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Celebrating the Spectrum: A Festival of Music and Life

July 9, 2018




Celebrating the Spectrum: A Festival of Music and Life” will take place July 16–21, providing students with instruction, performance opportunities, lectures and on-campus living designed to immerse participants with a complete collegiate experience and a rigorous schedule offering a glimpse into the life of a music major.


Students hail from throughout the State of Michigan, to Chicago and as far away as Southern California. Daily academic rigor will include piano master classes, lectures, chamber music classes and jazz improvisation, in addition to plenty of rehearsal time for concerts that will round out their week.


The culmination of their week-long experience includes their own public recital in an intimate private dinner setting, followed by a Finale Concert on Saturday, July 21 at 11:00 a.m., with participants, faculty and College of Music piano students. This free and open to the public event will be held in the College's Cook Recital Hall, Music Building, 333 W. Circle Drive.


Derek Polischuk, MSU associate professor of piano and director of piano pedagogy, teaches piano to students with autism through MSU’s Community Music School. A few years ago, he and Professor of Piano Deborah Moriarty, chair of the College of Music Piano Area, contacted the RAIND Program — the MSU-based institute for Research in Autism, Intellectual and other Neurodevelopmental Disabilities that serves students with autism. They discussed a weeklong, immersive experience, and the idea came to life.


“Every year we look to build on our successes, and find news ways to elevate the experience of our students,” says Polischuk. “Our students demonstrate a remarkable amount of progress in just one week, and with the introduction of jazz improvisation last year, I’m always amazed to discover how adaptive and confident these young pianists are.”


In addition to the music instruction, practice and performances, the critical goals of “Celebrating the Spectrum” include improving perceptions about the potential of students attending college, and making impactful contributions to research and teaching methods, says Polischuk.


RAIND is made up of a coalition of scholars and researchers from MSU that are focused on meeting the needs of communities through research, outreach, artistry and education.


“RAIND is a multi-disciplinary effort, and involving the College of Music adds further dimension to what we do,” says Ian Gray, who helped create the RAIND Program. “Celebrating the Spectrum gives the College of Music a place at the table to talk about research with other university colleagues. The Spectrum program is very positive, and increases the visibility of MSU as an institution committed to enhancing the lives of others through community engagement, inclusion and research.”


For the student musicians who attend, their schedules include: