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What makes this program unique?

MUM students are passionate about making the world a better place. They hail from musical cultures across five continents, and our campus exemplifies the Vedic saying, “The world is my family.”

So, rather than funneling them all into yet another conventional western music program, we gathered faculty with the expertise to design a more globally oriented, expanded curriculum that would allow each one of our students to systematically develop and express his or her own personal, artistic voice.

How is the program structured?

Creativity is the centerpiece of the program, and all courses (yes, even music theory) have a strong hands-on, creative component.

Courses are taught one at a time, while lessons and ensembles are offered throughout the semester, after class.

Advanced courses, such as Songwriting or Intro to Sound Design for Film, can be taken after prerequisites in fundamental music skills are fulfilled.

Enrollment is limited in order to ensure a high degree of student-faculty interaction.

What we are - and what we are not

Th Creative Musical Arts program is not a music conservatory and is not designed to prepare students for a specific career in music. If that is your goal, then it may be more appropriate for you to enroll at a conventional school of music.

Creative Musical Arts is new, and a major is not (yet) in place. Below are the current options for study:

•A music concentration track within the B.A. in Media & Communications
• A music concentration track within the B.A. in Art
• A minor in Creative Musical Arts
• Elective classes to deepen your inner experience and develop your musical creativity

What are the entrance qualifications?

This program is meant to make music accessible to everyone. Prior musical training – in any tradition – is definitely helpful but not required. Advanced musicians can test out of basic classes. We help you progress from your current level, whether advanced, intermediate, or beginner.

Is there any precedent for a systematic curriculum of developing musical creativity?

Yes. One of our key experts in curriculum design is professor Ed Sarath, a leader in musical creativity, consciousness studies, and educational reform. Prof. Sarath is founder of Jazz department and the Program for Creativity and Consciousness Studies at the University of Michigan, founder of the International Society for Improvised Music, author of Improvisation, Creativity, and Consciousness, and author of the textbook Music Theory Through Improvisation.

 Below is a brief introduction to his work, published in Spirituality in Higher Education ● April 2005 ● Volume 2, Issue 2

Where my work deviated from convention was in the formation of alternative and expanded approaches to improvisation … I call this a trans-stylistic approach, in that instead of imposing style constraints at the outset, it allows musicians to draw upon their own backgrounds so that style can manifest as a result of the process.

 … From early on, I would have [orchestra] members meditate during rehearsals and prior to concerts. Tapping into interior regions of silence enhanced spontaneity, invention, and a kind of inter-subjective communion between musicians, and musicians and audience, that is uniquely possible in improvised music.

…What also excites me about this work is the capacity for it to enhance conventional learning.  The coming educational revolution is not about rejecting  conventional learning modalities, but rather placing that within an expanded context that also includes first-person meditation and related practices that probe the interior dimensions of consciousness.

 …Arts and creativity studies cultivate inventiveness, adaptability, interactive skills, the ability to synthesize principles from diverse areas, personal and interpersonal connections, and a richly multi-ethnic aesthetic awareness.

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