NEIU Music department gets fine tuning


Rut Ortiz

Dr. Travis Heath conducts a band rehearsal with committed students.

Daniela Arteaga, Staff Writer

The National Association of Schools of Music has granted Northeastern’s Department of Music reaccreditation through 2024.  

In a span of five years, Northeastern has undergone a process of reviews from teams, interviews with faculty and staff and students by the NASM. Course and thesis paper evaluations, as well as the quality of faculty are also vital throughout these stages of reaccreditation.

The NASM ensures excellence at the Department of Music once it has met all necessary requirements to match the high standards that are expected. Other universities that are fully accredited include Northwestern, Juilliard, DePaul and the University of Illinois.

Earning such an outstanding award enables the Department of Music to be recognized on par along with universities such as the ones mentioned.

“Great programs offered benefit students from classes that set forth standards,” said Travis Heath, acting chair of the department of music.

Students pursuing degrees for music education and performance benefit from this award. It is applicable to the Master of Arts in Applied Music Pedagogy, the Bachelor of Music Education program and the Bachelor of Music in performance.

Not only does this accreditation serve as an advantage to the student but, entire community benefits from it as well. Through this reaccreditation, the Department of Music receives national recognition.

“Both faculty and students come [from] different backgrounds and ethnicities. Also, [a] diverse preference of music genres,” said Cesar Pino, a graduate student at NEIU. “The new curriculum’s rigor is based on classical music, which differentiates from music programs around the city that are urban oriented.”

Pino, a pianist, said he felt fortunate to be part of the whole experience.

One of the biggest accomplishments for the Department of Music took place in 2014 when Jazz Ensemble Director, Mayo Tiana, and Music professor, Peter Chang, led the varsity Jazz Ensemble trip to Shanghai, China to attend and perform at the 2014 Jazz Festival.

Benefits for students do not stop at just the ones attending NEIU.

The department has implemented programs that have welcomed incoming students as they transitioned from high school or secondary schools. The Department of Music for example offers classes that help what new students hope to achieve once entering the university.

“Professor Cowan’s voice class made the transition from high school to college enjoyable. The practice rooms and teachers are always available for study lessons,” said Ashley Pettiford-Jones, a freshman vocal student.

Students are also offered scores of expertise from faculty at doctoral levels, and top resources such as music labs and zones of practicing.

Chapters such as The National Association for Music Education and The Jazz Ensemble allow young adults and older members to join and perform for community concerts for all to enjoy. Not only does it highlight excellence but the accreditation also allows the department to see its deficiencies.

“Solid programs [within]  the Department of Music have helped build relationships with students and staff and have given us a wealth of information,” said Zanneta Smith, a vocal music education student.

The department promotes a professional attitude and a friendly environment to the entire Northeastern community.