MSU Saxophonists at work... and play!
What are MSU saxophone students like?
The best way to describe the saxophone students at Morehead State is to say that we are just a little different. We are energetic, passionate, and exhibit a decent dose of humor. You could say that we are fun-loving and sometimes wacky, but at the end of the day we work hard and set a high standard for ourselves.
How many saxophonists study at Morehead State?
We are one of the largest studios in the entire music program averaging around 15 students majoring in saxophone performance, music education, jazz studies, or general music. Students come from all over the country to study music at MSU, but a majority are from Kentucky, Indiana, Ohio, and West Virginia.
What do saxophone students do at Morehead State?
A lot! We are busy making all kinds of music! We play classical, jazz, and contemporary music in chamber ensembles, large ensembles, and as soloists. For those of us pursuing degrees in music education, we also spend time learning classroom teaching strategies, along with taking classes to learn how to play and teach just about every instrument that you can imagine. In our free time, we study conducting, music theory, music history and music technology. Every so often, we take classes outside Baird Music Hall, like math or English, but we try to get back as quickly as we can. We try to take at least one major trip per year for a North American Saxophone Alliance Conference or the US Navy Band Saxophone Symposium, but we also take several "mini-trips," to perform for area schools and stay in town to play for various community events.
What Groups/Ensembles can I play in?
Besides performing solos and duets you might play in a saxophone quartet, MoreSax (the large saxophone ensemble which includes bass and sopranino saxophones!), Jazz Combo, Jazz Band, Symphony Band, Marching Band, The Cave Run Symphony Orchestra, and various mixed chamber ensembles.
How hard are auditions? Does everyone who auditions get in?
The saxophone studio is one of the most competitive at MSU, so acceptance in the studio is selective. Generally there are four to five openings per year, with as many as 10 to 15 students auditioning for those spots. Each year is different; the most important thing to do is to practice and do your best. If you have questions about auditions or would like to set up a lesson with Dr. Mensink, you can contact him directly through this site or MSU's faculty page. If you are ready to set up your audition click here.
Can I get a music scholarship? What if I'm not a music major?
Absolutely. MSU has very competitive academic and talent-based scholarships. An academic scholarship is based on your GPA and ACT scores. A music scholarship is based on the strength of your audition and will be determined after all auditions have finished (end of February). It is possible to get both types of scholarships. Music scholarships are competitive, and while a non-music majors can receive scholarships, the majority is awarded to music-majors.
If I come to MSU can I study Jazz and Classical music?
Yep. Many of our students participate in our jazz program, whether just an improv class, or one of the very fine jazz ensembles or combos. Students may also have the opportunity to perform in a section with Dr. Mensink in the Cave Run Symphony Orchestra for some concerts. Additionally, several saxophone quartets exist performing a variety of styles, including jazz.
Do you ever have guest saxophonists?
You bet! Here are a few recent ones:
James Houlik, Carnegie-Melon University; Matt Otto, KU and Rutgers University; David Liebman and Expansions; Nathan Nabb, SFA University; Kevin Norton, Cincinnati; The United States Army Saxophone Quartet, Washington, D.C.; Chris Clark, West Virginia State University, and the list goes on...
If I graduate with a degree in music, can I get a job?
Of course you can! Many graduates from the saxophone studio go on to play professionally or teach music. Others elect to go into another field or pursue graduate school study in a variety of fields. Music is a highly respected major that allows you to get experience that which can put to good use in a variety of careers, as is beautifully demonstrated by our amazing alumni, who work all over the country and world in music-related fields, and a host of other areas. The music education program at MSU has the same job placement rate as the music education program at the Eastman School of Music--nearly 100%--which is unheard of at just about any other institution.