Improvements on the way for music majors

Sharida Rejon, Features editor

For the first time in Bakersfield College history, students who are music majors will have the opportunity to improve their skills with the help of a new curriculum and a completely renovated facility.

The newly established Associate of Arts for Transfer in Music degree is part of the changes that BC is offering to help current music students who are planning to transfer to a four-year university succeed.

A completely new class, designed to aid students to refine their soloist skills, is being introduced in order to help them be better prepared for their future in music.

John Gerhold, the department chair of performing arts at BC, has been pursuing the possibility of offering this class for nearly 20 years because he believes that it will be very beneficial to the students.

“Before, we had an AA degree in music, which had most of the content of this new transfer degree in it, but it was missing the private lessons component,” Gerhold said. “What I’ve seen in 20 years of teaching here is that we have students that succeed in the classroom classes very well, but then when they transfer, because they haven’t been getting the lessons to work on their solo skills, they sometimes struggle, and we are addressing that finally.”

Gerhold believes that the new class will not only help students improve their skills, but it will help them become more competitive and give students a better understanding of what a university music program is like.

“One of the things that’s true about music as a career is that it’s very competitive,” Gerhold said. “So in order for our students to compete in that world, their skills have to be their very best that we can help them achieve. Without the lessons component, we had a hard time getting them to that point.

“If they haven’t gotten private lessons because they can’t afford it, which is a lot of our students, they aren’t as competitive when they go away to university,” he said.

“It also puts them in a bind where they need to develop those skills a lot faster. Now we’ll give them the first two years of training here, so when they transfer they’re going to be in a position to compete and really shine instead of feeling like they’re behind.”

In addition to the new curriculum, music students will have the opportunity to work in a newly renovated facility starting in the fall semester.

The Simenson Performing Arts Center, which will also house the BC theater department, will include passenger elevators, completely renovated outdoor and indoor theaters, new practice rooms, a new band room, new equipment – including a music computer lab where students will be able to learn about synthesizing and digital music – new pianos, and other amenities designed to improve the students’ educational journey, and provide a better experience for audiences during performances.

The facility is scheduled to open Aug. 11, with the exception of the indoor theater.

According to Gerhold, renovations for the indoor theater will include projectors, a new sound system, and built in acoustic devices. Due to the technology being installed in this building, the theater is expected to be finished in November.

“When that facility opens, students will be in an environment that is very high quality and it’s so much easier to want to do your best work when you’re surrounded by a really great facility,” said Gerhold.

“If they’re serious about becoming better musicians, now we have the courses and the facility to help them get there. We’re really excited about it.”



Audition Notice


A round of auditions for the new Applied Music class is scheduled in the summer. To be added to the list to audition or to obtain more information about the pre-requisites for the class, email John Gerhold at

[email protected]