Students go solo for final performance of the year

Grant Milleson, Staff Reporter

Band students are preparing for their final performance of the year, however unlike other performances students will be performing by themselves.

This year is different from previous years in that we are hosting our own virtual solo contest, associate band director Cecily Yoakam said. Students will submit a video recording of their solo performance, and it will then be evaluated by a judge asynchronously.

For senior Adarsh Javvaji, the solo contest offers an opportunity to demonstrate his skills.

Recently, I’ve been learning an advanced clarinet technique called the glissando, Javvaji said. My solo incorporates a few of those so my goal is to demonstrate how far I’ve comeI prefer in-person contests because they add a sense of humanity to the music performance. You’re establishing a connection through music with your audience. I’m making sure to pay attention to details and slowing down harder sections of music to better prepare for recording.

The virtual format allows students to record their performance multiple times, however it does not give them the opportunity to practice some of their skills.

Pros of submitting recordings of student solos is they are able to take as many videos as they want before submitting their best take, Yoakam said. They are able to do it in their own time, and in their own environment. It is much more flexible than doing the process in person. The cons of these recordings is not getting immediate feedback or having to handle the pressures of performing live for a judge. Students also don’t have an opportunity to perform their solo with an accompanist live through a virtual recording. These are both valuable skills to develop as an individual musician that a virtual contest takes away.

For junior Aravind Dharmalingam, the virtual format leads to stress because of the chance for a perfect recording.

My goal for my solo is to sound more musical, be like using proper dynamic contrast as well as clear articulation and ultimately to make a 1, Dharmalingam said. I like the in person performance better because it takes the stress off of making a perfect recording. I’m just focusing on practicing my solo as much as I can.

The Solo Contest allows students to showcase their skills and their ability to learn and perform music.

The purpose of students performing a solo is for them to focus on their individual growth as a player, Yokam said. Solos are usually more challenging than their band music. While band music is good for teaching ensemble skills of listening and balancing a large piece of music, performing solos helps develop individual student growth and confidence in their playing, while exposing them to new techniques they might not otherwise know. Performing alone allows students to grow in ways a full ensemble cannot provide.