Community College of Rhode Island

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Music, theater programs combine
to create Performing Arts Department

Dec. 1, 2010

Student playing pianoThe goal of the Community College of Rhode Island is to help its students achieve their dreams, and those who dream of the stage will find a new academic department at the college to help them get there.

This fall, the music and theater programs at CCRI were combined into a single Performing Arts Department, allowing students and faculty to further collaborate and share resources.

Students have the opportunity to earn an Associate of Fine Artsdegree in theater, technical theater, music or jazz studies.

Cheri Markward, chairwoman of the Performing Arts Department, said that graduates in music can go on to be performers, studio teachers, music educators or can become involved in the music business. Theater majors may go on to become actors, directors or technical assistants in theater or film productions, theater educators or work in many other related business fields.

Markward said a theater education offers some skills beyond its professional opportunities, and that the confidence and speaking ability gained from performing can be applied to many careers and pursuits.

“There are so many skills that you pick up from learning how to handle yourself on stage that benefit you in a lot of situations,” Markward said.

Another reason for the combination of music and theater at CCRI is that the programs in the Performing Arts Department share many courses with each other as electives. For example, a theater student with an interest in musical theater would take courses in both disciplines.

Besides the convenience for students, Markward said the combination of these two majors into one department should help them both gain visibility.


“I think it really will make a difference,” Markward said. “Theater was getting lost in the English Department and I think this is a chance to put them more up front. We think this will help the profile of the whole Performing Arts Department.”

Markward said that students who hope to earn bachelor’s degrees in the performing arts can benefit from beginning their education at CCRI before transferring, because the smaller size of CCRI’s program allows students more hands-on opportunities.

“I would say that at CCRI, in both music and theater, you can get a lot of experience that you might not be able to get at bigger places,” Markward said.

All of the majors in the department are designed with transferring in mind.

“We try to line up our degree so that it transfers easily to the other state schools and some of the popular places that students like to transfer to,” Markward said.

To learn more about the Performing Arts Department at CCRI, contact Markward.


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Last Updated: 1/31/14