The program would start with a two-year Diploma in Music Arts to be offered by NSCC-Marconi with several mandatory music theory and history/culture courses offered at CBU. Graduates of the diploma program would be eligible to carry on at CBU for an additional two years in order to earn a BA in Music specializing in traditional and popular music.
Required course work will include private lessons, ensembles, music theory, the music business (including courses addressing how to launch a music career, marketing, music publishing, and recording), and music history and culture (emphasizing world and traditional musics). A graduate of this program will be well-prepared for a wide range of career options, including performing, recording, administering in the entertainment business, and academic research.
The CBU-NSCC program will be unique in its emphasis on traditional/folk and popular music. These emphases are not normally offered in university music programs elsewhere in Canada. The program is intended to draw upon and augment the musical and cultural strengths of the Cape Breton community and that of Canada’s Maritime region.
“A post secondary music program based on the Island would significantly increase the level of professionalism in an industry that is widely recognized as one of Cape Breton’s strengths,” says Dr. Sparling. “Music already plays a large role in the local tourism and culture economies. Our proposed program would both help to develop a local resource and attract talented students from off island who know that Cape Breton produces world class composers, performers and music industry professionals.”
This program will require start up money for faculty and administrative salaries, instruments and facilities. To convince the university administration to invest in this program, Dr. Sparling needs to demonstrate that there is sufficient public interest and is asking for supporters of the idea to consider writing a letter declaring that a demand exists.
Joella Foulds, Artistic Director for the Celtic Colours International Festival feels the program would be a boon to the local music community. “I feel this program is something we really need in Cape Breton,” says Foulds. “Our students have always had to go away to study, and even then there was nothing along the lines of traditional music. This would also attract students here who want to study our music.”
A comprehensive outline of the proposed program, an official request for community support and a survey for anyone contemplating a music career or pursuing a diploma or degree in music are all available at the Centre for Cape Breton Studies’ website.