Dear prospective student,
I could go on for pages about the various positive experiences I enjoyed during my course of study with NKU Music faculty and my colleagues in the Percussion Department. It is unfortunate that our program is sometimes considered to hold a lower status when compared to other conservatories or music schools in the region; Based on my own experience, I can confidently say this – I have attended other universities, and if given the chance to ‘do it all over again’, I would choose NKU every time.
The following are just a handful of the benefits an incoming percussion student can expect from the undergraduate program at NKU:
I simply cannot overstate the positivity that I feel toward my experience as an undergraduate student in the NKU Music Department. I am quite sure that the well-rounded and holistic music education that one will receive from this program would be hard to find at any other university.
With much respect,
Adam Nurre - Assistant Percussion Director, Rouse HS/Wiley MS, Leander TX
To Whom it May Concern,
As a recent graduate of the NKU Percussion Department and current graduate student in music, I cannot stress enough how vital my experiences within that studio were to prepare me for the rest of my career. Scott Lang and the other percussion faculty members represent the best of the best in their own areas of expertise, which allowed me to learn to become a more versatile player and educator while studying with them. Aside from the diverse lessons offered by Professors Lang, Jensen, Ginn, and Dorff, there were always countless opportunities to see them play around Cincinnati (and beyond). Northern Kentucky's proximity to a large number of music venues allowed me as a student to see my teachers performing in a wide variety of professional situations, including with the Cincinnati Symphony, touring Broadway musicals, and at jazz clubs around the area. The wealth of knowledge that the combined percussion faculty possesses is truly unique to NKU, and was a large reason why I chose to attend. Through this network, I have already had many opportunities to “sit in” with a variety of local musical acts, as well as attend the Broadway production of “Wicked,” sitting next to Professor Lang as he performed in the pit. Experiences such as these are truly unique to NKU’s program.
For me, one of the most valuable aspects of the percussion studio at NKU, and one that other schools can lack, is the feeling of community that Professor Lang and the rest of the faculty readily cultivate between the percussion students. During my first few semesters in the studio, I was not only mentored by the faculty, but also by the older students around me. The environment was always one of positive criticism, and that feeling of friendly competition pushed us to our full potential. By my third year, with Professor Lang’s guidance, several fellow percussionists and I founded our own steel drum combo and found ourselves competing with other professional musicians around the area for gigs. We were able to do this while maintaining full-time student statuses and holding teaching jobs at various local high schools. Since graduating, myself and several other fellow NKU percussionists have formed our own group geared toward wedding and corporate events. As a young musician handling various business issues, I would no doubt be lost without the wealth of knowledge that the percussion professors bestowed on me during my time at NKU. Professor Lang spent countless hours of his free time giving me advice on booking, forwarding gig leads to our groups, and helping with every issue in between. This example of the faculty's dedication to each student's professional development is what, for me, defines the spirit of NKU and drives the quality within the Music Department and percussion studio.
As a music major, it was easy to become somewhat isolated from the rest of campus life at times. With encouragement from Professor Lang, I became very involved in campus life, volunteering as a Presidential Ambassador with responsibilities as a tour guide and recruitment officer, and even got to attend several holiday parties at the President's house. Without the helpful "nudges" that Professor Lang provided, I would never have seen how much the rest of NKU had to offer. Because the school does not have a football team or marching band, I had enough time to engage in these volunteer activities while picking up work and experience as a professional performer and educator in the area. Many of NKU’s faculty members know what it takes to be successful in the music community, both as a performer and an educator. Throughout all of my time at NKU, they never stopped pushing me to better myself in every capacity, not just as a student percussionist, but also as a professional. It is for reasons like these and many others that I attribute much of my success during and after my time at NKU to what I learned in the percussion studio. Because I chose to immerse myself fully in NKU's music program and campus life, I feel more than prepared for the next steps in my career, including graduate school, various professional gigs, and a number of teaching opportunities.
Scotty McEvoy - Current Master of Music student at Miami University, Oxford OH
Northern Kentucky University, Class of 2011
Bachelor of Music Education, Summa Cum Laude
To Whom It May Concern,
Our son, Scott, transferred in the fall of 2006 from University of Cincinnati’s College Conservatory of Music, where he had a 3.867 GPA and his parents enjoyed the benefits of tuition remission, to NKU in order to study percussion with Scott Lang. Any reservations we initially had about this move – college transfers are usually tricky and this one involved an added financial burden, including out-of-state tuition, for us – soon vanished, as we witnessed a quantum leap in our son’s musical skills and repertoire under the tutelage of the outstanding percussion faculty and came to appreciate, in numerous concerts and recitals, the full-range of musical endeavors and activities on offer at NKU’s Department of Music.
Members of the percussion faculty at NKU are not only outstanding, world-class performers; they are also exemplary teachers, teaching by example as well as instruction. They have created a warm, caring achievement-oriented environment, generating close bonds among students, with older students actively mentoring younger ones. Our son formed life-long friendships at NKU, participating in a broad range of musical ensembles and campus activities. This wider involvement is expected and encouraged by the Music Department, which also provides grants and scholarships for some students.
Percussion students at NKU are also very active in the musical life of the wider community. Thanks to the outstanding technical skills, expertise and stellar reputations of the Percussion faculty, our son and his colleagues thrived not only as students at NKU, but also as young musicians very much in demand on the local music scene, working with high-school marching bands, performing in local orchestras and jazz bands, and performing with their own steel drum band. There is plenty of opportunity in this rich musical area of America for students to earn-while-they-learn and NKU students are ideally placed to do so.
The quality of the percussion program is clearly on display in the performances of NKU’s Percussion Ensemble. These performances never fail to entertain, edify and amaze audiences with an eclectic blend of traditional and experimental percussion pieces drawn from diverse musical styles and traditions, including American, Latin, European and other World genres. These performances are a testimony not only to the individual talents of the students, but also to the culture of cooperation, collegiality, self-confidence and harmony established in the program.
Our son graduate in the Fall of 2011. He was rewarded not only with a fine degree from an up-and-coming new department and university, but with a teaching assistantship at Miami University’s School of Music, where he is now studying for an MA in percussion performance. He is still and always will be deeply connected with NKU, whose faculty not only provided him with an essential stepping stone to where he is now, but were instrumental in transforming a young drummer into an accomplished and confident professional percussionist.
We can’t sing the praises of NKU’s Percussion Program too highly, nor recommend it too strongly. Like the university itself, it is relatively young as academic programs go, but it has already established itself as a leader in the local community and, like its mother institution, has its sights set on an even brighter future. We look forward not only to the development of our son’s musical career but to that of the place and people that made it possible: NKU’s musical family.
Dr. John McEvoy