The Sarah and Ernest Butler School of Music is part of the University of Texas in Austin and is considered one of the top music schools in the country. It offers degree programs from the undergraduate to the doctoral level, with training in performance, composition, music teacher training, jazz, theory, musicology, ethnomusicology, pedagogy and liberal studies in music. The low student to faculty ratio allows students to work closely with faculty members who are gifted and renowned musicians themselves.
Performance experience is an essential part of a musical education and at the Butler School of Music, students get to perform with world class ensembles and musicians. In the past, students have performed with the London Symphony Orchestra and Chicago Symphony Orchestra, and collaborated with musical legends like Andrea Bocelli and Willie Nelson, says Claire Spera, Publicity Coordinator for the School.
Students can also gain performance experience through the Gig Referral Service, which is "...a free musician referral program that matches excellent Butler School of Music musicians with clients on and off campus who are looking for performers and private instruction, students hone their skills while earning valuable career experience and compensation."
Other projects that take students out into the community include the Chamber Music Outreach Project through which students participate in community outreach projects. Through the String Project and Piano Project, undergraduate and graduate students teach piano and string instruments to children aged four and older. This is one of the finest programs for training teachers in the U.S., and also for spotting and developing young talent.
The Student Life experience at the University includes musical ensembles which do not require auditions. Music students participate in these as well, says Spera, "Each year, students at the University of Texas at Austin participate in nearly forty different musical ensembles offered through the Butler School of Music. While all music majors are required to perform in ensembles as part of their degree, many non-music majors also perform in these groups as a way to foster their love of music and show their UT spirit. Our ensembles provide students experience working in teams, building self-discipline through musical practice, and developing leadership skills."
An education in music allows students to develop their talents and to learn crucial skills, Spera believes: "The study of music develops skills ranging from musical expression to analysis of musical works. Music also develops the ability to concentrate intensely, listen introspectively, observe keenly, work under pressure, meet deadlines and maintain composure when faced with the unexpected. Well-developed communication skills, along with aural sensitivity, enable graduates to contribute to and succeed in many professions."
Annual events hosted by the School include the Holiday Choral Concert in December, the Black History Month Concert in February, the Longhorn Jazz Festival in April and a tailgate event for Butler School alumni, donors, students and their families and friends on a Saturday in October, before a UT football game.