The perfect mix at the Hayes School of Music
In her first two years, Appalachian State University choral music education major Carys Kunze covered a lot of ground: she travelled to Austria with The Honors College, landed a College Music Society internship in Buenos Aires, Argentina, and was accepted to present at the 2013 National Conference on Undergraduate Research in Lacrosse, Wis. As a junior this year she’s focused on the academic side of her curriculum, learning the teaching methods she’ll need in front of the classroom in a few years.
It has all been possible, she said, because of her Chancellor’s Scholarship, which allows her to attend Appalachian at virtually no cost; her place in The Honors College; and “amazing support from the faculty.”
In her teens, Kunze taught sight-reading to the younger members of a community choir in Frederick, Md., and knew then she wanted to teach. She considered Appalachian because she had family in North Carolina, hardly expecting it to be her choice. But, she said, unlike most universities that excel at either music or education, “Appalachian had really impressive programs in both (areas of study). Then, the scholarship made it a possibility. But the most striking thing about Appalachian is the faculty. I’ve been blown away by how much time and help my professors are willing to give.”
Associate Professor of Music Theory Jennifer Snodgrass was instrumental in helping Kunze define her research project on “The power of group dynamics in musical ensembles.” “She came into my office one day,” Snodgrass said, “asking for help with a topic. She said, ‘I wonder why...?’ And I said, ‘Well, there you go!’ We sat there that afternoon and came up with a plan. She just took it and ran with it. Carys is not afraid to take challenges. She seeks out opportunities and makes them happen.”
Kunze is also active with the College Music Society. “The work she has done there is not required in her degree program,” Hayes School of Music Dean Bill Pelto said. “But it demonstrates her leadership skills, her interest beyond who she is as a music student and her great potential for next steps as a professional musician or teacher.”