Music majors discuss what Winter Break is like

Lani Tons

While some ISU students worked, visited family, or relaxed during this Winter Break, some music majors took a different approach.

Eliza Smith, senior in music, took time for a breather and then continued to practice her vocals.

“By the end of a semester, I am exhausted mentally, emotionally and vocally. I take a complete break from practicing for the first week of break and then work back into a practice schedule from there,” Smith said.

Taylor Troyer, senior in music, believes the break from practice can influence a student majoring in music.

“Three weeks is a long time to go without singing at all, a lot can change in that amount of time,” Troyer said.

During the semester, as classes are in session, students such as Smith are practicing more often.

“I tend to have a much more rigorous practice schedule during the school year because of my involvement in performance classes,” Smith said.

For classes such as opera studio and voice seminar, as well as individually, Smith spends up to four hours singing daily. That is just the vocal practice itself.

“This singing time doesn’t include other work I put into preparing pieces, such as language translation, background research, or character work. We spend hours listening to medieval chant, baroque operas, renaissance madrigals, romantic symphonies and modern song and jazz in order to better understand our history,” Smith said.

Like any other student, Joseph Leinen, senior in music, faces challenges with his school schedule that can interfere with rehearsing.

“Everyone is productive during a specific time of the day, and finding time can be very difficult with a full schedule of classes,” Leinen said.

While there is an inside pressure to do well, Smith feels positively about the amount of pressure she receives from her directors and teachers during the school year.

“I rarely feel that it is negative or destructive,” Smith said. “Most of the time it is a healthy pressure that motivates me to be my best in class or onstage. I feel that I have not only received direction but also support in the pursuit of my goals.”

Leinen has a mutual feeling about wanting to do his best in music.

“We are responsible for our practicing and rehearsing, and they place quite a bit of faith in us to complete that task,” Leinen said.

Pressure is not the word Troyer likes to use.

“There is encouragement to take on the responsibility of being prepared, learning and practicing new techniques that come up in lessons until they are familiar and natural,” Troyer said.

She enjoys the time with her directors and furthering her abilities in performance.

“By applying my knowledge from other classes to my repertoire — private lessons and coaching — I can become a disciplined musician,” Troyer said.

Before winter break approached, Leinen worked hard for his senior recital. Practicing once the break began became a challenge due to space issues at home.

“Music Hall is great because of all the practice rooms, but I was home for the majority of break. This made it rather difficult to find a proper space that allowed me to fully focus on a practice session,” Leinen said.

Winter Break gave students the time to practice and relax in a more comfortable environment than the everyday hassle of life’s tasks.

“My favorite thing about break is that while I vocalize less, I have more time to do constructive listening, attend concerts, and do research on topics of interest that pertain to my career choice,” Smith said.