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Senior hopes to blend music with medicine


Melissa Lee arrived on campus with plans to major in biology and go to medical school. She’ll graduate this May with a degree in music and high hopes for a career in the relatively young field of music therapy.

“I didn’t want to let go of music completely,” Lee said, explaining her career choice. “I found something where I could use music and also be in the medical field.”

Lee, 21, grew up in Rockland County and began piano lessons when she was 4. In high school, she started playing organ and the viola, which has been her specialty at Binghamton.

Lee said her musical tastes are quite varied. Her iPod, for instance, is loaded with Korean music and hip-hop. “I don’t listen to as much classical music as people think I do,” she said.

Lee will perform at 8 p.m. Tuesday, April 17, in FA-Casadesus Recital Hall. The program includes pieces by Bach, Brahms and Stamitz. The honors recital, which is free and open to the public, has been a good opportunity to grow as a performer, she said.

It has also required a major time commitment. Lee practices two to four hours a day, on top of piano lessons and rehearsals for a quartet and the University Orchestra. She’s also a piano accompanist for voice students.

Those are responsibilities she juggles in addition to devoting much of her weekend time to the praise team at the Korean Baptist Church of Binghamton.

Roberta Crawford, a violist and lecturer in the Music Department, has been working with Lee to prepare the recital.

“She’s a top-notch musician and a wonderful violist,” Crawford said. “She’s a very, very special person. She has given a lot of herself to our department.”

Crawford said she believes music therapy suits Lee’s strengths.

“She’s a very deep-hearted and compassionate person,” Crawford said. “I think she wants to share her musical gifts with others and she sees music as a means of service to others.”
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Last Updated: 10/14/08