Studio classes

If you’ve ever heard of music conservatories at colleges and universities, you’ve probably heard about the cutthroat nature of their programs. I’ve heard rumors of students putting razor blades between the keys of pianos, of students not speaking to each other, gossiping—needless to say it can get pretty ridiculous. What I’ve found at Mount Union … Read more

If you’ve ever heard of music conservatories at colleges and universities, you’ve probably heard about the cutthroat nature of their programs.

I’ve heard rumors of students putting razor blades between the keys of pianos, of students not speaking to each other, gossiping—needless to say it can get pretty ridiculous.

What I’ve found at Mount Union is entirely the opposite.

There’s certainly an aspect of personal success. They want everyone to do their best and accomplish a lot. But it’s NEVER at the expense of other students. We’re encouraged to succeed, but we’re also encouraged to support others’ successes.

It’s great. There’s an atmosphere of respect and celebration, not of rudeness and jealousy.

This kind of environment is literally the definition of music. Music is all about collaboration and humanity—what better way to embody those characteristics than teamwork and support?

The reason I’m blogging about this is because last night I went out with the piano students in Dr. Liliestedt’s piano studio. They had their performance, called Piano Keys, last night (It was fantastic, by the way!).

But I was really struck by the environment that Dr. Liliestedt has created. They cheer on each other’s successes and offer constructive criticism at their weekly studio classes. She even takes them out to dinner after performances to bond and talk about music.

A lot of the other applied lessons teachers are the same way. I know for a fact that Miss Weber and Mrs. Abbott also do studios where students constructively critique each other.

That’s what I like about Mount Union’s Department of Music. We, as students, want to succeed. And the faculty and students are behind us all the way.

 

 

 

Oh the things you can do..

Oh the things you can do..

So I was wondering what I should blog about today, and I realized I’ve never really talked about the fine arts organizations. You don’t necessarily have to be a member of the band, choirs or plays to get involved in the arts, which I think is really great. It’s just so easy to be a … Read more

So I was wondering what I should blog about today, and I realized I’ve never really talked about the fine arts organizations.

You don’t necessarily have to be a member of the band, choirs or plays to get involved in the arts, which I think is really great. It’s just so easy to be a leader and get involved everywhere on campus!

Here are the organizations available in the arts on campus:

  • kkyKappa Kappa Psi: The national band honorary fraternity. There are tons of chapters all over the country, and we’re lucky enough to have one on this campus. It’s specifically designed for leadership within the band. We (I say “we” because I’m in this one) host music events like band dances and fun evening stuff during band camp. We also do community service that has to do with music, like instrument petting zoos at Regina Coeli, a nearby school.
  • mpeMu Phi Epsilon: The music honorary fraternity. To get in this one, you have to be a music major or minor. This group is largely involved with making the Department of Music better. We (again, I’m in this one) put on concerts, perform with music alumni in the area and do little things like decorate the music building for holidays. We actually just wrote all the music faculty valentines!
  • ocmeaOCMEA: The Ohio Collegiate Music Education Association. This organization is specifically designed for music educators, but I know MANY people who have joined just because they love and support music education. They bring speakers to campus and also go to OMEA conference in the spring.
  • kpKappa Pi: Kappa Pi is the art fraternity. Anyone interested in art can take part. They do a lot of things on campus related to art and creativity and they’re a really fun bunch of people. I tried to be in this organization, but unfortunately I have class when they meet. Ah well, still something really fun to do, and I try to go to the events they put on.
  • Alpha Psi Omega/Theatre Club: Yes! We have a theatre club on campus, and it is really fun. Check out ourapo Facebook page! We do a lot of fun things like go see shows and host a cast party after shows. We have the theatre club, which is open to anyone interested in theatre. Then, as you participate in the plays (either on stage, back stage or off stage) you accumulate points. Once you’ve accumulated enough points you can officially join the Alpha Psi Omega theatre honorary.

So! Those are all the organizations in a nutshell. They’re really fun and do a lot of good for the campus. And you can be involved in as many of them as you like—as you can see, I’m in all but two of them.

See something missing? If you want a club, it’s really easy to do. Just find enough people who want the club to exist and sign up with the Office of Student Involvement and Leadership. I’ve seen a bowling club happen, a lacrosse club, a philosophy club…all you have to do is ask!

The reason I started talking about organizations is we’re having a music team for Relay for Life this year. (If you feel so inclined to donate, our team is called Kappa Kappa Psi.) If you can come to Mount Union’s Relay for Life (April 19-20 in The MAAC) watch out for the music team playing Aerosmith’s Dream On over and over. We’ll raise money by having people pay us to stop playing. Heehee:)

New plans for the fine arts building

New plans for the fine arts building

For a long time, the fine arts building on campus has been pushed to the back burner with updates and remodeling. I understand, if the funding and support from alumni isn’t there, it’s hard to do. But since last year there’s been talk in the halls about remodeling. Some of our music and theatre students … Read more

For a long time, the fine arts building on campus has been pushed to the back burner with updates and remodeling. I understand, if the funding and support from alumni isn’t there, it’s hard to do.

