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Mara Gerety

Oberlin, part 2

April 19, 2007 at 10:01 PM

In which I return from Oberlin, happy and excited but too dead tired to do anything but stare at the computer and blog.

My friends, I think it is all but safe to say it is a done deal: "ich bin ein Oberliner!" I have not officially sent in my deposit yet, but I can't imagine I will have any last-minute change of heart.

So as for yesterday's events: I met that Hungarian musicologist, Peter Laki, who is a total genius and also a really nice guy. I sat in on his class in Renaissance music and it was quite interesting--I never thought 16th-century melodic ornamentation could be so much fun. :)

Then I observed Professor Milan Vitek's studio class and was VERY impressed! It was probably the most musical group of students I've encountered anywhere--a lot of places I've been, I'm sorry to say, way too many of the students have great technique but nothing to say. Here, they had very good technique but they were all individual musicians. They had things in common of course, so I could tell they were all Mr. Vitek's students, but it seemed to me that the one thing that most held that studio together, and what was the clearest indication that they all study with him, was their individuality and musicality. (Does that make sense??)

Later I heard the orchestra rehearse Mahler 1, 3rd movement. Basically all I have to say here is that this was their first read-through, and they sounded better than my previous orchestras usually sounded at dress rehearsal. I like the conductor too--very demanding, but in a good way.

Finally I had a short lesson with Mr. Vitek. He is a really excellent teacher. He is a very warm and friendly person, and his general philosophy of teaching is very appealing to me. I've had some teachers who are complete insane micro-managers, who tell you exactly what to do with every millimeter of bow, every slightest hand movement, how to strictly plan and calculate every flight of fancy. Some of that is healthy, of course, but for me I find that that approach gets overwhelming and a bit stifling very quickly. Mr. Vitek, on the other hand, is more of a big-picture type. He does talk about technique (lest anyone think I'm saying he's lassez-faire), but generally he trusts his students to be mature and professional enough to figure out a lot of the details on their own--the teacher is there to refine, keep them honest, and coach musical expression. At least that's the impression I got.

So anyway, I'm psyched. Off to practice now. :)

From Ihnsouk Guim
Posted on April 20, 2007 at 12:09 AM
Congratulations! I am sure you'll love it there.
From Julie C.
Posted on April 20, 2007 at 3:54 AM
Maura, you heard us rehearse Mahler 1? I was in there! Where were you? If I had known you were visiting Oberlin, we could've met up! hahaha fellow V.commies :)
From Donna Clegg
Posted on April 20, 2007 at 12:47 PM
Sounds like you've found that perfect match! Grats.
From Maura Gerety
Posted on April 20, 2007 at 3:24 PM
Whoa, Julie C.! Weird! I was in the back of the room, right by the harp player. You guys sounded good! :)
From Linda Lerskier
Posted on April 20, 2007 at 7:15 PM
Congratulations on finding a school you love!

I was just reading an article on Kennedy's speech a week ago. xD Non-history fanatics like me are always amazed when a connection like that just clicks. :D

From Julie C.
Posted on April 20, 2007 at 9:30 PM
I was next to the harp player too! I was on her left. I'm like near last stand 2nd violin HAHA
From Maura Gerety
Posted on April 20, 2007 at 9:38 PM
LOL Julie, that's just crazy! :)
From Walter Olivares
Posted on April 21, 2007 at 8:56 AM
If this teacher encourages good technique but above all individual expression then, he is a wonderful teacher.
Great to hear this kind of teaching is happening in other places.
From Thomas Vu
Posted on April 22, 2007 at 2:55 PM
I am glad you got accepted at such a great school! I was worried you would be stuck in oklahoma forever.....
From Anne Horvath
Posted on April 23, 2007 at 1:29 AM
Congratulations! So I guess that it will be a fine Hungarian Conservatory for Grad School?
From Maura Gerety
Posted on April 23, 2007 at 3:48 PM
Oberlin is all undergrad, except the conducting students. If you mean I'll be GOING to a fine Hungarian conservatory for grad school, well, hell yes--Liszt Ferenc Zeneakademia, here I come! ;)
From Anne Horvath
Posted on April 23, 2007 at 7:10 PM
Just yanking your chain kid...I'll pull the veal out of the freezer, and in your honor, try to make "Borjufelfujt".
From Anne Horvath
Posted on April 23, 2007 at 7:22 PM
Wait, no veal (Politically Incorrect anyways...) but I do have some lamb...how about a nice lamb paprikas?

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