they cut it, just doesn’t make sense,” Shahinian said.

“LIU Post broke their ‘LIU promise’ when they promised us that we could take a theory course, but they did not keep to that promise,” said Vanessa Gonzalez, a freshman Music Education major.

Shahinian and Gonzalez fear that they won’t be able to truly maintain an understanding of music theory with these cancellations. Shahinian also stated that the uncertainty of future class cancellations are causing many of her peers to rethink their majors, and even their choice to attend LIU Post.

Her love for LIU Post, has Shahinian feeling as though she must fight to improve this situation, though. Shahinian is not alone in her convictions, and many of her peers fully support her fight.

Gonzalez is also feeling the weight of these cancellations. She is considering transferring to another school, such as Dowling, Molloy, Adelphi, or SUNY Stony Brook.

However, some students, including Andrew Krahm, a freshman Music Education major, are taking on a different perspective about transferring. “I believe that if we go about this the right way, we can get this rectified and it won’t affect us,” Krahm said. He also stated that he has put so much work in at LIU Post, he is completely disinterested in starting new at a different university.

Shahinian and Gonzalez have both taken it upon themselves to meet with Noel Zahler, the dean of the School of the Visual and Performing Arts, to try to cultivate a solution about these cancellations.

Zahler believes that this concern is a misunderstanding. He is adamant that the graduation date of these freshmen will be in no way compromised or postponed. The dean stated that the reason why these students might be behind in their coursework is because they simply did not qualify to enter the MUS 90 series and were placed into MUS 2, which is Elementary to Musicianship.

Zahler chose not to comment on the individual choices of students with regard to transferring. However, he did mention that considering his extensive resume at institutions such as Carnegie Melon and Connecticut College, he is absolute in his assertion that holding certain theory courses every other semester is a common practice. He expressed his desire to assist in the implementation of more courses, but with the enrollment shortage in the Northeast, it has proven to be difficult.

“I am very happy that students such as Kelli, Vanessa and Andrew are demonstrating an interest in their education, but I will continue to uphold that the music department is one of the most sympathetic to student needs,” Zahler said.

Jennifer Miceli, chairperson of the Music Department, has yet to respond to The Pioneer regarding the cancellations of the Music Theory classes.

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