HU music alumnus excels in graduate program

Looking at the study guides for two entrance exams to Bowling Green State University’s master’s in music history program, Jacob Smith realized that there was nothing on the pages that he hadn’t seen before.

“I was looking through those study guides, and almost everything on them we had covered in the music theory and history classes at HU,” the Berne, Ind., native said. “I didn’t have to learn anything new.”

Smith graduated from Huntington University in May of 2014 with a degree in choral music education and that inspired his love for music history and teaching. While he was at HU, he took two courses in music history.

Smith passed the entrance exams – one in theory and one in music history – with flying colors and was awarded a place in BGSU’s program and an assistantship that not only covers the cost of graduate school but also provides a stipend each month. Through the assistantship, Smith gets a taste of his future by helping to teach college-level courses under the direction and instruction of a faculty member.

“I’m assisting for a world music class. The class is called ‘Music of World Cultures,’” Smith said. “Just this past Friday, I went in, and my professor was going to be away at a conference so I actually stepped in and taught one of her classes. I really enjoyed it.”

Smith also takes classes of his own. So far, he said he loves his music history classes and building on the foundational knowledge of the topic he learned at HU. Knowing the material on the entrance exams also gave him additional confidence to pursue more opportunities at BGSU and in the surrounding community.

Along with taking classes and fulfilling his assistantship, Smith also got involved at a local church and directs the choir. In addition, he participates in a small-group Bible study with fellow Christians in his program at BGSU.

“It was nothing I was expecting,” said Smith, “but it was an amazing God thing that happened.”

Smith said he has felt incredibly blessed through his experiences at BGSU which he attributed to his preparation at HU.

“I know a bunch of students and colleagues who weren’t able to pass their entrance exams,” said Smith. “I felt very fortunate going in and not being surprised by anything. Everything on those exams I had already done in class at Huntington.”

After graduation from BGSU in 2016, Smith plans to look for professor positions open at local colleges and to pursue his Ph.D.

“Being able to interact closely with students would be what I prefer,” said Smith. “If I would have the luxury of choosing where to teach, a school like Huntington would be my first choice.”