The First Commencement for BSMT

Connor Greene, left, Jonathan Brown, center, and James Pinder, right stand together in their caps and gowns during the Georgia Tech 2019 Spring Commencement.

From left to right: Connor Greene, Jonathan Brown, and James Pinder. Not pictured: Jared Henson

All of the usual festivities took place during the Spring 2019 Commencement at Georgia Tech: Graduates creatively decorated their hats, and thousands of proud parents traveled to campus to see their children finally achieve lifelong dreams.

But for the School of Music, this commencement was extra special. The first four graduates of the school’s newest degree program, the Bachelor of Science in Music Technology, walked the stage to receive their diplomas. The program is less than four years old, but in that time several students have transferred into the major.

These four students are the first of many to show what the combination of engineering, computing, and music can create for our futures and their own.

Jonathan Brown (Carrollton, Georgia)

Jonathan Brown entered Georgia Tech as an aerospace engineering major, but switched to music technology with an electrical and computer engineering concentration once he learned the degree was available for undergraduates. He was immediately attracted to how many career opportunities were available with the Music Technology degree, as opposed to a traditional music performance degree. Brown plans on working in audio systems once he graduates.

“Jonathan was a delight to have in my class. I think he initially felt he didn't have much to contribute, but in the end he ended up being the "odd jobs" guy who ultimately helped in almost every aspect of the project. He was incredibly conscientious and reliable. In fact, a funny anecdote was that he got called for a jury pool a few weeks ago. When he was under consideration we joked in his absence that [the lawyers] would obviously see how honest and conscientious he was, and would surely be picked. He was!” said assistant professor Claire Arthur, who taught Brown in his Capstone project course.

Jared Henson (Griffin, Georgia)

Jared Henson majored in music technology with a minor in industrial design. In his time at the School of Music, Henson showed great versatility as a musician, both playing in the jazz bands and singing in the chorale. Rather than some of the more specialized music technology classes the degree programs offer, he said Fundamentals of Musicianship IV was his favorite class, which offers an equal blend of music technology and classic music theory. He plans on moving to the Bay Area of California after graduation.

"Jared brought a fresh perspective to our jazz groups with his diverse background. He worked hard at developing skills in the jazz language while also bringing his love for technology and other musical styles to each rehearsal. As Jazz is a multicultural language, this background and diversity will help Jared do great things in his career after Georgia Tech,” said Chip Crotts, the director of Jazz Bands.

Connor Greene (Fayetteville, Georgia)

Connor Greene started at Georgia Tech as a materials science and engineering major. At the time, music technology was only available as a minor to undergraduate students. However, Greene quickly became heavily involved with the School of Music, playing in the Symphonic Band and also serving as an officer in the Marching Band. Once the bachelor degree in music technology became available, Greene changed majors. He said he especially enjoyed how the major taught him both sides of music technology: how to use the hardware and software that creates music, but also how it works.

“Connor has been an integral part of the band program during his time at Tech. In addition to being a performer in the concert and athletic bands, Connor served on the Marching Band Leadership Team as one of our Properties Lieutenants. As a student leader, he was instrumental in ensuring that our equipment and vehicles were well-cared for. He definitely made an impact in the band programs,” says Chris Moore, director of the Marching Band and Undergraduate Programs Coordinator for the Bachelor of Science in Music Technology.

James Pinder (Norcross, Georgia)

James Pinder was a versatile student in the music technology program. In his spare time, he worked on projects like building an organ in his house in Norcross, Georgia. At the same time, he also worked to design a new organ system for his church, saving them thousands of dollars in design fees and costs.

Pinder's musical instrument building talent and musicianship served him well at the School of Music. He was an accompanist for the Chorale, and could also frequently be found conducting the Symphony Orchestra during rehearsals.

“James is a curious young scholar and a passionate musician, always looking for new ways and innovative projects to combine his interests and scholarly work,” says Chaowen Ting, Director of Orchestras.

Pinder already has two jobs upon graduation, both continuing his passion for organs: one at Integrated Organ Technologies, and another at Decatur First United Methodist as both an organist and a pianist.