Nathan Canfield


Expected graduation date: Spring 2016

Degree objective: Music Performance

Instrument: Piano

University highlights, achievements and awards: Dean’s List (two semesters), 2013 President’s Recital, Pi Kappa Lambda Honor Society Certificate

High School: Home schooled

Hometown: Sullivan, Indiana

Family ties to ISU: None

I chose to attend ISU because…ISU is close to home. I never even visited any other schools because I was certain ISU was the best fit for me. The campus is near enough for me to commute without too much trouble, and I feel that the school’s size and environment is ideal, especially for undergraduates. The thought of going to a larger music school where there are numerous instructors for most instruments is slightly overwhelming at this point.

When I have free time, I like…to practice. As a performance major, I feel that I need to devote myself to practicing as much as to academics. It always excites me to learn new music, and I have to pace myself and stay on track with my repertoire. I also love to compose, and I hope to continue writing with whatever career I choose. Reading music is also high on my list. I am definitely a geek of sorts when it comes to this, and could spend (and maybe have spent) the majority of the day reading music scores. Besides music, I enjoy reading, mostly the Bible and books on theology/Bible doctrine, and playing (or watching) just about any sport, especially basketball.

My favorite places on campus to study are…the practice rooms, because they are typically the most convenient place to study, though not the best in terms of environment. If the music from other rooms is too distracting for me (it often is), then I will usually study on the 3rd floor of the library, where I will hope the music score section does not provide more distractions!

My favorite professor is…Difficult question. There have been several wonderful professors that I have been able to glean from, but one who stands out is Dr. Beverley Simms. I feel very blessed to have her as my instructor! In just one year of studying under her, I can tell that she has an amazing knowledge of the piano, and she is always willing to help and explain any problems I am having with my playing. Whenever I think I am nearly finished working on a particular piece, she will challenge me with more ways to improve my tone, balance, posture/body control, hand movements, etc. Her way of teaching is very thorough and well-rounded, and I feel that because of this I will have a head start in grad school. Dr. Simms is also a great mentor, and she is devoted to her students and understands our capabilities very well. I have concurred with other piano majors that often it seems that she knows us better than we know ourselves, not only of our ability or potential, but also with the repertoire she suggests for each of us. She also allows a considerable amount of freedom for interpretation, usually by suggesting one favored approach and showing other possible ways to execute a piece. I have enjoyed every lesson with her and can only hope that any future private instructor I have will be as helpful and enjoyable.

If I could share an afternoon with anyone, I would love to share it with…my grandpa. He passed away when I was nine years old, so I did not have the opportunity to know him nearly as well as my other grandparents. Many people who knew him and have met me will say that I resemble his personality somewhat, and there are so many things I would like to ask him and hear from him.

If I knew I could not fail, I would…write a symphony!

After graduation, I plan to... attend graduate school. As of right now I am uncertain where I would like to study, though I have a couple of schools in mind. It is still early, and I will probably wait to do most of the research/deciding until my sophomore year or later. Ultimately, my goal is to receive a doctorate in music performance and teach music at a college/university, but I have a lot of hurdles to jump until then! With whatever I choose as my career, I want to serve God and bring Him glory. I believe that any ability I have comes from Him.

The one ISU experience I will always remember is/will be…I think I need at least another year to answer this question! For now, I will say that my most memorable experience has been performing in the President’s Recital. It was a very unexpected opportunity, and I am grateful for it.

If I knew then what I know now, I would…I would have taken more risks and opportunities, especially during my high school years!

If I could serve as a mentor for future ISU music students, I would tell them/suggest that they…1) Take college seriously and avoid distractions. One of the reasons I decided to commute was to avoid as many distractions as I could, because a college campus can be full of them! 2) Attend classes. Schools today are much more strict about attendance then they used to be (for good reason), and a significant part of your grade rests on it. 3) Take care of yourself. In my first year, I failed miserably in this area, and consequentially I would suffer from fatigue and lack of motivation. Though I did my best with sleep, I lost about 15 pounds simply from skipping meals and neglecting exercise. Being a music student doesn’t necessitate forgetting breakfast and settling for 5 hours of sleep! I think that all who have the opportunity and ability to enter the School of Music can not only survive but succeed in their college careers; it is simply a question of how much they want the degree.

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