In 2005, an anonymous gift of $100 million fell into the lap of the Yale School of Music. By 2006, tuition was made free for all students, attracting an enormous number of incredibly talented musicians to campus. But those not in the know may never come into contact with these students, many of whom light up concert halls across campus on a regular basis. For the uninitiated: an hour-long recital is often required of students pursuing Master’s degrees. They take place throughout the year, they’re short, they’re informal and they’re incredibly rewarding.

Just this past weekend, I went to listen Domenic Salerni’s MUS ’11 final recital, which was a moving and captivating experience. His program choice was never boring: Bach followed by Messiaen, Kreisler and Brahms. The recital even included the premiere of a piece composed by his father, Paul Salerni, about the violinist as a young child entitled “Toddler Riffs”. What made the concert so enjoyable was that it was a free opportunity to hear a potentially great concert violinist experiment and play.

Student musicians are daring, curious and far-from pretentious — and it shows. The crowd was made up mainly of friends, family and faculty, creating an informal and relaxed environment. Where else do you get to hear such great music, for free and in such an accessible setting?

Look up the next recital on the Yale School of Music’s blog and try one out. It might be the study break you’re looking for.