My First 100 Days at Eastman: Life as a First Year

The following post was written by first-year viola student Sophia Moreira.  Thanks Sophia!


Day 1: August 22nd

Music students outside Eastman School of Music

Sophia with some of her friends at Eastman.

Today is finally here! I have been counting down the days until move-in since I committed to Eastman in April. This highly anticipated day was filled with excitement and apprehension. “Would I forget anything important I need for my dorm room? What would the next week of Orientation be like? Would I make any friends?” All these questions filled my head as I pulled up to the Student Living Center but once I walked into the building all these fears were quickly forgotten. The Orientation Committee was helpful, super friendly, and were able to answer all my questions. I also finally got to meet my roommate, an amazing violist from Connecticut! We instantly bonded while decorating our dorm room and we were both so excited to see how the next week would play out. Orientation was an amazing experience and it was great to finally meet my fellow classmates. The most memorable part of Orientation was the Candlelight Ceremony- an Eastman tradition- where we sing our two alma mater  songs. I remember looking around, listening to all of us singing together, and feeling right at home.

Day 13: September 4th

Today is the second day of our first full week of classes and more importantly, today is my first lesson with my Professor, George Taylor. I couldn’t wait to start learning from such an esteemed and knowledgeable teacher, and my first lesson sure did not disappoint. He made me feel so comfortable as we discussed what we would work on this semester and I left my lesson feeling motivated and ready to work hard! I called my mom after my lesson and excitedly told her how great it went. Although we both miss each other a lot, she was so happy to hear that I was doing great so far. I have a feeling that my lessons with Prof. Taylor are going to be a highlight of each week.

Day 38: September 29th

Weekends are a great time to explore Rochester and see some of best things this city has to offer. This weekend was no exception. My friends and I decided it would be a great day to go apple picking! The weather was perfect. It was a sunny, crisp fall day and the Eastman Programming and Involvement Council (EPIC) provided buses going to and from the apple farm. EPIC plans out various fun activities for Eastman students to attend throughout the year. We had a great time picking apples, enjoying cider and eating donuts that day. One of my many favorite parts about attending Eastman is the sense of community established here. The students and faculty are so supportive and friendly. It truly feels like home here. With all of us bonding over our love for creating music, there is never a dull moment when talking with my fellow musicians.

Day 44: October 5th

Rehearsals for the second cycle of the Eastman School Symphony Orchestra, our first-year and sophomore orchestra, started September 28th. However, today was our first rehearsal on Kodak Hall stage. I’ll never forget the first time I saw Kodak Hall on my audition day; it instantly took my breath away. The stunning art across the hall and the beautiful chandelier are nothing short of amazing. Being able to rehearse in such a beautiful space is such an honor, and Eastman students look forward to each opportunity to perform on this great stage. Taking a moment before rehearsal starts to look around from my seat, I find myself being just as taken away by the beauty as I was the first time I entered Kodak. I doubt that feeling will ever get old.

Day 64: October 25th

After a month and a half of hard work, today was our first-year chamber music recital. My chamber group and I had been rehearsing twice a week in preparation for this concert and we were so excited to showcase everything we had done on our Haydn string quartet. Having coachings and masterclasses with members of the Ying Quartet was such an honor. It
allowed us to really master the piece we had been working on. I know each of us felt super lucky to be able to learn from such an established quartet. We have all gained so much knowledge from them already about chamber music technique. Being able to hear all the other chamber groups perform was amazing as well. It was great to see how hard everyone had worked for this concert.

I felt so proud after our performance in Ciminelli Formal Lounge, all of our hours of rehearsal and dedication to our piece had paid off.

Day 87: November 17th

Today, I saw all of my friends in the Eastman Chorale perform! I know how hard they worked for this concert and I was so excited to have the opportunity to hear them sing. One of the best parts about attending Eastman is all of the amazing performances you get to see on a daily basis. From the orchestras, wind ensembles, choruses, and numerous recitals, there is always something to hear. All the students are so supportive of each other and we all try to go see as many of our classmates performances as we can.

Day 100: November 30th

I still cannot believe I am here at the Eastman School of Music! Not only that, but I can’t believe 100 days have already passed. Time moves so quickly and my first semester here is coming to an end. Reflecting on the past 100 days, I am so thankful for all the opportunities given to me here at Eastman. I have amazing friends, have worked with many prestigious and kind faculty, have watched many great concerts, and have experienced great personal growth as a musician and a person. Going home will be great, as I will be able to see my family and friends, but I will miss
my second home here at Eastman.. I am already excited for the next semester and I am even more excited to see how things progress over the next four years. The transition for any first year college student is a new and exciting time, but it also scary. I can still remember how scared I was on move-in day. However, all those fears were quickly alleviated. Eastman has become comfortable and familiar to me and I am so glad I get to call this school my new home