Langdon Area High School senior Sydney Crockett has always loved playing and performing music, and her dedication has earned her three scholarships from the music department at UND.
The three music scholarships include a $12,000 Piano Music Major Scholarship ($3,000 dollars per year), a $250 Concert Choir participation offer, and a new $1000 scholarship from the Hastings and Geiger Cello and Piano Scholarship Endowment.
“Sydney is the first recipient of this award,” said Dr. Nariaki Sugiura, associate professor of piano and collaborative piano at UND. “This scholarship is offered yearly to a student who is a cellist or pianist promising to be in the Red River Piano Trio, which is one of our music department’s leading student chamber music groups.” The Trio has traveled to offer musical and cultural activities in the state, region, and international locations including China and Japan.
“My music scholarships are tied to piano and voice,” said Sydney. “Piano will be my main instrument, and voice will be my secondary instrument.” Her goal is to be a piano teacher while still finding opportunities to perform herself and with other people.
“I plan to major in piano performance for my bachelor’s degree,” said Sydney. “I will then pursue my master’s degree in which I will major in pedagogy (teaching piano) and collaboration. Pedagogy is a master’s program, so it was best that I attain my bachelor’s degree in piano performance so I’m able to teach others to perform to the best of my ability.”
Sydney started taking piano lessons from Lisa Schuler when she was in the 2nd grade in 2010. “Sydney was given 100% support from her family from her very first lesson,” said Schuler. “They gave her the foundation that instilled a good work ethic when she grew older. Sydney made up her mind in the 7th grade that she wanted to pursue music for her career, and she has never wavered. A few years ago, when I knew she wasn’t going to change her mind about pursuing a music degree, I contacted Nariaki Sugiura." Sydney started lessons with Sugiura her freshman year.
“This year, she has 2 lessons with me and 2 lessons with Nariaki each month.” It turned out to be a good fit. Sugiura said students are usually intimidated at first, but Sydney was different from the beginning.
“She seemed interested in what I do,” said Sugiura, “and she began seriously devoting her time into practicing the piano from the start. She is an extremely intelligent, motivated, and hard-working individual.”
A few years ago Sydney had the opportunity to teach piano lessons and found her calling.
“I’ve always loved performing, but when I started teaching, I found where my passion was strongest and fell in love with teaching,” said Sydney. “I currently teach eleven students, and I’m very proud of them all for the work they’ve put in and how far they’ve come.”
Besides piano lessons and recitals with Schuler and Dr. Sugiura, Sydney has played in two Mozart Concerto competitions at UND, three Poppler’s piano competitions, five years of International Music Camp, and four years at State Music. This year she will be participating in 10 solos, duets, and ensembles. Here in Langdon, Sydney plays piano and violin at Maple Manor, cantors and sings with the Praise Band at United Lutheran Church, and plays in the LAHS Jazz Band.
“I’ve had the privilege of accompanying Sydney for all of her vocal and instrumental auditions, regional contests, and state contests,” said Schuler. “I am very proud of her ambition. Any student that I’ve entered in a piano competition has had accelerated growth in their playing. The most demanding were the two concerto competitions held at UND. Sydney didn’t win the first concerto competition, but she was determined and tried it again the following year and won. That experience launched her even further into her passion to perform. All of these experiences made for a positive scholarship audition experience for her. She felt confident and knowledgeable with the audition criteria.”
“Sydney has always been all about her music,” shares her mother, Marcie Crockett. “Sydney knew that piano performance was what she wanted to pursue.” Marcie attends as many of Sydney’s events as she can, logging many hours and miles in the car.
“I wouldn’t trade a minute of it,” said Marcie. “It was precious time we had together, and now, as I prepare to send her off to college, I am even more grateful for all that 'road time'. We couldn’t be more proud of her.”
UND also awarded Sydney two academic scholarships: a $14,000 Presidential Scholarship ($3,500 dollars per year) and a $4000 Honors Program Scholarship ($1000 per year as long as she stays in the Honors Program). There have been a lot of people in her life that have encouraged, taught, and supported her, and she acknowledges what a difference that makes.
“I’ve put in a lot of hard work in over the years, but I could not have done it without the support of my parents or my teachers,” said Sydney. “I am so excited to be starting the next chapter of my life, but it will be bittersweet leaving everyone behind. I would not be the person I am today without the guidance, support, and teachings of my role models. At times, it was challenging and overwhelming, but I was able to push through with the help of my teachers and parents.”