What can you do with a music degree?
Gettysburg College inspires students to pursue their passions, without limits. Whether you want to study music and music alone, or combine your study with other academic pursuits, our Sunderman Conservatory of Music offers you this freedom.
At Sunderman, you have the opportunity to choose between three distinctive degree programs—Bachelor of Arts in Music, Bachelor of Music Performance, or Bachelor of Music Education, in addition to a music minor—to help you build a strong musical foundation through performance, music theory, music history, and world music.
Our music students benefit from the best of both worlds: a music conservatory rooted in the liberal arts. Our graduates go on to enter a variety of fields—from composing music for our favorite movies and TV shows to teaching the next generation of aspiring young musicians.
Take a look at how Gettysburg’s recent music graduates are using their music degrees.
Allison Geatches Cantor ’09
Film and television music composer
“My passion for composing began when I started playing piano at age 4, and I composed my first piece at 5. My parents aren’t particularly musical, it’s just something that I’ve always loved. At age 11, I realized that composing music could be a career.
“At Gettysburg College, I participated in concert choir, college choir, camerata, and other musical ensembles. The Sunderman faculty, such as Profs. Buzz Jones and Jocelyn Swigger, encouraged me to seek out my love for composing—and they taught me a lot of life lessons, including how to practice, how to learn, and of course, time management.
“One thing that made the Sunderman Conservatory so special was having constant access to learning and growing musicians. As a developing composer, I could always ask, ‘Hey, can you play this on the French horn? I want to hear how it sounds.’ Sunderman students are all super helpful and so excited about what they do. I had 30 to 40 people involved in my senior recital alone—it was just incredible.”
Kate Anderson ’09
Television and musical theatre songwriter
“My Gettysburg experience showed me what it is to have a life that is busy and fulfilling and happy. It sounds obvious, but I think it’s actually harder to find that kind of balance than you would think.
“When I graduated, I felt an enormous void where all that fulfillment used to be. It drove me to seek it out in my professional life. I found the BMI Lehman Engel Musical Theater writing workshop and started to feel the old familiar feelings of fulfillment and joy return. I became more and more passionate about songwriting, and more and more driven to make that my career.
“I feel so lucky to be able to do what I do. I’m very excited to keep working in this area, especially for Disney. Working in LA, writing songs, receiving feedback from the Disney-Pixar Braintrust—it’s just been amazing.
“I will never forget my voice teacher, Prof. Kathleen Sasnett, asking me what I wanted to do after college. She said, ‘If you’re not going to pursue this, then what are you doing?’ It made me really think about what direction I wanted to go in. I loved comedy and writing. I wrote parodies throughout my time at Gettysburg, and I eventually chose to do a creative writing minor. It all led perfectly towards a career as a songwriter and playwright.”
Alice Broadway ’14
Elementary School Music Teacher at Mechanicsburg Area School District
“I entered Gettysburg with an intent to participate in music, but not major in it. I quickly found myself taking advantage of the liberal arts setting and all the ensembles and programs available to all students. It did not take long for me to realize that my then-deemed ‘hobby’ of music was truly my passion; I was enjoying playing music more than anything else.
“Through teaching small groups in music rehearsals during marching band, I realized I wanted to not just play music—I wanted to teach it. The music education major at Gettysburg College was the best college decision I made to help me continue learning and sharing my passion of music and music education with many more kids. Gettysburg College prepared me for teaching a wide variety of music classes and provided me with an adaptable skill set and supportive educator network to be able to find success teaching children anywhere I ended up working.
“Being an elementary music teacher allows me to inspire and be inspired by young musicians on a daily basis. Their enthusiasm for learning and exploring music in their lives is contagious.”
David Dalton ’15
External relations manager at Washington Performing Arts
“I found my niche in music during high school, but attended Gettysburg College to expand my musical opportunities. At Gettysburg, I participated in wind symphony, jazz ensemble, marching band, symphony orchestra, and brass quintet. I also got the chance to go on tour to China, Singapore, Nicaragua, Turkey, Italy, and France with these ensembles.
“During my senior year, I worked on band staff for Prof. Russell McCutcheon, and I very much enjoyed the responsibilities of that job. I remember toward the end of that year, I made a joke about working on band staff forever, and that was the first time I actually thought to do a search to see if there were other ensembles that I could serve in this capacity. Six months later, I was on staff at the Eastman School of Music supporting five of their large ensembles. They had an opening for someone who was well-versed in a wide variety of musical repertoire (orchestra, band, jazz, choir), knew what these ensembles needed to succeed, and had a passion for the intricacies of the behind-the-scenes work. My experiences at Gettysburg set me up well for my current position."
Heather McConnell ’17
Teaching assistant in music at Temple University
“I was passionate about pursuing a music degree long before I arrived at Gettysburg College. At Gettysburg, I was part of the opera workshop every year and performed on the weekly informal recital. I was also a peer learning associate (PLA) for music history and an office assistant for the voice and opera department.
“Without a doubt, the amazing faculty at Gettysburg, particularly Profs. Jeffrey Fahnestock, Marta Robertson, Scott Crowne, and Susan Hochmiller, guided me every step of the way, and they are still amazing resources even after my graduation. My study abroad experience in Vienna was also one-of-a-kind, shaping me both as a singer and a person.
“This year, while pursuing my master’s in voice performance, I am working as the office assistant for the voice/opera department coordinator at Temple University. I also teach private voice lessons to music therapy, music education, and theatre majors.”
Founded in 1832, Gettysburg College is a highly selective four-year residential college of liberal arts and sciences with a strong academic tradition. Alumni include Rhodes Scholars, a Nobel laureate, and other distinguished scholars. The college enrolls 2,600 undergraduate students and is located on a 200-acre campus adjacent to the Gettysburg National Military Park in Pennsylvania.
Article by Karla Rivera ’19, communications and marketing intern
Contact: Mike Baker, associate director of communications and coordinator of development communications, 717.337.6521
Posted: Tue, 4 Dec 2018
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