The student news site of Eastern Illinois University in Charleston, Illinois.

The Daily Eastern News

The student news site of Eastern Illinois University in Charleston, Illinois.

The Daily Eastern News

The student news site of Eastern Illinois University in Charleston, Illinois.

The Daily Eastern News

Rigorous course load prepares EIU music student for graduation

Rob Le Cates
Jemma Allen, a junior vocal performance and music education major, instructs Madison More, 8, a student at Carl Sandburg Elementary School, on which notes to play on the piano in a practice room in the basement of the Doudna Fine Arts Center Thursday.

In music, you have to love it to do it.  

That is what Jemma Allen, a third-year vocal performance and vocal music education major at Eastern said when asked what it takes to be successful within the program.  

Allen attended Central Piedmont Community College in Charlotte, North Carolina, before deciding to come to Eastern where they auditioned for the music bachelor program.  

Collegiate music programs are known for being overwhelming and extremely time-consuming, Allen said.

Allen said they are required to do four credits worth of work for their one-hour-a-week voice lessons, being expected to practice for three to four additional hours during the week.

“Physically, it can just get exhausting because on top of that, you have all your other classes, and you have all your other homework,” they said.

However, coursework is crucial to preparing students for a career after graduation, Allen said. 

The education classes are fairly demanding, they said, requiring much time, effort and thought to get assignments done well. 

“It’s not necessarily the assignments themselves are difficult or something that’s out of their realm of possibility that we can do, there’s just quite a few of them because they’re trying to prepare you to become a teacher so you don’t get thrown into the deep end,” Allen said 

Allen said they credit their professors for being understanding and flexible with students. 

“There’s always somebody that’s around to give you help, give you an extension and explain the concept better to you,” Allen said.

According to Allen, the department has been supportive along with their classmates.  

“We’re all very supportive, and we know that a win for one of us is a win for all of us,” Allen said. “Just because someone wanted something that doesn’t necessarily mean that that opportunity is gone for you because realistically there are so many jobs, and there’s so many gigs that we don’t need to fight each other.” 

Outside of class, Allen won one of two spots in the Eastern Symphony Orchestra concerto competition and is the secretary of the Illinois Music Educators Association where they have speakers talk about different topics in music education five to six times a semester.  

Allen is most looking forward to student teaching.

“Being in the classroom with actual students and having the opportunity to be next to a cooperating teacher who has more experience than me is definitely going to be one where I can learn way more than I can in a classroom setting,” Allen said. 

But the artistic expression that comes with music is something that lives within the small moments of a performance, and Allen said that is the best part.  

“Music is a transcendent art,” Allen said. “While we can record it, we can never actually like recreate it and re-experience it the way that it was in that moment. I think it’s really cool to bring joy and happiness or bring emotions of sadness whatever you’re conveying on the stage to the people in the audience.” 


Drew Coffey can be reached at 581-2812 or at [email protected].

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About the Contributors
Drew Coffey
Drew Coffey, Reporter, Columnist
Drew is a senior television and video production major. He previously served as a reporter for The News.
Rob Le Cates
Rob Le Cates, Editor-in-Chief
Rob Le Cates is a junior journalism major. He previously served as summer editor-in-chief, photo editor and assistant photo editor at The News.

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