Majoring in any subject in school can sometimes be hard. Especially when the end of the school year arrives, and the advanced study courses or capstones start mercilessly piling on the exams and papers. Students are up until god-awful hours of the night – or morning – with no sign of release, and it’s tempting to throw the textbooks and notebooks on the ground and go live in Europe where the college is free.
Pursuing a major is a huge effort, and a music major is no exception. Juniors and seniors who are majoring in music performance have the option to hold a senior recital, which is like a capstone class or senior thesis. The hours of practicing and rehearsals with accompanists, on top of regular classes and extracurriculars, causes any musician to have a unique love-hate relationship with their instrument. But the senior is proud of the work they put into their performance, and the opportunity is incredibly valuable for a student hoping to go into performance after college.
Senior Amy Gilligan is one such student. Gilligan will graduate in just a few weeks with a BA in music in both piano and voice. She is a teacher’s assistant in the Keyboard Skills class alongside the department chair, Christopher Durrenberger, and is also involved with the Union Board and her sorority Kappa Delta.
“I choose to do a senior recital because I’m really really proud of how much I’ve improved as a musician since I’ve been in college,” Gilligan said.
She had been taking piano lessons since she was a little kid, but never took private lessons for voice in high school. She was in her high school’s Treble Choir, which sparked her love of singing.
“I really loved being in that group, and I was close to my director, so I wanted to continue singing,” Gilligan said.
She began taking private voice lessons when she came to Wittenberg and since then has improved tremendously in her skill and confidence.
Why do a senior recital?
“I was apprehensive to do a recital because I get nervous when I perform,” Gilligan confessed, “but I wanted to show everyone what I had been working on for four years, and it was definitely worth it.”
Four years of college-level piano and voice lessons, being a member of the Wittenberg choir and being a TA in a piano skills clas, have all created a wonderfully experienced musician. Gilligan’s performance on both piano and soprano voice clearly present the hard work and dedication she has put into improving and growing in music.
The senior recital itself was incredibly enjoyable to watch and listen to. Gilligan included a variety of music from French, Italian, German and English composers. She has an amazing soprano range and can hit high notes that could crack the voice of the average person with ease. She punctuated her vocal pieces with piano and possesses versatility and skill in both instruments equally. It was easy to be amazed at Gilligan’s musical prowess.
“I’m still figuring out my life after college, so I’m not sure yet exactly what I’m doing, but I want music to be involved in my life because I’ve loved being involved in music through my schooling,” Gilligan said.
And whateve Gilligan chooses to do, there’s no doubt that she will be successful. It’s incredibly difficult to put so much hard work into any major, whether it’s music or science or a language. Any graduating student like Gilligan should be proud of the dedication and passion they put into their time in college and should put that same passion into whatever they choose to pursue after college.