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Upper School Students Reflect On And Share Their Music Experiences

At the end of each school year, Lausanne's music program usually hosts its annual Spring Concert, a highly anticipated performance put on by the students enrolled in the Middle and Upper School Band, Chorus and string ensembles.

Although the students weren't able to perform in front of a packed house in EPAC this year, they were still given the opportunity to showcase their talents. 

"Our students work together so well in so many ways to prepare and concerts and performances are their way of sharing their passion for music," Music coordinator Tara West said. "Since we could not have our concert, as usual, it was important that the band, choir and string students could still connect with each other creatively. It’s amazing how so many different personalities can come together to make music."

The music department faculty brainstormed on a concert alternative and came up with Spring Project, an activity that allowed the students to share their musical experiences through written reflections and videos showcasing how they have been expressing themselves artistically from home.

"It is saddening that we could not share our music together on stage this spring in the traditional way. Nevertheless, music still thrives in us and in our Lausanne community," Instrumental Music Director DoraThea Kastanas said. "Although the project does not showcase our repertoire from the spring term, it does demonstrate our Music philosophy ‘Music is an Art, an Experience, and a Skill.’ The Music Department also recognizes that the Spring Concert provides a sense of closure and finality to the school year. Therefore, it was our hope that this Spring Project will help each of us find closure in this unprecedented time."

The videos students submitted ranged from instrumental performances to comedic skits, with each offering a look into their unique personalities.

For the written part of the project, students were asked to answer one of  two questions they were given: 

How has music impacted your educational experience this year?

How Music is an art, an experience, and a skill for you?

The students answered with heartfelt reflections filled with their honest thoughts, emotions and their love for music.

"Seeing the student's work has opened my eyes to how truly talented the students at Lausanne are," Upper School Choral Director Katie Shae said. "They are bold and creative risk-takers that challenge themselves daily, and it showed through their projects."

Below is a glimpse of some of the projects our Upper School Chorus, Band and String Ensemble students created!

Anjali Borshel '21 - Upper School Chorus: "Music is an art for me because it allows for expression. To me, art means freedom of expression of emotion, belief, and creativity. The Arts are expressions of human creative skill and imagination, and music fulfills all of those. Art is anything that conveys emotion, whether that is to an audience or if the audience is just yourself. To me, I know that I can unleash my emotions through music." 

Connor Marsh '20 - Upper School String Ensemble "Exposure to various forms and styles of music shaped who I am today. One of the major ways music helped to shape my educational experience was by listening and analyzing different genres of music, as well as their history. I was able to apply what I learned to the world around me. By using music or the message that is written into the music I was able to push through this year in my education, especially with the COVID-19 pandemic scenario, by further surrounding myself with music I was able to keep a positive outlook on things and push through to the end." 

Yolanda He '21 - Upper School Band: "I started playing the piano when I was three years old, but my musical experience started way before. My brother started playing the piano when he was three years old, so I was already exposed to music before I was even born. It’s always been a constant factor in my life, even as everything around me changes and I have learned to depend on music in the vastly changing times. Growing up, playing and listening to Suzuki piano music, my mom always told my brother and me that she made us do it to help our brains grow. She also told us this about how Einstein would play his violin whenever he was stuck on a problem. I never quite understood what she meant because it didn’t really make sense, how can music help your brain grow? However, as I grew up, I finally began to understand the power of music and its healing properties." 

Anne Rack '21 - Upper School Chorus: "For me, music has always been a big part of my life. Ever since 1st grade I have been playing piano, and have been involved with the chorus program since 6th grade. Music has become an art form for me because it allows me to express myself. When I am feeling sad, I turn to music. When I am feeling happy, I turn to music. Basically, any emotion I feel I know there is a song that can help me express it. To me, that is what art is, expressing yourself. By expressing myself through music, it has become an experience for me. I get happy on days that we have chorus because I know that it will make my day better. By associating music with so many emotions, I in turn associate music with many experiences I have where I have felt these emotions." 

Annabella Tian '22 - Upper School Band: Music and art have impacted me a lot throughout my whole life. It has rewarded me and taught me through all my experiences. Going to honor bands, such as All-West, are highly rewarding and awe-inspiring by seeing other student musicians like myself. On the other hand, band class is also rewarding because I get the opportunity to create music with many layers and depth with my friends. Music has also taught me to become more self-motivated and competitive. When I am unmotivated to practice, I do it anyway, because that is the only way to get better. I am pushed by others around me to work harder and become a better musician.

Dylan Jones '23 - Upper School Band: "I believe that being introduced to music has benefited me in many ways. Playing an instrument like percussion and this goes for most other instruments you get a sense of rhythm and at least for me, you notice patterns easier. But music being an experience for me is an understatement, music for me is almost a way of life. I can find triggers that help me in music help me just in my daily life, and physically I find that musicians have amazing hand-eye coordination which you need to play most instruments."