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An inside look at colloquium

Views 19 | Time to read: 3 minutes | Uploaded: 11 - 14 - 2017 | By: Carolyn Deal


It’s 12:09 on any given Tuesday and you can see a music student running from the D.C. to Deane Chapel. Why is this student in such a hurry?

Every Tuesday, any student who is taking private music lessons attends colloquium in Deane Chapel. Colloquium is an opportunity for students taking music lessons to showcase what they’re learning and perform before their peers. These pieces can range from a piano solo to a string quartet and every combination in between.

Most people don’t know the amount of time and energy that goes into preparing for colloquium, so here’s a step-by-step inside look at the process of performing for colloquium.

Step one: find a piece that you’re moderately good at and would feel okay with fifty people hearing. This can be a classical prelude or even “Toxic” by Britney Spears (yes, that has been done before).

Step two: present your idea to your music teacher. They’ll either give you the big thumbs up or politely inform you that this might not be the best choice at this moment. Better luck next time with that Kanye cello solo pitch.

Step three: fill out the form. After you are cleared by your teacher, you have the delightful opportunity to actually sign up for your colloquium. After looking at the calendar and realizing that you should have signed up way earlier in the semester, you snag the last available spot in the colloquium three weeks from now. That’s enough time to prepare, right?

Step four: PRACTICE! Now that you’re actually, finally, truly going to play for colloquium, you practice your butt off in the small amount of time you have. It’s possible to learn and polish an entire movement of a sonata in four days, isn’t it?

Step five: last minute panic. It’s the night before colloquium. You’ve learned all of your music and feel (somewhat) prepared. But wait . . . where’s your music? Your favorite reed just snapped! You wake up with a sore throat! What will you do?

Step six: Colloquium day! The day is finally here! You get there early, warm up, and feel confident about what you’re about to do. You walk into Deane Chapel, proudly check your name off of the attendance list, and grab a program. You see that you’re the third person to perform, after a violinist and a pianist. You find a seat next to your friends from choir, and are greeted by Dr. Shasberger with announcements about upcoming concerts.

The first pieces go smoothly, but you really weren’t paying attention because you’re thinking about your intonation, or whether or not you should put the piano lid up all the way, or just part of the way, or leave it down all together, or whether or not your flute is still in tune, or any number of things.

Finally, it’s your turn and you walk up and set up your music. You take a deep breath and begin your piece. In a matter of minutes, you play the last note and thunderous applause comes from the audience. Beaming, you bow and return to your seat, proud of your accomplishment.

Step seven: Take in all the compliments. Over the next few days, you probably will be complimented by your friends, teachers, and some people who you’ve never talked to or seen before. Enjoy it! You just finished your first colloquium! Now, about those juries . . .


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