Recital season in full swing

Amelia Perron

It’s spring term, the season for sunbathing, Frisbee and putting off homework. But for Connies, it also means nonstop recitals.
Recitals are required for all music majors – 25-minute half recitals for juniors and 50-minute full recitals for seniors. Candidates for nonperformance degrees have requirements different from those of the performance major.
The occasional sophomore or even freshman may also find themselves motivated enough to seek out such performance opportunities.
Why spring term? Many students do chose to do their recital first or second term, but spring term is far and beyond the favorite.
“Nobody wants to do their recital winter term,” says sophomore Emma Ashbrook. “The weather’s really bad, which makes it hard for your family to travel, and it messes up your instrument,” the bassoonist laments.
And as every procrastinator knows, spring term means more time to prepare.
The preparations for a significant recital are much different than preparing for weekly lessons and rehearsals. First, one must select a good program.
Like most students, junior violinist Burcu G”ker works closely with her studio instructor.
“I always work with my teacher, Stphane Tran-Ngoc, in deciding on a recital program, so he was a great resource in narrowing down the potential choices,” she says.
Junior Kendrick Boyd adds another critical element. “I basically found something that I liked and was one of the major solo pieces for bassoon.”
Then there’s the process of learning the music.
“Preparing for a recital is more intense and stressful because there is a lot of music to learn and it is all exposed and often quite difficult,” says Boyd. “While I might only practice hard on 20 percent of a given orchestra concert, the recital requires practice on every single note on the page – and even some of the rests.”
Once the music is learned, the next step is to get people to listen. “Making a poster seemed rather effective, as posters are a main advertising tool for bringing in listeners,” says G”ker. Anyone walking through the Con will agree: the often creative and humorous posters are everywhere.
Standing onstage and playing for an audience full of musicians, friends, and family seems like it should be a terrifying experience, but that’s not necessarily the case.
“It was really quite enjoyable to perform the music,” says Boyd. “With all the stress of preparation and the dress rehearsal the day before, I was surprised to be fairly calm once I got onstage and really enjoyed playing and putting into my music everything – or at least most – of what I had been practicing for months.”
“Performing is an addictive art that fuels my inspiration,” adds G”ker. “If I don’t give concerts and performances, I feel stressed because I am not able to express myself and share my ideas with others. The life of a musician in a practice room is a solitary one, and a performance allows an artist to move into the social realm of expression.