What started out as a young boy eager to help out his church worship team, turned into a life long passion for music. Kieth Boynton began learning how to play the bass guitar at age 12; he has been playing ever since and now majors in music at Tyler Junior College.
“Its made me a better person, it has given me something with which to claim my personal individuality, the ability, performance, and the ability to become more than just a [music] player, but an expression of the things I wish I could say,” Boynton said.
Music majors are required to participate in student recitals each semester in order to graduate. These recitals give students the opportunity to put to practical use what they have learned while still enrolled and before entering the career of their major.
“Much can be learned in a practice room, but until they perform for a live audience, the student doesn’t have a real sense of their mastery of a particular piece,” Kerry Baham, director of Fine and Performing Arts, said.
Students spend hours upon hours practicing, learning and fine-tuning their musical piece to perform on stage and in front of a live audience.
“It is kind of like a speech class, except you don’t talk, but you still present something,” David Ramirez, a second year music major, said.
Music majors study their music as much as or even more than a non-major student studies for any other class.
Students that participate in the recitals are able to perform in front of their peers. This gives them a positive environment to practice, and could also be a good way to gain feedback from the audience.
“For a music major there is no harder time to perform than in front of other musicians,” Boynton said. “You’re completely exposed to the real quality of musician you are. You’re forced to see your weaknesses, and see where you need to improve.”
Baham would like to see a larger audience at each recital for the students who spend hours preparing.
“There is nothing more gratifying to a performer than to see a full audience in attendance,” Baham said.
Instructors are a major part of the student recitals, helping each student prepare more fully for their performance. Not only do they teach and encourage their students, they also help with the process of picking the pieces to play in the recitals.
“Any of the music teachers at TJC care a whole lot about their students. It’s like they realize that they can help each student become a better person,” Boynton said.
This can be nerve-wracking for the teacher as well as the student, because the recitals put the professor’s students and the product of their job on display.
The student recitals are held each semester on Friday’s at 1 p.m. in the Jean Browne Theater. Each recital is around 30-45 minutes long and about five students perform each time. The next student recitals will be held March 27, April 3, 17, and 24. For more information on the student recitals, contact Kerry Baham at (903) 510-2483 or Jeanie Oxler at (903) 510-2202