August 18, 2013 at 2:29 AMI managed to survive my first semester in graduate school! I am happy to say that I finished well…so far I have a 4.0 gpa. I survived juries, research projects, conducting class, orchestra excerpts, chamber music, and so forth. What a journey! It took all summer for my body and mind to recover from the shock of it all, and now it’s time for round 2. I am well on my way to receiving a Masters of Music in Violin Performance.
In just a few days, the adventure will continue with the start of fall semester. I am very excited! Especially since our university just put the finishing touches on a brand, spanking new state-of-the-art music building that has been all the buzz around town. I admit, one of the main reasons I am excited about this building is because all of my classes will be held in ONE place, instead of spread out among several buildings scattered around campus…which cuts down my trekking and schlepping time considerably. I’m also looking forward to the abundance of practice rooms, the cutting edge acoustics in the recital halls, and the orchestra rehearsal space. It will be my home for the next 3 semesters!
I am also excited, believe it or not, to take the Musicology and Music Theory Review courses. I was unable to successfully pass the diagnostic exams required for placement in the graduate level classes. There’s no shame in that, after all, it has only been 20 years since I’ve had anything to do with Musicology or Music Theory…so I am looking forward to the refresher, because I know I need it.
Most of all, I look forward to getting back into lessons again, and honing my skills. I find that I really need the motivation and the gentle pressure to stay on top of my game musically. Knowing that I have lessons and graded performances and master classes and exams to study for, it really keeps me more vigilant.
One of the drawbacks of taking on school at this stage of life, is just that…LIFE. My life is full of so many other things besides school, learning, practicing, and hanging out with friends like I did during my undergrad days. It is so easy for the violin to get lost in the hustle and bustle of daily survival. I suppose at any age, there are challenges with going to school, but it is definitely a much different experience now than it would have been in another, earlier, season. Taking on the role of “student” after one has lived in the “real world” for many years is quite an adjustment.
But as they say, “it’s never too late”. I am not alone in my quest, as there are others my age and even older who are taking on the challenge of graduate studies. Maybe we should start a support group! It’s never too late to keep learning, to keep growing and improving. I’ve learned so much already.
Can’t wait to see what’s next!
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Kimberly Simpkins is from Knoxville, Tennessee. Biography
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