Music students round out their education with recitals
by Claire Hunter
Music majors such as seniors Anna Boyd and Andrew Repsold don’t have to be told the meaning of the phrase “practice makes perfect.”
They spend hours each day honing their respective performance skills. These hours of practice then culminate with two music recitals, which are akin to personalized mini-concerts. There, they not only show their family and friends what their hard work has produced, but they also use the time to prove that they are ready to take the next step in their careers as musicians.
More than just practice goes into hosting a music recital. Students must also work with their professor in order to find pieces that best display their talents. They have a certain amount of free choice when it comes to choosing music, but there are always the classic pieces that show the musician has reached a certain standard.
Boyd, a violinist with a ministry emphasis in her major, decided to pick more eclectic pieces in order to balance out the mandatory music she also performed.
“It’s a partnership between me and my professor to pick music,” Boyd said. “For my recital I had these certain pieces I really wanted to do. They were mostly 20th century — a little weirder. I got to do those, but I had to do an entire Mozart concerto [also].”
For performance majors, however, the pieces chosen are more structured.
Repsold, a percussion performance major, will display his artistry on the marimba, vibraphone, snare, and timpani (to name a few) on March 9 at 8 p.m. in the Music Building Recital Hall. The classical percussion performance is free for students to attend, and will last about an hour.
Recitals provide students with the opportunity to demonstrate that they are on par with other musicians in order to enter a graduate program.
“Often times the people who want to go on and do a performance grad school do their senior recital in fall and it’s all the music they are going to audition with,” Boyd said. “It’s really important to perform it beforehand.”
Boyd, whose recital took place Feb. 24, described her experience as “fueled by adrenaline,” which did not seem to damper her enjoyment of the performance. These solo performances for Boyd are about more than just the music, they are also about the art of performance.
“There’s so much that goes along with it like what you wear and the way you act around it,” Boyd said. “It’s the performing aspect. Not even necessarily the playing, but performing the piece — acting it — is my favorite.”
Although the recital was successful, she said it was still a little scary being the only musician on the stage. Friends and family from Seattle attended, and church members from where Boyd interns in Spokane also came to show their support.
Repsold is also expecting the support of family and friends for his performance, along with church members and non-music department faculty. Like Boyd, he is more focused on the enjoyment of the recital rather than the daunting aspect of performing in front of an audience.
“I don’t have the pressure of ‘if I do poorly people are going to look down on me.’ I’m doing my best, and I have a rare opportunity in this period of an hour to influence people in ways they maybe have never influenced by other music,” Repsold said.
Both Boyd and Repsold encouraged non-music majors to come and show their support by attending music recitals on campus.
“There’s not a ton of opportunities for you to go see good classical music for free — or for a short period of time,” Boyd said. She said one plus of attending a Whitworth performance is that it only takes a half an hour to an hour, while other concerts will take two hours and cost around $30.
Repsold was also excited at the prospect of students attending. He said he would love to have people enjoy the conclusion of his hundreds of hours of practice.
“I just want as many people to benefit from this as possible. I’m not going to be discouraged if only ten people show up; I want those ten people to be influenced by what I did, or changed. But if a hundred people can show up — why not?”
Since these recitals mark a major step towards the completion of their undergraduate work at Whitworth, Boyd and Repsold must now concentrate on their post-graduation futures.
“I’m looking at church jobs in Seattle area mostly. I already teach violin here, but I want to continue to teaching violin, probably more on a professional level than here,” Boyd said.
Because his recital has not yet concluded, Repsold is more focused on remembering his marimba pieces rather than cementing his post-graduation plans. The idea of a future possibly dependent on the outcome of a recital may intimidate most, but Repsold is actually looking forward to his performance. He said the key to a quality and enjoyable performance is preparation. But preparation is only helpful as long as the performer keeps in mind how they fit into the bigger picture.
“[I] Realize this recital isn’t the pinnacle of my life,” Repsold said. “ I’ve put in a lot of work, but now it’s time to just enjoy it. For me I give that up to God, and I do surrender and say, ‘Look, God, I’ve put in all this work, I would really appreciate if you would somehow — I don’t know how — but move people with what I’m doing.’ I don’t want this to just be noise, I want it to be a message.”
Besides Boyd and Repsold’s performances, there are many other music majors who have either already completed their recitals, or still have upcoming performances. For students interested in attending, the Whitworth music events page lists the dates and times of recitals. Also, the music department is hosting a Student Showcase Recital on Tuesday at 8 p.m. in the recital hall where advanced music students will perform.
Contact Claire Hunter at firstname.lastname@example.org