It’s that time of the year again: the semester’s in full swing; you’ve likely got a piece (or pieces) picked out with your professor for recitals, or if you’re a high school senior, maybe you’re preparing pieces for college auditions. During these times, it’s really important to take proper care of your lips! Let’s talk a little about how best to go about doing that:
The University of Illinois has responded to the pandemic in the most responsible way possible while still allowing students to have in-person opportunities. Many schools in America have mandated a simple facemask policy, others, have gone as far as converting to online learning for the full academic year. Our institution, however, goes above and beyond.
I have always heard about the Krannert Debut Artist competition, one of the most prestigious competitions in the UIUC School of Music. One artist is selected each year to give a debut performance as a young professional musician on the Foellinger Great Hall stage. They are a featured artist in the Krannert Season, and they even get to sign a brick in the production hallway of Krannert! Last Tuesday, I got an email from my professor, Jerold Siena, saying that he had nominated me for this competition.
Walking into graduate school on day one can seem freeing, and in other ways overwhelming. Finally, you have the practice time you have long desired. Finally, there are no advisors and professors telling you exactly what you should be doing all of the time. Finally, you are given most of the deciding power in what kind of music you want to play, and what you want to say through your music. However, with this newfound sense of freedom, most new graduate students can feel lost, confused, overwhelmed, or unmotivated once they are left to do things on their own. Believe me, I have been there, and I still struggle with these same feelings. It is my hope that some of my successes and failures can come to guide new graduate students in “choosing their own adventure” that will set them up for a sustainable and enjoyable career in the arts. Here are some things to think about that may help to enlighten your path as a new graduate student:
It has been a long year of staying inside and hiding from the world, but it seems that time is slowly being halted. Today, I got my first of two covid vaccines and my nurse, Carla, could not have been nicer. Before we began, I told her I wasn’t a huge fan of vaccines. . .she laughed as she looked at the six visible tattoos on my arms and let me know that she would talk me through it. I asked her if it would be okay to take a picture, so the pharmacist came over and obliged.
If you’re like me, practicing at home for you is, at times, difficult. I LOVE the peaceful nature of a blank, quiet, room at the music building, with no distractions but the sound of my colleagues practicing. It’s taken me a while to adjust to practicing at home during this difficult time, but it just has to be done. Here are some things that have helped me figure it out along the way:
I really should be working on being able to explain and explore chapter one of my dissertation, but it seems that writing a blog took priority over that today. (This is what Dr. Barrett calls, “dissertation avoidance behavior” and I am AWESOME at it!)
Most weekends I have a LOT of work to do and it is almost impossible to do anything at home. My kid is there, my wife is there, the couch and the television are there...need I say more?