The following guest post was written by graduating senior Nick German. Thanks Nick – we’ll miss you!
My Eastman Novel
The life of a young musician is filled with many ups and downs. They are all part of the excitement, growth, and adventure that music brings us. When I graduated from high school, people often congratulated me with, “Best wishes on a new chapter in life!” At the time I could not have known that these next four years would be more than just a “chapter in life”- it would be a novel that would change my life forever. The writer Novalis once said, “Life must not be a novel that is given to us, but one that is made by us.” Upon graduation, every Eastman student has a novel; a unique story depicting our growth, adventure, and journey through Eastman. Every novel has a synopsis, right? Here is a synopsis of my Eastman novel.
I remember, very vividly, my first few weeks here. It was filled with endless discovery: making life-long friends from all over the world, seeing new places, and most importantly… making music! I am one of those people who have very good intuition about things. One of these things was the feel at Eastman. While I didn’t know exactly what the environment of Eastman would be, I could quickly tell that I would be a part of an extremely close family. People ask me all the time why I chose Eastman over other schools. For me, it was the warm sense of family, belonging, and the vastness of musical and personal discovery! From moving into my freshman dorm room, to waking across the stage of the Eastman Theater to receive my diploma, every day has been a humbling experience. I feel that many of us tend to take things for granted in life. I would like to encourage all of us to step back and really take the time to appreciate the good and bad in life- “Stop and smell the weeds”, my Pap once said! Luckily for me, Eastman makes this easy. I think I can speak for my colleagues when I say I have no trouble at all being thankful for everything we have at Eastman.
The following guest post was written by current Eastman student Mary Russek. Thanks Mary!
Wow, another year at Eastman…check! In this post I’d like to share with you my summer plans. I’ll also let you in on a little secret that many students don’t know: summer is a fantastic time to be in Rochester! I am very excited to be staying in Rochester to work in the Eastman Office of Residential Life as the Summer Conference Manager and intern with the artistic director of Biodance, a local dance company that “explores social, political and environmental issues through its works always through dance, sometimes with text, film, music, and ice cream.”
As an Eastman student, I’m pursuing a double major in Violin performance and Music Education, working in the Eastman Admissions Office, and I am a Resident Advisor (RA) in the Student Living Center. When I originally began looking at colleges, I struggled to decide whether to major in music or business. Over my past three years here, I’ve found a way to mold both interests into my life at Eastman. Now that I will be a senior next fall and I’m beginning to look at graduate schools (a thought very far off for an incoming freshman!) I’ve learned about the arts administration major, which yields internships and jobs ideal to me.
Last Fall, I went to the Arts Leadership Program (ALP) office and talked about the opportunities I have here at Eastman to prepare myself for a degree in arts administration. The Arts Leadership Program provides Eastman students with classes, internships, and other opportunities (such as guest lectures) to help prepare ourselves to be successful artists after (and even before) we graduate from Eastman. This can be done as a Certificate Program, or through elective courses during the junior and senior year. In my original meeting in the ALP office, they suggested two things that I could do immediately: 1) contact Biodance to ask for an internship and 2) enroll in the ALP Grant Seeking course for the spring semester.
Today’s post was written by Amy Skjerseth, a recent graduate of Eastman. Her tips will help you get to know the city of Rochester, and give you the insider view on some fun things to look forward to. Thanks Amy!
Things to do near the Eastman Campus
On the block surrounding Eastman, there is a wide array of restaurants to go to, with options ranging from fast food to upscale. Just around the corner of the school is Moe’s Southwest Grill, a Mexican fast-food place, along with Golden Port Dim Sum, which offers all kinds of Asian cuisine. You can head down Gibbs Street to Tavern 58, a fancier spot that serves up American food. Java’s Café and Spot Coffee are great places to grab coffee with friends, study by yourself, or indulge in a delicious dessert after a concert. Just past Spot is Matthew’s East End Grill, and a few steps beyond Matthew’s is the Little Theatre, one of Rochester’s cultural gems. This independent movie theater has five screens, with an artsy, fun atmosphere and a cute cafe. It’s also a terrific value: $5 tickets for students or a student membership for $35 that covers admission to twelve films.
