Monthly Archives: April 2020

Associate Professor Elected to Society of Music Theory Board

Dr. Cynthia Gonzales

Dr. Cynthia I. Gonzales, Regents’ Teacher and Associate Professor, was elected to the Society for Music Theory’s Executive Board as a Member-at-Large. Her three-year term begins at the conclusion of the SMT conference in November. Dr. Gonzales is currently President of the Texas Society for Music Theory, a three-year term that concludes in March 2021.

Choral Student Awarded Scholarship to Produce Album

Joshua Rodriguez

Joshua Rodriguez, Bachelor of Music in Music Studies (Choral Concentration) minor in Music Composition student, has been named the recipient of the 2020 Mu Phi Epsilon Foundation Bettylou Scandling Hubin Scholarship for Music Technology.  This scholarship will fund the professional production of an album featuring his latest compositions. The production will take place at the Texas State University Fire Station Studios and will be produced by students in the Sound Recording Technology program. The ensemble and collaborative artists featured on the album will be students in the School of Music.

Josh is a Brother of the Alpha Pi chapter of Mu Phi Epsilon, where he has served as Chorister, and a member of the Texas State Chorale for whom he composed “Rise,” which premiered Fall 2019.

School of Music GIA Appointed to Graduate House of Representatives

Grad student Andi Ivins with her dog and her boyfriend

Graduate Instructional Assistant Andi Ivins (Left) with her family.

Graduate Instructional Assistant (GIA) Andi Ivins was recently nominated by John Fleming, Dean of the College of Fine Arts and Communication, to be part of the Graduate House of Representatives–a position which she happily accepted!

Ivins is a native of San Antonio, Texas and received her undergraduate in Music Composition from the University of Texas at San Antonio in 2019. Throughout the 2019-2020 academic year, she has served as a the Marketing Assistant for the School of Music. In this position Ivins has handled press releases for the School of Music, created print and digital media for our Stars At Night concert series, and has worked closely with Dr. Tom Clark, Director of the School of Music, and Ben Felts, Administrative Assistant in charge of News & Social Media, on various projects. She is pursuing a Masters of Music in Music Composition.

The Graduate House of Representatives serves as the graduate students’ branch of the Texas State University Student Government. Each college has two representatives appointed by their Dean. Representative duties include addressing issues directly related to graduate students and volunteering at various on-campus graduate student events. As a representative of the School of Music, Ivins will present new and ongoing projects on behalf of the Department to the Student Government.

Congratulations Andi! We are proud of you and extremely excited to see what you accomplish throughout the 2020-2021 academic year!

TXST Students Receive Collegiate Music Educators Award

Congratulations to the following students who have been named recipients of the Texas Music Educators Association Collegiate Music Educators Award:

Christian Clow

Rachel Fredrick

Rebecca Martinez

Matt Pehl

Kate Thane

Sara Trogdon

Anarra Whitcher

These Bobcats will be awarded an honors cord to wear during commencement and certificates from the TMEA office. We are incredibly proud of these student teachers and greatly appreciate all of the support and guidance provided to them by their respective teachers!TMEA 2020 Logo

More Clark’s Rules

The original Clark’s Rules for Musician Success are seven basic principles to live by. They have worn well, largely drawn from my observation of the common traits of great musicians I’ve had the good fortune to meet or work with.

As I head toward the end of my administrative career, I reflect now on the many wonderful leadership mentors I’ve had the honor to work with. My reflections incorporate a few of the first 7 rules.                        TC

Clark’s Rules for Good Leadership

RULE 6:    BECOME A LEADER            It’s a lifelong process of self-development, not a hat you can simply put on.

RULE 5:    PLAN AHEAD            Fundamentally, that’s the main thing a leader does.

RULE 7:    ENCOURAGE OTHERS            Enable their good ideas. Trust their skill and commitment. Seek the best in others.

RULE 8:    IDENTIFY GOALS            Embrace a true mission. Let the practical goals flow from the mission.

RULE 9:    TAKE RISKS            Calculated, reasonable risks worth the payoff. Don’t be afraid of failure. Redefine it as simply not succeeding on the first try.

RULE 3:    DO THE WORK            Not everything can or should be delegated. Be well informed. Know how the systems and teams you lead operate.

RULE 10:  SOLVE PROBLEMS            Not necessarily quickly. Sometimes with time they solve themselves. Wait while seeking all the information, possibilities you need to consider. For the toughest, brainstorm, think the unthinkable. Engage others in the solution.

RULE 11:  ACT ETHICALLY            Be considerate but honest. Avoid being unnecessarily judgmental. Transcend stereotypes. Don’t assume you know what’s best for others. Choose the greatest benefit for the greatest number of stakeholders, while being fair to all.

RULE 12:  SHARE CREDIT            Or just simply give it away. It will come back to you if it’s deserved. Everyone knows anyway, the best accomplishments are team collaborations.

TXST Student Teachers Continue to Shine During Pandemic

TXST School of Music Student Teacher Mr. Christopher Murphy

This week we checked in with one of our student teachers, Christopher Murphy, on how the transition to online delivery has altered his field experience.

Murphy is currently serving his elementary student teaching placement within Austin ISD. With the outbreak of COVID-19, AISD elected to move to online instruction a few weeks before Governor Abbott’s announcement to end the in-person school year last Friday. This process left many educators in both the district and state uncertain how to proceed.

