Virtuosos and maestros, or SNC music students

Three times a semester, SNC’s music department holds recitals that showcase the talents of many students.

Donna Axton accompanies Stephanie Kwon.
Donna Axton accompanies Stephanie Kwon. Photo by Jamie Wanzek

While playing music, our brains fire in multiple components. Through a complex reaction involving our motor system, auditory circuitry system and sensory information system, sounds can be heard. Music allows one to connect emotionally to the sounds they are producing.

At Sierra Nevada College, students involved with music are being given more opportunities to pursue their extracurricular music interests through Interdisciplinary majors.

To broaden the music department at SNC, Music Program Chair Donna Axton has expanded the curriculum by including more developmental and music theory courses.

On Feb. 23, Axton’s music class performed their first of three recitals for the semester. The class consists of eight students that perform in voice and piano music recitals.

As the large baby blue piano in David Hall was decorated and used in Axton’s student’s quest to advance their musical knowledge, the students shared their progression and excitement for one another.

“We used to have our recitals in the Dining hall, and it was difficult with the kitchen noise. Although, since we received the use of David Hall, it has been wonderful having our own space for our program” said Axton.


SNC offers private lessons with voice, piano, string instruments and percussion. The students in the class take private lessons from Axton independently and get together three times a semester to share their growth. Axton also hosts a chorus that consists of 40 members, including outside community members.

“It is great seeing all the students’ growth.  For instance, this was Stephanie’s first time singing in a recital, and it was beautiful,” said Axton.

Looking forward for Axton’s pursuits in developing the music department further, she explains, “we want to expand our program through public bands and more music minors and by offering the classes we hope to achieve that goal.”

A handful of Axton’s students, including Stephanie Kwon and Christina Cervi, are Interdisciplinary Majors with minors in Music.

“I grew up with voice lessons and I am continuing it through an interdisciplinary major with Psychology and Music,” said Cervi.

To further advance the music department, there are also forty ­five students in the rock music theory class and Axton will be offering a Music Fundamentals class next semester.