The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

Inside UI student senior recitals

Every year, UI School of Music students put together and perform a program of songs that serves as a capstone project of sorts and is typically around 45 minutes in length.
The Daily Iowan; Katina Zentz
The Voxman Building is seen on July 8, 2018.

University of Iowa fifth-year student and lifelong Iowa City resident Jake Greenlee knew that he wanted to make music a significant part of his life since high school.

“Being in Jazz Band, a lot of my friends made me realize that band meant a lot more to me than I thought,” Greenlee said.

Five years later, Greenlee has almost half a decade of collegiate music programs under his belt, and a successful senior recital that took place in February. Throughout the evening, he readied his trombone — his instrument of choice — and played an eclectic selection of music including classical compositions and jazz.

All students at the University of Iowa working toward a bachelor’s degree in music must hold recitals such as this one, whether they work in brass, woodwinds, piano, organ, percussion, voice, or strings. Students can choose when in the year they want theirs to happen, and Greenlee has been thinking about his since the beginning of the fall semester.

Senior recitals function as a capstone project of sorts for these students, and they involve working with professors to curate music before holding two separate events: one exclusively in front of the instructors — referred to as a hearing — and a second one weeks later in front of a wider audience that serves as more of a celebration.

However, the second recital is only held if the professor chooses to pass the student. Greenlee noted that there have been instances where students have failed their recitals before, but fortunately, these occurrences are few and far between.

“It’s a little bit stressful because you know it’s like this big event, but I’m excited to be playing,” he said.

Around the same time, Greenlee passed his hearing and finished his recital process, Emma Cryer was just starting hers.

The process is designed to last roughly eight weeks, from selecting music and working it in sections before moving into longer rehearsals with a piano accompanist. From there, full dress rehearsals are conducted, and soon the recital itself is underway.

Cryer noted that following this schedule helps ensure success.

“It’s formulaic almost, so you don’t feel like you’re going in blind,” she said.

Cryer’s solo trumpet recital was held on April 29, and she also participated in a brass quintet performance the following day. In addition, Cryer participated in a full recital her junior year, something she stated helped her prepare going into her senior performance.

“I totally recommend all juniors do that,” she said, adding how even the slightest recital experience can help sophomores and juniors become more prepared.

After he graduates, Greenlee hopes that music remains a central component of his life.

“The people I’ve met through [my] experiences in music are some of my best friends, and that will always be something we have in common,” he said, emphasizing how music is all about collaboration, something that university programs such as this one can provide.

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About the Contributor
Grant Darnell, Arts Reporter
Grant Darnell is a second year student at the University of Iowa double majoring in English and Creative Writing and Screenwriting Arts. He is currently an Arts Reporter for the Daily Iowan.