But since last year there’s been talk in the halls about remodeling. Some of our music and theatre students actually had a chance to meet with the architects helping with the design. And now, with almost all the money raised, the plans for the new theatre space are under way.

As of right now, the fall theatre program is going to be a little different. We have some choir and theatre collaborations to look forward to that will take the place of the fall shows.

Band camp and school next semester will also be a little interesting with construction going on.

But it’s happening. The time is near. And it’s going to be SO AWESOME!

I literally can’t help but bounce in my seat whenever I hear about it.

Here are some of the proposed changes right now:

  1. A new theatre. Very cool and up to date. I’m told it will be acoustically ready for orchestra, band, theatreand choir!
  2. New seating. I believe there’s even talk of a balcony!!
  3. A black box theatre rehearsal space. This will essentially be a bare room with different sized black boxes that will allow for some of the more minimalist and modern theatre education.
  4. A rehearsal place for choir. Right now, band and choir rehearse in the same room. No more! I hear the choir room will have a tiered floor so we can have chairs and rows instead of just working with risers.

The building will be completely different, and I’m only sad because I won’t be there for it because I’m graduating.

So. Exciting.

Here’s a look at the proposed theatre:

cope

Eight-Hand Piano Concert

Eight-Hand Piano Concert

Ya know what I appreciate about Mount Union? All the firsts I’ve had here. I was in my first play here (in high school we only did musicals). I had my first experience with a Mac (we still don’t get along but our relationship is improving). I had my first (and second) opportunity to sing … Read more

pianoYa know what I appreciate about Mount Union? All the firsts I’ve had here.

I was in my first play here (in high school we only did musicals). I had my first experience with a Mac (we still don’t get along but our relationship is improving). I had my first (and second) opportunity to sing with a symphony orchestra.

And now, I’ve seen my first eight-hand piano concert.

It was this Wednesday, February 13 in Presser.

Two piano duos came together to make some really impressive music. Dr. Maira Liliestedt and Janelle Phinney, and Brent Schloneger and Raquel Teare really put on an incredible show.

They opened with a piano arrangement of the overture from Don Giovanni, and I’m pretty sure I couldn’t keep my jaw off the floor for the rest of the show.

It was so COOL seeing them perform! There were two grand pianos next to each other, and two people at each one.

I’m still astonished at how fast their fingers can move. And how they all kept in time with each other, and all the talent on that stage!

Pianists never cease to amaze me. I love love loooooove piano.

I say it all the time in my blogs, but I’ll say it again. Most, if not all, of the concerts we put on are free to the public! It’s so easy to see tons of talent and lots of great music.

Here’s a great way to see all the events Mount Union has coming up. Just look for fine arts to see the information on upcoming concerts!

A liberal arts education

A liberal arts education

Recently, the Office of Marketing has been doing this Twitter stunt that I think is pretty cool. Students get to tweet why they love Mount Union with #IheartMount in the message. I definitely love Mount Union, and it was pretty refreshing to see a lot of people’s different reasons for loving it too. I took … Read more

Recently, the Office of Marketing has been doing this Twitter stunt that I think is pretty cool. Students get to tweet why they love Mount Union with #IheartMount in the message.

I definitely love Mount Union, and it was pretty refreshing to see a lot of people’s different reasons for loving it too.

twitter

I took a little bit of thought with mine—mostly because there are a LOT of things I like about Mount. But here’s what I came up with:

“#IheartMount cuz I’ve been able to get involved in a lot of different things, and it feels like people here are genuinely invested in my success.”

First, let’s be clear about one thing. I’m not a fan of using “cuz” if I can help it, but with 140 characters…I digress.

But seriously though. I say it time and time again: I have done EVERYTHING I could have possible wanted to do: theatre, choir, band, art, journalism, photography, design and the list goes on and on!

Now, I’ve been involved in choir ever since it was made available to me in middle school. It’s meant a lot to my development as a musician and a person, and it was one of the things I was looking for in a college. I didn’t want to be in a choral program dedicated only to musicians.

And boy did I hit jackpot with Mount Union. The concert choir has 26 different majors represented. That’s phenomenal! The band hosts way more than music majors, and the theatre auditions are not limited to theatre majors.

Student Senate isn’t limited to political science majors, the Calliope (literary journal) isn’t only for English majors, and you don’t have to major in a science to be involved in science clubs—I’ve gone to every Physics Game Night.

And that’s incredible. THAT is a liberal arts education. Mount Union is more than focusing on your major and professionalism—it’s literally working to strengthen you as a person: your humanity, your heart, your drive. Mount Union is more than carrying a brick of a textbook from room to room and only building the mind.

That’s what I like about Mount Union. That’s why I came here. So I could learn, but also grow.

The flutes and the reeds!

The flutes and the reeds!

