Zach Zubow pushes a non-traditional way of engaging with music at Queens

Zubow standing in front of Sykes

B. E. A. D. G. C. F.

F. C. G. D. A. E. B.

The class recites this in unison as Zach Zubow’s students learn different ways to remember the arrangements. For Zubow, a music theory and composition professor, music is more than something he teaches. It’s his way of engaging with students to uncover the beauty of the art in music.

“He does a good job in keeping us engaged and [is] willing to help you and assist you. He is very laid back and not strict,” said Julie Melton, ’23.

In Zubow’s own words, music theory is ear training for students and learning about the architecture of how music works. Students learn about why something might sound right or awful, and the process emphasizes the need for them to become active listeners.

“My goal ultimately is to teach students how to be active listeners and considerate musicians in everything that they do,” he said.

Composition majors write new music. They produce traditional or non-traditional classical music, and it is performed every semester in an ensemble called the Zymphony. It was created last semester and will have its second concert later during this current semester.

In the previous Zymphony, students broke cellos, blew bubbles from their mouthpieces, and ran around screaming. “It is kind of a spectacle,” said Zubow.

Zubow has seen the music program grow in numbers and campus interest and says the department continues to thrive. Part of this growth is due to an ensemble that encourages non-music majors to join, allowing more access to the general student body.

Riley McElveen, ’23, said she loves having class with Zubow. “He has a unique way of teaching that resonates with everyone he teaches regardless of their level.”

Being at Queens has helped Zubow work towards his goals in academia and remain active in his goals as a composer. He collaborated with Bill Furman, an assistant professor for the art, design and music department, to create soundBRIDGE, a tremendous project that is on display at the MOXI museum in Santa Barbara, California.

the soundBRIDGE exhibit

SoundBRIDGE (pictured above) is an interactive exhibit. two rows of color-coordinated panels sit across a room from one another. The panels can be pressed by visitors and each one plays a harmonious melody, which is dependent on the color and setting which it is in.

“Bill and I won a grant to design, fabricate, and install the entire project,” said Zubow.

In addition to being a teacher, composer and designer, Zubow is also a family man, and his family has blended into his work at Queens in many ways. He married his high school sweetheart, Lauren, and the couple have two children, Adelaide, 7, and Beckett, 4. His son and daughter come to Queens often and enjoy getting chocolate muffins from the dining hall or coffee house.

“My plan is to stay as active as possible and say yes to every project that comes my way,” said Zubow. His plans for the future are to work with a variety of people, interact with a multitude of ideas, and continue growing as an artist.

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Published by students of Queens University of Charlotte, 1900 Selwyn Avenue, Charlotte, N.C. 28274.