CMU Music provides free, beautiful stress relief

Nina Nash-Robertson directs the CMU Concert Choir (Photo submitted by Sarah Kornacki)

Swinging her arms in a large circle followed by a sharp cut, Nina Nash-Robertson stops the concert choir and pianist in the middle of “Ritmo,” a rhythmic Spanish song by Dan Davison.

“Thank you!” she shoots quickly to Paul Melcher, the accomplished pianist and a graduate student in CMU’s music program.

Nash-Robertson points out to the choir that some sections of clapping are speeding up a bit.

Standing on choir risers in Staples Family Concert Hall and realizing they are guilty parties, some singers shift from foot to foot, making mental notes to pay closer attention to the beat. Others bend down to pick up their sheet music to check the rhythm.

“Let’s all tap the eighth notes and say the words in rhythm,” says Nina, snapping to attention and raising her eyebrows.

“Batir las manos al ritmo,” clap, clap. “Batir las manos con toda la gente, con todas voces, con alegría y con gozo!” Clap-clap-clap

“Please look over that tonight. Only one rehearsal left!”

Nina Nash-Robertson, director of the concert choir and Chamber Singers, is alluding to the spring choir concert this Sunday, April 22.

Concert choir is just one of many ensembles and individual musicians putting the finishing touches on their music for concerts and recitals.

Beautiful, exciting music spills from every window in CMU’s music building now that it’s spring.

Tickets are free for CMU students for the majority of the nearly 50 upcoming concerts and recitals. With the end of the semester swiftly approaching, now is the perfect opportunity to combat stress by experiencing the amazing sounds made by fellow CMU students.

It is commonly accepted that music relieves stress. With finals looming and projects culminating, stress management has never been more important.

Although listening to your usual playlist may be helpful, PsychCentral suggests that classical music, even if it is not your usual preference, may be the most beneficial for slowing heart rate, lowering blood pressure and decreasing stress hormones.

But it’s not just classical that the School of Music has to offer. With all the performances coming up, there is everything from soaring classical music to contemporary music, a capella singers, fun musical theater and swinging jazz.

As bands and choirs gear up for their final concerts, myriads of juniors and seniors warm up for individual student recitals — knowing they had better be good because recitals count as final exams. Student recitals feature the solo music of guitars, percussion, trumpets, violins and various ranges of vocal music, just to name a few.

There’s a bit of everything, so try out a new type of music and you just might find something you never knew you’d like. Life’s so much better if you listen to the music and “batir las manos al ritmo,”— clap your hands to the rhythm.