UW-Parkside Music Program Works to Cater to Broader Interests

Sept. 21, 2023 noon 

(WGTD)---Becoming a music major in college these days doesn’t necessarily mean you need to prepare to confine your studies to traditional western European classical music.

Speaking on a recent edition of Education Matters, UW-Parkside Music Department Chair Donna Hewitt spoke of a relatively new contemporary commercial music track at Parkside, and a brand new instrumental concentration.

Hewitt told program co-host Jonathan Shailor that the former is borne from a realization she had a number of years ago while teaching music in the public schools. "I just kind of did what I was taught to do in higher education. So I tried to instill a love of classical music in my students. And we sang a lot of folk songs and things like that but we really didn't do popular music because I always thought it was something they got at home," Hewitt said. 

"So one day I noticed my students in the cafeteria singing a Black Eyed Peas song at the top of their lungs. They knew all of the words--they were so enthusiastic--singing there hearts out. And I thought 'I'm missing something!'"

Pursuing her doctorate degree, the experience translated into deciding to focus in part on popular music education and "how that has just positively impacted students' lives and validated their interests and even helped in retention of music programs," she said. 

Joining Hewitt on Education Matters was a Parkside music department colleague, Ami Bourterse.