The Specht pages: The Con off campus

Are you a Conservatory student and feel like you are neither getting enough performing experience nor gaining professional exposure? Hello and welcome to Specht Pages, the true and supreme voice of Lawrence University. In this celebratory 25th issue, we will discuss the Specht Pages Plan for Performance Major Career Development. So sit back, relax and let Specht Pages massage your frontal lobe into submission.

In the late 19th and early 20th century, Lawrence had an ensemble that has since been lost: Mandolin Club. In 1910, the Mandolin Club consisted of eight mandolin players, two guitarists and a pianist. However, the most alluring aspect of this ensemble is not the instrumentation but the extensive touring the group undertook.

Back in those days, most ensembles went on annual tours of the Fox Cities and beyond, all the way to Michigan, Iowa, Illinois or Minnesota. Improvements in communication and transportation make such a feat much more manageable today. Back then, when tours involved ten or more cities, the trip was undertaken with no help from the internet or a travel agent or cell phones.

What if off-campus performances became the norm again?

In today’s system, a music ensemble gives you one unit of credit and lacks an off-campus performance requirement. What if our ensembles’ value was based on the number of off-campus performances given? For every two off-campus performances a term, you get one extra unit (let’s call them performance units). To receive six units for trombone ensemble, for example, you would need to give 12 off-campus performances. In the Specht Pages Plan, each performance major would be required to attain a minimum of six performance units a year.

These off-campus performances could be at schools, fairs, restaurants, bars, cafes, universities, weddings, parades, parties, libraries, Elks Clubs, nursing homes, golf courses, radio stations or anywhere else where people will listen.

If Lawrence students began offering to give recitals at other universities, not only would they have the opportunity to perform and build professional relationships with other music students and professors, but they could also draw more guest performances back to Lawrence. One possible scenario would be that each university could reserve a performance space for an hour each week for music majors from other schools to perform.

Further, the skills developed in these performances and the required planning would provide lots of valuable experience for after graduation as each performance major looks for gigs in various locations.

The performances at middle and high schools would give the kids a great musical experience, help get them excited about music and could also serve as a recruitment strategy for both the Conservatory and the college.

Finally, this interaction with the community might be what is finally able to burst the “Lawrence Bubble” and allow a free exchange of music and ideas in and out of our small campus.

There you have it, the Specht Pages Plan for Performance Major Career Development. There’s only one way to get this put into place. And obviously that is to get Zeek the Con Dog on board first and after that, Dean Pertl will surely fall in place.

“You heard it first from Specht Pages!”

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