First-year seminar leads Lohman to career in musicology

Corey Lohman’s first year seminar, titled “Explorations of Love as Seen Through the Tristan Legend,” with James Martin, professor of music, was the catalyst for his decision to pursue a career in music, though he didn’t know that the class would mean so much for him at the time.

Corey Lohman ’14 will pursue a Ph.D. in musicology at Duke University this fall.
Corey Lohman ’14 will pursue a Ph.D. in musicology at Duke University this fall.

“I had originally signed up for the class thinking that I hated opera and not knowing Wagner from Wittgenstein,” Lohman, of Longmont, Colo., said. “I remember being appalled at the idea that I was expected to read over 150 pages a night.”

However, Lohman’s first experience with the block plan was a positive one, “The first year seminar worked for me; I was quickly whipped into academic shape.” Lohman also found a mentor in Martin, who engendered in him an excitement for the history of music and knowledge generally, and who would later help Lohman through the graduate school search and application process.

At the end of Lohman’s first year, he was invited to join Octave Learning and Living Community. Made up of eight enthusiastic musicians, Octave members volunteer each week by teaching music lessons to fourth and fifth graders at Taylor Elementary School in Cedar Rapids. The group is also behind a number of the musical events on campus. Octave provided a leadership opportunity for Lohman, who became chair of the group his junior year.

Lohman enrolled in another course with Martin in his sophomore year, a course focused on Wagner’s opera, Parsifal. The course took place off-campus in Chicago, so that students could spend their days researching at the Newberry Library. The paper Lohman wrote that block became one the most important writing samples in his graduate school applications.

This spring, Corey Lohman presented six original works at his senior composition recital, the conclusion of being immersed in the Cornell College music community for four years. Now he’s ready to learn more about the history of music in a Ph.D. program in musicology at Duke University.