“I believe in the complete musician—not just a performer, or composer, or musicologist."
NEC engages students not only by what they learn, but also by how they learn. Andrew Schartmann, a faculty member in Music Theory and Interdisciplinary Studies, is helping to develop new innovative courses and curriculum that are student-centered.
One example is Theory Reimagined, a two-year experience for all NEC students that has transformed the teaching of the foundational concepts in music theory. Andrew said, “Bringing performance and composition together allows students to learn concepts by using them in real-life situations rather than just reading about them or applying them in abstract scenarios. Students also internalize general principles that apply to a wider repertoire of music and not just isolated pieces. It makes the course more relevant and helps students retain what they learn.”
Andrew is also developing other cross-disciplinary courses that allow students to connect information and practice. He explained the importance of this approach, “I believe in the complete musician—not just a performer, or composer, or musicologist. One ideal of music education is to integrate experience and intuition with learning, and we need to teach in ways that support this process for students instead of leaving them to do that work on their own.”
A spirit of innovation is a defining characteristic of Andrew’s career. His own interests span a diverse range of musical topics from classical composers to video game scores. Among his publications is a 2015 book, Koji Kondo's Super Mario Bros. Soundtrack, and he has collaborated on several technology projects, including NADIA, a mobile app based on research in music perception that immerses students in the fundamentals of music theory through gamified lessons. NADIA has been used with students in NEC Prep.