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UT launching first public College of Music in the state, transforming the School of Music

"You have the blues in Memphis, country music in Nashville, folk Appalachian over here — music is embedded in this state," said Dr. Jeffrey Pappas, the upcoming dean

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — The University of Tennessee is restructuring for the first time in more than 50 years.

This will transform its School of Music into a college — the highest level in the institution. This change will place UT's music scene on a statewide pedestal. It will be the first College of Music at a public university in Tennessee. 

One of the goals of this is to embrace all the sounds that Tennessee offers, from blues to country to folk music. One student taking advantage of the musical benefits and opportunities that East Tennessee offers is Salina Fang. 

She is a violinist at the School of Music and said transforming the school into a college will open new doors for students like her.

"Becoming its own college means we have a lot more independence and a lot of a lot more opportunities to create our own programs," Fang said.

Her dream job is to teach violin. As a student, she has already started working towards achieving that dream.

"UT has prepared me almost every step of the way," she said. "Providing me opportunities to be with my own professors and learning more about how to use my craft to share with other students, younger students, older students."

Dr. Jeffrey Pappas, the director of UT's the School of Music, will become the dean of the college. He said he believed this was a huge step for the university. 

"I would call it bold. I think it's looking toward what Tennessee needs," Pappas said.  

He said this change will allow the College of Music to have more autonomy in creating its own programs and curriculums. 

"We're still going to promote excellence, we're going to still allow people to follow their dreams. And as we like to say, we dare you to shine," he said. 

Pappas said the change could affect more than just campus life and could provide a boost to Knoxville's economy.

More opportunities for performers in Knoxville could mean more music business in the city.

"We bring that value, added quality to everyone's life. And that's what makes it so exciting," Pappas said. "So you really don't have to be a musician to love what we do. But if you are we want to make you the best musician you can be."

He said that while some universities are cutting back on the fine arts, UT is investing and expanding on them.

July first will mark the start of the UT College of Music.

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