Ithaca College Will Make You Ready
With a vibrant community, professors who inspire, and the hands-on experience you need to dive into your field with confidence.
Jeff Ball decided he wanted to be a band director while in high school. That made Ithaca College’s renowned music education program the easy choice.
“School districts know that Ithaca College is the best music education coming out of the Northeast,” he says. “A degree from IC puts you at the top of every pile of interviews.” After graduation, Jeff had his pick of jobs in multiple school districts but was dedicated to working in an urban setting. After starting as a general music teacher in the Bronx, he transferred to Grand Street Campus High School in Brooklyn to take over the band director position. The out-going director was an IC music grad who brought Jeff in because of their shared background.
“She told me, ‘I saw Ithaca on the diploma and I wanted to interview you,’” Jeff says. He landed the job and has been building the program ever since—from 45 kids to 180 currently. This growth is all the more significant considering the vast majority of students in the school are below the poverty line.
“These are kids who really can’t afford their own instruments and can’t afford private lessons. But the quality of performance is extremely high, even though the kids have only been playing for three years,” Jeff says.
This year, Jeff is coordinating the entire performing arts department at the school. As if all that wasn’t enough to fill his calendar, he also conducts the Brooklyn Wind Symphony, a premier wind ensemble composed of 75 semiprofessional adult musicians—many of them IC grads.
“Other people go to their jobs and in their spare time do the things that make them happy,” he says. “Conducting and teaching are the things that make me happy. I’m very fortunate that I get to do what I do.”
>> More on this story: Music Education Teaching Programs
Jared Dionne knows how to recognize a great rising band. Discovering new music is a passion for Jared—one that he wants to share with the world. His intense connection to the music scene led him to pursue a journalism major in Ithaca’s Roy H. Park School of Communications.
“I started writing for the Ithacan and learned very quickly what it means to be a journalist,” Jared says. “I wanted to do reviews. I wanted to introduce people to new music.”
Jared was surprised at the opportunities he got at IC right away. He was sent to report on concerts at Ithaca’s popular music venues. “Ra Ra Riot performed and I got to interview them. The Ithacan got me the interview, and it was only my second week in college. That’s when I realized I was going to be fine at Ithaca. I interviewed multiple bands including Ok Go, An Horse, and Phoenix.”
Meeting bands he loved and making connections made Jared realize he wanted a more active role in the music industry. “I needed more hands-on. I decided to pick up the marketing major—I wanted to get into booking these shows.”
Jared joined the Ithaca College Bureau of Concerts and worked his way up to the top, sharing his vision of bringing new music to the Ithaca College scene. “I don’t want anyone who’s in school at IC now to see a band they’ve already seen. I want people to see bands before they get big.”
Jared’s broad background caught the attention of LA concert promotion company Goldenvoice. “The company saw that I had the technical end with marketing and promoting, and then I had the artistic end with writing—being able to articulate something and communicate it to other people.”
At Goldenvoice, Jared helped promote and coordinate concerts in the LA area and worked on developing the company’s social media strategy. Following his internship, Jared was asked by Goldenvoice to help the company run its social media remotely. Goldenvoice even asked him to work the company’s biggest event in 2013—Coachella.
“I feel ready to go out and explore the music world. There’s a lot we still don’t know about, so hopefully I’ll see what’s going on and change it a bit.”
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