Emily Miclon has always had a passion for music from around the world and knew she would be able to further that passion as a Master’s student in percussion at MU. She participated in every chance to learn music from another culture and is still doing that today. Just prior to graduating in May with a Master’s in Music (MM), she learned she was the recipient of a Frank Huntington Beebe Award for Musicians. The purpose of this fund is to provide fellowships for students to study music abroad. Emily’s proposal was to study music in South India for a year.
Why did you decide to get your MM at MU?
Nearing the end of my undergraduate degree, I knew I wanted to continue with my education in order to enhance my performance skills. Mizzou was a top school on my list due to the opportunities to learn Non-Western percussion and the comprehensive and diverse percussion curriculum.
I went to the Percussive Arts Society International Convention (PASIC) in 2018, and saw Mizzou’s Chiyedza Mbira ensemble perform. The performance was deeply moving to me. After the performance, I met with Dr. Arns, and she immediately framed what my time at Mizzou could look like depending on which careers I was interested in. I knew MU would not only provide ample opportunities to explore all areas of percussion, but would fully support me and provide room to grow my own identity as a musician.
What does it mean to you to be selected for the Beebe award?
The Beebe award has made it financially feasible for me to complete a year of study abroad in India. I am so grateful for this award. After a month studying in South India and being immersed in the culture, I know this will be one of the most enriching educational experiences of my lifetime. This experience will continue to shape the ways I interact with music (and more!) for the rest of my life, and without the support of the Beebe award, it would not have been possible.
What will your project be in India?
I will spend the year studying Mridangam, the principle drum of the Carnatic music tradition. I'll spend my time taking lessons with my teacher, attending concerts and classes, and interacting with other musicians in Chennai, Tamil Nadu. I will take classes that teach me the context, history, and theory of Indian classical music. I will also be able to spend some time teaching western percussion as well.
“Emily always had a positive attitude and was completely prepared and engaged at the highest levels in her own personal music making. However, I especially appreciated her efforts in pushing all of us to diversify our repertoire and curriculum during her time in a leadership role in the Student Inclusion, Diversity, and Equity (IDE) Collective. Her desire to improve not only herself, but the experience of her fellow students was particularly inspiring.” Dr. Brian Silvey, Director of Bands, Professor of Music Education
Do you have a favorite memory from your experience at MU?
I have so many favorite memories!! I spent a lot of late nights, weekends, early mornings, and spring breaks in the Sinquefield Music Center (and Loeb) with my fellow graduate students rehearsing our chamber group for upcoming performances. These were special times filled with coffee, laughter, and good company. I am extremely grateful for the inspiration and growth caused by working with the fellow graduate students at Mizzou!
Tell me how your professors have helped you throughout your degree?
The most valuable gift my professors at Mizzou gave me was confidence. They believed in me more than I believed in myself at times, and always provided me with the opportunity to lead and grow. Dr. Arns went out of her way every day to ensure I was supported, and her positive outlook and excitement for upcoming projects and possibilities in my future was contagious. She made me feel like anything was possible, and I have taken that energy with me as I travel across the world to pursue music! All of my other professors were equally as supportive. My mentors at Mizzou taught me a lot about music, but they were also fantastic human beings who valued kindness and doing the right thing. I am grateful for the ways they have helped me grow as a musician and a human being!
"Emily was an invaluable member of the percussion studio during her time at MU. Her positive attitude, strong work ethic, and passion for music are wonderful models for her peers, and her ability to foster a positive learning environment among her students is admirable. As a leader in our School of Music, Emily started an elective percussion ensemble for non-major percussionists and recruited many students for it, led our Student Committee for Inclusion, Diversity and Equity, and served as President of our student percussion organization. It was a joy to work with Emily here at MU, and I am thrilled she has received the opportunity to spend the year in Chennai, India studying Carnatic music." Dr. Megan Arns, Director of Percussion Studies
The School of Music is proud to now have Emily as an alum and we wish her the best of success this year in India. Please enjoy some of the performances she gave us during her time at MU where she played both western and non-western music.