For FIU music students, the long-awaited senior recital is a rite of passage.
For some, it is the completion of a capstone project and internship involving library, analytical or experiential work; but for most students, it is their final public performance showcasing a compilation of pieces that they work on throughout the year before they go on to earn their degree.
When FIU moved to remote learning, School of Music administrators, faculty and staff looked for solutions to ensure that graduating students would not miss out on this important milestone. The excitement of the moment to moment, the chance to showcase a craft, the nervous energy of a live audience – all had to be recreated in a virtual world.
“We tried to recreate the exciting platforms of a live audience as much as possible, while still maintaining the rigorous demands of the course, curriculum and artistic excellence expected of our students in a virtual environment,” said Karen S. Fuller-Veloz, director of the FIU School of Music,
School of Music got to work ensuring students had access to the necessary technology and equipment needed to make a successful leap to remote learning.
Professional microphones were purchased for seniors to use during their recording sessions and virtual recitals via Zoom, YouTube and Facebook. Courses and private lessons were offered via Zoom in order to continue classroom learning and virtual lunches were scheduled to make sure that students could still connect with one another in a fun way.
Students even received pre-recorded music by faculty to use for their virtual recitals and classroom discussions.
Livestreaming recitals can be challenging, but many students chose to make the best of the situation.
Erika Vasallo, a vocal performance major, performed one of the first slipstreamed recitals in late March.
“I am so incredibly moved that so many of my friends and family members tuned in and am so grateful to have such a supportive circle of people around me. This is not how I envisioned my final performance going. But as an artist, we are taught to adjust and keep going. The show must go on.”
To date, her recital has had more than 1,000 views on Facebook.
For music education major and saxophone player, Ketler Macombe, it was an opportunity to perform music ranging from Handel to his own compositions that were recorded on his own recently released album, ‘I Do.’
“Because of the lockdown, I had to prepare a virtual senior recital. I thought I would be able to have a concert where I could have invited my friends and fans, but instead prepared this project for my slipstreamed recital.”
He remained positive and was thrilled that he was able to study and follow his dreams in spite of the difficulties that COVID-19 created for many students.
“One day, you’re going to call me Doctor,” he said.
End-of-year recitals for music students are much more than just a performance experience. It’s an opportunity to share goals, dreams and experiences with friends, families and mentors.
With recitals going virtual, graduating music students are still able to maintain social connection with loved ones and peers from all around the globe, while finishing the final stages of their collegiate career.