The Wilkinson Student Center terrace is a hub of activity for BYU students. Not only is it a popular spot for students to eat, study and socialize, but it’s also a great venue for budding student musicians who have enough courage to take their turn on the terrace piano.
While piano players in the WSC have a reputation for disrupting the peace for students trying to study, some students have found it a great opportunity to share their talent with others.
Josh Frie, a freshman from Rochester, Minn., has played piano in the WSC terrace a couple times since starting at BYU.
“Sometimes I’ll just come here when I’m sick and tired of school or if I just want to play,” Frie said.
Frie, who enjoys arranging and performing his own music, said he finds the WSC terrace a great place to perform for fresh ears.
“All the stuff I play is either stuff I’ve arranged or written myself,” Frie said. “It is nice to let other people hear the stuff I’m working on. My roommates hear my music all the time, so it is nice to be with another crowd that hasn’t heard it before.”
Frie said he gets good feedback whenever he performs, and once he even had to refuse spare change from a passerby who enjoyed his performance.
“There is definitely more pressure here to play it right,” Frie said. “But my favorite thing is to write music, and I like to be able to share it with other people.”
Whitley Smith, a sophomore majoring in elementary education from Carthage, N.C., has been playing piano for 12 years. Smith has come to play in the WSC terrace a couple times and said playing in the terrace is definitely more intimidating than doing it in a practice room.
“More people can definitely see you here,” Smith said. “But it is just a different feel because of the noise around you. It gives it a different vibe.”
Some students using the terrace as a place to eat, study and socialize are OK with people playing piano as long as they treat it as a performance and leave practicing for their own time. Tara Owens, a student from Phoenix, Ariz. studying recreation management, said while she does appreciate those who perform well, she doesn’t enjoy it when people are practicing rather than performing.
“I really like when people play well,” Owens said. “It is when they’re practicing and playing the same things over and over again that it gets kind of annoying. I feel like that is when you should play in private.”
While the WSC is not a concert hall or traditional venue for musical performances, Madeline Hansen, a freshman from Boise, Idaho, comes to the WSC terrace to study because she loves to listen to people play and share their talent.
“I just like that people are brave enough to play in front of everyone and share their talents,” Hansen said. “That is why I study here. It is fun to see how talented people are.”