Make It Millikin: Leah Wier
School of Music
Opportunities lead to great success for piano performance major
Leah Wier started her music career by banging on the keys of a piano at the age of five. Surrounded by a musically inclined family, the junior vocal music education and piano performance double major from Lacon, Ill., knew from that young age music was going to play an important part in her life.
Wier's education growing up was a bit different than what most people experience in their childhood. Having been homeschooled until she arrived at college, Wier relied on herself to learn the necessary material.
"I enjoyed being homeschooled, I learned how to be an independent learner," said Wier. "It is quite different having professors and a schedule to rely on and follow, but I really have enjoyed it. Having that structure made the transition coming to Millikin very easy."
Looking at colleges, Wier was convinced that Millikin was where she was supposed to be when attending a piano lesson with Assistant Professor of Piano and Coordinator of Keyboard Studies Dr. Silvan Negrutiu.
"I knew from that very first lesson that I could learn a lot from Dr. Negrutiu. At first I was set on solely studying vocal music education, but Dr. Negrutiu gave me the encouragement to also study piano performance," said Wier.
By pursuing piano performance, Wier opened herself to numerous opportunities resulting in great success. Wier was the 2016 Millikin-Decatur Symphony Orchestra Concerto Competition winner; First Prize winner at the 2017 Illinois State Music Teachers Association (ISMTA) Young Artist Piano Competition; and most recently received Millikin's 2018 Alice Herren Ayars Piano Award which is given to an outstanding piano student.
On Saturday, April 6, Wier was among three finalists who performed in the Hollis Prize Competition, the highest award that may be received by a student instrumentalist or vocalist within the School of Music. In addition to Wier, the other finalists were Jorie Clark, a sophomore soprano vocal performance major from Springfield, Ill., and Nick Tipsword, a junior French horn instrumental performance major from Bethany, Ill.
Clark took first place, Tipsword was first runner-up, and Wier was second runner-up, respectively.
"It was an honor to just be a part of the competition," said Wier. "Clark and Tipsword performed beautifully and are very deserving of their awards."
Wier may not have won the competition, but she's thankful for the continuous opportunities, like competing for the Hollis Prize, that Millikin offers its students.
"Millikin has provided me the support and encouragement to become my absolute best, and that means so much to me," Wier said.