Bachelor’s degree in musicology
An encounter with Laurence Gauvin, holder of a bachelor’s degree in musicology from the Université de Montréal Faculty of Music.
- Could you talk to us briefly about your background?
After finishing a college diploma in flute at Cégep Marie-Victorin I decided I would further my education in musicology at the Université de Montréal Faculty of Music. Music for me is both a vocation and a true passion. I devote most of my time to it, and it’s enormous fun! My principal interests in the field involve musicology, listening to the repertoire and conducting.
- Why choose the musicology program at the Faculty of Music?
In my eyes, musicology is a synthetic study that brings together a large number of fields of study in music: history, theory, ethnomusicology, sociomusicology, science of music, and more. The training is very comprehensive and makes it possible for you to develop a facility in the majority of musical domains. It’s primarily that cross-sectoral aspect of the program and the freedom with regard to course choices that influenced my decision to attend the Faculty of Music to study musicology. The abundant course offer allows for a unique specialization according to our personal interests.
We’re also surrounded by impassioned professors who are extremely competent in their areas of specialization. No one can teach musical esthetics or historiography better than Marie-Hélène Benoit-Otis, who certainly knows how to transform material into highly enriching and participatory experiences. She has a gift for simplifying highly intellectual concepts that, taught differently, could be overwhelming. We also have a chance to be taught the history of different musical periods by people with encyclopedic knowledge, teachers like François de Médicis or Jonathan Goldman, among others.
- During your stay at the Faculty of Music you surely came in touch with striking people who had an impact on your development. Can you talk to us about one of them?
My life at the Faculty of Music was influenced by a teacher I had the good fortune to get to know: Luce Beaudet. She teaches a number of courses, including the famous Analyse du discours harmonique tonal de Bach à Wagner (Analysis of tonal harmonic discourse from Bach to Wagner) (MTE12041 and MTE12042), an unprecedented course for anyone wanting to do analysis of the tonal repertoire. Her passion, her energy, her thoroughness and her methods can really perform miracles. It’s a course in which I went beyond, in an incomparable way, everything I’d experienced before. You have to be able to take the bull by the horns to succeed, and I came out of her course prouder than ever!
- Is there an event or anecdote you’d like to share with us?
During my first year of university I participated in the Gamelan workshop offered at the Faculty. Since I had the opportunity to travel to Bali just before I started school here, it was a memorable experience to learn the gamelan techniques that I’d observed in its country of origin a few months earlier. Our final exam was a concert I’ll always remember!
- What advice would you give to a first-year student?
1) The library IS your best friend.
2) Never underestimate what you have to say. Every contribution can be relevant, as much in a work project as in class!
3) Get involved in your student association : that has a drastic effect (in a positive way) on your university experience!
- What are the three most important qualities for a musicologist?
1) Be impassioned
2) Rigor, rigor and rigor!
3) Fastidiousness, in all areas (research, writing)
- Describe an ambitious (or totally crazy!) project that you’ve worked on.
I’m currently working on putting together my first lecture, which will be presented as part of an international symposium taking place in 2021.
Who’s your favorite artist (composer, musician etc.), and why?
My favorite artists are divided into two categories: my area of study and my enjoyment of the repertoire. On the area of study side: Balakirev’s “The Five” – Mussorgsky, Rimsky-Korsakov, Borodin, Cui, and himself. In terms of musical enjoyment strictly speaking, my favorite composer would certainly be Schubert, whose music is incomparably beautiful.