music library, music education, music major, student performers, serendipity, information behavior, information needs, library programming, library concerts
In the United States, the library-as-concert-space has a substantial history and has been a way for libraries of all types to build partnerships and create community, while providing free, educational, and shared experiences for patrons. Less discussed, however, is the impact that informal concerts have on student musicians who perform in academic library spaces. Conventionally, student musicians perform well-rehearsed repertoire in recital halls for an audience that consists of their peers, teachers, family, and friends. These formal performances are often part of the required academic curriculum for music majors. There is little opportunity, however, for them to experience what it is like to perform for an unknown audience or try out new repertoire in a less formal setting that is both familiar and unpredictable. Opportunities to take chances, experiment, and share one’s craft with a wider community are a central component of an artist’s creative life, and the library is well-positioned to provide such opportunities to student musicians.
The “Galleria” of the Melville Library at Stony Brook University has featured student musicians in informal concerts for several years. After providing a brief literature review and introducing the history and logistics of these concerts, this chapter will use content analysis to examine the thoughts, ideas, and experiences of the SBU student musicians who performed in the library from 2013 to 2021. The results show that student performances within highly-trafficked library spaces not only bridge academic and practitioner worlds, but also widen and enrich the creative lives of student musicians on campus.
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Schierhorst, Gisele and Fena, Christine, ""Being able to play for a wider audience": Student musician perspectives on performing in the library" (2023). Library Faculty Publications. 50.