Sophie Norman ’24Music Major, Gustavus Choir
Posted on March 27th, 2023 by

“Whether I’m in class, choir, or a piano seminar, it’s clear that everyone in the room is rooting for each other to succeed.”

Initially focused on a major in Communication Studies and only planning to minor in Music, Sophie decided to pursue a double major after enjoying her music theory class and receiving encouragement from faculty within the department. Since then, she has found a supportive community among peers and faculty in the Music Department, saying, “The learning environment is very hands-on to encourage vulnerability and risk-taking (we perform in front of each other a lot), so you’ll often hear students clapping and cheering for each other in support while offering meaningful critique.”

As someone who is involved in music both academically and as a member of the Gustavus Choir and an accompanist for Lucia Singers, the department has not only helped her develop her academic skills, but also performing skills that can be applied to her everyday involvement in music. She points to one class in particular, A Quiet Mind, taught by Dr. Yumiko Oshima-Ryan, saying, “Dr. Yumiko Oshima-Ryan taught me so much about the art of performing, calming performance anxiety, and connecting with the music more deeply.” She has also developed a meaningful relationship with her piano professor, Dr. Esther Wang, who she says has influenced her to be both a better person and a better pianist.

Sophie has appreciated the opportunity to travel with other musicians through touring with the Gustavus Choir. She has loved the experience of traveling and making music with others who love music, and has made memories through these experiences that she will never forget.

Although much of her life surrounds music, Sophie is also involved on campus with Habitat for Humanity and Building Bridges.


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