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Music double-majors: an inside look

Are you torn between music and another subject? Try double majoring!


Photo credit: Andy Calvert

  •   Author: Michal Rubingh
  •   Published: August 19, 2019
  •   Categories: People, Alumni
  •   Tags: music
  •   Author: Michal Rubingh
  •   Published: August 19, 2019
  •   Categories: People, Alumni
  •   Tags: music

Music is a discipline that can pair well with anything else you’re interested in. These four double-majors all have wildly different skill sets—but they all share a love of music.

Kalina Reese

Majors: music and biochemistry
Specialty: vocal performance
Highlights of studying music: touring Ireland with the Women’s Chorale and talking about the connection between music and faith in her music capstone class Why music is relevant to her other major: “I have always been a proponent of music and the sciences, because they both require incredible precision and attention to detail. Music theory is all about analyzing patterns in the music and understanding the intent of a composer. This investigation perfectly mirrors the sciences—an analysis of the inner-workings of creation which reflects our creator.”

Josh Parks

Majors: music and English literature
Specialty: violin performance
Highlights of studying music: the shared sense of accomplishment from performing chamber music and the yearly performance of Handel’s Messiah with the Oratorio Society Why music is relevant to his other major: “People are multifaceted. Literary texts, like people, ask a lot of questions, and they very rarely answer them straightforwardly. So those of us who study them have to learn to be comfortable with that, to be okay with half-answers, underwhelming answers, and sometimes no answers. I think spending so much of my life in music, which by definition exists outside the realm of words, has helped me develop that skill. When I play a solo violin piece by Bach, I can feel what I’m expressing. I can’t define it in words, but that doesn’t mean it’s not there. Learning to embrace that has helped me listen for subtlety, for tone, for music in the literary texts I study.”

Thomas Woltjer

Majors: music and computer science
Specialties: oboe, music composition
Highlight of studying music: hearing a live ensemble play music he has written Why music is relevant to his other major: “Many people are shocked to hear that the main overlap in my disciplines is the frame of mind. In both music composition and software writing, a heavily detail-oriented approach, a problem-solving mindset, and an affinity for recognizing and implementing patterns are important.”

Andrew Plaisier

Majors: music and biology
Specialty: cello performance
Highlight of studying music: spending summers in Texas, Quebec, and Colorado Why music is relevant to his other major: “Some of my cello teachers have compared practicing cello to a scientist performing experiments in a lab. Having experience in a variety of lab settings, this resonated a lot with me and has benefitted my playing quite a bit. Effective practice is not about simply repeating things the same way and hoping they get better. Instead, it should include trying new things and observing what works and what doesn’t.”

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  •   Author: Michal Rubingh
  •   Published: August 19, 2019
  •   Categories: People, Alumni
  •   Tags: music

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