The SUNY Buffalo State Music Department is committed to providing students a comprehensive, practical, and experiential education, driven by the diverse needs of the 21st-century musician.
Working within a supportive and collaborative environment, Buffalo State music students will develop the musicianship, academic skills, and professional disposition necessary to take on active roles as artists and leaders in the global community.
To engage music majors in theoretical, pedagogical, and applied learning experiences through active participation in coursework, performances, research projects, field experiences, and internships.
To provide innovative and creative approaches to instruction and curriculum development, based on current research, best practice, and technological advances in teaching and learning.
To provide a general education curriculum through which Buffalo State students can explore diverse musical genres and the role of music in society.
To contribute to the cultural enrichment and music education of all members of the Western New York community by providing a variety of musical experiences and educational opportunities to the public.
To recruit, admit, and prepare traditionally under-represented students—including students who are economically disadvantaged and those representing diverse cultural and racial backgrounds.
Music Majors at SUNY Buffalo State have the opportunity to earn the Bachelor of Arts in Music Degree or the Bachelor of Music in Music Education Degree. The Music Education program leads to New York State Intial Teaching Certiciation and is the only Music Education program in SUNY that grants Broadfield (K-12, instrumental and vocal) certification.
Buffalo State offers a variety of outstanding music ensembles. The Philharmonia Orchestra, Wind Ensemble, and College Chorale serve as primary ensmebles for all music majors. Beyond these, students are encouraged to particiapte in Jazz Ensemble, Chamber Choir, Elmwood Swing, West African Drumming Ensemble, Digital Music Ensemble, and a host of small chamber ensembles.
The Music Department maintains outstanding facilities and state of the art music technology. Our Digital Music Labs, Recording Studios and Smart classrooms ensures that every student has the resources they need to realize their passion.
At SUNY Buffalo State, music majors are guided by a group of highly-qualified and dedicated music faculty. Our faculty members are nationally and internationally recognized performers, scholars, and leaders in their field.
The History of the Music Department
The music department has undergone several iterations, originally founded as a stand-alone department housed in the basement offices of what is now the Albright Knox art gallery. During the college-wide re-organization of the 1970’s the music department was partnered with the theater department and the dance department into one large Performing Arts Department. In yet another re-organization of the School of Arts and Humanities in the 2000’s the music department once again gained its independence as a stand-alone department.
In the 1960’s the Buffalo State Music Department was on the cutting edge of electronic music, when work with synthesizers and computer generated sound was “the thing”. The music department also had several composers on its faculty who taught and had their music performed as part of the 60’s music scene around Buffalo and New York City. These included Bob Cantrick, James Mabry, Anton Wolf and others. Much of this was done in collaboration with the music department at the University of Buffalo.
More recently the music department has held as its primary focus the field of music education, though the Bachelor of Arts program continues to thrive and leads students to fulfilling lives as musicians and scholars. The Bachelor of Music Education degree was proposed in 1998. The music education program has graduated nearly 200 graduates since its inception, most of whom are working in the field of music education as full-time music teachers. In 2014, SUNY approved the first fully-online Master’s of Music Education degree program in the SUNY system. This program has graduated nearly 50 students with Master’s Degrees, and is a highly competitive and sought after MMED program in New York state and beyond.
Future plans for the department return to the roots of the 1960’s, branching to the field of electronic music. The department plans to begin offering a Bachelor of Arts in Digital Music Production. Members of the music faculty will build and oversee this degree with dual tracks in Electronic Music Composition and Audio Recording.
Full-time faculty who have served in the department
* Current Full-Time Faculty members
Paul Homer (Performing Arts)
Jim Mabry (Performing Arts)
Myron Nadel (Performing Arts)
Donna McCarthy (Performing Arts)
1978: Joseph F Wincenc: SUNY Distinguished Teaching Professor
1997: Charles Mancuso: President’s Excellence in Research, Scholarship and Creativity