Title

Summertime

Date of Submission

Spring 2020

Academic Program

Music

Project Advisor 1

Teresa Buchholz

Abstract/Artist's Statement

Summertime

Senior Project submitted to

The Division of the Arts

of Bard College

by

Cassandra Whitehead

Annandale-on-Hudson, New York

May 2020

Artist Statement

If I hadn’t joined the Bard Conservatory Preparatory Division in high school, then I may not have come to this institution at which I have I extensively learned about the proper processes to succeed in my career choice; music and vocal performance. While producing the many aspects of my senior project, a variety of required skills have come to light. These skills aren’t only those that can be learned in a practice room, but are also those that are learned through experience. Prior to coming to Bard, I hadn’t had substantial experience in planning my own recitals and concerts. A lot of those occasions were conceived by a director or a voice teacher. All I was expected to do in these situations was learn what they told me to and take their critiques. Through the program at Bard, I was required to plan my concerts with the help of my teachers and advisers. Upon doing this, I learned that the process is very sophisticated and methodic.

While producing my first senior concert, I decided to choose a theme for the music that I would perform. I found a few songs that I definitely wanted to incorporate and discovered that they were all about summer and flowers. I then chose other songs that fit this theme, some that I had learned many years ago. It can be a good exercise; reworking old pieces into a more mature technique, but sometimes it can pose some problems. It’s difficult to modify them because of muscle memory. I did struggle with this and one thing that we addressed at my board meeting was to be more detailed next time, in terms of musicality and text. Additionally, I had received suggestions that I make my program more professional in appearance. In the program for my first concert, I included personal pictures, each one relating to the song in some way. I did this to feel closer to the songs and my concert, but it was perceived as unprofessional. For my second senior concert, I planned on addressing both of these concerns.

Choosing repertoire was the first thing to address. I decided that all of my songs were going to be ones that I never performed before. I was starting from scratch, besides a few songs that I had worked on once or twice in lessons. As I was making my way through the first half of the spring semester, I discovered different ways to play around with how I expressed each word. I’ve always done well with expressing feelings and moods through song, but I had never approached my work in such deep detail before. It was rewarding and I was getting excited for how my concert would turn out. However, as midterms came around, the fate of the rest of the semester became obscure. Finally, the new coronavirus was being tracked and it was spreading around our country. With this new obstacle in mind, I had no idea how I was going to fulfill the requirements of this project and prove that my new process was successful. The difficulties of working remotely on intricate music were becoming obvious as I slowly started to acclimate to my new full-time learning environment. Not having an accompanist to follow my vocal line was ineffectual with a majority of my repertoire.

With the help of my professors, we developed a plan that would make accomplishing just something possible. They decided to loosen the requirements and only asked for about twenty minutes of music and we worked out what pieces would be feasible in this environment. I sang along to my pianist’s tracks of him playing the songs we chose. Although following along to prearranged tracks is not even close to what would be happening in my live concert, it’s at least something I can use to prove that I put in the work and a live performance will hopefully occur in the fall. Regarding my concert program, I’m very proud of how it turned out. It’s much more professional and simple. I can proudly say that I learned many valuable lessons from my experience with my project, albeit the circumstances.

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