Close Up with the Northern Illinois School of Music


Sense of Community and Stylistic Diversity: In his introductory letter to students on the home page of Northern Illinois School of Music, Director Andrew Glendening captures the spirit and mission of the multi-faceted educational experience and its many programs. He writes, “NIU is a vibrant music scene where you can expand your skills, explore your creativity and pursue your dreams in a supportive environment with unprecedented access to an outstanding faculty.”

One of those faculty members, Kerri-Ann Chandler, is a Trinidad and Tobago-born musician and instructor who came to NIU after eight years teaching at the University of Trinidad and Tobago. She says, “What makes our School of Music special is its unique sense of community and its stylistic diversity and array of world music courses and ensembles, which allow students to learn music from many countries and cultures and to learn the history and play ethnic instruments from around the world.” 

Programs and Ensembles: NIU School of Music undergrads can study performance, jazz studies, steelpan, music education and composition. Graduate students can earn a master’s degree in performance or pursue an individualized Master of Music degree in composition, recording arts, conducting, world music or other emphases.

NIU also offers many opportunities to perform and grow on stage with their award-winning instrumental and vocal ensembles, which include choirs, orchestra, opera, theater, wind ensembles, marching band, jazz ensembles, steel bands, new music ensemble, percussion ensemble, Javanese and Balinese gamelans, tabla, Chinese and Middle Eastern ensembles and various chamber music ensembles.

Recording Arts and Media Technologies: This area of study is designed for the modern engineer and musician, and combines audio video and computer technologies. Students will gain knowledge and experience in such disciplines as studio and location recording techniques, audio post-production for video, acoustics and studio design and webcasting, robotic camera operation using Internet2 technology, live sound and event logistics and lighting and rigging for the performing arts.

Elective courses include recording techniques, applied mixing, audio editing, air training for audio engineers and sound design. NIU recently became one of three Avid Learning Partners in the state of Illinois. Music Admissions Coordinator Austyn Menk says, “Students participating in the recording arts get to run live sound for our many ensembles, giving them highly valuable and applicable experience.”   

Flock Audio: As part of an ongoing effort to upgrade the school’s recording facilities to serve collaborations between audio engineering students and musical students, NIU has made the Flock Audio PATCH XT digitally controlled, all analog patchbay the centerpiece of its hybrid recording setup. Chandler says, “Compared to the outdated equipment installed previously, this makes signal flow in the studio more streamlined. Besides being visually appealing and fully customizable, it’s very compact, fitting on a tabletop—and because it’s digitally controlled, there are always opportunities for app updates.”

Contact NIU School of Music, 815-753-1551