Yesterday was another wonderful concert in Presser Recital Hall! Have I mentioned that those are always free? Seriously. Free concerts. Go to them! Anyway, this was a dual concert — two times the music! The Woodwind Quartet and the Flute Choir played very well. I love quartet music, especially the woodwind quartet. It’s cool to hear … Read more

Yesterday was another wonderful concert in Presser Recital Hall! Have I mentioned that those are always free?

Seriously. Free concerts. Go to them!

Anyway, this was a dual concert — two times the music! The Woodwind Quartet and the Flute Choir played very well.

I love quartet music, especially the woodwind quartet. It’s cool to hear the bassoon, oboe, flute and clarinet all working together. My favorite piece they played was Danse Villageoise by Emmanuel Chabrier (1841-1894). They also did a really cool one called Quartet for Wood-Wind On Old Tunes by Herbert O. Sontag, and it was essentially a mash up of a lot of familiar folk tunes.

Woodwind Quartet: Heather Rice, Flute. Betty Shultz, Oboe. Ian Bell, Bassoon. Laryssa Byndas, Clarinet

L to R–Flute: Heather Rice, Oboe: Betty Shultz, Bassoon: Ian Bell, Clarinet: Laryssa Byndas

I love the sound of the oboe and bassoon. If you’ve never heard them played, they have a very unique sound that I find really pleasing. (One of our bassoonists, Ian Bell, will be doing a concerto tomorrow evening with Rep Strings, stop by Presser at 7:30 p.m.!)

The Flute Choir played as well. I love the sound a flute can make, and the songs they played really showed off all you can do with a flute. We even had a bass flute (played by Jessica Kostrab), an alto flute (Cresslyn DiRosa) and a piccolo (Heather Rice).

One song, Swing Along by Nancy W. Wood, made it seem like the sound was actually moving in waves across the line of flutes. Very cool effect.

Flutes

L to R– Cresslyn DiRosa, Rachel Beach, Sarah Hohenadel, Alex Garner, Amanda Manley,
Cayley Briggs, Brianna Searing, Drew Duncan, Jessica Kostrab

Like I always say, the free concerts at Mount Union are great. You get to see the effort our peers put into their music, and you get some classical music under your listening belt.

Word on the street…

Word on the street is that Mount Union’s Department of Music is looking into getting a men’s chorus. Yesterday, all the young men interested in being in such a group met to discuss the possibilities. It seems that next semester we’ll have one more choral group to show off! This is seriously such an exciting … Read more

Word on the street is that Mount Union’s Department of Music is looking into getting a men’s chorus.

Yesterday, all the young men interested in being in such a group met to discuss the possibilities.

It seems that next semester we’ll have one more choral group to show off!

This is seriously such an exciting thing for Mount Union. Getting boys to participate in choir has been like pulling teeth in the past—we never seemed to have quite enough.

This year, and for the first time in Dr. Cook’s career, we had enough men to have a 50/50 ratio between males and females. This makes for a wonderfully balanced choir, so our sound will be great this year!

With so many men interested in a men’s chorus, it looks like it got the go-ahead.

Typically, Dr. Cook keeps his rehearsals open to anyone who wants to sit in. However, all the men’s chorus rehearsals are going to be kept under wraps! During the actual performance will be the first time anyone has heard them!

This is seriously one of the most exciting musical happenings I’ve witnessed at Mount Union. It’s going to be awesome.

I hope you’re as excited as I am!

Learn to love rehearsal

When I was a kid, I know I was always told, “Practice makes perfect.” It’s one of those sayings that gets drilled into your head and becomes some sort of fundamental learning block that no one can escape. But it’s wrong. Perfect practice makes perfect. If there’s one thing I’ve learned in my time studying … Read more

When I was a kid, I know I was always told, “Practice makes perfect.” It’s one of those sayings that gets drilled into your head and becomes some sort of fundamental learning block that no one can escape.

But it’s wrong.

Perfect practice makes perfect.

If there’s one thing I’ve learned in my time studying the arts at Mount Union, it’s that perfect practice makes perfect.

If you take lessons, you have to practice. And if you don’t practice correctly, you won’t succeed. It doesn’t do any good to practice something if you’re not going to do it right. If I slouched or strained my throat whenever I practiced, guess what I would probably do in a performance? Slouch and strain.

You have to treat practice and rehearsal just like a performance. My boyfriend recently said that if you practice poorly, you should leave the practice room feeling the same way you would leave a poor performance.

So true.

Treating rehearsals like a performance is something that I’ve really improved on since I got here. Dr. Cook, our choir director, always says you have to learn to love rehearsing. After all, only 10% of our music careers will ever be spent in a real performance. Everything else is practice and rehearsal.

 I’m studying voice, and I’ve improved immensely since starting to practice regularly. I sang last week at a student recital. It wasn’t my favorite performance, but I was happy because of things that came easier because of being better at practicing.

You learn rules for excellent musicianship and success in general in the Department of Music.

 Time to practice? Perfect.