The Illinois String Academy (ISA) provides a musically enriching experience for young students that is coordinated by the School of Music. I saw the opportunity to be a cello intern for ISA and applied immediately knowing that this would give me a chance to keep practicing the cello. We had our first curriculum meeting and it never really occurred to me how I might be the only intern who doesn’t study their instrument here at the university, until that morning. It was a bit intimidating to know that, but I told myself that this internship was granted to me after the directors and coordinators looked over my resume and qualifications; that I shouldn’t stress about it.
A month has passed since the beginning of ISA and I quickly gained confidence and a different perspective on myself and my abilities. One of my duties for my internship is to observe group classes and private lessons for a particular student and dedicate time to work with them on any technical difficulties I see they are having or need more practice on. I never formally taught younger students on a long-term basis until now and, just like when I went to the first curriculum meeting, I felt nervous. I felt some pressure knowing that I will be guiding a young student’s development in musicianship and technical aspects of playing the cello. All the emotions wrapped inside of me floated away from my body during my first practice session with my student. Teaching came naturally to me and knowing that my student and her mother found the practice session to be helpful was a huge self-esteem booster for me.
From then on, I would follow the same cycle of meetings, observing classes, and teaching. This cello internship with ISA has taught me and bettered my qualities in being a leader, student, artist, and musician. Never underestimate your abilities and keep practicing.