Student Interest

Thursday, October 24
12:30–1:30 p.m.
Hyatt Regency Louisville
Regency North Ballroom

Student members of all ages are invited to this informal luncheon hosted by the CMS Student Advisory Council and the CMS President. Whether you are new to CMS or this is your first national conference, you are sure to feel welcome. You’ll enjoy meeting other students from various institutions to enjoy a nourishing meal, network, and take a bit of down time in the middle of a busy day of conferencing.

There is no additional fee to attend; however, reservations are required in advance (so that we can order the correct quantity of food). Registered student members will receive a private email invitation from the Student Advisory Council after online registration closes on September 12. Please look for this invitation and be sure to respond to the instructions by the included RSVP deadline.

The Program Committee is sensitive to the needs and concerns of the CMS student membership and, with the assistance of the CMS Student Advisory Council, has programmed the following special discussion forums just for students:

Starting (and Maintaining) your Student Chapter
Thursday, October 24
3:30–4:25 p.m.                                                                                                                                                 
Discussion Pod B

Preparing for Graduate School
Friday, October 25
2:45–3:40 p.m.    
Discussion Pod A

All student members are invited to attend and take part in the above discussions. These will be moderated by CMS Student Advisory Co-chairs Gene S. Trantham and Jennifer Sterling Snodgrass.

Friday, October 25
1:30–1:55 p.m.

Unveiling Bartok: Contemporary Reimagining of the Viola Concerto’s Black-Key Pentatonic Passage

Pentatonic Etude ........................................................................................................... Esa-Pekka Salonen

Christina Ebersohl (University of Denver), viola

Mentor: Ross Adam DeBardelaben (Miami Virtuosi)

Belá Bartok’s infamous black-key pentatonic passage in his Viola Concerto has been reimagined for the solo stage in Esa-Pekka Salonen’s Pentatonic Étude. This short piece circles around the pentatonic subject as a beautifully hidden object to be unveiled, rather than set to variations. Salonen uses traditional viola techniques, such as harmonics, drones, and string arpeggiations, but pushes them to the extreme limit in search for the true definition of étude. Despite the catchiness of Bartok’s original five-note theme in the concerto’s first movement, it is a notoriously demanding and technically challenging passage. Therefore, Salonen begins the piece with the “negative matrix” of the original theme, starting with a pentatonic scale based on all white keys (C, D, F, G, and A) and progresses in gradual transformation to the original scale (Db, Eb, Gb, AB, and Bb). The full cycle journeys from white to black keys twice before ending with the beautiful Bartok theme in its original form.

Prokofiev: “Adagio” from Cinderella, Op. 97 bis

Cinderella, Op. 97 bis ....................................................................................................... Sergei Prokofiev

Li-Han Eliza Tseng (University of Cincinnati–College Conservatory of Music), cello
Michael Delfín (University of Cincinnati–College Conservatory of Music), piano

Mentor: Kristen Yeon-Ji Yun (Colorado Mesa University)

The five and half minute piece, the Adagio for cello and piano, presents the variety of cello timbre through using the wide register, dance-like accompaniment, and colorful harmonic. Nowadays, it is, however, an overlooked piece. The solo music contains a more complex tune and the performance skills than the original melodies that played by the cello section in the ballet. The Adagio is derived from Cinderella, the “Duet of the Prince and Cinderella” [“Duet Printsa i Zolushka”], which is composed a turmoil period for all the arts since the War and political policy. Still, Prokofiev presented his innovative “New Simplicity” style and quintessence in this ballet.

