Music Row: New Living Learning Community for Music Lovers

Jordan Hicks was alone.

A freshman at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, he was a class-going, home-coming type of student. It wasn’t the university itself that was the problem, just his own state of mind, which was so dark that he considered dropping out of university altogether.

“I was just lost,” said Hicks, freshman coordinator in the Department of Performing Arts.

Then, even if he was not major in music (it was a major not yet known, said “undecided”), he joined the UTC Chamber Singers. Things have changed dramatically.

“I was able to put down roots here, in this community,” he said. “I even met my wife in the Chamber Singers.”

He decided to stay at UTC.

His personal experiences are now one of the driving forces behind a new living learning program at the University – Music Row.

There is no official connection between the new program and historic Nashville, famous for its role in country, gospel and contemporary Christian artists.

This fall, 20 students will move to Music Row, which at UTC will be a group of residences in Decosimo Apartments. Students do not need to be music majors, just members of one of UTC’s music ensembles, which include the Chamber Singers, Marching Mocs, Jazz Band, or Opera Theater . The program is open to students of any level and any major, including transfer students.

“Whether it’s an education major, a biology major, a science major, everyone is welcome,” Hicks said. “The bond that unites everyone is their love of music and their involvement in music at UTC.”

A similar program – Crescendo – is already in place at the University of Tennessee at Knoxville, but it’s only open to freshmen majoring or majoring in music.

Housing and Residence Life has reserved a section of the Decosimo apartments to begin enrolling students in the program in the summer. Although the music is the glue, Music Row goes beyond playing instruments, reading sheet music and listening to Spotify.

“We are not planning this just so that the students can live together. We also want the community to be able to come out and share experiences together,” Hicks said.

These experiences include local concerts, attending presentations by guest artists or guest speakers, or simply a UTC faculty member spending an evening with the students.

“We see the ensembles as a sort of music department program to join and participate, not just in the art of making music, but in building the community here,” Hicks said. “There are students there who, just like me, needed a place to go, needed a home.”

Music Row is still in its infancy, but word is spreading through social media and word of mouth.

“I’ve been approached by a few of our current students, and I’ve been approached by potential students as well,” Hicks said. “The only qualification is to be involved in our ensembles and to love the music.”

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