Oct. 10-23, 2003
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‘In the Presence’ offers new look at Civil War
Music graduate students reach out to peers
16th annual Virginia Film Festival will show you the Money
Board opens housing discussion
New health plan offers options
Faculty Actions from the October BOV meeting
U.Va. endowment performance second in nation
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International scholars to discuss religion, justice and violence
Civil Rights leader Dorothy Height to Speak Oct. 10
From reading to painting, volunteers reach out during Day of Caring

Music graduate students reach out to peers

By Jane Ford

Graduate students often feel isolated from colleagues in their departments and their schools. Contact with peers at other institutions is usually confined to chance meetings at national conferences.

At such a chance meeting last year, at the American Musicology Society’s national meeting in Columbus, Ohio, music graduate students from Duke, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and U.Va. explored ways to come together to exchange ideas.

The result was the creation of the South Central Music Consortium. On Sept. 12 and 13, more than 35 students from the three schools’ music departments gathered for the group’s first meeting, hosted by the U.Va. members. The weekend included opportunities to read papers and freely exchange ideas, as well as an informal social get-together, roundtable discussions and a guest speaker.

Founding members Mary Simonson and David Cosper of U.Va. and Joyce Kurpiers of Duke agreed that the benefits of sharing ideas and fellowship among the schools is empowering to the students.

“This is a student-oriented event, an opportunity to present work in a student environment, without faculty involvement,” Kurpiers said.

Simonson added that the goal was to provide a way to ease into the professional academic life of presenting papers and to expose others to the strengths of each school’s department.

Elizabeth Hudson, chairwoman of the McIntire Department of Music, praised the collaboration. “It is important now, for the intellectual life of the graduate students and for the future, in terms of their professional life,” she said.

Cosper added, “It’s a small field. These people will be our [academic] colleagues in the future.”

A main focus of the collaboration is to provide a forum for experimentation, lecture demonstrations, presenting papers and trying out presentation styles.

Matt Meacham, who earned a master’s in musicology at UNC in the spring and is now working toward a master’s in folklore, tendered an expansion of his master’s thesis he is preparing for an article.

Meacham appreciated the feedback he received. “It was a very supportive atmosphere. It’s a diverse group in terms of interest and expertise. People brought up interesting ideas, weaknesses or things that could be expanded. Everyone provided valuable insights,” he said.

Cosper said the diversity of perspectives is a plus. “The departments have different academic approaches, and the kinds of music they study are different. This is a great opportunity for a cross-pollination of ideas.”

Third-year Duke doctoral student Lily Hirsch will be attending her first national conference in October. She will read a paper at the Society of Ethnomusicology Conference in Miami.

Although she said she is scared about undertaking the upcoming presentation, she praised the opportunity for a trial run in a supportive, low-key atmosphere.
“It’s just friends getting together to talk about what they love,” she said.


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