Visual and Performing Arts - From Classroom to Career Sophomore Year

cas_flag_sophomoreMore Advising
Use your Visual and Performing Arts faculty advisor and peer advising to choose the best courses, given your interest. Be prepared for your meeting.

Participate in Visual and Performing Arts Extracurricular Activities
Continue participating in the many arts focused extracurricular activities at the University. Collaborate with other arts students both inside and outside of your discipline to brainstorm and create exciting new artistic works and projects. Start thinking about potential leadership opportunities within the activities that you participate in.

  • Theatre Fairfield
  • University Symphony Orchestra
  • Gospel Choir
  • The Sounds: A Cappella Group
  • The Bensonians: A Cappella Group
  • Ham Channel
  • Jazz Rock and Blues Ensemble
  • Your Mother Does Improv: A student run improv troupe
  • Pep Band
  • Private instrumental and voice lessons

vpa_ctc_banner2Keep Dreaming! Attend "Get a Gig" Meetings
What is your "dream job" after graduation? What are you passionate about? Talk to professionals in your field, your faculty advisor and other mentors: How can you use your remaining time at Fairfield to prepare for it through class work, internships, volunteer activities, summer jobs, leadership positions with clubs and organizations, and other relevant out of class experiences. Learn how to prepare for job-hunting, interviews and networking events. Talk to the department chair. Take chances

I matriculated as a Psychology major, and during my first semester, I decided to add a major in Music as well. This created for a very unique educational experience, as there was no clear and present overlap in the two fields (e.g., courses in music therapy, music cognition, the psychology of music, etc.). This apparent "lack" of resources and classroom opportunities to bridge psychology and music, contrary to what one might expect, served more as a spring board than a stumbling block. I developed close relationships with my advisors in both Music and Psychology, and both were supportive of my desire to pursue my own unique, and institutionally-unprecedented, interests in combining psychology and music.

- Jonathan M. Tirrell '09; Music/Psychology double major; doctoral student, Program in Arts and Youth Development at Eliot-Pearson Department of Child Development, Tufts University

vpa_ctc_statueLife After Fairfield University
Here is an overview of life after Fairfield for many of our majors:

Art History
Fairfield University art history majors have gone on to become gallery managers, museum curators, events planners for auction houses, writers for arts journals, and more. In addition, art history majors have entered related fields such as interior design, architecture, and art collection assessment for banks and insurance companies. Those seeking advanced degrees have gone to graduate schools including New York University, Rutgers, Yale, and the University of Texas at Austin.

Music majors from Fairfield University have embarked on a great variety of professional endeavors, including:

vpa_ctc_music1Music education (elementary, secondary, and post-secondary)
Studio/individual teaching
Music therapist
Performance/professional musician; church/temple, as music director; composer (arranger/orchestrator/copyist) and conductor
Music librarian
Publisher / editor
Arts administrator
Promotions and marketing
Music software Programmer

vpa_ctc_ftmFilm, Television & Media Arts
Many graduates continue to develop their interests and perfect their skills through graduate studies, and have gone on to film school programs at New York University, Columbia, and the University of Southern California. The major in New Media Film, Television and Radio provides a great introduction to the professional world of these media. Our graduates are working in New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, and other media centers across the nation, such as Late Night with David Letterman, Fox News, MSNBC, MTV, The Jon Stewart Show, Comedy Central, New Line Cinema, Twentieth Century Fox, and Paramount Pictures.

Studio Art
Students graduate from Fairfield with a broad liberal education, no matter what their major, and are prepared for any number of career entries. Studio art majors of recent years have become professional artists and atelier printers. Graduates have taken positions in galleries, museums, arts administration, and publishing. Several studio art graduates have pursued further study in places such as the Boston Museum School of Fine Arts, Columbia, Rutgers, New York University, and Burren College of Art in Ireland.

Due to the interdisciplinary nature of this program, undergraduate education in theatre is excellent preparation for a career in Public Relations, Communications, Advertising, Writing, Publishing, Marketing, Education, Public service, law, and the theatre industry. Theatre Fairfield alumni have gone on to work with companies such as Riverdance on Broadway, Harold Prince Productions, Denver Theatre Center, Utah Shakespeare Festival, Manhattan Theatre Club, Long Wharf Theatre, Actors Equity Association, Westport Country Playhouse, and Fox Television.

More Study Abroad Options
Many Visual and Performing Arts majors choose to enrich their experience further by going abroad. Students spend a semester, a year, a month, or just ten days abroad earning academic credit and gaining the kind of knowledge only an on-site experience can provide. Fairfield University offers students from other colleges and universities semester, year, and short-term study abroad opportunities in Florence, ItalyManagua, NicaraguaAix-en-Provence, FranceBrisbane, Australia; and Galway, Ireland. Talk to your advisor about what location will offer you the best experience in your chosen field.

Internships: Trying Out a Career
Brainstorm with your advisor about potential internships for the summer and future semesters. Take advantage of the many on-campus, professionally run art galleries, museums, theatres, television channels, and music venues. Explore off-campus opportunities by working with your advisor and making connections to alumni and working professionals in your field of interest. Think about "trying out" a career, gaining work experience, acquiring marketable skills, potential mentors and a competitive edge. Look for potential matches between your internship and your career.

vpa_ctc_art2I worked with my advisors, Drs. Laura Nash and Judy Primavera, to develop a series of internships and independent studies in order to help deepen my understanding and knowledge in my fields of interest. When no class or internship existed in music therapy, for example, my advisors gave me the guidance and support necessary to forge my own internship, observing and working with music therapists in numerous fields across the state. This internship has actually now been pursued by a handful of other students, since my advisors and I first planned and implemented it. My desire to dig deeper was insatiable, and for the next few semesters, my advisors continued to mentor me in discovering my true potential as a academician, always providing the support that allowed me to confidently pursue my goals and interests, even when they did not necessarily conform to a pre-designed mold or track. 
- Jonathan M. Tirrell '09; Music/Psychology double major; doctoral student, Program in Arts and Youth Development at Eliot-Pearson Department of Child Development, Tufts University

Line Up References
Look for 3+ professors in Visual and Performing Arts and elsewhere who might serve as professional references for you. Discuss your future plans with them and ask for guidance. Stay in touch so they can speak about your successes in an informed way.

vpa_ctc_bookstoreAttend "Life After Fairfield" Alumni Panels
Attend a night of discussions with Fairfield alumni who have graduated from the Department of Visual and Performing Arts. Students will have the opportunity to discuss how graduates are using their arts knowledge in their chosen professions as well as ask alumni what they wish they had done in their undergraduate careers to better prepare them for the outside world. This provides great networking opportunities for students as well as valuable insight into future career opportunities.

Major/Minor Events
After attending Visual and Performing Arts Major/Minor events, talk to professors and students about how to get the most out of the major or how to combine majors and minors to create a specialized program catered to your interests and career goals.

That's just the start. Take a look at this career information from other University offices that we think is also valuable to Visual and Performing Arts majors.


Visual and Performing Arts career activities by class year

Freshman Year | Sophomore Year | Junior Year | Senior Year

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