As the spring semester progresses, students in the music department are making final preparations for their upcoming recitals.
Students studying music performance or music education are required to give recitals in order to complete their degree. Recitals give students experience performing in front of an audience, as well as teach time management and planning skills.
Emily Vidler, a senior vocal performance and Spanish major, said recitals help her prepare for her future career.
“If you want to be a performer, you’re going to give recitals,” Vidler said. “As a musician, you’re going to give recitals later, so this is like your first hour-long recital, and hopefully later, you’ll actually get paid to do them.”
Vidler had her recital on Feb. 13, and she performed songs in five different languages. With the amount of time she spent practicing her repertoire, she said it’s important to her to pick music she enjoys.
“This recital I started preparing for months ago, like probably May, and you obviously have to practice every day,” Vidler said. “You have to pick things that are challenging and interesting, but also things that aren’t going to kill you while you’re trying to perform, like things that are too tiring, or things that are too difficult to learn.”
In addition to hours of practice time, music students must present a portion of their recital for a panel of professors for a grade before they perform in front of an audience.
“They give you a grade and they decide whether or not you’re ready to present your recital,” Vidler said.
Vidler said for her, performing in recitals is fun.
“You’re doing what you love,” Vidler said. “You wouldn’t be a music major if you didn’t love music, and you get to share it with people, which is the most important part.”
Jeanna Brandsrud, a junior music education major with an emphasis on voice, said she hopes to teach middle school choir. She said recitals also help her practice performing, a skill she will use every day as a conductor in the classroom.
“We get a lot of performance experience as an ensemble, but then for those who are education majors, we’re going to go out and perform in front of the students we’re going to teach every day as a conductor,” Brandsrud said. “Having that ability to get through a recital gives you the ability to push through a rehearsal, even though you’re nervous to be in front of your kids.”
Brandsrud had her recital on Feb. 20, and she said professors work with students on picking a repertoire that works best for them.
“We work very well with our professors to pick what’s going to sound best with our voice,” Brandsrud said. “After singing through it all the way down a couple different times, you’ll find what’s going to work best for you.”
In an email with The Volante, Tracelyn Gesteland, associate professor of voice and opera, said undergraduate music performance majors are required to give recitals both junior and senior year, while music education majors give a recital their senior year prior to student teaching.
Gesteland said the recital requirement is similar to a final comprehensive exam.
“The degree recital is the opportunity for music students to demonstrate everything they’ve learned in their lessons, ensembles, music theory and history classes, and language classes,” Gesteland said.
Gesteland said students can spend a year or more preparing for a recital.
“They have weekly lessons with their professors, they rehearse weekly with their accompanists and they practice performing in studio classes and recital labs in addition to practicing daily on their own,” Gesteland said. “The training is similar to training for an Olympic event.”
Gesteland said spring semester is the busiest time for recitals.
“If you wanted to attend a student recital, you could hear at least one practically every week this spring,” Gesteland said.
A full list of recitals can be found on the USD events calendar.