Music Shadow Day: High school students get a glimpse of life as a college music major at Rowan

Students fill the seat of the Pfleeger Concert hall to watch the Rowan's marching band put on by students. — Staff Writer / Sarah Shockey

On Monday, Nov. 6, high school students from across the region gathered in Wilson Hall for the first-ever Music Shadow Day. Hosted by the College of Performing Arts, students interested in pursuing a music career got the opportunity to attend a class in Wilson, participate in a rehearsal or lesson, and meet Rowan music students and staff. Along with getting the opportunity to shadow either the orchestra, wind ensemble, or choir, participating students were able to get a taste of what being a college performing arts major is all about. 

“The idea is that they see what it’s like to be a music major and what it’s like to be a Rowan student all wrapped up in one,” said Richard Dammers, dean of the College of Performing Arts. 

The idea for this event was brought to fruition by Director of Bands Joseph Higgins. While Rowan has held similar events in the past, Higgins says what sets this shadow day apart is how broad-based it is, unlike the more hyper-specific approaches of prior events.

“In the past, we[the Music Department] have hosted many high school students who want to learn more about our music degrees,” said Higgins. “While previous events usually focused on a single area of interest, this department-wide shadow day for future music majors is a chance for students to learn about all opportunities available at Rowan.”

The shadow day kicked off at 9 a.m. in Pfleeger Concert Hall with a brief introduction before the students proceeded to a rotation of observing classes including music theory, history, and industry as well as getting a tour of Wilson. Followed by some music program overviews, the students were then treated to a performance from the Rowan marching band before getting a chance to meet the music department staff one-on-one. After eating lunch with current Rowan music students at the Glassworks Eatery in Holly Pointe Commons, the day ended with the high schoolers participating in either a rehearsal or class before concluding the event in Boyd Recital Hall at 2:15 p.m.

This event opened the door for high school students interested in attending Rowan for one of its various music programs to see what a typical day at the university was like, something Higgins says is very important. 

“I hope that the prospective students, who attend our shadow day get a glimpse of this community and leave with a sense of what it would feel like to be a music major at Rowan for four years,” said Higgins. 

For Burlington County Institute of Technology (BCIT) Medford junior vocalist Molly Park, the best part of the day was getting to hear Rowan’s choir perform and seeing how they projected their vocals, as she was able to relate the choir members’ techniques to her own.

“I’m a big singer, so it was very interesting to hear all their sounds and get to incorporate the training I’ve been doing personally,” said Park. “It was nice to get to hear them.”

Lily Procaccini, a freshman violist from BCIT Medford, even says her experiences exploring the music department have made her decide she wants to apply to Rowan when she is eligible.

“I still have a while to decide where I want to go to college, but after today I would consider Rowan,” said Procaccini.

As a whole, the Music Shadow Day proved to be a success with over 200 students registering and attending. Being that this event is a first for the music department, Dammers says that it is encouraging to see so many students eager to check out Rowan’s performing arts programs. 

“The response was bigger than we thought it was going to be and I think shows that there are a lot of students out there thinking about being music majors,” said Dammers. 

With such a large turnout and a growing interest in the event, Higgins says that he can’t wait to see music shadow days become an annual occurrence, showing off the music department and welcoming new students into the Rowan music family. 

“Rowan offers an awesome experience to its music students, with dynamic ensembles, world-class faculty, opportunities for internships, modern perspectives on a career in the arts, and so much more,” said Higgins. “I hope this event puts our department on the radar of even more high school students who are considering a music career.”

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