That is unfortunate that the Adagio is an overlooked piece today. Rostropovich once said, “playing a lot of miniatures where first and foremost one must develop a beautiful singing sound and work on filigree, minute details of color and timbre.” The story of Prokofiev and the music will bring you

Friday, October 25
9:00–10:45 a.m.
Conference Theater

Achieving and Maintaining Flow During Practice and Performance in Music
     Jenna Klein (University of Oklahoma)
     Mentor: Greg Carroll (UNC–Greensboro)

Flow, also referred to as being “in the zone,” is a state of total absorption in an activity where an individual’s risk and skill are in balance. This mental state, described as cultivating feelings of a loss of self-awareness and a sense of calm and confidence, is sought after by musicians for its positive effect on performance. This presentation will explore the intrinsic and extrinsic factors that cause this change in mental state, their effects in performance and the changes in brain function that occur while in flow. Effective visual, kinesthetic, and auditory techniques including progressive relaxation sequences, deep breathing exercises, visualizations, positive self-talk cues, and establishing intentions in performance assist in entering and maintaining flow. Specific exercises and pre-performance rituals to use during practice and teaching will be discussed. The influence of an individual’s age, skill set, and previous performance experience will be evaluated in addition to the components within a piece of music that influence one’s ability to achieve flow. Romantic era music has been deemed the most effective flow inducing music; piano music from the Romantic period will be used as examples to achieving flow. Possible reasons this is true will be considered along with ways to apply the effective elements of Romantic era music to any piece we encounter both in practice and teaching to students. Through better understanding the concept of flow and its causes and effects, we can strategically gain more control over practice and performance as a musician and as a music educator.

Cognitive Approaches for Sight-singing in College Music Students
     Guillaume Fournier (Université Laval)
     Mentor: Susan Piagentini (Northwestern University)

Teaching sight-singing at college-level can be really challenging. Knowledge and skills required to achieve sight-singing from the musical notation are extensive and not every student comes to class with a background that prepared him/her adequately. Recent research has proposed a wide range of strategies that can be taught in aural skill classes, but very little is known about their actual use among music students. In this research, we investigated the perceived usefulness of cognitive strategies in the acquisition of sight-singing ability. We run interviews with forty-one (n=41) sophomore music majors and made them complete a classification task designed to reveal the importance they attach to 74 strategies. Using Q Method, we analyzed their strategic preferences and related them to their sight-singing performance. Preliminary results show that students shared very similar views when reflecting on which strategies were the most useful for their sight-singing ability acquisition. In addition to the consensus observed, three different cognitive approaches were identified: sight-singing as a strategic game; sight-singing as an opportunity to deepen musical understanding; and sight-singing as a performing situation. None of the conceptions could be linked to sight-singing scores, which suggests that a multiplicity of sight-singing approaches can lead to the acquisition of sight-singing ability. Implications for motivation and for learning will be discussed.

Economy of Means in Ravel’s “Sonatine”
     Robert Hjelmstad (University of Colorado–Boulder)
     Mentor: Keith Ward (University of Denver)

As a miniature form, Ravel’s Sonatine has often been considered a typical example of Ravel’s most neo-classical tendencies. And given the relatively lesser technical demands it presents, it has been somewhat neglected in considerations of Ravel’s mature pianistic writing style.

However, the Sonatine is, upon closer study, a pivotal work in the composer’s search for a new means of expression in his piano writing in the early twentieth-century. From the most basic of musical materials, Ravel is able to create a work of first-rate craftsmanship, one in which not only do the motives unify melodies within the movement, and indeed, across movements, but they actually dictate the course of the piece in terms of harmonic/vertical content, as well as process-oriented compositional techniques. There is precedent for such motivic unity in Ravel’s writing, and in fact, many of the motives central to the Sonatine can also be found in other works such as Miroirs and Le Tombeau de Couperin. But the real validation of these theoretical claims comes not in their resemblances to other Ravel works, but instead in the performance directives they suggest.

This presentation will explore how Ravel uses three motives from the beginning of the first theme to generate the majority of content seen throughout the rest of the Sonatine. I will furthermore demonstrate how these motivic connections reveal new interpretive and narrative possibilities from a theoretical-performance perspective, and how they give a raison d’etre to many of Ravel’s more puzzling markings in the score.

