Music department preps for weekend jazz Dialogue Festival


EWU Jazz band poses for a group photo. The band will be performing at the Dialogue Festival | Courtesy of EWU Music

By Sam Jackson, Reporter

The music department offers classes that pave the way toward a career path in music for many EWU students.

For non-music majors there are still opportunities provided to be a part of their ensembles and take lessons. The goal of the department is to ensure that students find success through their musical endeavors.

“Whether it’s jazz, classical or popular music there’s a logic there that we are gravitated to,” said Jonathan Middleton, Chair of the Music Department. “There’s a depth of emotion many times. There’s a sense of fulfillment students get when they connect with music and when they succeed with it. Success can be a great performance or, for music education teachers, it could be found in a great class they taught.”

Being a part of the music department involves more than just practicing an instrument, composing music or attending an event.

“We have a lot to offer EWU students not just in entertainment like hearing a jazz band, orchestra or string quartet, but in terms of our classes that ask so much from students in terms of their thinking processes,” said Middleton. “Those skills help in any job. If you can collaborate, analyze and manage your time the way musicians are expected to, that benefits any job.”

The mission of the department holds the quality of teaching at its core.

“As an example in my own field of music composition, I have 18 alumni that I know of who have gone on to seek graduate degrees and some of them have doctorates at very reputable schools,” said Middleton. “So, in many ways excellence in teaching is sort of the spark.”

There’s much more students can do with a degree now than there was in the past.

“Society seems to be changing now, it’s more hi-tech and global,” said Middleton. “There are these new opportunities popping up that are fascinating. It used to be that composers could have a career in writing for symphonies or making film music and writer commercials like jingles. Now we got the web, podcasts and all kinds of opportunities now that were available before. There are many careers that relate to music.”

Attending concerts and engaging in collaborative or interdisciplinary projects are ways that students and faculty outside of the department can get involved.

“I’ve had my students work with film students in making films for us, also I’ve worked the math teachers to publish articles about math and music,” said Middleton. “So there are all kinds of collaborative things that can take place. Those connections happen and they kind of go below the radar because they aren’t apart of the formal curricula. Attend concerts and talk to the musicians. Tell them how the concert was and how you felt about it.”

Nov. 16-17 will be the EWU Jazz Dialogue Festival at the Music Building Recital Hall. The EWU Jazz students will perform on Thursday Nov. 16 at 7:30 p.m and it is free to attend. On Friday Nov. 17 at 7:30 p.m. the festival is partnering a feature concert at the FOX Theatre in Spokane welcoming special guests, The Pedrito Martinez Group and New York Voices. Student tickets for this event are $29.