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College’s Music Program Opens Doors for Students at Four-Year Universities

Magdiel Zuniga, a student at LSC-Montgomery
Magdiel Zuniga, a music major at Lone Star College-Montgomery, will transfer to Sam Houston State University this fall to study guitar. He is one of more than 20 music students who got their start at LSC-Montgomery before transferring to four-year universities later this year.
Several graduates from Lone Star College-Montgomery’s dynamic music program are taking their education and experience “on the road” as transfer students.

Approximately 20 music students from LSC-Montgomery are transferring this fall to four-year universities to complete a bachelor’s degree (or higher) in the music field. Offers for enrollment came in from a variety of universities from Oklahoma to Texas, with some students even receiving multiple offers.

“It was an exceptionally talented group of students, so it's no surprise they have all successfully transferred into excellent four-year institutions to continue their musical studies,” said Dr. Mark Marotto, director of choral activities and associate professor of music at LSC-Montgomery. “Many have shown tremendous growth in their private vocal and instrumental study and will be performing on par with their peers at their future schools.” 

Ashley Piatkowski, from Huntsville, feels more than prepared to join her peers at Texas Tech University this fall.

“I have no doubt that when I start Texas Tech in the fall I will be ready for what comes next,” she said. “I have made lasting relationships with my teacher that I will keep once I join the musical workforce. I've learned that no matter what is happening in your life, that you always have your music family.”

Piatkowski plans to stay a part of that “music family” indefinitely. Her major is music education, and she plans to be a middle school or high school choir director.

“I want to keep music alive and loved for generations to come,” she said.

For Magdiel Zuniga, starting at LSC-Montgomery allowed him to solidify his decision to pursue a career in music. Although music was on the forefront of his ambitions, “doubt and a lack of self-confidence” led him to explore other more job-secure areas.

“For this, Lone Star was perfect, as I was able to take my time reassuring my choice in music inexpensively,” he said.

Opera Gala students on stage performing
Lone Star College-Montgomery has proven to be a great starting point for many area music students, providing opportunities such as the annual Opera Gala to gain valuable experience. This fall, more than 20 music students will transfer to four-year universities to continue their music studies.
Zuniga is a first-generation Mexican-American, born and raised in the Houston area. Although none of his family comes from a musical background, Zuniga said his parents were very influential in his understanding of diligence and perseverance as they worked to succeed in this country.

“Their story helped me recognize the hard work needed to realize a particular dream in one's life,” he said.

Zuniga’s primary instrument is classical guitar, which he will study at Sam Houston State
University. He hopes to eventually obtain a doctorate degree in both classical guitar performance and in music composition.

“His hard work and practice really showed in his final performances,” said Michael Walsh, adjunct professor of voice at LSC-Montgomery. “Studying voice (along with the guitar) gave him a more refined sense of melodic contour and phrasing. His musicality and language skills both improved dramatically.”

LSC-Montgomery offers an intensive, two-year associate of arts field of study degree in music. Students learn music theory, ear training, music history, keyboard skills and more. The program is designed so that all completed music classes count toward a degree in music and transfer seamlessly to any music program at a Texas four-year college or university.

LSC-Montgomery is the only college in the Lone Star College System that has a building entirely devoted to music. The Music Hall features a state-of-the-art Recital Hall, a 167-seat performance space that boasts acoustics by one of the top acoustic firms in the nation. It also includes teaching studios, a percussion studio, a piano lab/electronic music classroom, a band rehearsal hall, and a choir rehearsal hall.

Additionally, LSC-Montgomery was recently designated as an ‘All-Steinway School,’ demonstrating its commitment to excellence by providing students and faculty the best equipment possible.

Students in LSC-Montgomery’s music program perform a full season of concert and recitals, including at local high schools, retirement homes, and annual tours in Austin and New Orleans. Students also perform in the annual Opera Gala, which raises scholarship money for other music students. 

“The feeling you get when the curtain opens and you know you are doing something that will help benefit someone else feels so amazing,” said Piatkowski. 

For more information, visit www.LoneStar.edu/music-montgomery.

LSC-Montgomery is located at 3200 College Park Drive, one-half mile west of Interstate 45, between Conroe and The Woodlands. For more information about the college, call 936.273.7000, or visit www.LoneStar.edu/montgomery.

Lone Star College System has been opening doors to a better community for 40 years. Founded in 1973, LSCS remains steadfast in its commitment to student success and credential completion.  Today, with 78,000 students in credit classes, and a total enrollment of more than 90,000, Lone Star College System is the largest institution of higher education in the Houston area and one of the fastest-growing community college systems in the nation.  Dr. Richard Carpenter is the chancellor of LSCS, which consists of six colleges including LSC-CyFair, LSC-Kingwood, LSC-Montgomery, LSC-North Harris, LSC-Tomball and LSC-University Park, seven centers, LSC-University Center at Montgomery, LSC-University Center at University Park, Lone Star Corporate College, and LSC-Online. To learn more visit www.LoneStar.edu.