The Music Building features two performance venues, labs, classrooms, studios, and practice rooms, each carefully constructed to make the building one of the most efficient in the nation. High ceilings, wide hallways and slanted walls allow musicians to easily navigate through practice rooms and performance areas. Sunlight is maximized with multiple windows and skylights to give students a sense of openness. The building also has direct access to the football field, paving the way for easy entrances and exits for the marching band at halftime.
by Savannah Christian
Texas A&M University-Commerce recently opened one of its newest additions, the $29 million music building. As the premier performance hall in Northeast Texas, the music building provides music students with ample opportunities to perfect their talent thanks to the 600-seat concert hall, a 75-seat recital hall, five rehearsal halls, various classrooms, labs, studios and practice rooms.
Phillip Clements, director of bands and instrumental activities, has already witnessed great improvements within the music department thanks to the new facility. He’s confident the building will continue to improve the university’s ability to draw students with superior music skills and a drive to excel.
“This building has made an immediate impact on our department,” Clements said. “Our facilities now match the quality of our faculty and students. It’s made A&M-Commerce one of the leading centers for music education in the Southwest.”
Prospective students looking for skilled ensembles, outstanding faculty and a creative environment will feel at home in the new music building thanks to its ideal atmosphere for rehearsal, classroom study, individual practice and concert performances.
Alex Castro chose to attend A&M-Commerce because of the positive impression he received from the music program. He was raised in Commerce and has several alumni in his family, but his decision to attend the university wasn’t confirmed until his lessons with professor Jimmy Clark began. Castro has studied in both the old and new music buildings and said the difference is immeasurable.
“The new music building has definitely improved the overall atmosphere of the campus,” Alex said. “I remember being a freshman and helping move equipment to Ferguson Social Sciences for concerts. Now, with all of the facilities in one building, setting up for concerts takes no time at all. It is also great to be in a facility that is so well maintained – the janitorial staff does an incredible job.”
Castro’s remarkable trombone skills are a testament to the quality staff and educational opportunities afforded him at A&M-Commerce. During the band’s recent trip to New York City to play at Carnegie Hall, Castro’s talent landed him a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to meet Jim Markey, his personal hero and inspiration. The chance meeting was spurred by Castro’s realization that Markey taught bass trombone at Juilliard. On a whim, Castro contacted Markey and was granted an appointment with him during the trip.
As if performing at Carnegie Hall wasn’t memorable enough, Castro capped off the trip with a lesson from Markey, and got a glimpse of the successful future he has been primed for at A&M-Commerce.
“[Jim Markey] is definitely someone I would like to study with once I graduate from the university,” Alex said. “Mr. Clark and the Texas A&M University-Commerce music department have prepared me to study at a major conservatory such as Juilliard and with a professor of that caliber.”
Castro’s experience is one of many exciting stories being lived out by students devoted to music at A&M-Commerce. The perfect tone is being set by a cadre of world class music educators passing on their knowledge to an eager and talented group of students in a building that was designed for teaching excellence, the blossoming of talent and the thrill of performance.