Photo by Hannah Banks
Hi! My name is Mary and I am a sophomore, double major in Violin Performance and Music Education here at Eastman. When I was in high school looking at colleges, something I always wanted to know was what a typical student schedule looked like. Hopefully this article will give you a peek into my typical day.
10:00am Report to the Admissions Office for my part-time work/study job.
If you visit Eastman on a Wednesday be sure to take a tour of the campus…I’ll probably be your tour guide!
12:00pm Quick Lunch
I usually go to ‘The Cave’ to grab something before my class. The Cave is located in the basement of the Main Building. Fun fact: this spot is named after Mendelssohn’s Hebrides Overture (Fingal’s Cave).
12:30pm Humanities Class – History of American Education
As an Eastman student, most of my classes are music related. However, I take one non-music class every semester. Last semester I took a course about the Ancient Greeks. This semester, we are learning about how the education system in America has changed in the last 200+ years. Interestingly enough, although the topic of the humanities courses is more academic, we always seem to relate the concepts taught in class back to what we know best…music!
1:30pm Piano Class
All students will take a piano placement test during Orientation Week. Depending on your instrument and major, you will take 4-6 semesters of piano class. It is possible to place out of one or more semesters depending on your skill level.
3:45pm Eastman Philharmonia rehearsal
There are two orchestras at Eastman: Eastman School Symphony Orchestra (ESSO) and Eastman Philharmonia (Phil). For string players, audition excerpts are announced in the summer and auditions take place at the end of Orientation week. Freshmen are typically placed in ESSO while sophomores, juniors, seniors and 1st year master students are eligible for placement in either ESSO or Phil. Our next Phil concert is December 11th at 8pm in Kodak Hall where we will be playing Tchaikovsky’s Romeo and Juliet Overture-Fantasy, Mozart’s Concerto for Piano and Orchestra, No. 24, and Shostakovich’s Symphony No. 1. Violinist Itzhak Perlman will join Phil for our February 22 concert!
5:30pm Dinner/Homework/Practice time.
On a Wednesday night, I usually get in about 3 hours of practice plus listening.
This class meets twice a week for 80mins. On Tuesday we have a lecture style class with the professor and Thursdays are sections, where we meet in smaller groups with our TAs (Teaching Assistants). Right now in theory we are working on writing, recognizing and analyzing the sonata form.
10:30am Strings Methods
This is one of my Music Education Classes. It is a year-long course to learn violin, viola, cello, and double bass. I started learning double bass and am now currently learning viola. This class, as in all methods classes, we also discuss teaching techniques for the specific instruments.
11:30am Aural Skills
This class focuses on recognizing aurally what we learn in theory class. A typically aural skills class consists of melodic, harmonic, and bass dictation, sight-singing and transposing in multiple clefs, rhythm, and aurally analyzing both forms of pieces and chords. Unlike theory, this class only meets in smaller sections.
12:30pm Practice and Warm-up for my lesson
1:30pm Applied Music Lesson with Professor Krysa
During my senior year in high school, I was able to take lessons with several faculty members including Professor Krysa. I highly recommend taking lessons with faculty members if you are able to because my experiences not just in the lessons but also being on campus are the reason I chose to go to Eastman. For me, the friendly and supportive community created by faculty, students and administrators matched with an excellent education is what made Eastman the perfect match for me.
2:30pm Conducting Class
This is another Music Education Class. Like in theory, we meet twice a week, once with the whole class and a second time in smaller groups with TAs. Right now we are working on fermata cut-offs and cues.
8:00-11:00pm Studio Class
For string majors, studio class is a weekly class that is a mix between a master class and a recital. After each student performs, our teacher chooses other students to comment before adding his own thoughts. Studio class is a good opportunity to practice performing with an audience just in general or to prepare for a competition. I always leave studio inspired and motivated to practice!
My schedule is definitely packed and my days can be long, however there is nowhere I’d rather be. I feel this after every large ensemble concert when students and faculty gather in Lowry Hall to cheer for the performers as they walk out. Moments like this, remind me how much I love this community. I, like everyone at Eastman, am doing what I love all day every day, even when it’s difficult.