The Ploger Method® at The University of Wisconsin - Stevens Point
The Musicianship program at The University of Wisconsin - Stevens Point is under the direction of Dr. Charles Rochester Young. Dr. Young began studying musicianship with Marianne Ploger in the early 90s and soon thereafter began incorporating elements of her approach into his own teaching. Since that time, Marianne has continued to be Dr. Young's mentor, collaborator, and friend; since the early 2000s, Marianne has also built a strong relationship with the musicianship program at Stevens Point through visits, consultations, and residencies, working closely with both students and faculty, and her original theories and concepts are taught as part of the core curriculum. In 2008, Marianne led training Musicianship Intensives for the faculty and continues to collaborate with Dr. Young on the increasing incorporation and implementation of the The Ploger Method® in the curriculum.
Music majors are required to take three semesters of both Musicianship and Aural Musicianship, plus one semester of composition, and upon completion of the core curriculum, students may continue their studies in musicianship through Independent Study courses.
About the Department of Music at The University of Wisconsin - Stevens Point
The Department of Music at Stevens Point is part of the College of Fine Arts and Communication and offers the Bachelor of Arts, Bachelor of Music, and Master of Music Education degrees. The music program's innovative curriculum emphasizes creativity and offers a wide range of student ensembles. All music majors are required to study composition for one semester, and though the department does not offer a major in composition, the student body has achieved an impressive number of statewide and national composition honors and awards. The department's cutting-edge Computer Music Center offers students the latest music technology; the use of these resources is integrated throughout the curriculum.
Meet the Musicianship Coordinator
Dr. Charles Rochester Young
Professor of Theory, Composition, and Electronic Music
Charles Rochester Young has won high praises and honors for his work as a composer. Dr. Young’s original compositions have been performed on 5 continents, in all 50 states, and in major halls of the US and Europe, including Carnegie Hall and Lincoln Center. Thousands of known performances of Dr. Young’s music have been heard around the globe. His works have been performed by members of most major orchestras in the US as well as some of the world’s foremost soloists and chamber ensembles. His works are widely published and recorded.
Dr. Young has had performances at leading music conventions including the MENC National Convention, World Saxophone Congress, World Harp Congress, Montreux Jazz Festival, North Sea Jazz Festival, National Flute Association Convention, Society of Composers national conference, and the World Association of Symphonic Band and Ensembles (WASBE) convention to name a few. Dr. Young has received awards from the ASCAP (annually since 1994), National Flute Association, National Band Association, National Association of Composers, British and International Bassists Federations, National Endowment for the Arts, Aaron Copland Foundation, Meet the Composer, and others.
Dr. Young is a graduate of Baylor University and the University of Michigan. He held as his mentors Pulitzer-prize winner Leslie Bassett, Donald Sinta, Marianne Ploger, Bud Beyer and Keith Hill. Dr. Young is the Coordinator of Musicianship and Director of the Computer Music Center at the University of Wisconsin at Stevens Point. Previously, Dr. Young served on the faculty at the Interlochen Center for the Arts.
A tireless advocate for training musicians in composition and improvisation, Dr. Young was named “Wisconsin Professor of the Year” by the Carnegie Foundation and the Council for the Advancement and Support of Education in 1999. The University of Wisconsin system named Dr. Young as the recipient of their University of Wisconsin System Board of Regents Teaching Excellence Award in 2000, their highest honor. Dr. Young is an active presenter, clinician and guest composer around the nation.
Musicianship at Stevens Point
Professor Young (above) is the coordinator of the musicianship program and teaches musicianship and composition. The written and aural musicianship/theory courses are completely and uniquely integrated at Stevens Point, and students apply new knowledge five days a week in musicianship classes. Professor Ploger emphasizes the similarities of her musicianship method to a language acquisition process; in this spirit, musicianship classes meet five times a week, with the same frequency as introductory language courses. The integration of aural and written theory takes this language-learning similarity one step further - one wouldn't plan in a Spanish or Russian class to only speak on some days and write on others, yet this is the common approach in the typical college music classroom!
Students at Stevens Point have exceptional access to technological resources. To the right, students in a musicianship class each sit at a piano, which they can use immediately to engage and enact new concepts. Below, students use "portable practice units," which consist of recording and production equipment, headphones, and a tuner/metronome. These original units, which are light and easily transportable, are incorporated into various projects in musicianship classes, giving students a unique opportunity for critical self-assessment and the development of technological aptitude; training on the use of the units is provided to all music majors during their entry-level musicianship course.
text by Lindsey Reymore, photos by the University of Wisconsin - Stevens Point
Banner photo credit: "Falkland Islands Penguins 41" by Ben Tubby - flickr.com. Licensed under CC BY 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons - https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Falkland_Islands_Penguins_41.jpg#/media/File:Falkland_Islands_Penguins_41.jpg