Some of you may know that I have been attending the University of West Georgia, pursuing a degree in Piano Performance. I'm retired, and 66 years old now. I started when I was 62. I had my last lesson yesterday, and turned in my last assignments last week, so I am done! My full recital was March 1st, before the pandemic panic, which was very lucky for me. There will be no graduation ceremony, and my lessons have been via phone for the last month.
It’s been a great experience, and I’m certainly glad I went through all this. I think my playing has improved, and the trauma of playing in recitals was a good thing, even when it seemed like too much stress to handle. I’ve been thinking back over my full recital, now that it has been almost two months, and one thing that still surprises me is how calm I was on that day. I had played those pieces so many times, and done practice recitals so many times, that it was not as scary as I thought it would be.
The music classes I took:
2 semesters of keyboard skills
Form and Analysis
4 semesters of Piano Pedagogy (including 2 semesters of student teaching)
2 semesters of Collaborative Keyboard Skills (1 voice, 1 instrumental)
2 semesters of Keyboard Literature
8 semesters of piano lessons
and at least one student recital performance per semester
I enjoyed all the music classes. The keyboard skills classes were a pleasant surprise - lots of interesting things that were never covered in piano lessons, like transposing, improvising, and playing from vocal scores. The music technology class was fun and useful - I now know how to use music notation software, or did when I finished the class! The collaborative keyboard skills classes were stressful but good experience. Piano Pedagogy - what can I say - I now have great respect for piano teachers! I did some interesting projects in keyboard lit.
But the best experiences of the last 4 years were the lessons and all the playing opportunities. There is nothing like the impending deadline of a performance to focus your practice! A jury every semester, sight reading tests, scale and arpeggio tests, and so forth.
I will not miss the feeling of being graded and judged every time I sit down to play. And I will not force myself to memorize anymore! The stress of memorizing a full recital at my age was a bit overwhelming at times. The majority of my lesson time was spent working on memory, since piano performance majors must perform from memory.
So I had an amazing experience! College is wasted on the young!