Music at IUS

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Music at IUS

Dr. Erich Stem sets up recording for the album

Dr. Erich Stem sets up recording for the album "Spectres" in 2016. Credit: Timothy Miller and Besh Photography.

Dr. Erich Stem sets up recording for the album "Spectres" in 2016. Credit: Timothy Miller and Besh Photography.

Dr. Erich Stem sets up recording for the album "Spectres" in 2016. Credit: Timothy Miller and Besh Photography.

Michael Melchor, Content Editor

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You probably know that IU Southeast has a music department. You might imagine people playing violins or composing music. But you might not have known that the department helps students learn about other aspects of the music industry with its own record label.

IU Southeast’s record label, New Dynamic Records, has been a part of the university since to 2005. The label was founded as part of a larger initiative called the “New Music Project.” Since its inception, New Dynamic Records has released 12 albums featuring a total of 60 composers, including 42 world premiere recordings. The staff of the first CD release won the Louisville’s Advertising Federation’s Gold Award for the design of the CD jacket. The label’s releases are available through outlets such as iTunes, Amazon and Spotify.

Tim Haertel, lecturer in music industry and adviser for sound engineering and music business at IU Southeast, offers another fact about New Dynamic Records. “The interesting thing about that is, you look at much larger music schools — Cincinnati Conservatory, U of L, UK, Bloomington — none of them have a label like this,” Haertel said. “It’s a great opportunity for students and to showcase out music department and our university.”

The IU Southeast music department consists of four full-time instructors and 28 adjunct professors, focusing on areas that include piano, voice, music business and music fundamentals. The department offers both bachelor of arts and bachelor of science degrees. Concentrations in the B.A. program include composition for film and stage, music industry, performance and pre-music therapy; concentrations under the B.S. degrees include audio production and music education.

There also are many opportunities for students in the department to gain real-world experience, according to Erich Stem, associate professor of music theory and composition for the concert stage and film and media.

Members of the PRISM Quartet recording for the album “Breath Beneath” in 2009. Credit: Dr. Erich Stem

“The educational phrase for that is applied learning, and that’s a very important aspect of being an artist and a writer,” Stem said. “You have to do what you’re learning about in the real world, so what better way to do that than to gain real-world experience?”

Now in his 13th year at IU Southeast, Stem brings quite a bit of that experience into his instruction. He has written several chamber and orchestral pieces and currently is writing an opera. Plus, he’s eyeing opportunities to write film scores. Stem’s works include “Portland,” a piece written for the University of Portland orchestra that was performed at IU Southeast in April.

Stem said the department integrates real-world experience into the learning programs through various projects. Students also are involved in producing and arranging current recording artists who visit IU Southeast.

Much of that experience is gained through IU Southeast’s record label, New Dynamic Records. “Sound engineers and music business majors are involved in the production of New Dynamic Records,” Stem said. “When we invite groups here for a weeklong residency to record with us, the sound engineer students will set up microphones and help us produce. They get to see that live in action with an outside group, [and that work] will later turn into an album released out in the real world. They get credit for that as well.”

As an example, Stem related the production of a New Dynamic Records 2016 release called “Reach through the Sky” by flutist and vocalist Lindsey Goodman. “One of our students, a sound engineer by the name of Kojin Tashiro, ended up recording the entire album with me as producer.”

Stem said music business students also get involved. New Dynamic Records has given $7,200 in paid internships to students who help with marketing and promotional work after a record is ready for release. Stem also has recruited graphic and media design students to help design the artwork for album releases. Robby Davis, senior in graphic design, was recognized by the Louisville Graphic Design Association for the design of the label’s logo.

Stem founded New Dynamic Records 12 years ago and immediately recruited Haertel to help with the label as the executive sound engineer. The two had worked together previously on other projects.

“Recording real instruments in a live acoustic environment and making it sound as close to the real thing as possible has been my passion as a recording engineer,” Haertel said. “Promoting new music with living composers and selecting the best musicians available has been [Stem’s] passion. Put us together, with both of us being particular about things, I feel like we have a solid product. It’s a good reflection on the university, and it’s a wonderful experience for students to see how it’s done.”

The on-the-job training that is a hallmark of New Dynamic Records also carries across the music department to its newest degree program. According to the IU Southeast Music Education Concentration web page, “The Music Education curriculum is designed to prepare students for licensing in Indiana and Kentucky to teach music at all levels of education from K-12 (also known as P-12). There are two tracks in the concentration: Vocal and General Music, P-12 and Instrumental and General Music, P-12. Both programs prepare students for teaching music at the elementary and secondary levels.”

Members of the Juventas New Music Ensemble recording for the album “Spectres” in 2016. Credit: Timothy Miller and Besh Photography.


According to Jeramy Nichols, adviser for music education and assistant professor of music education and choral music, the new program had a long gestation period.

“I believe our coordinator, Dr. [Joanna] Goldstein, has been trying for 25 years to have this new degree,” Nichols said. “The local music teachers have been wanting it for a long time. Last year was the first year, and we’ve added it so that we can be more competitive within the region and offer the people closest to us more options for educational programs.”

Being so close to the state line, the program offers students the opportunity to teach in either Indiana or Kentucky. “Students can receive their license in Indiana, which is reciprocal to Kentucky as well,” Nichols said. “They only have to take the professional exam for there to be full reciprocity between both states.”

To earn that degree and licensing, students have opportunities to gain real-world experience in the music education program as well as in the degree programs involved with the label. “Students can take methods [for teaching] classes and in those classes, and part of those classes is that they have field experience hours that they have to do,” Nichols said. “They will be physically going to schools and helping teachers and even doing teaching as part of that field experience.”

According to Nichols, the classroom assistance and teaching culminates at the end of the degree when students go into an elementary-level school and teach for approximately 12 weeks. Nichols evaluates the students’ instruction and then do the same in a secondary level (middle or high) school.

In order for students to attain that experience and placement to finish the program, IU Southeast has a wide range of partnerships in place. “From what I understand from the school of education, they have a 60 mile radius where they send their teachers,” Nichols said.

Nichols said the school of education and music education have partnered with Floyd, Clark and Scott counties among others in that radius to send students to teach.