Crescendo to Career: Increasing Music Student Success

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“Do I really like this major?” “I’m not doing great in my major class but I’m not sure what to do about it.” “What if I can’t find a job after graduation?” “What is my skill set, anyway?” Development and change can be embraced throughout a college experience but often students question their choices or want additional help. Supporting music student success is taking a new direction with the Division of Music’s Crescendo to Career program.

Based on a holistic advising approach, Crescendo to Career will give music majors at BJU access to a suite of support services designed to develop a personalized pathway to ministry and marketplace employment. Holistic advising is a whole-person approach to student success from orientation to graduation. In Crescendo to Career, a long-term mentor relationship offers music students continued care throughout their college experience.

In the first year, Crescendo to Career will work closely with Dr. Rebecca Weier and her First Year Experience team as they equip students to tackle challenges in their coursework and residential life. “We are excited to collaborate with Michael Moore and Emily Waggoner to help students discover, develop and deploy their God-given strengths as they prepare to fulfill their callings,” says Dr. Rebecca Weier. Students may struggle to succeed musically when they are dealing with academic or life issues. Compassionate and personalized care in Crescendo to Career will help students identify areas of growth and nurture cross-campus partnerships for personal and musical success.

As students move further into their degrees, supportive relationships also help them build strategic thinking for future decisions. By partnering with the BJU Young Music Alumni Collective (YMAC), Crescendo to Career will link recent music alumni to current students as they prepare for next steps after graduation. Founded in 2022 by BJU music alum Katie DiMarino, YMAC is a collective of recent BJU music graduates who support each other in professional development, continuing education, and networking. Dr. Isaac Greene serves as the BJU/YMAC faculty liaison, coordinating the artist-in-residence program, advising on community engagement projects, and facilitating connections between alumni and students. Young alumni navigating graduate school choices and breaking into the changing landscape of the music industry can inform and equip current students for their future.

Crescendo to Career offers further networking opportunities for music students by matching students with a Field Mentor, an established professional in the music field, often a graduate of BJU. Whether it’s over Zoom calls, email, or a cup of coffee, music students can extend their network and seek personal advice from a seasoned professional. Crescendo to Career collaborates with Jeanine Aumiller, Director of Alumni Relations, to match students with BJU alumni. Alongside their senior practicum in a local arts organization in Entrepreneurial Musician Seminar, a Field Mentor provides a valuable connection lasting beyond the college years.

Crescendo to Career flows out of our mission to empower vocational musicians to pursue and share the beauty of God through redemptive artistry, yielding and wielding their musical gifts for God’s glory and the good of others. A holistic advising approach is key to supporting student success as they prepare to be gospel influencers in ministry and the marketplace.


Emily Waggoner serves as Associate Chair of the Division of Music and directs the Crescendo to Career program. Emily Waggoner earned a B.M. in Church Music with harp proficiency from Bob Jones University in 2001 and a M.M. in Harp Performance from Converse College in 2006. She began studying harp at age seven with Dorrine Yoder in Escondido, CA. Emily learned Salzedo and French methods of playing from Joyce Fankhauser, Anita Burroughs-Price, Carrol McLaughlin, and Gabriella Werries. Emily supports both methods of playing in her teaching studio.

Emily performs professionally in the Carolinas as a soloist, chamber musician, orchestral harpist, and in studio recording. She serves as Principal Harpist with the Spartanburg Philharmonic, Acting Principal Harpist with the Ashevillle Symphony Orchestra, and frequently as a guest harpist for Greenville Symphony Orchestra, Greenville Chorale, Asheville Symphony Chorus, USC Columbia Symphonic Wind Band and others. In addition to teaching at BJU, she has been on adjunct faculty at South Carolina Governor\’s School for the Fine Arts and Humanities and Converse College and also maintains a private studio. She serves the local harp community as President of the SC Chapter of the American Harp Society, which she founded in 2008.

Emily began the harp program at BJU in 2006, desiring to offer higher education to harpists seeking a Christian liberal arts education. As Director of Harp Studies, she currently teaches Introduction to Music Literature, Entrepreneurial Musician Seminar and Practicum, private harp lessons, harp pedagogy and literature courses, directs the Chamber Harp Ensemble, and maintains all University-owned harps. Emily desires to equip harpists to their God-given calling, whether in secular fields or as freelance professionals.