Going Global

Posted February 2, 2021 | by Conservatory | Academics
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Gwen Chevillard ’21
Frank Smrcka ’20
“Our Conservatory students learn about musical traditions from all over the globe, but the study of these traditions in a classroom or from a book can never replicate the richness of the lived experience of music made available only through travel.” Dr. Danielle Kuntz

Every year, students at Baldwin Wallace University have the chance to participate in study abroad programs. Students can enroll to study abroad over summer break, for a single semester or for the full school year. In the fall 2019 semester, 5.4% of BW Conservatory of Music students took their studies abroad, including Tim Michel ’21, Gwen Chevillard ’21, Ryan Detwiler ’21, Julia Morreale ’21, Gracie Dahl ’21 and Frank Smrcka ’20.  

These students chose to study abroad because of the opportunity to see the world. Ryan Detwiler ’21, a violin performance major said, “The opportunity to see the world is what inspired me to study abroad. I had never been out of the country before my time in Dublin, and to be able to experience new cultures while also being at school was something I could not pass up!”

Ryan Detwiler ’21

Gracie Dahl ’21, a music education major, studied abroad in Siena, Italy and believes that studying abroad prepared her for her future career, “As a future educator, I will have students from many different backgrounds. I need to have the skills to sympathize with them and understand where they are coming from, so that I can know how to give them an educational experience that is best for all of my future students. My semester abroad helped me learn many of these skills firsthand. Along with my ability to travel and expose myself to different cultures, I was able to work with refugees in Italy throughout the semester, helping them to learn Italian. This experience was just as fun as it was educational for everyone involved. The similarities between all of us far surpassed any differences, an important lesson that people often forget. This is something I will never forget when I am working with students in my future classroom."

Gracie Dahl Image

Conservatory students also had the opportunity to grow as musicians while studying abroad. Tim Michel ’21 started two bands while studying abroad at York St. John University in the UK. He said that the musical experiences he was a part of while studying abroad were very unique.

Dr. Danielle Kuntz, Assistant Professor of Music History & Literature/RBI Scholar-in-Residence and Faculty Representative to the Explorations Advisory Council, encourages students to take advantage of the opportunities BW provides to study board, “A student can analyze every note of a musical score, memorize every detail of their textbooks, seek out every recording of a given type of music, and yet nothing will match the musical learning accomplished by being surrounded by the sounds of another culture.”

Dr. Kuntz notes that each time she travels, she learns more about not only what music means to the people of another culture, but also more about what music means to her, “A particularly fond memory that I have is learning about Mexican Cumbia dance from a taxi driver in Cancun, who described to me the dance’s technical movements, but more importantly, spoke so lovingly about how he enjoyed dancing with his wife and how it had sustained their marriage across the years. I think that this represents so much of what I value about travel – it always reminds me that music is so much bigger and more important in my life (and all of our lives) than the details of our professional careers.”

Students who are interested in studying abroad can find out more during study abroad information sessions or by emailing the Study Abroad Center at explore@bw.edu or visit the study abroad center.

Written by Maya Cundiff ‘21
Arts Management & Entrepreneurship major

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