In February 2013, Rachel Dentinger (VPM ’13) premiered her creative capstone project, “Uncommon Action,” an interdisciplinary arts performance in which instrumentalists move as they play, conveying a story through the music. The creative piece is based on a poem Rachel wrote about anti-bullying. The piece is first performed without movement, with the musicians seated, wearing traditional concert black. After a brief intermission, the performers who represent characters in the poem play the piece again with movement and colorful costuming. Audience members get to experience the extent that visual cues affect our interpretation of programmatic music.
When Rachel returned to SU for her master’s degree, she wanted to continue “Uncommon Action”. Many of the undergraduates who performed in the project were still on campus. With a few new members, they rehearsed the piece once more and performed three assemblies for Chestnut Hill Middle School in Liverpool as a part of their anti-bullying day in December 2013.
Rachel’s capstone advisor, Dr. Elisa Dekaney, encouraged her to present her work at conferences. Rachel was invited to present at the International Society for Music Education (ISME) World Conference in Porto Alegre, Brazil in July 2014. There she prepared a half hour talk on the background of “Uncommon Action” and a half hour on a general music lesson that used elements of incorporating social justice and visuals into music education.
Going to the ISME conference with four of her professors was an amazing experience for Rachel. Not only did she get to engage in a great cultural experience, but she also got to build her professional credentials as well. Her professors introduced her to many people in the field from around the world who share her interests and passions. Rachel counts herself lucky that Syracuse University was supportive in getting her to the conference. The experience inspired her to continue to make research and presentation a part of the professional she is today.