In 2004, ISU entered into an agreement with the Shenyang Conservatory of Music in Shenyang, China with the purpose of trading of cultures, musical training and traditions, and the opportunity for students and faculty of both institutions to visit the other schools. The Shenyang Conservatory of Music has several branches that cover traditional Chinese music, classical music (in the western tradition), popular music, and dance. The various campuses of the conservatory have an enrollment of approximately 4,000 music students from all over China.
As a result of the ISU/Shenyang agreement, each summer ISU sends a group of students and faculty to Shenyang to experience the school and its curriculum. Similarly, the Shenyang Conservatory of Music has also sent contingents of students and faculty to ISU to experience our campus and to perform for all of us. It has been and continues to be a very exciting international opportunity for all involved. The former Director of Music Business at ISU, Jim Slutz was invited, after his retirement from ISU, to develop and teach a music business curriculum at the main campus of the conservatory. With his wife, Shirley, Jim spent almost six months teaching eager Chinese students about the intricacies of a music business education. Jim's efforts further strengthened the bonds between our schools and helped develop plans to expand ISU teaching at Shenyang.
In the summer of 2006, ISU's current Director of Music Business, Ted Piechocinski, was invited to teach a Music Business course at the conservatory's south campus, which houses approximately 2,000 music students, about 250 of which are music business students (actually, the Chinese equivalent of our music business studies is called Arts Management studies). He spent nine weeks with his Chinese students exploring what the music business means and how the students can better prepare themselves for this growing field. While normal semesters at ISU entail approximately 45 hours of class contact time, the compressed time table for the Chinese course actually entailed more contact hours, about 70 contact hours, with students. It was quite an intense period of study for everyone, this at a time when Chinese temperatures consistently approached 80 degrees....without the benefit of air conditioning in either the classroom buildings or Dr. Piechocinski's living quarters.
At all times during class, Dr. Piechocinski had a translator to make sure his message was getting to all of his students, but, with many idiomatic terms and phrases used in the music business, it was sometimes tricky to make sure that ideas and concepts were being correctly and adequately translated. In fact, it sometimes took class-time conversations between the translator and Dr. Piechocinski to make sure the right message was, in fact, beng conveyed. All in all, this was a tremendous experience and one that no doubt will help Dr. Piechocinski's American students as well as, he hopes, a continuing benefit to those students in Shenyang who truly did become his Chinese students. As we continue to develop this website, there will be greater details and some photos added to give a better idea of this terrific relationship ISU has with the Shenyang Conservatory of Music and how current and future ISU students will have further opportunity to visit China and share their thoughts, experiences, and knowledge with the Chinese counterparts.