To get to more restaurants and shops, turn right at the corner of East Avenue and Alexander Street. From Alexander, you only have to walk a little ways until you are at the beginning of one of Rochester’s most trendy neighborhoods, Park Avenue. This meandering, tree-lined street is filled with cafés and restaurants, bakeries, specialty shops, hair salons, a CVS pharmacy, and more. It takes a little less than fifteen minutes’ walk to reach the beginning of Park Ave, but once you’re on it, each block has something to offer. It’s a pocket of Rochester that warrants many outings. Continue reading
The following guest post was written by Betsy Pilon, BM ’15. Thanks Betsy!
Betsy Pilon performs an encore at her senior recital, with her father accompanying on piano.
With graduation in less than a month, and my move out date looming in the all-too-near future, I’m already beginning to miss my time at Eastman. I’m excited to move on and continue my education in vocal performance and opera; I’m excited to experience new places and work with new people, but I know that come September, a part of me will be wishing I were back in Rochester, NY.
After four years here, Eastman has become home for me. I could walk around the various ESM buildings blindfolded- with only minimal injury to myself or others. There are a lot of spots on the campus that I love, but I’ll particularly miss Sibley Music Library. Sibley is convenient, of course, as it is the largest music academic library on the continent and second largest in the world. No matter how obscure the work, I know that I’ll probably be able to find it somewhere in Sibley. And it’s easy to find hidden treasures. After practicing, I like to take a break and wander through the shelves of music, picking up interesting pieces that catch my eye. Then, with my stack of scores, I’ll sit quietly in one of the comfy chairs by the windows overlooking Gibbs Street. In the peace that only a library can provide, I’ll dig through new pieces, take a nap, or spy on people going in and out of Java’s. Continue reading
Congratulations – you survived your college auditions! You may feel a bit like you’ve climbed Mt. Everest, and the hard part is over. However, the waiting period before you receive your admissions decisions can be equally (sometimes even more) difficult. Here are some tips to help you make the most of the next phase of the admissions process.
- Take some time to think about each of your auditions. What went well, and what could have been better? What would you like to do differently in your practicing and preparations next time you have an important audition? By making each audition a learning experience that will help you grow as a musician, you gain value from it regardless of the outcome.
- Don’t be too hard on yourself. This might sound contrary to the previous point, but it won’t do any good to obsess over a mistake whether big or small. Musicians have a tendency to be their own toughest critics. Keep a positive outlook, and take some time to celebrate all that you’ve accomplished thus far. Missing a note or two doesn’t mean that you blew an audition completely. If you were already perfect, there would be no point in going to music school!
The follow post was written by Eastman undergraduate vocalist Celeste Pellegrino. Thanks Celeste!
Hi! My name is Celeste and I am a junior, double major in Vocal Performance and Music Education here at Eastman. An average day for me at Eastman is filled with classes, homework, rehearsals, practicing, and working as a student assistant in both the Office of Admissions and the Office of Residential Life. As you can imagine, things can get stressful when you are a double major. Luckily, Eastman has an amazing Students’ Association (SA) that helps us balance our hectic schedules.
I have always loved being involved in extracurricular activities. In high school I was a member of a variety of clubs that were both student and school-run. I thought that I would have to give this up when I decided to apply to music schools. To my surprise, I discovered that Eastman has a very active student life scene.
I am currently involved in class council in the Students’ Association as the vice president of the class of 2016, a position I have held since freshman year. I love being on class council because we get to plan some of Eastman’s most memorable undergraduate events. Last year our class planned Boo Blast, a Halloween dance. This year we planned Winter Ball, which occurred early in the spring semester. Eastman students look forward to these large-scale events where they can be with their classmates in a non-school setting. This year, Winter Ball had a Masquerade theme where student dressed up and created their own masks to wear. In addition to these large events, the class councils schedule smaller on and off campus activities for students throughout the year. Some of the ones I have been a part of include pumpkin carving, midnight premiers of movies, pottery painting, and a Super Bowl party.
