Instruct Library Patrons through Recital Performances

By Stone, Scott | Fontes Artis Musicae, July-September 2013 | Go to article overview

Instruct Library Patrons through Recital Performances


Stone, Scott, Fontes Artis Musicae


Introduction

The sweaty palms. The dry mouth. The nervous anticipation of performing in front of an audience. The thrill of performing and the surge of adrenaline when an audience demonstrates their appreciation. What do all these feelings have in common? They are routinely felt by many of our library patrons as they learn to become professional music educators, conductors, and performers. These feelings are almost an addiction for many musicians and one which drew them into dedicating their lives to the art of music. These feelings can allow us to reach our patrons through a new method: musical performance. Musical performances combining teaching and entertainment elements are not a new concept (e.g., lecture-recitals in pursuit of a doctorate); however, in my professional reading and talks with other music librarians, the combination of performance with bibliographic instruction is a new concept.

The idea of a bibliographic instruction recital came to me when I was commiserating with some colleagues about how many students (not just of music) seem not to pay close attention when being taught how to use the library, research more efficiently, or any other number of subjects. We all felt that much of the problem lay in the method of delivery--a classroom lecture--rather than in students believing the presented information was not important. If students weren't responding strongly to a traditional lecture, than what manner of instruction would they like? I attempted to think like an undergraduate music student and mentally transported myself back to my four years earning a Bachelor of Music in Euphonium Performance. What did I do all the time? I practiced, talked about music, read about music, listened to recordings of music and, perhaps one of the most enjoyable of activities, I attended live performances. Since I attended University less than a decade ago, I surmised that current students are probably similar to me and would still enjoy attending a recital. Consequently, I decided that I would attempt to combine the enjoyable activity of a recital with a (from a student's perspective) less than enjoyable library lecture. This article will detail the preparations for, the performance of, and the results of a lecture-recital I performed in March 2010 and in addition offers suggestions as to how this concept can be modified to fit various situations and needs.

The Recital

The idea of both preparing and performing a lecture-recital was both exciting and daunting. I was excited because of the possibilities of reaching students in a new manner, but the thought of performing a solo recital was somewhat scary after having not practiced my instrument frequently during my time studying for the Master in Library Science degree. Rather than allow myself to be petrified with nerves, I instead embraced the excitement and began to plan the recital. Firstly, I set a date well into the future to provide myself with ample time to prepare. Next, I decided that the lecture would focus on the practical uses of the Music Library's resources to prepare for a recital. This served a dual purpose: to provide students with a real-life example of why learning to use a library's resources is important and how these skills can be applied to a situation commonly faced throughout a musician's life, and to immerse myself thoroughly in the library's resources to prepare my own performance.

With the lecture's subject decided, I next turned my attention to programming the performance portion of the lecture-recital. In order best to show off the Music Library and its resources, I wanted only to perform music which was either part of the Library's collection or else obtainable through resources such as subscription databases or Inter-library Loan (ILL). Unfortunately, I quickly realized that this would be more difficult than I initially thought since the euphonium is a non-orchestral instrument and is therefore not taught in Chapman University's Conservatory of Music; consequently, the Music Library did not purchase music for the instrument and owned absolutely no solo euphonium music. …

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