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Thursday, June 24, 2010 - OU and DSO partner to give students unique musical experiences
By Dave Groves, contributing writer

Aspiring musicians in southeastern Michigan will soon have an opportunity to immerse themselves in music learning thanks to a new partnership between Oakland University and the Detroit Symphony Orchestra.

Beginning in September, students of all ages interested in classical music and jazz will be able to participate in music classes through OU’s Music Preparatory Division and the Pincus Music Education Center adjoining Orchestra Hall.

Participants also can receive private lessons from highly accomplished musicians affiliated with the DSO and OU, as well as participate in music ensembles organized by the DSO’s Civic Youth Ensembles program.

“The DSO is one of the world's finest orchestras. That they have chosen to affiliate with us brings both honor and prestige, and means a great deal to our faculty and students,” said Jackie Wiggins, chair of OU’s Department of Music, Theatre and Dance. “This kind of recognition of the strengths of Oakland's Music Program will help in recruiting and retaining the best and brightest music students. We are justly proud of this partnership and excited about its future.”

While Oakland’s music programs and the DSO have long maintained a strong affiliation, the new partnership coordinates various aspects of music education more seamlessly than ever before.

“We’re trying to get the lessons out there, to make college-level instruction available to the people who wouldn’t otherwise get it,” said Bibianne Yu, director of the Music Preparatory Division. “We’re trying to develop whole musicians by enabling them to participate in these different experiences.”

In creating this new music educational opportunity, partnership organizers have emphasized the role peer-supported learning, discipline and dedication to achieving one’s goals play in enhancing musical knowledge and skills. Serving as ideal mentors will be some of the country’s most accomplished orchestral, jazz and vocal musicians and pianists.

“It comes down to the caliber of teaching. These are musicians who have trained all their lives,” Yu explained. “They rehearse constantly, perform constantly – they are just immersed in their musicianship.”

Additionally, because of this partnership, Oakland University’s Symphony Orchestra and Symphony Choir will collaborate annually to perform at Orchestra Hall as part of the department’s regular annual performance season.

“To perform in such remarkable hall is a powerful learning experience for all our music students,” Wiggins explained. “We are so excited that this partnership will enable us to truly enhance the nature of students' experiences studying music at Oakland.”

For more information about music classes and private lessons, contact Bibianne Yu at (248) 370-2034 or musprep@oakland.edu. For information about the DSO Civic Youth Ensemble Program, contact Charles Burke, DSO director of education and outreach, at (313) 576-5100 or cburke@dso.org.