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HomeMohawk'Really sad:' Mohawk College announces suspension of Applied Music program

‘Really sad:’ Mohawk College announces suspension of Applied Music program

On Nov. 22, Mohawk College announced the suspension of its Applied Music program. 

The three-year advanced diploma program offered an opportunity for students to learn how to compose, perform and produce music in classic and contemporary styles. Students also could specialize their studies in an instrument of their choice or in vocals. 

A media release issued by Mohawk College stated that the program was being suspended due to not being financially viable because of increasing costs and declining student enrollment. 

“Enrollment was down about 46 per cent in Fall 2023, 28 students, compared to the recent peak enrolment of 52 students in Fall 2019,” Mohawk College press secretary Bill Steinburg said. “This has greatly impacted the financial sustainability of the program.” 

The release also stated that it was no longer financially possible to offer the level of quality education that made the program successful.

A glass door with a blue sign saying "Music Department"
The Applied Music program has been running for over 40 years, starting in 1977.

Students enrolled in the Applied Music program can still finish their three-year diploma and graduate, with the last group of Applied Music students set to graduate in 2026. 

The announcement of the program’s suspension has been sad news to many in Mohawk’s community, both inside and outside of the Applied Music program. 

Xuan Feng, a first-year Applied Music student studying contemporary guitar, said that he and others in the program are unhappy with the news. 

“My feelings are the same as most of the students in the music program, we’re displeased,” Feng said. “It’s really sad, and more than just for ourselves but [for] the faculty.” 

Members of the Hamilton music community have also responded to the announcement of the program’s suspension. 

Brodie Schwendiman, owner of music venue The Casbah, wrote a post on the venue’s social media pages when the suspension was announced, expressing his disappointment at the program’s suspension and his hopes for the program’s continued existence in a viable format.

A poster on a cork board advertising "Jazz Jam"
“Jazz Jam”, hosted at The Casbah, is advertised to students in the Applied Music program as an opportunity for them to perform.

He stated that although his venue, and many others like it, do not rely on student performers they do benefit from them. 

“The program served to provide an additional “pool” of performers that propagate the concert calendars of local venues,” Schwendiman said. 

The Applied Music program is the third program at Mohawk College to have its suspension announced this year, alongside the Office Administration-Legal program and Journalism program. 

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