Rebecca Sorley is originally from Indianapolis and completed her Doctor of Arts degree in piano performance at Ball State in 1996. She currently serves as Professor of Music at the University of Indianapolis.
What opportunities attracted you to Ball State?
I liked how the program prepared me to be a university professor – especially with the diversity of offerings based on a pedagogical model.
What are your fondest memories at Ball State? Are there any teachers who influenced your career path?
My applied teacher was Mitchell Andrews who was just the right person for me at that time in my piano career. He helped me find interesting, challenging repertoire and prepared me for competitions and recitals. I performed the Rachmaninoff Piano Concerto No. 1, movement 1 with the Ball State Symphony Orchestra which was a highlight for me.
I also fell in love with new music and began a research interest in women composers. Beverly Grigsby from California State/Fullerton visited and I performed a piece by her. This led, later, to a trip to Los Angeles with a live radio broadcast of the piece as well as a professional recording of her “Five Preludes for Untransposed Hexachords.” My lecture recital was music of Judith Lang Zaimont and led to more study of her and other women composers’ works.
Another important faculty member was Kirby Koriath who was in charge of graduate music programs as well as my teacher for harpsichord and organ.
How did Ball State prepare you for your career?
Ball State was a great place for my doctoral studies. I was able to be a doctoral assistant and taught secondary pianists, aural skills, as well as accompanying for vocal lessons. I also learned much through my internship teaching class piano and my externship at Butler University teaching secondary pianists. The real world experience really helped make me feel confident in my future teaching career.
What are you currently doing?
My position at the University of Indianapolis is as Professor of Music. I teach all things piano including piano, class piano, collaborative, ensemble, pedagogy, and applied. In addition, I am the Coordinator of the Music Business program and teach a Senior Seminar. My administrative duties come in my role as Director of Student Support. I am the lead advisor for the department and help students with internships as well as directing them to additional opportunities. I direct the Summer Piano Camp for elementary students which will celebrate its 25th anniversary in 2019. I also am an organist at St. John’s United Church of Christ in Indianapolis.
What do you enjoy doing in your free time?
I like to run/walk and read.
What advice would you like to share with future Ball State graduates?
Get to know your professors – they will be the ones writing letters of recommendation later. Take advantage of the many opportunities to perform and make your own opportunities at other locations. When you are preparing a recital, you might as well do it at a number of places – especially if you don’t charge, most sites are happy to have guests perform. Have a spirit of entrepreneurship in seeing a need for something and filling it using your skills.