Dr. Hsien-Ann Meng, music department director and assistant professor, is a renowned pianist who has toured the West Coast and Taiwan with HCC colleague Wei-Der Huang as a member of the Octtava Piano Duo.
In ten years, HCC’s bustling music program has grown ten-fold and includes students of music performance (instrument and voice), education, composition, music technology, and music therapy.
The mission of the music department follows the motto that music is for a lifetime. “We develop students’ musicianship for a lifelong enjoyment of music, whether they become a musicologist, concert performer, or play for their grandchildren,” says Meng.
In 2009, the music program earned accreditation from the National Association of Schools of Music (NASM). “This is a very big honor with only about 24 community colleges in the U.S. accredited,” Meng says.
The department’s new music technology program is now in the process of gaining NASM approval. An education in music technology prepares students with the creative and technical skills necessary for careers in studio engineering, sound design, music for video and film, and computer music. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts a 16 percent growth in these jobs through 2020.
Throughout HCC’s music program, technology is used to expand and enhance traditional teaching methods. With the push of a button, students in the practice room can simulate the acoustics of different recital venues, such as a concert hall, cathedral, or sports arena.
Performing to an audience is an important step toward preparing musicians for careers. Music students can audition for and perform in the department’s annual concert series, on campus musical theatre productions, and in the community.
Many HCC music students continued their studies at prestigious institutions such as Peabody Conservatory, Longy School of Music, and Towson University..
THE LANGUAGE OF MUSIC
When Rasa Mahmoudian moved to the U.S. in 2010, he wanted to enroll in college. Growing up in Iran, he studied English in school and practiced by learning the lyrics of Pink Floyd and other rock bands.
“I looked for a community college where I could study English and practice my music,” recalls the 26-year-old violinist, who’s played since he was 5. “I chose HCC, because I could not believe how many amazing musicians were teaching here.”
Last spring, HCC arts and humanities division named Rasa Outstanding Student of the Year. Today he’s a music performance scholarship student at Duquesne University, on his way to achieving his long-term goals of earning a doctorate, playing in a string quartet, and teaching at a university.
“I’m grateful I started my U.S. education at HCC, where the faculty members are experienced performers who encourage you, help you improve, and truly care about your success,” Mahmoudian says.