The Hotchkiss Record

Hard Work Pays Off for Student Musicians

Ricky+Shi+%E2%80%9922+performs+in+Elfers+Hall+at+the%0AInstrumental+Recital+on+Tuesday%2C+November+6.
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Hard Work Pays Off for Student Musicians

Ricky Shi ’22 performs in Elfers Hall at the
Instrumental Recital on Tuesday, November 6.

Ricky Shi ’22 performs in Elfers Hall at the Instrumental Recital on Tuesday, November 6.

Jiahua Chen ’20

Ricky Shi ’22 performs in Elfers Hall at the Instrumental Recital on Tuesday, November 6.

Jiahua Chen ’20

Jiahua Chen ’20

Ricky Shi ’22 performs in Elfers Hall at the Instrumental Recital on Tuesday, November 6.

For student musicians, hours of practice culminated in an evening in Elfers Hall that echoed with beautiful sounds. Preparation for the instrumental recital on November 6 required much dedication and practice. 

Once you get into the music, you don’t really notice your fears anymore.”

— Angela Choi ’21

The Music Department selected 13 students to perform at the instrumental recital on a variety of instruments, including the violin, flute, and cello. The concert featured notable collaborations between players of different instruments, such as pianist Brian Wong ’19 and flutists Elise Nam ’20 and Patricia Hewitt ’20.

The instrumental recital demands a high level of devotion from students. Performance preparation often involved two to four hours of practice a day. A piece is typically repeated hundreds of times. Practicing presented an opportunity for student musicians to create a personal link to their instruments and the pieces they planned to play. Yuki Zhang ’22, a concert attendee, at the concert concurred: “Being a musician, one should know [his or her] piece well, be in the moment, and make a resonating connection with the audience.”

A common challenge for performers to overcome is the fear of playing in public. However, the school stage presents an opportunity to perform in front of a supportive audience. Angela Choi ’21, who played violin at the concert, compared the school community to a big family who continually gives her help and encouragement. She commented, “Once you get into the music, you don’t really notice your fears anymore.”

Onstage, they are transformed with great energy, full of poise and expression. To me, that is the most interesting part of the recital.”

— Dr. Gisele Witkowski, instructor in music

Dr. Gisele Witkowski, instructor in music, further remarked upon the immersion and passion of performers for their music. “Each one of the students performed with great personal expression,” she says. “It feels like they are communicating so many feelings through their piece.”

Music recitals typically challenge students to play new pieces and overcome the anxiety of performing. Yet Dr. Witkowski believes in a greater purpose of sharing the joy of music making: “When [the musicians] get onstage, they are transformed with great energy, full with so much poise and expression. To me, that is the most interesting part of the recital.”

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