Ohio University

OHIO's School of Music launches new major featuring tech for instruments

faculty and student creating with digital instruments

The Ohio University Contemporary Music and Digital Instruments (OUCMDI) performance degree invites its student to use technology like synthesizers, turntables, and controllers to investigate a broad spectrum of music and styles in a way that celebrates diverse musical backgrounds. The program explores the barriers to music learning as influenced by race, culture and ethnicity. 

With the goal of being a national leader in training and educating musical artists in contemporary music, the OUCMDI supports students as they find their voice as artists, celebrate their own musical backgrounds, and guide their process of performance and creation. Also foundational to the OUCMDI program is its support for citizen musicians who develop connections within their communities, says Sean Parsons, program coordinator of OUCMDI. 

“The program is about more than just making music for people to listen to. We use music to celebrate, to heal, and to love. Artists and creative thinkers are an essential part of any community, and when they are involved in the decision-making processes, they bring perspectives and insight that ultimately strengthens outcomes,” Parsons says. “Understanding how one’s art plays a role in their community provides the citizen-artist a way to connect people in authentic ways and allows them to be part of telling their stories.” 

The program’s core values include music creation and performance, a grounding in foundations of music, exploring careers in contemporary music creating and publishing, and championing diversity, equity and access. 

Embracing all styles of music, OUCMDI is mindful of access and equity issues and is committed to removing barriers between young professionals and the field, says Parsons. 

“One’s style of music or their method of creating should not be the deciding factor if they wish to study music or not. It doesn’t matter if an aspiring musician’s background is deeply rooted in rap, EDM, rock, folk, jazz, or classical music. It doesn’t matter if they use synthesizers, turntables, controllers, electric instruments, or traditional instruments,” Parsons says. “Their backgrounds have value and their music is an essential part of their identity. We have a big table at OUCMDI. I’m honored to be a part of it.” 

OUCMDI majors will work and learn alongside other student-artists—trained in both traditional and non-traditional styles—and alongside music makers in the community in an environment that fosters inclusivity and collaboration. 

“There just isn’t another place quite like Athens and Ohio University,” Parsons says. “Students will find a safe and supportive environment to begin finding their path.” 

Incoming Director of the School of Music Christopher Fisher welcomes the growth of the performance degree offerings at the School. 

“We are thrilled to add this new Contemporary Music and Digital Instruments program to our roster of excellent performance degree offerings here in the School of Music,” he says. “We are excited about the many opportunities for artistic collaboration it will afford our students.” 

More Information about the OUCMDI program can be found here