Dana school cuts do a disservice to students
I was saddened to hear of the proposed cuts to the Dana School of Music. I know that I would not be where I am today without the chance I had there. I am grateful to all the faculty from which I was privileged to learn.
I grew up listening to the Dana School’s Jazz Ensemble. I started studying with Dr. Christopher Krummel, of the trumpet studio, when I was 16. His mentorship has been invaluable for me. I had plans of going into medicine from the beginning and he and the rest of the faculty were so supportive. They also were not going to let me slide through without applying myself. The lowest grade I received was in one of my classes at the Dana School, not the physics, biology, chemistry courses that I needed to take to complete my pre-medical requirements.
When I was interviewing for medical school, I think every interviewer asked me about my music degree. They were very curious. I remember a biochemistry professor at Case Western that mostly talked to me about my opinions of various performances of the Cleveland Orchestra that we both had attended. That degree was a differentiation from the typical applicant. It was something that showed an ability to learn both sides, the science and the art, which is so essential in the practice of medicine. It set me up for a lifetime of this kind of learning. Mental effort that is pleasurable for its own sake, untied to any direct financial gain. All of the talk about immediate employability is important, but should not be universally applied to every student. Everyone’s situation is different. They should have the choice. It is presumptuous to be a university, where adults can choose what to study, and to take some choice away from them ostensibly for their own benefit. From the data I have seen, the enrollment at Dana is going up.
The Dana School is easily one of Youngstown State’s greatest strengths. Growing up, it was locally said that YSU has a good engineering, nursing, and music program. The quality of the program is extremely cost effective. The jazz ensembles and the wind band have a great tradition of excellence on the national level. If the school is cut, I think the quality may go down and Dana will not have the same reputation as it has had. YSU won’t be as competitive, and enrollment will drop.
ROBERT PARISE, MD