Soothing the soul

Savannah Workman, Journalist

Inhale. Bows are pressed onto the strings as a wave of patterns and noise fill auditoriums and imaginations. Colors, memories and emotions spring into the minds and hearts of those who are able to listen. The conductor waves his baton to signal the down beat. The audience sighs in relief. They are being moved by music.

For those who love music with every fiber of their being, considered playing an instrument or using their talents to entrance and inspire, there are a variety of paths to take by receiving a degree in music.

“With music you really have to look for the little things,” Emily Winterburg, senior viola performance major said. “With a piece, you can come up with a story that does not have any words to it, but you can build this entire character, this huge story and feel that connection.”

To study music at Washburn, a person can choose to start working towards a Bachelor of Arts in Music, Bachelor in Music Education, and a Bachelor of Music in Performance. Minoring takes a person down two paths, one in music or another in jazz.

“Wherever you go in music, whether you are choosing teaching as your discipline, performance or even medical, doing music therapy, no matter where you go there is some form of teaching,” said Winterburg.

A performance degree is planned out as four and a half years in college. Studying in a normal music degree setting leads to education and practicums. The last semester is student teaching. When applying a music degree, there are options ranging from performing, conducting, music therapy, transcribing, recording, teaching and much more.

“I made it into the top orchestra (Kansas City Youth Symphony) and I get into my first rehearsal and we were working on Tchaikovsky Symphony No. 4, the finale,” said Winterburg. “We start rehearsal and we hit that first note which is just a huge chord, this really full sound, and I’m like ‘This is actually really cool.’ It is different from listening to classical music than playing classical music.”

Opening minds and opening doors with rigorous practice allows students to see what is available for them in a professional setting. Craig Treinen, director of jazz studies/associate professor and chair of music says that succeeding in a musical setting requires a lot of time spent on one instrument or multiple because the level of expectation for brilliant artists is pushed higher and higher.

“For someone that wants to make a career out of performing,” Treinen said, “They have to realize that they probably need to be at the level of the top 5% in the country. You better be fluent in more than one style of music. The field in the performance area is very demanding.”

Steps to transition or consider a music style, according to Rebecca Meador, flute and music theory professor, include seeking out a teacher. The next steps are to take applied lessons, seek out the demands, learn about what is required, complete an audition to get into the program and allowing time to understand different routes and avenues that work or inspire the individual. Meador doesn’t like the question of: “what does it take to be a musician?” but rather looking for skills to help see students in that possible role.

Edited by Jessica Galvin, Adam White, Jackson Woods