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Q-and-A: Music student organizes research presentations, a cappella tour

Clef Hangers

Clef Hangers

Illinois State University junior Adam Schumacher has two music projects this spring that have received the support of the Friends of the Arts.

Schumacher, a double major in music and psychology from Wheaton, organized the inaugural School of Music Research Presentations that was held April 22 at Kemp Recital Hall. He is also the music director of Clef Hangers, whose May a cappella tour of several Illinois high schools will once again be supported by the Friends of the Arts.

Schumacher spoke about how he became involved in music, his music projects, and the importance of Friends of the Arts grants in the following Q-and-A:

Why did you get into music?
In high school, it really seemed that music was the first thing I was actually good at. I played trombone in my high school band. But growing up I had always watched my mom teach choreography for musical theater, so while I was playing trombone in band I always wished I was a singer. So eventually in high school I gained the courage to become part of the musical theater program there and I fell in love with singing. I kept working at it and playing trombone and playing other brass instruments. And it eventually it kept on sparking a passion for it. Then I got to college and I started loving the course work. It was really just a chain reaction of things I had been exposed to.

Tell me a little bit about the April 22 event. (Note to reader: The following answer was given before the event was held.)
People don’t really realize that there is a lot that goes behind our perception of art and how much art is actually studied within Illinois State and outside of it in the whole scientific community. The point of the event is to expose some of that for the students that are interested in it and hopefully get some more awareness of all of the cool research that is done out there. And then hopefully inspire some more people to take part in this research.

I’ve only become interested in it the last year or so because of my professors. They have inspired me to learn more about it through their instruction. Mostly I want to share that with people and also give the students who are doing research the opportunity to get a whole professional feel about what’s it like to do research and present about it.

adam schumacher

Adam Schumacher

So on April 22 it will be the inaugural School of Music Research Presentations. There is going to be three presenters: myself, Emily Kuchenbrod, and Miranda DeBretto. All three of which are focused on music history in a sense but three completely different eras: one early medieval; one late-medieval, early Renaissance; and then one 20th-century composer. It’s going to be an array of different celebrations of composition and characterization within music history.

Really this is an event that Dr. (Allison) Alcorn and I are hoping will take off. Dr. Alcorn is the professor I’m working with on my research project, and she is the one I have been collaborating with to make this event happen.

Tell me about the Clef Hangers high school tour that will be coming up as well?
Every year the Clef Hangers get out to high schools in Illinois. We contacted our high school directors throughout the year and figured out days when we can come and sing for a choir class or sing for as many people as they want to get to come. We basically promote ISU, and we promote the School of Music, and then we promote our own a cappella group and the a cappella community at ISU.

Why were the Friends of the Art grants important?
Without Friends of the Arts grants, students would rarely be able to accomplish goals like this research presentation. For the research presentations, the students who are being helped by that would rarely have an opportunity to present their research. And the overall goal of the presentation is to share that with the community. And that way no one is benefitted without Friends of the Arts to help spread that message.

The Clef Hangers tour is really important because we wouldn’t be able to go share our music, and then not as many as people would know the a cappella community at ISU. And there would be fewer people coming to ISU. There are several people in our a cappella group that saw Clef Hangers perform in high school, myself included.

So it’s really important for recruitment as well as just sharing knowledge of the arts and sharing arts with others. Without funding from the Friends of the Arts, there would be fewer opportunities out there for students to have their own initiative.

Could you share what your plans will be after college?
I’m hoping to join a doctoral program in music cognition. After that my life goals would hopefully be to do research at a university and hopefully get on a presentation circuit because I would love to share the research that I’m conducting, as well as findings from the general field of music cognition, for my entire life.

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