As a music open studies major, there are a lot of requirements I have to fulfill to graduate, but out of all of them, this one has to be my favorite, yet the most stressful: The Capstone. For those who don’t know what a capstone is or haven’t even heard of it, a capstone is basically a senior project showcasing something you are passionate about and have worked on, kinda like a senior thesis. I have been fortunate enough to have worked in and on a capstone, but that’s high school and now we’re on the college level so everything is different. Not really. What I have been finding so far while working through this process is that it’s much more fun and liberating than my time in high school.
There are a lot of difficult and stressful elements to a capstone:
1. Choosing a topic that you have passion for
2. Knowing that you have the resources to make it happen
3. Researching/Finding materials
4. Finding the people (if needed)
5. Rehearsals/Compiling everything
6. Doing it
Of course, that’s probably not everything, but let’s make it concise and not stress ourselves even further. Choosing a topic was fairly simple for me unlike in high school. I’m a firm believer in doing things you’re passionate about because if you don’t, then what’s the point? I asked myself, what intrigues me the most, what inspires me, and what stories I have to tell. That brought me to a “typical” topic: The Past 4 Years of College (but with my own twist, so inherently it’s better). My ego, in the beginning, was questioning why I would choose such an “average” topic, but it’s what you make of it. So now that I had my topic, it was time for research.
I knew I had the resources I needed, with the people I knew and the resources the School of Music had, so that was easy. For the researching aspect, I guess that was also fairly simple because all I had to do was ask myself “What are key points in these past 4 years that were so crucial to becoming who you are today?” A lot has happened and that’s just an understatement, but to make it less stressful for myself I wrote bullet points of events that happened and things I learned. From there, I chose what spoke to me.
My capstone is, in other words, a senior recital with a combination of a presentation, so I tried to find pieces that meant a lot to me, had sentimental meaning, had lyrics that spoke more than I can explain, and were just fun. Another thing that I thought about was wanting to showcase an array of genres and styles and having a piece that showcased my cello abilities. Reflecting on the biggest event while being here inspired me to compose two pieces. Everything has a purpose, and that doesn’t apply just to my capstone. I’ve learned from doing my capstone in high school that it’s difficult to find the motivation to do something if you don’t enjoy it or if it's something you aren’t passionate about which then results in a final presentation that honestly is…whatever, eh.
I’m currently still in the works of getting my capstone ready for its time in April, it’s been fun, and I’ve learned a lot, but it’s also stressful. So, when the time comes, do something you like. Don’t force yourself to do something you don’t like. You only live once, so, might as well fill your life with things that make you feel good. But also, you do get a grade for this and that impacts whether you graduate or not.