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Science and Music: A Duet

Published on 08 December 2017

At St. Louis College of Pharmacy, students have opportunities to explore the full breadth of their passions. Through engagement in cultural and artistic activities, students grow as professionals and people. While the academic curriculum at the College is demanding, excelling inside the classroom by day and as a musician by night is typical for some of the College’s most promising students.

One group of students caught the eyes of faculty in the School of Arts and Sciences after showcasing a wide range of their talents in a single day. On the night of Friday, April 21, P3 students Suzie Chen, Benjamin Spitznagel and Johnathan Yockey performed in a concert featuring the College’s Royal Chorale, Jazz Band and Concert Band. Early the next morning, they were presenting at the annual meeting of the Missouri Academy of Science.

“As a music person and a science person, I found it striking that we had students being so successful at these very different events within 24 hours,” shared Amy Reese, Ph.D., associate professor of microbiology. “These multitalented students who are musically inclined are often stronger academically because they have learned how to effectively manage their time and be successful in both academic and musical pursuits.”

The link between studying music and academic success has long been a point of interest for academic researchers. 

“There are numerous studies that show students who train in music perform better academically by a lot of metrics,” noted Jeramia Ory, Ph.D., associate professor of biochemistry. “Part of it is the practice and discipline — learning you have to keep at something to become accomplished at it.”

Students also find parallels between their work in the classroom and their collaboration with peers in academic and practice settings.

“There are definitely teamwork aspects in a musical ensemble,” Ory added. “It is the same concept at work in a medical setting, with each member contributing their own expertise to the health care team.”

Music is an avenue for students to explore their interests outside the scope of the sciences while building the skills they need to be successful in practice.

“Participating in our music or theater opportunities enriches our students’ learning experiences,” Reese said. “Being involved in a group pursuit teaches them to be more purposeful with their time and allows them to connect with a group of people who will support them in their studies. And down the road, when they start interacting with patients, music is just one more aspect of their personality that can help them relate to people — and maybe even a way to connect.”

Through Liberal Arts Convocations, musical groups and theatrical performances, students benefit from receiving a health care-focused education paired with liberal arts experiences. Students are free to explore their many interests while gaining an education that prepares them to be tomorrow’s health care leaders.

This story was first published in the fall 2017 issue of Script. Visit stlcop.edu/script to read more and access previous issues.


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