The following guest post was written by current Eastman jazz major Emiliano Lasansky. Thanks Emiliano! For more info on majoring in jazz at Eastman, please also visit the Jazz and Contemporary Media department website.
A normal day as a Jazz major at Eastman can be exciting, and is often pretty busy. When we’re not in a rehearsal or a class we might be playing on sessions, checking out recordings or practicing. This article will give you a good idea of what a normal day in the life of an Eastman jazz major your junior year is like.
- 8:30am-10am, Music History: This class makes up part of the core requirements for any undergraduate degree. Music History is a 3 semester long course. I am currently in my 3rd semester where we cover 1900 to present day. Today we studied some of Bela Bartok’s shorter compositions for piano based on folk songs he recorded in Hungary. We learned that this is an early example of musicology!
- 11:00am-12:30pm, Jazz Theory: I’ve found this to be my favorite class this semester! This is a two semester long course with Prof. Dariusz Terefenko, professor of both Theory and Jazz Piano. This course focuses on learning theory principles used by Bach and 20th century composers like Webern, Messiaen, Debussy and Shostakovich to name a few. Today we analyzed Messiaen’s Prelude #5, and its’ use of the diminished scale, which turns out to have some interesting connections to jazz harmony. For next week our assignment is to write a jazz composition using the harmonic techniques of Messiaen.
- 12:45am-2:30, Eastman Jazz Ensemble: As jazz majors, we audition at the beginning of the academic year for a large ensemble. This year I am playing bass with the Eastman Jazz Ensemble under the direction of Prof. Bill Dobbins. We just played a concert of Jim McNeely’s music recently. Mr. McNeely visited Eastman and worked with us in preparation for the the performance, and then conducted and played piano with us in the concert.
by Nick German – Music Education/Piano. Class of 2015
As I write these words to my eager, excited, and potentially stressed-out prospective fellow students, I am sitting in front of a computer with a smile on my face. This smile is not there because I finally played my Bach to my teachers’ liking, or even because I just listened to an amazing concert. This smile is here because I know that dreams really can become reality. It feels like it was just yesterday when I shared a dream similar to so many of yours: to find myself in a place where I could develop into the best musician and person I could be. During my college search, I had a strong feeling that the Eastman School of Music was the place for me: a place where hard work pays off, where you can walk down the halls singing your favorite Mozart piece without getting funny looks. (I know…sounds nice doesn’t it?) It’s a place I now call home. I would love to take you through the day where it all began.
My name is Nick German and I am a sophomore pianist here at Eastman. As you read this, I can imagine how you might be feeling: anxious, nervous, and stressed. It’s OK! You are no different from me or any of my classmates when we auditioned. Sometimes you may even think “What am I doing!?” or “There is no way I can get into this school!”. I’m going to let you in on a little secret….professors here at Eastman are not looking for perfection. What they look for is a large amount of talent, confidence, and potential.
Here is a little glimpse into what my audition day at Eastman was like…
This is the second post in a two-part series written by Matthew Ardizzone, Eastman’s Associate Dean of Admissions.
In Part One on this topic, I focused on our students and alumni. As music schools across the country start to grapple with the question of how to best prepare their students for the changing musical landscape of the 21st century, I look at our alumni and observe how we have already been preparing students for the unknown. We have a sense that as a school we need to expand our definition of what a performing artist needs to be able to do. But it’s clear our students are already coming to us with broader visions of how they might engage in a life in music, and they are fulfilling those visions as alumni.
This makes me immensely proud, both as Eastman’s admissions dean and as an alumnus, and leads me to the next thing that makes Eastman special.
Eastman’s tradition of artistic excellence
Artistic excellence remains at the core of everything we do. When I say artistic excellence, that extends beyond the work done on the major instrument. In the words of our Dean, Jamal Rossi:
“In order to have something meaningful to say, a musician must lead a rich and interesting life. Toward that end, we believe in educating the whole student—not just about the techniques of music, but also through the study of humanities, by interdisciplinary pursuits, and by converging music with other arts” (from Dean’s Welcome). Continue reading