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Wednesday, August 20, 2003 - Music students entertain seniors

By Jeff Samoray, OU Web Writer

Students in Oakland University’s Music Preparatory Division capped a highly successful first year by giving a recital performance for seniors at Alterra Assisted Living in Troy. Thirty students ranging from young children to seniors gave piano and voice performances of classical, jazz and show tunes on Aug. 10.

“It was a very good experience for the students and seniors,” said Bibianne Yu, assistant director of applied studies for the OU Music Preparatory Division. “The seniors tapped their toes and sang along with the students. Many of the students said it was one of their most worthwhile experiences. I also think the students learned that, even though we all get nervous before a recital, the focus is really on sharing the music. Plus, the setting was a perfect venue for the students to gain performance experience in front of a real audience.”

After each semester, students in the program are encouraged to perform a recital as part of their education and to allow them to take pride in their progress. This semester, the students decided instead to add a community service component to their recital. Janet Allen, life enrichment coordinator for Alterra Assisted Living, was in search of entertainers for the center and called OU’s Department of Music, Theatre and Dance at the same time the students were preparing for their community work.

“It was perfect timing,” Yu said. “We were mutually seeking out each other. We’d like to do a similar event sometime around Christmas.”

The Music Preparatory Division, under the direction of OU Instructor of Music Diane Petrella, provides musical education to the general public for all ages, from children as young as 12 months to senior citizens. All classes meet at Oakland University and are taught by MTD faculty or OU undergraduate and graduate students.

The Early Childhood Music Program offers a variety of group music classes for toddlers to 5 year olds. Designed to create a fun and educational music environment for children to explore and create, these classes introduce basic rhythm and melody as well as experiences with a variety of musical instruments, genres and movements. Weekend classes are offered.

Elementary Voice and Piano Readiness classes are offered for children ages 4 to 10. Adult (high school age and older) classes include Beginning Piano I, Piano II or Basic Music Theory. Private lessons also are available for students of all ages on piano, voice, trombone and euphonium. Flute, violin, children's choir and music appreciation classes will be added to the schedule later in the year. Most classes meet in the late afternoon or evening.

The fall semester begins Wednesday, Sept. 3, and ends with a recital on Sunday, Dec. 7. Registration is Tuesday, Aug. 26, from 3 to 6 p.m. in the mezzanine outside Varner Recital Hall.

For more information on class offerings, registration and fees, visit the Department of Music, Theatre and Dance Web site or contact Bibianne Yu at (248) 370-2034 or