From the Chair: Music@Webster

From the Chair of the Department of Music, Webster University in Saint Louis


This New York Times article over the weekend caught my eye, and is worth sharing —



I’m on sabbatical right now, and so I’m out and about in Saint Louis at different times of day than usual.

Everywhere I turn, I see alumni of the Webster University Department of Music.

Monday night was at Costco.  “Hi, Dr. Carter.”  “Well, hi, Tom.”  And then we chatted a bit about when this smiling schoolteacher was going to retire.  (He will before I will.)

His name came up again at Variety chorus rehearsal, where two of the special-needs students in the chorus asked if I know him, and then gushed about how much they love him.

The next day was the grocery store.

The next day, the gas station.

And this morning, at Southwest Diner, two jazz alums were a few tables away.  I had a mouth full of fed when they arrived, and didn’t call out to them, but greeted them as I was leaving.

All of these are unexpected run-ins . . . happy greetings . . . proof of how small a community this town actually is.

As Dr. Kathy Bowers told me the day I moved here and ran into her at a restaurant, “St. Louis is either the smallest big city in the country, or the biggest small town in the country.”

True words, these!

Scholarship recital

When I began at Webster University ten years ago, we had a handful of endowed scholarships, and our annual scholarship recital featured students who had won funding from the Buder Foundation.

Over the years, we’ve expanded the scholarship recital personnel . . . in part because we have more than doubled the number of endowed scholarships in the Department of Music.  In fact, nine new funds have been endowed in the last ten years. That list now includes scholarships dedicated to instrumental music performance, or dedicated to funding an African-American student from Metro East, or supporting a student who is a vocal performance majors.

The full list of scholarships and current recipients is posted on the department website.

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Endowed scholarship recipients, 2018-19.

Recipients of endowed scholarships will present a scholarship recital on Thursday, November 8, at 8 p.m., in the Thompson Music Building recital hall.  This free concert should be a doozy!


Music Education

Christine Brewer Residency Final Concert

Christy Timberlake, Music Education alumna.

Over the last few years, the Webster University Department of Music has developed a reputation and reality of a cutting-edge music education program.

Music education majors sharpen their own musicianship through core coursework in music theory, music history, musicianship, and private lessons. Students also study core principles of educational theory and practice through coursework in Webster’s School of Education.

The music education curriculum prepares students to be intellectually curious, socially conscious, musically versatile educators in a variety of classroom settings. It begins with Introduction to Music Education, in which first-year students examine their own experiences as music students, think deeply about important theoretical and sociological considerations in music teaching, and develop their own philosophies of music education. Subsequently, students take methods courses that help them to build a well-stocked and diverse “toolkit” of teaching techniques and strategies.

Throughout their experience, students spend time in a variety of classrooms in the Greater St. Louis Metropolitan Area, observing and assisting teachers and making connections between concepts covered in coursework and the practical considerations of “real world” music teaching. These field experiences culminate in apprentice teaching, in which students teach alongside master practitioners and gain experiences that prepare them for success in their own classrooms.

We are especially delighted with the placement record of graduates in the last 18 months, including:

  • elementary general music at Carrollton Grade School in Carrollton, Illinois
  • choral music at Bolivar Middle School in Bolivar, Illinois
  • orchestra in Rockwood Schools
  • choral music atGrand Center Arts Academy
  • choral music at Mascoutah High School in Mascoutah, Illinois
  • instrumental music at Cape Girardeau Junior High in Cape Girardeau, Missouri
  • elementary general music in Normandy Schools
  • choral music at Hazelwood West High School.

Around the piano

Our annual around-the-piano photo in Thompson House, with (mostly) new students!–



Student leaders organized a departmental picnic for this evening.  Sixty+ students and faculty and staff enjoyed a perfect early-autumn evening on the grounds of Thompson House!

Season-opening recital

Instrumental faculty banded together today to present a brass quintet, a wind sextet, and a string quintet.

Plus a piece with a djimbe.

And a good time was had by all!

Our 2018-19 season will feature more than 170 concerts, recitals, and talks before we finish in May.

Convocation 2018

We officially opened the new school year today with our departmental convocation.  New scholarship recipients were announced.  Music was played.  Speeches were made. Laughter filled the room, and warmth too.

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Endowed scholarship recipients, 2018-19.

Some students and staff posed before the event:

New Students

First day

The new semester has begun.