Despite this, many teachers and student teachers alike rose to the challenge, including Murphy. He made it his mission to “be as helpful and involved in instruction as possible” despite having to move to online delivery. While this transition was a large undertaking, Murphy personally found the switch to be a relatively smooth one. “I have had tremendous guidance from my cooperating teacher and university faculty mentors,” Murphy shared. “The student teaching faculty has guided me a lot by providing [all the student teachers] with access to a ton of online music teaching resources…” In addition to these resources, the student teaching faculty has maintained weekly check-ins with our student teachers to help with productivity and also to check on their mental well-being.

Murphy said that Texas State definitely laid a solid foundation for their student teachers that has “translated well to remote learning.” He explained that they were always taught to “be ready to jump in and do things,” something that has been a key piece of advice. Within his placement, Murphy has relied heavily on this advice and on the support of his cooperating teacher, Ms. Katie Riordan. Riordan has helped to keep Murphy involved with his student teaching by workshopping lesson ideas and inviting him to attend weekly Zoom staff meetings and elementary music meetings for AISD. This experience has been valuable, allowing Murphy to see firsthand how a district could potentially handle a crisis situation.

However, at the end of the day, the most important thing to Murphy has not been his own experience, but  the experiences of his students. He feels that “continued exposure to music is helpful for students in these crazy times, as for some, it is the bright spot in their school day.” This sentiment echoes our own School of Music Director Dr. Tom Clark’s mantra during this outbreak: “Music is essential.” Murphy and Riordan have developed creative ways to teach remotely, such as creating videos for students to follow along (which Murphy likens to “Blues Clues),” giving students parameters for their own creative musical exploration by creating their own instruments or sharing their favorite songs, and many other non-traditional lessons Murphy never thought he would utilize during his student teaching.

Dr. Vanessa de Macedo Higgins Joyce, Associate Professor in the School of Journalism and Mass Communication and parent to a child in Murphy’s elementary placement, has recognized his enthusiasm and dedication to his field. “Our school has many Texas State teachers,” Dr. Higgins Joyce wrote to Dean John Fleming “and this student teacher is doing so awesome online.” She said Murphy’s readings with beats has brightened her family’s day. “Mr. Murphy rocks.” We would have to agree, Dr. Higgins Joyce!

We want to congratulate Murphy and all our student teachers on a job well done! You continue to make us proud every day with your leadership and dedication to your passions. Because of you, it is always a great day to be a Bobcat.

One More Time

The end of my 12th year as Director of the School of Music was to be my last before retirement, after 49 years of college teaching and administration. It’s not at all the kind of celebratory last year of my career that I was expecting!

And as it turns out, also not my last year. Under these extraordinarily challenging circumstances and with a TXST hiring freeze in place, I have been asked to serve one more year as Director, through May 31, 2021. Why not make it 50, having embraced this amazing School of Music through the best of times and worst of times? I will serve joyously through 13 more months of pride in all the wonderful things our students, faculty, alumni, and staff will accomplish.            TC

Hehmsoth Master Class and Jazz Performance at the 3rd Annual Fredericksburg Jazz Festival 2020

Associate Professor of Jazz Hank Hehmsoth

Jazz Associate Professor Hank Hehmsoth was slated for multiple performances at major festivals in April, including “A Night of Blues & Jazz” – Williamson County at Berry Creek Country Club, feature performer at “The Georgetown Jazz Festival”, and a special club date appearance with legendary trumpeter Randy Brecker. However, due to the COVID-19 outbreak, these events were cancelled.

However, The 3rd Annual Fredericksburg Jazz Festival 2020 was live streamed, both via Facebook and YouTube on Saturday, April 18th, 2020. During the Jazz Festival, Hehmsoth gave a Digital Master Class Hanks Six Rules of Success, which includes an hour of musical performance and professional advice. You can check out additional videos on the Fredericksburg Jazz Festival YouTube channel!

TXST Viola Faculty President-Elect of National Viola Society

Dr. Ames Asbell

Dr. Ames Asbell, TXST Assistant Professor of Viola

The Texas State Viola Ensemble was slated to perform at the 2020 American Viola Society Festival in Knoxville this June. However, due to ongoing events with COVID-19, the festival has been postponed to 2021. While this delay is an unfortunate necessity, there is some exciting news coming out of our viola studio!

Over Spring Break, Dr. Ames Asbell, our Assistant Professor heading the viola studio, received word that she has been elected by the American Viola Society to be the organization’s next President-Elect. Dr. Asbell will serve as President-Elect from July 1, 2020 to June 30, 2023, and then as President of the national organization from July 1, 2023 to June 30, 2026.

Following this exciting news, Dr. Asbell has also learned both of her proposals for lecture-recital presentations at the 47th International Viola Congress in Castelo Branco, Portugal have been accepted. The congress is scheduled for mid-October 2020.

Keep singing

National Museum of Art, Prague 2019

As we each realize how important our health, family, and community are to us, we realize things about ourselves as musicians and members of our Somos Músicos School of Music community . . .

We miss being together and making music together so much that even the remote togetherness of a group Zoom session is joyful.

We realize the value of time alone, to practice and to prioritize our work, refreshing our minds.

We will not / cannot stop singing, playing, making and listening to music, uplifting and maintaining our spirits.