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Don’t set the stage—take it

Practice. Practice. Practice. We all know that’s the key to developing as a musician. At Calvin, preparing your own recitals is built into your curriculum, because we’ve seen just how beautiful the fruit of your practice can be.

  •   Author: Hannah Ebeling & Michal Rubingh
  •   Published: July 23, 2019
  •   Categories: People, Alumni
  •   Tags: music
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If you’re thinking about majoring in musical performance at Calvin, there’s one thing you can count on: you’ll start to become very familiar with the stage.

“Music majors with a concentration in performance are required to give both a half- and full-length recital. And the reason is simple: nothing prepares you better for performing than performing,” says Benita Wolters-Fredlund, co-chair of the music department.

Sarah Griffioen, a musical performance and computer science double-major, agrees.

“Not only does this process sharpen a student’s technique and musicality, but they also learn very practical lessons about how to memorize huge chunks of music, how to schedule a rehearsal, and how to write program notes. So, recitals are always very meaningful personal accomplishments for those who pursue them,” Sarah reflects.

These performances usually require you to spend months in preparation, practicing every day. Thankfully, you won’t be alone. Personalized instruction from professors is built into the curriculum for musical performance majors.

“The amount of individual attention you get far outweighs what you can get in a group setting. Every time you come into a lesson with that teacher, they are solely focused on you,” Sarah explains. “They are going to remember your strengths and weaknesses and cater to you personally.”

No matter what musical era you’re interested in, you will find opportunities to explore it at Calvin.

“Usually we play pieces from a variety of time periods,” remarks Sarah. “Not only does playing music from different eras show off the ability of the students, it is more fun for them.”

Once you’ve explored, you can narrow down what types of pieces you would like to perform. Let your instructors know, and they can help guide your decision.

“I knew I loved romantic concertos. And I knew I wanted to play such a piece in my concert,” says Sarah.

It was her instructors that helped her find the right piece for her to play on stage.

“The instructor’s knowledge about the repertoire for the instrument is usually much greater than my own,” she observes.

Sarah performed romantic and baroque pieces for her final recitals with great success. Armed with the experience, she also won Calvin’s annual concerto competition. And it was consistent practice, individual instruction, and exposure to a variety of styles that got her there. These standards are what create successful recitals and true musicians.

  •   Author: Hannah Ebeling & Michal Rubingh
  •   Published: July 23, 2019
  •   Categories: People, Alumni
  •   Tags: music


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