By Erin Bradley
As midterms wrap up and the end of the semester quickly approaches, seniors begin to work and plan their final projects. With each major comes a different set of requirements for students to graduate, including seminars, capstones, clinicals, student teaching and placements.
Some seniors are already starting to prepare for their projects. Jordan Ortman, senior from Marion, S.D., is a music major focusing on piano performance. To complete his major, Ortman will have to perform a recital during the spring semester and, although he has not yet set a date for this performance, he is planning for the event to take place around the end of February.
“I think [my recital] will be at the end of February, although February is when I have lots of grad school auditions, live auditions on the weekends. So, if I am flying and driving other places for those, it might be hard to work it in, but that’s where it is for now,” Ortman said.
Ortman is currently working on choosing, practicing, and memorizing pieces he will perform at his recital. To narrow the pool, Ortman began picking through pieces over the summer and deciding what exactly he wanted to perform.
“There is typically different eras or periods that you would want to play music from. You would want Bach, Beethoven, Mozart or Haydn, and then you want some romantic music and some more modern music, if you so choose,” Ortman said. “I am playing “Prelude and Fugue” by Bach, probably a Mozart Sonata, and some W.C. Chopin, which I really enjoy, and we’ll see if I add something else.”
Different from his normal performances on campus, Ortman will have to perform all of his pieces from memorization for his recital. This is a requirement for piano and vocal performance majors. Since this is something new, it could cause a bit of nervousness for Ortman.
“I am not usually nervous to play with the choir or to accompany anyone, even if I have music in front of me, but the fact that I don’t have that safety net is what really gets my heart pounding,” Ortman said.
Ortman is excited to play some pieces that really inspire him, particularly Chopin’s “Etude 1.”
“I want to do it. Now I think I’m finally going to try and play it. It’s a minute and a half long. And it will be so much work for a minute and a half, but hopefully in the end it’s going to be worth it.”
As he prepares for his recital and graduate auditions, Ortman is grateful for all the diverse experiences his education has provided him and the preparation it has given him for many opportunities in the future.
“At Bethel, I have been able to do tons of different things just in music,” Ortman said. “There are so many diverse skills I’ve acquired, and the range of things that I have had the opportunity to do here will be very valuable in my graduate studies and beyond. I haven’t been limited as I would have at a larger university where I would have to focus on one very specific skill.”
Unlike a music major, other majors like education and nursing have a longer-term commitment for a senior requirement. Education majors are required to spend a semester student teaching in a grade they would consider teaching. Nursing majors spend the last half of the spring semester doing a Capstone, which is similar to student teaching in that they choose a nurse and spend every day working with them.
Education major Aaron Benton, senior from San Antonio, Texas, is currently wrapping up courses this semester that will help him prepare for his student teaching next semester.
“They are not teaching you the subject, they are teaching you how to teach the subject,” Benton explained. “They’re all very helpful classes, like how to teach reading, math, and science. There is not one class that is going to be better for me than the other one. Behavior Management might help a little bit more because kids get a little rambunctious around me because I’m so tall.” Benton, who is 6 feet 7 inches tall, elaborated, “They get a little side tracked when they first see me, but there’s nothing that I haven’t been able to deal with. I guess they also listen to me because I am so tall.”
Next semester, Benton will be teaching a third grade class at Northridge, which is right around the age he would like to teach in the future.
“I am better with younger kids than I am with the older ones,” Benton said. “Especially coming from a big city, I have seen so many things with older kids that it was a complete turn off from teaching older kids. When I got into my observing and teaching the younger kids, I found that I really liked it.
Similar to Benton, Payton Walker, senior nursing student from Weskan, has to complete a Capstone toward the end of the spring semester.
“We will be done with classes at Spring Break. After that, we get to pick our own nurse, where we work, and what unit we want to be on. We just follow [a nurse] and basically do 12-hour shifts,” Walker said. Walker hopes to get into the labor and delivery unit for her capstone, as well as her future career.
To prepare, nursing students do clinicals during the school year. During clinicals, they go to different, local facilities and work first-hand with the nurses in their respective fields. Clinicals and Capstones each provide an opportunity to put what they are learning in class to work in real-world experiences.
Looking toward next semester, both Benton and Walker are excited and nervous about similar things. They are excited about getting to actually put into action what they have been learning about in classes, but both are nervous about being capable to do their job well.