Ask A Fifth-Year: Recital Woes

Jacob Horn

Dear Jacob,
As the end of the last term approaches, I’m being bombarded with invitations to different recitals, and my workload for classes is also increasing. Do you have any advice on how to balance my class work and recitals without making all my friends at the conservatory sad?


Needs More Time


Well, Needs, lucky for you I’ve taken the time to answer your question. I’m sorry that I didn’t take the time to do so last week. My previous column was my magnum opus really, the pinnacle of my writing career. So you’ll have to forgive me for delaying your actual question to this week’s column.

You could always choose to not do homework. This might blow your mind, but you don’t need to do schoolwork. Of course, you might fail the class. But what’s more important to you: your friends’ recitals or your academic career?

You could simply do away with sleep. Spend the rest of your culinary cash on coffee and chocolate covered espresso beans. I’m not saying buy a cup and a bag of beans. Go up to the counter and demand all of the coffee for the day. Tell them that Jacob sent you. They’ll get a kick out of that. Or they’ll just kick you out of the café.

If going crazy due to lack of sleep doesn’t sound appealing to you, try lying. Tell them you went even though you slaved away on that bio report. Stop by for a bit and grab a bite to eat though. There’s no security on the food.

If your homework requires enough light to actually see the homework, I recommend that you do the work outside of the recital hall while it’s going on. You can clearly hear it and be able to watch it on the screen outside of Harper Hall.

Find something incredibly specific to talk about. Tell them that you enjoyed it, but point out an incredibly specific point in the recital that you watched on the screen to critique them on. They’ll have to believe you if you’re specific enough. Being specific does not mean saying “Hey, that one note you played? Yeah, that was a good one.”

Also, I think you’re taking your conservatory friend’s feelings a little too seriously. These are people that spend half of their waking lives in practice rooms. The fact that you couldn’t show up for less than an hour to witness what is essentially the culmination of four to 18 years of hard work shouldn’t hurt too much. Just don’t expect them to ever talk to you again.

A disclaimer: I have never done any of these things. I just realized that it looks like I could have easily done all this to my friends without them knowing. All I can say is that I’ve gone to all recitals that I promised to go to. Except for Cary Dean Foxx’s. Sorry. I had work. I owe you.

If you’d like me to make myself look like a jackass, email me your questions at