Collaboration Theme Enlivens Music Prep Recitals

A mother-daughter duet, a fun piano piece with the rest of the family playing percussion, a string quintet – and more! Collaboration was the theme of Music Prep recitals this semester, and students rose to the challenge of brainstorming unique ideas and then putting everything together. “The collaboration theme was highly motivating for my son,” comments Sharon Anderson. “He greatly enjoyed each part of it, from handing out everyone’s music to organizing the practices to coaching younger siblings who were also participating. The experience of playing together gave my children a newfound appreciation for the joy of making music as a family!”

Collaborating with others not only makes music more enjoyable, as Mrs. Anderson observed, but it also teaches patience and active listening skills, as everyone involved needs to listen to others’ parts in addition to their own. Dr. Jane Brotski was asked to collaborate with her daughter at the last minute, learning these skills at warp-speed: “Sofia was excited to collaborate her piano piece with a friend who is also a percussionist. Unfortunately, a week prior to the event, her friend realized she could not make the recital. I was asked to step in and accompany Sofia playing 4 percussion instruments (I am not a percussionist). I really enjoyed practicing with Sofia. She was patient (and quite amused) as I slowly learned my part. We had a lot of laughs. We thoroughly enjoyed our rehearsals and the recital performance.”

Several parents commented that the collaboration theme brought their family closer together. Pauletta Vawter reflects, “My husband and I are glad to get to do some music with our girls and I know it is very special for the grandparents to hear and see. Since the song we did with Grace was one we can do in church, we are looking forward to doing that sometime. I think the girls were more motivated to learn their pieces because they were excited to have us involved.” Dr. Brotski adds, “I especially enjoyed watching how other families were involved with their children. I think this opportunity demonstrates how important music can be in bringing family and friends together.”

Collaboration not only makes for enjoyable practicing times and rewarding performances, but the results can last a lifetime. Collaboration teaches a variety of skills including patience, scheduling, analyzing and fixing problems, and working with other people. These skills developed through collaboration are useful not just in a single performance but in the variety of goals and career choices that students may pursue in the future.

Below are some of the many highlights from this year’s collaboration recitals:

The Jacob family recruited audience help to keep the rhythm pattern going in “Spanish Dance.” 

Talya Cederberg accompanied her mom as she sang an inspirational sacred song.

The Vawter family performed a stirring arrangement of the hymn “My Shepherd Will Supply My Need,” with Grace playing piano, Pauletta (mom) adding flute obbligato, and Paul (dad) singing.

The Weir family added a touch of percussion to Jonathan’s song “Come See the Parade.”

For a beautiful rendition of “May Song,” Anamaria Garcia (violin) collaborated with her sister and teacher in a unique combination of voice, violin, and ukulele.

The Anderson family showcased their creativity by adapting the piano duet “God Is So Good” for their unique combination of instruments. Seth and Andrew played the piano parts, with their mom Sharon playing flute and Joseph playing one of the beautiful inner voices on cello.

The Kuenzi family added a percussion accompaniment to Jane Dang’s fun arrangement of “Mickey Mouse.”

Madison Herbster enlisted the help of her dad, Mark Herbster, and the audience to sing the hymn “Nearer, My God, to Thee” while she accompanied in congregational style.

Written by Makayla Stevenson