Emojis and Musical Expression: A Tool for Affective Analysis
     Anjni H. Amin (Northwestern University)
     Mentor: Jennifer Sterling Snodgrass (Appalachian State University)

Meaningful analysis tends to be a daunting task for the majority of students in core-curriculum music theory. As pedagogues, we constantly revisit curricula and conceive of new ways to make theory and analysis approachable. For the new generation of visually-focused learners in our classrooms, the incorporation of technologies into the learning environment is necessary to foster effective and meaningful connections in an inclusive, diverse, and accessible manner. In this paper, I propose a novel, albeit simple, introductory approach to affective musical analysis utilizing emojis, and illustrate its effectiveness through a brief case study of my own class’s experience. Theorists have powerful toolboxes for affective analysis, however approaches such as topic theory require in-depth repertoire, genre, and cultural knowledge to be effectively utilized. Emojis – an affective and emotive language in which our students are fluent – afford students instant and surprisingly-nuanced affective descriptors that aid further analysis. Applying emojis to a musical score serves as a heuristic, in which students make intuitive judgments regarding the feelings arising from a particular musical passage in the moment, as they listen to the musical work. Retrospectively, students revisit their emoji markers, draw on their foundational theoretical knowledge to pinpoint structural features in the music that give rise to a specific feeling, and then translate their choices. The goal of this approach is to make the explication of musical expression attainable for students, and the use of pictographic representations provides a suitable means to it.

The Elements of Art and Music in the Organization of the Creative Process
     Lisl Kuutti Doughton (Appalachian State University)
     Mentor: David Nelson (UNC–Greensboro)

Composers and visual artists work with different materials, but surveys of the two groups can reveal parallels between creative processes within and across the two disciplines. Using the framework of the traditional Elements of Music or Elements of Art, composers and artists were asked which elements they use consciously, and which they use unconsciously; which elements they used to convey emotion; and which elements typically supply the initial idea for a work.

To gather this data, a survey in two versions (one for composers and one for artists) was distributed to respondents representing a variety of ages, genders, and careers. The parallel nature of the two surveys pointed to interesting parallels between the functions of the Elements of Music and the Elements of Art - for example, revealing similarities between the use of harmony and color, between melody and line, and between rhythm and value. The results showed how working styles correlated with career, education, genre, influences, and instruments/mediums.

The wide reach and diverse pool of this survey will supplement the existing body of research on individual artists’ creative processes. Even artists and composers familiar with these concepts may benefit from examining their relationship to these elements in their work, thus learning to better describe and replicate their ideal working style. Students can benefit from learning of processes that work for others in their field, and the general public may enjoy this glimpse into the otherwise mysterious mind of the artist.

The CMS Undergraduate Task Force Report on its Fifth Anniversary: Student Perspectives & Reflections
Saturday, October 26
1:30–2:55 p.m.    
Kentucky Suite

In November 2014, The College Music Society’s Task Force on the Undergraduate Music Major (TFUMM) provided a report entitled “Transforming Music Study from its Foundations: A Manifesto for Progressive Change in the Undergraduate Preparation of Music Majors.” In this document, colleagues considered “what it means to be an educated musician in the twenty-first century” and “the role of musicians in public life and the ways in which the curriculum might better reflect relevant needs, qualities, knowledge, and skills.” Upon the fifth anniversary of this report, the Student Advisory Council proposes a student panel comprised of an undergraduate, a graduate student, a doctoral candidate and a recent graduate who has entered full-time employment as a professional musician. This panel will engage in an 85-minute conversation about the Report where they might consider:

  1. its three pillars (creativity, diversity, and integration),
  2. its central considerations
    1. essential purpose of music study
    2. nature of foundational musical experience and understandings
    3. content and delivery of a relevant yet rigorous curriculum that prepares students for musical engagement and leadership in an age of unprecedented excitement and avenues of growth
  3. its impact on them personally
  4. its effect on their educational experience as a student, teacher and music professional

Our intention is to provide an opportunity where students at different stages in their educational development can provide their perspective on the CMS Task Force Report. Panelists are free to address topics as they wish, but we will ask all comments to be short and concise.