Melissa King joins Dr. Angela Miller-Niles in faculty recital

A part-time professor, King deems annual faculty recitals an important part of maintaining faculty relationships


Brianna Parsons

Adjunct professor Melissa King performed on the flute and was accompanied by Dr. Angela Miller-Niles on the piano at the faculty recital in Ley Theatre last Friday night.

Brianna Parsons , Reporter

With 25 years of playing the flute under her belt, Melissa King, an adjunct flute professor, was featured with assistant professor of piano Dr. Angela Miller-Niles last Friday in Ley Theatre at the faculty recital.

“I am a part time flute professor, so I come up on Fridays and teach flute lessons and flute studio class,” King said.

King said she started playing the flute at the age of eight.

“I started [playing] in fourth grade,” King said. “I played a lot of instruments, I played the saxophone, trombone, I was the drum major in high school, and I was also on the percussion line. I played some piano, and then all of the flute auxiliary instruments, such as bass, flute alto, and flute piccolo.”

Although King played a various amount of instruments throughout her life, she sticks with only a couple now.

“I do not play other instruments, but I do keep on the piano,” King said. “Once you have chosen your instrument for college, it is not wise to change your instrument for your embouchure. I wanted to be a trumpet player, but I had braces, so I picked up a flute and my band director said, ‘I was so much better with the flute, you should be a flute player.’”

King expressed the fact that music always came naturally to her.

“I always loved [music], my older brothers played, and I was so jealous, I was just so ready to join band,” King said. “I was so interested that even in the fourth grade, [faculty from the school] had me walk over to the middle school to play in the school band because I was so committed.”

By being so committed at a young age, King remained loyal and participated in numerous recitals.

“Melissa chose the music for [this recital],” Dr. Miller-Niles said. “We pick things that we have heard and always wanted to play or if we have a favorite composer and we are trying to find something new, then we research into that area.”

King stated that she tried to see what the composer was portraying in the music, and with that, she communicated the meaning of the piece to her audience.

“I try to have as much fun as possible, there are times when it can be so serious that you can forget you are doing a fun activity,” King said. “For me, the best part is collaborating with the pianist and other people. If the composer was trying to make it sound like a dance, then I try to make it as dance-like as possible.”

King said she believes that if you have moments of perfection and good music, then you have a good performance.

“I think the best way [to connect with the audience] is if they can see you at any moment enjoying yourself,” King said. “My professor always used to say, ‘make a great line of music’ and if you made one great musical line, then you have done well enough. So, I try to do that at least somewhere and I do not think anything exists as a perfect performance.”

Dr. Miller-Niles enjoyed participating in the recital.

“I think it went good, I liked the music, it has that kind of floaty sound especially in [Ley Theatre],” Dr. Miller-Niles said. “I hoped the students enjoyed it.”

King expressed similar thoughts on playing with Miller-Niles during the recital.

“It was fun playing with Miller-Niles, she is very talented and knows her [skills], so you could rely on her to do what we were asking her to do,” King said. “I thought we did good, ensemble wise.”

From King’s perspective, music is within us and our instrument we play allows that to come out.

“Playing an instrument is complicated, it suits a complicated personality,” King said. “I think that some musicians can be of the emotional type, can be exotic, and often maybe introverted and have this expressive quality inside of them, that the only way to possibly express is through music.”

King feels that classical music helps touch every nuance of the soul, in a very short time.

“I listen to classical music, it has so much emotion in it,” King said. “One minute sad, one minute happy and just so overloaded with expression that you can express all your emotions in a single piece, and you can’t do that with a pop or country song.”

King continues with faculty recitals because she feels it is important to her to feel like a member of Wayne and a part of a peer group.

“I know that the full-time faculty enjoy giving recitals,” King said. “I try to do one every spring, simply to make sure that I am playing, so that I can be involved with my colleagues, otherwise I wouldn’t really have a chance to work with the other colleagues.”

King said we all define “better” differently. She believes that music professors are focusing on what the student’s end goal is and that they are 50 percent counselor and 50 percent flute teacher.

“The [students] might play one piece a semester, but if you can hear four more, then you just quadrupled their listening and have given them a standard to work for,” King said. “If the only standard they have is each other, then they can only get that good, but if they have something to work for and they see you happy doing it, then, even more so, they will see it as an enjoyable thing to work for.”

During grad school at UNL, King’s professor got her in contact with Wayne State College’s Music Department.

“My professor at UNL knew that I was not looking for full time work, so there were some things that had come my way,” King said. “[My professor] had wrote me and said that David Bohnert, chair of the music department, was looking for part time faculty and that it could be perfect for me. It has worked out really well, as a stay at home mom, I love to get out of the house once a week and it serves them.”

Back in her home town of Lincoln, King teaches flute lessons.

“Currently, I raise three children, they keep me very busy and I conduct flute orchestra called Coro di flauti,” King said. “There are about 25 [people], so they are a pretty decent group.”