After overcoming the stress of auditions, I was completely overwhelmed in deciding where I wanted to attend college. It was not until my follow-up visit as an admitted student that I was able to make my decision. My future bassoon professor invited me to Rochester to attend a studio class, where all the bassoonists were planning on playing their jury repertoire. In order to more fully experience what it would be like to be a student at Eastman, I also contacted my admissions counselor so that I could sit in on some classes and rehearsals.
When the day arrived, I traveled to Rochester and met with my admissions counselor to embark on my music-filled day. She had created a personalized schedule for me so that I could attend two classes—music history and poetry—and invited me to attend an orchestral rehearsal. I was even given a private tour of the dorms to see a current student’s room so I could start mapping out what I wanted my dorm room to look like!
My favorite part of the day, however, was visiting the bassoon studio class and meeting my future classmates. All of the students were completely welcoming and I realized that the studio was a place where I could imagine myself. The bassoonists each played their pieces and their colleagues cheered for each other and gave constructive, positive feedback. Right before one student went to play, a pad fell off of her bassoon. Instead of panicking, the studio worked together and was able to creatively fix her bassoon enabling her to play a mini recital.
The idea of “being a student for a day” had originally been an uncomfortable concept for me because I felt that I was going to be an awkward high school student sitting in the back of the room all day. However, it was not this way at all. I was completely integrated into all of the festivities and through this process I learned a lot about the school. One of my main concerns was that I thought I had to be at a flawless level of bassoon playing, but my colleagues assured me that while everyone strives to play their best through dedicated practicing and learning, no one is absolutely perfect. Everyone in the studio routed for each other to play their best and helped one another when faced with a problem.
That afternoon, a girl in the poetry class I attended brought me to the coffee shop next door, Java’s, and we chatted about her experiences as a student. In addition to helpful advice in regards to the school curriculum, she gave me an important tip—that the best drinks and sandwiches at Java’s are the most eclectic ones, the ones that you would never normally order. My recommendation: try the “Terrapin.”
While everything about the day was a little outside my comfort zone—even my coffee—it was a highly rewarding experience. I am looking forward to having potential students shadow me this spring, so I can welcome them to the school in the same way that the school welcomed me. While choosing a school is a stressful time, it has the potential to be a fun and informative time too.
Congratulations to everyone admitted and the best of luck in making your college decisions!