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From Patrick Keppel

Study in the Liberal Arts is a part of the ‘direct’ musical instruction at NEC—a place where you not only go to become a great musician, but to become a great interdisciplinary thinker—which is what musicians are.
Patrick KeppelChair, Liberal Arts

As a teacher at NEC and chair of the Liberal Arts department, it’s always a great pleasure for me to witness the growth of our students as musicians, critical thinkers, and people in so many truly astonishing ways.  I think we have a unique perspective on the work students do at NEC.  While not a part of the ‘direct’ musical instruction students receive, study in the Liberal Arts is a key part of NEC’s mission and core values as articulated in the Definition of an NEC-Educated Person.  This statement asserts that NEC’s goal is not simply to train technical masters, but to educate whole persons equipped with the critical thinking, reading, writing, interpersonal, and collaborative skills they will need to have successful careers in the 21st century.

In this sense, study in the Liberal Arts is a part of the ‘direct’ musical instruction at NECa place where you not only go to become a great musician, but to become a great interdisciplinary thinker—which is what musicians are.

Students often tell us how important they feel it is to study other academic disciplines that on the surface have nothing to do with music.  They say their Liberal Arts electives enrich them personally, besides providing the literary, historical, philosophical, social, and artistic contexts for the music they will explore throughout their careers. Since all our classes are small in size, ranging from 15 to 25 students, students receive a great deal of individual attention from our Liberal Arts faculty, all of whom have advanced degrees in their fields.  We are above all committed teachers who find NEC students inspiring! 

We also offer a Minor in the Liberal Arts, which provides students the opportunity to work closely with a faculty advisor to concentrate on a focused area of study in the Liberal Arts.  This additional credential can be useful for further study and careers beyond NEC.

Academic Support is provided through our commitment to individual conferences, as well as through The Writing Center, a tutoring service where students can work on writing projects of any kind at any stage of the writing process.

Finally, annual Liberal Arts Events and Publications create various ways of engaging the students, including a course fair, a poetry reading, a Drama Workshop production, visual arts exhibitions, and a student-edited (and student-founded) journal of exemplary student writing, Hear Here!  The creative arts workshops and presentations are particularly exciting, as students show how the skills in artistic expression that they have developed in the course of their musical studies can be applied and enriched in other art forms.

Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions about study in the Liberal Arts at NEC!

Patrick Keppel
Chair, Liberal Arts Department

01. Students in Drama Workshop
02. Students in the Poetry Workshop
03. Students in the Sculpture Studio
04. Students in LARTS class
05. Students in ESL
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