Online Communities - Discover Your Campus

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Meet the Writer

Andrea Lewis

Hello! My name is Andrea.  I enjoy writing and in my spare time I am an avid photographer and artist.  I love to spend time with my husband who is my best friend.


"I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God,who loved me and gave himself for me."  Galatians 2:20





Online Communities - Discover Your Campus

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Online Students and the School of Music



I had the privilege to talk with Dr. Vernon Whaley of the Music Department last week, and we talked about the new developments in the department, as well as the brand new music building on campus.  Dr. Whaley is the Dean of the School of Music, and as such he supervises all the academic roles of music on campus.  He and his wife came to Liberty from Pensacola, FL in 2005 to help start a new worship program and Center for Music and Worship at Liberty University.  


I asked Dr. Whaley how online students could best get connected and engaged with the department, and what programs were available to Liberty Online students. "The majority of the online programs in the Music Department are Graduate and Postgraduate," said Whaley. "There are four Master level degree programs that online students can participate in, as well as a new Doctorate degree."  These are the Master of Arts in Music Education, the Master of Arts in Music and Worship, the Master of Arts  in Worship Studies, the Master of Arts in Ethnomusicology, and the Doctor of Worship Studies.  


The MA in Music Education is focused towards molding students to teach music at the college level, as well as other areas of education.  The MA in Music and Worship, which is a fully vetted and fully developed music program, has a little less than 200 students in the program and instructs students in worship and music in a way that they can use and return back to their professions and grow those areas.  The MA in Worship Studies is a worship theology degree.  This is not a music degree, but equips students in theology and applications of worship.  The MA in Ethnomusicology focuses on training musicians and missionaries, and currently has 50-60 students in the program. Liberty is the only Christian school in the country that has that degree, and there are currently 20-25 students that are currently in restricted countries practicing these degrees.   


In the postgraduate level, the Doctor of Worship Studies is geared towards those who have been in ministry and are wanting to prepare themselves to teach and further their knowledge and understanding of the subject.  Currently, there are only two schools in the country with this degree, and Liberty is the only one that is regionally accredited.  Dr. Whaley discussed the philosophy of the school as well, and their strategy of instruction especially in the postgraduate level.  "There are 5 areas that we emphasis in each one of the courses at the doctorate level," said Whaley.  These areas are research, self evaluation, pedagogy, application to the discipline itself, and application to the ministry they are serving in. These together make a well-rounded education and experience that students can build upon in their field.   


As well as the education, Whaley gave me an overview of the features that the new School of Music building will offer students both residentially, and for those who visit campus during intensives.  The 141,000 sq.ft. facility is home to 43 faculty teaching studios; 50 soundproof practice modules; Mac, piano, and songwriting labs; 3 Commons spaces; a 250 seat instrumental room; a 150 seat choir room; 2 recital halls that will seat a total of 200 people; an Ethnomusicology museum and display; and a 1,600 seat concert hall with the Constellation Acoustic system that will allow for sound adjustments based on the type of concert being given.  I was able to take a tour of the facility myself, and I was impressed with the design of the building as well.  The natural light flowed in on each level, and in almost every classroom there was access to natural light creating a bright, open, and clean atmosphere.  


When we wrapped up the interview, I asked Dr. Whaley if there was anything else he wished to share with the online students as a whole, and he had this to say.  "The online students are my favorite students, because many of them have decided to go back to school or to enrich their education experience while they're still doing their work and still providing for their families and it's a major sacrifice.  I have a great deal of respect for people who do that.  We want to see online students succeed and achieve all that God has called them to be." 


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