Senior recitals most crucial experience for music majors

By Alexandra Richardson
Staff Writer

Photo by Ebbie Davis
Crystal Jones, senior music education major, rehearses with Michael Penny, professor of music, to prepare for her senior recital, Oct. 5.

A handful of music majors are giving their recitals this fall, including Crystal Jones, a vocal student whose recital will be held at 7:30 p.m. Oct. 29 in the Hartley Recital Hall.

Jones is in her fourth year of voice classes.

“Each year you end with a boards exam,” Jones said. “Once you pass them all, you sign up to do a recital.”

Much of what a music major learns in the three years previous to senior year all comes down to the senior recital.

Jones has been singing since she was a freshman in high school but has learned to sing in three other languages besides English since attending Union.

For her recital, Jones said she will be singing two German pieces, two Italian pieces, three French pieces, three English pieces, and a couple of duets.

She will sing her two duets with Jeremy Isbell, senior music with an emphasis in Christian studies major.

Isbell’s recital will be a duet performance with Helen Rowley, senior music with an emphasis in Christian studies major, at 7:30 p.m. Oct. 30 in Hartley Recital Hall.

Students have months to prepare for recitals, which are planned the semester previous to when it will take place.

“I have two 30-minute voice lessons a week and one 30-minute lesson with my accompanist each week,” Jones said. “I typically practice 30 minutes to an hour singing three times a week on my own as well.”

Jones does not intend to sing professionally but does plan to teach music once she has graduated.

Two weeks before a senior recital, a student must undergo a hearing during which he performs before faculty in the music department and sings several of the songs to demonstrate he has memorized them.

“If you don’t pass your hearing, you cannot have your recital,” Jones said. “You will have to reschedule it, which results in a bad grade.”

The senior recital is simply one of the final projects for a degree, Dr. Terry McRoberts said.

McRoberts is university professor of music.

“They are supervised by the teacher that was assigned to the student,” McRoberts said. “Most of the time, the teacher chooses the music in consultation with the student.”

Jones and her classmates have all planned to perform their fall recitals in late October and early November.

“It doesn’t matter which semester your recital is as much as when in the semester,” Jones said. “If you have it too close to the beginning, you haven’t had much time to prepare over the summer. If you have it too close to the end, you are too busy with finals. That is why we all picked those dates.”

A few students opt for fall semester recitals rather than spring so that they can audition in the spring for graduate school with the same repertoire, McRoberts said.

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