Hannah Gress is a current vocal music education major at Valley City State University. She is originally from Fargo, ND.
Why did you choose VCSU?
"I chose VCSU specifically for music. When I was in HS I came for Solo Song Symposium and when it was over, one of the music professors came over and talked to me to see if I had applied to the school. At that point, I was undecided and not sure where I wanted to go to school. I ended up applying to VCSU and found that I liked a lot of the other aspects of the college like the small class sizes and close-knit feeling of the music department. The other students that performed seemed like they were having a good time and it just seemed like a very safe zone to learn the arts. I felt comfortable singing on the stage in Vangstad even before I was in college.
What would you tell a prospective student about choosing a school?
"I would tell them that it's important to check out other clubs and organizations that you want to be a part of. I have been able to be in many leadership positions here at VCSU. I have been treasurer of Student Senate, President of NAFME, Executive Board for National Society of Leadership and Success, and a member of the golf team. Being able to be successful in music and also be a leader on campus was a really important thing for me when I was choosing to come to school."
How was VCSU prepared you for a music job?
"The VCSU Music Education Department is extremely caring about the educators they produce. They're so willing to help any level of student obtain their goals. The Education Department provides you with resources as well as human resources. There's a lot of practicum hours and we are placed with an experienced teacher in our profession. We spend many hours with this teacher throughout the course of years here. In addition to the practicum hours, the Music Department also requires many observation hours. This has been a really good resource for me because I've met many teachers around the area and gotten contact information from them. Being able to observe different schools has been important to me."
What's your favorite part of being a music major here?
"I really like that when you're struggling or feeling down your classmates in the Music Department are extremely supportive in any way, shape or form. When something happens they are there for you and vice versa. I really think that I wouldn't have the same connections with my classmates if I would've went somewhere else. My classmates and I plan to check in with each other as first-year teachers. Knowing this helps me feel more prepared and not alone - where I might have felt this way graduating from a larger school."
Favorite ensemble at VCSU?
"Percussion ensemble! I took percussion lessons for a while and a studio class. In this studio class we took on large percussion pieces together. We ended up performing on steel drums for a recital. This was totally the student's idea because we wouldn't have had to perform for a recital. Our professor, Dr. Meyers, was really open to our opinions and our suggestions on music options."
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