Letter to the Editor: All students need a window, including the music students


Dearest Editor,

It has come to my attention that there has been a recent surge of interest in “the window” and the specific happenings in that little hour-and-a-half chunk of time allegedly free to all students. I would like to express my opinion on the matter as well, from the perspective of a music student required to take classes during that time for my major.

One of the only windows that I have ever known is the one on the practice room doors. This window has on multiple occasions been the portal between the outside world and those on the other side.

In other cases, it has made me feel like a caged animal in a zoo, being constantly criticized as people walk past, hearing my voice crack as I approach high B-flats, and watching them respond with a haughty guffaw.

Music is just as much a science as chemistry, biology, physics or psychology. We have to experiment on our own to get things right, and have no textbook to tell us that drinking heavy dairy products before singing some large aria is probably not a good idea.

Yes, we have teachers and mentors to guide us, but our more pressing problems are usually figured out through our master classes and recital hours, and making mistakes in front of a crowd. This experimentation process is our “window,” and while everyone is enjoying free tacos, the music students are humiliating themselves publically, save the times that we actually practice enough beforehand and have one of the rare and incredible performances in which we even impress ourselves.

“Window” is the word used to describe the space between two heads in choir and other ensembles so that you can see the director. At an astonishingly average height of five feet and 11 inches, the word “window” is a constant reminder that my attention and cognitive processes are not my own, but subject to the will of the director and when exactly he or she wants a note to be cut off, much like I have been cut off from the rest of the student body.

If anyone needs access to health expos and free chair massages, it’s music students. We have been subject to constant stress, criticism, and pain on a regular basis, only to realize that career prospects are surprisingly grim if someone thinks we’re not the “right fit” for a role.

Of course, it’s obvious that it’s impossible to address every single student’s needs on campus, but placing important community-building events during a time when music students are experimenting and bettering themselves doesn’t seem too fair. It also isn’t feasible to just proscribe all classes during that Thursday 12:30-2:00 p.m. frame, but if one of the goals of a Jesuit education is to foster community building, why not try and make it as inclusive as possible?

I can only echo comments that have been made in the past, but I think it’s about high time someone actually took some initiative and listened to the wails and gnashing of teeth resonating from the College of Music and Fine Arts. Move the window or proscribe the scheduling of classes during the window from any department.

Matthew Higginbotham

Music therapy senior