December 2007

The Amazingness of a (Still) Stressfull Week

December 13, 2007 21:37

So, this week has been... long, busy, and kinda annoying. This is what my week has been like:
Sunday: Church. Fuuuuun. Christmas Play Practice for two hours with a bunch of four year olds and middle schoolers. Not so much. Oh, and guess who has the main role and has the least amount of time to memorize those lines? Moi. Of course.
Tues: School. Dinner. Orchestra from 6:30 to 9:30. Playing Brahms "The Youth of Hercules", Mozart Piano Concerto, and a piece by our residential composer, the amazing Jon Grier. Looooong, and slightly annoying rehearsal.
Wednesday: School. Again. Play practice from 4:45 to 5:30. The actuall play at 6:00. Did not get home till about 8:30, 9 ish. Worked on extremely stupid english paper.
Thursday: AKA: Today! School. Unfortunately. CHAMBER CONCERT! Ugh! It was SO long! Play Beethoven Trio No 1, and an arrangement of a Mozart Piano Sonata for two violins (CHEESEY!!!) It was at 8, and I didn't get home till about, oh 10:30. And have been working on my paper ever since (BTW, it's due tomorrow) and now I am procrastinating, but it's a really stupid paper, and I really don't feel like doing it. But I haven't got that much left to do, so I think I might finish it by midnight.
Now, I know many of you are reading this and saying "She's stressed about this stuff? Well, wait until you see what I did this week!". But this is just a bit of the stress that's been occumulating since November. I am ready for Christmas break so badly, it's not even funny.
But even Christmas break is going to be stressfull. We get out on the 19th. We will be in Charleston on the 20 and the 21. And then on Christmas day, we will see my dad's side of the family (joy). The day after Christmas, we will go to see mom's side of the family (even more joy.)Not to mention I have two competitions in January (5 and 19) and I haven't practiced the piece for that in a month. Orchestra concert sometime in January. Final exsams for this semester in January. My birthday in January (though that shouldn't be stressful...) New semester with Algebra II (joy) and French III (YAYAYAY!!!!) Gotta learn the 3rd movement of the Wieniawski D minor concerto, the 1st movement of the Grieg sonata, relearn Ziguernerwiesen, get Mozart A major ready for the competitions. SO MUCH TO DO! SO LITTLE TIME TO DO IT!!!!!!!!!!
ARGH!!!
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^- my stress and frustration and anything else that's still in there.

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An Interview with Sarah Johnson

December 8, 2007 10:57


Sarah Johnson is the violin professor at both Converse College, and the North Carolina School of the Arts. She has taught at Duke University and the Eastman School of Music. She graduated from the Curtis School of Music were she studied with the legendary Ivan Galamian. She was a former member of the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra and the founding concertmistress of the South Carolina Chamber Orchestra. She made her European debut at the world famous Spoleto Festival in Italy. She premiered a concerto written by Pulitzer Prize winner Robert Ward in 1994. And she also just happens to be my violin teacher (and hero). I have been her student for almost three years, and I love her to death. I interviewd Mrs. Johnson for a paper I am writing, but thought that maybe those of us who are worrying about college would like to read this.

Sarah: What are the most important aspects of a college to look into?

Mrs. J: Ah, as a musician? For a musician. The number on thing is going to be your relationship to your teacher. Very important to go and have a meeting with them before you even audition, you’ll need to have some contact. Write to them, if possible, go there way a head your audition. And you want to go and meet many different teachers because you just don’t know if you’re going to click or not. And then you trust your instincts on that. Oh, don’t forget to write a thank you note, don’t forget always to offer to pay them. Almost always they say “No, that’s part of my job.” Offer. And then I would say there are very personal choices of things. Where do you want to live? For example, you could never have gotten me to Eastman. I just can’t, I don’t want to live in that cold, snowy, awful, endless winter, you know? I don’t care if God were teaching there. Um, but that’s me. Plenty of other people don’t mind that. So that’s important. Do you want to live in a big city? You have to really have to think about yourself, and be honest about your limits as far as the environment. Then you ask yourself whether, and this is a toughie, at this stage, for you, is it better to go into a huge talent pool and just kinda, sink to the bottom and spend four years trying to come to the top, or whether it’s more important for you to go into a certain area were you might not be at the top, but you have a certain feeling of identity and that you can grow really strong in yourself before you go onto the next step. Which you will absolutely have to do everybody does now days, to go on to grad school. And then of course whether or not you want an academic environment, do you want to have access to academics? Or do you mostly want to focus on the instrument? But almost every single conservatory now has some relationship with the universities so you can take other academics, so that’s not so much a choice.

Sarah: What are the music professors looking for when a potential student is auditioning?

Mrs. J: We’re looking for… dedication. Enthusiasm and certain basic attributes of, well you know, a good sense of pitch, good sense of rhythm, um, sound. And a good set up. We always interview students after the audition to talk to them, to see how articulate they are and how we might be able to communicate. We’re looking for someone who is well prepared for the audition. If they have nervous problems, that’s not necessarily a turn off at all. If they come and they kinda bomb, a little bit, but we can tell, if they’re just nervous.

Sarah: So… what comes after college? For a musician who wants to go into a performance major?

Mrs. J: A masters.

Sarah: A masters?

Mrs. J: Even if you just want to be a performer.

Sarah: A masters in performance? (Stupid question on my part)

Mrs. J: Yes. And you would be wise to combine it with some kind of pedagogy. Because we all teach, if we’re lucky. Ok? If we’ve had good teaching we are responsible, it’s a responsibility, to carry that forward. So you know, you become a link in a long line, from back to Mr. Galamian, and before that Carl Flesch, and before that, you know, all the way back to Tartini. It’s amazing, that would be a question to ask, although they don’t usually, other graduate programs dot usually have a pedagogy emphasis, there are maybe two schools in the country that I know of, were you can get an undergraduate degree in performance, and a concentration in string pedagogy, and I hope to say that Converse will be the third one.

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