Senior recitals allow music majors to display talents gained over four years

As final’s week approaches, most seniors are just looking to get through their last semester of college while maintaining their sanity. But for seniors in the Simpson College music department, however, they still have one more obstacle to overcome – their senior recitals.

The senior recital is the last step in a series of proficiencies that music and performance majors must complete in order to graduate from the programs.

Throughout the first three years, students are required to pass a music proficiency exam, a multitude of music proficiency performances weekly recitals and performances in studio classes.

Their senior recital then consists of an hour recital of music varying in language, genre, artistic settings and musical compositions.

Most seniors say that preparing for a senior recital is a matter of time management. Aside from the necessary practicing, students also receive voice lessons with instructions to better understand compositions and their interpretations.

They then work with an accompanist and their instructor, often times scheduling their practices in their free time and mutual schedule openings throughout the day.

Senior Shannon Prickett says she has had to put together a tight knit schedule in order to deal with the stress.

“My preparation could always be better,” she said. “You really learn to manage time well. It’s a lot of work.”

Prickett is also juggling work and a 17 credit hour schedule.

“I would definitely say the hardest part was putting a life together in between 2 large opera roles, 5 graduate school auditions and my school work,” she said. “I had to put in tons of extra effort, it’s a lot of stuff that could easily be put off.”

Prickett will be performing 16 pieces in her program in Italian, German, English and French. She also finalized a grad school submission to Indiana University and will be studying with Professor of Music Carol Vaness, a renowned soprano artist.

For some it wasn’t the graduate auditions and all the credit hours, but more about getting the entire program put together that was difficult.

“I’ve put a lot of work into it, and it’s been a lot of work getting coachings in with my voice teacher, and my accompanist,” senior Jesse Stock said. “I spent a lot of time learning exactly what I was saying and a lot of time practicing, you can’t ever practice enough.”

Although a good portion of senior music students do go on to graduate school, others go straight on to work.

“I’m not really heading to graduate school at the moment,” senior Adam Skog said. “I don’t feel musically ready for that. I am currently wrapping up a student teaching job and hopefully will take a teaching job after the summer.”

Skog’s recital was a program filled with 18 pieces with an Italian set and pieces in German, French and English. He also performed a French aria.

“When you’re involved in school activities, it becomes even harder to put on a recital like that,” he said. “I’m doing Madrigal and choir, and it’s more work than you’d think it was, one-hundred and some pieces to memorize for Madrigal.”

While most of the work lies in the actual performance, there’s additional performance factors that keep listeners involved.

“It’s all about how to make your music come alive once you’ve learned it,” Prickett said. “You can’t just say all these words in a foreign language to people and expect them to stay interested. You have to find ways to communicate with your audience, try to make them see what you’re saying.”

Prickett and Stock both have senior recital dates quickly approaching. Prickett’s recital will be held on Wednesday, April 15 at 7 p.m. in Lekberg Hall. Stock’s recital will be held on Friday, April 17 at 7 p.m. in Lekberg Hall.