Don’t be afraid to toot your own horn

Student recitals give music students a chance to become comfortable on stage


On Wednesday Connor Pietrzak will sport a suit, clutch his trumpet and hold the stage for multiple pieces in his first student recital.

Pietrzak, a sophomore music education major, will be performing in a joint trumpet recital with Jacob Kobberdahl, a senior music education major.

Peitrzak said he is only required to put on two recitals, a junior and senior recital, but plans to perform a recital every semester.

“I have never given a recital like this, so I suppose it may be a bit intimidating,” Pietrzak said. “But that’s part of why I want to do so many of them, the more you do it the more comfortable you become.”

For his second recital, Kobberdahl is writing the pieces for his part. He said he likes having the freedom to perform what he wants. He started working on his pieces over the summer, but they are not quite ready for the recital.

“Since I am writing all the stuff by myself,” Kobberdahl said. “You have to balance perfection and just getting it done and having something playable.”

He said all of his work will be done by the end of the week and thenhe will just need to set up rehearsals with the other musicians.

Kobberdahl held a joint recital last fall semester with another trumpet player, making him more comfortable on the stage.

“School is kind of like a test tube to give you a chance to fail,” Kobberdahl said. “We can go out and sound really bad on our recital but nobody really cares. It’s all about getting ready for the real world.”

This joint recital is unique because it will be all trumpets and feature a combination of old and new music. Kobberdahl said some of the best pieces written for concert are old and will mix well with the new pieces he is writing.

Most student recitals are free and most are on campus, but some musicians elect to perform at a local church. Pietrzak said that he wishes all performances were free since the cost sometimes deters students from attending.

The joint recital on Wednesday will count as a swipe toward the required 70 concerts that Pietrzak said all music majors are required to attend before they graduate. He supports the requirement and said it helps him gain an appreciation for what other music students are doing and forces him to step out of his trumpet family.

“I have to get so many swipes and it demands that I expose myself to a certain number of different kinds of music,” Pietrzak said.

The required concerts or recitals help guarantee that Pietrzak and Kobberdahl will have an audience, Pietrzak said. He anticipates that around 40 people will attend the 40-minute recital.

While the swipe will attract other students, Pietrzak said students from his trumpet studio will be there to support him.

Within the trumpet studio and in the jazz area there is a strong sense of community, Pietrzak said. He credits that sense of community to Robert Baca, a music professor.

He said Baca has created a culture where it is very much about practicing together and helping each other out.

“Mr. Baca is the reason I am here,” Pietrzak said. “He has got something going on here that is nowhere else in the country. He has started something here that is really special.”