Life of a Performer | Student Blog

Tuesday, Dec 11, 2018
Mei Stone
Admissions Blog
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Holiday ornaments hanging from a ceiling

There may only be a few weeks left in the semester, but I suppose that’s all the more reason to squeeze in as many performances as possible!

My friends and classmates are all busily preparing for opera scenes, drama productions, and dance showcases. Not a moment is to be wasted—between classes, students are buried in scores or memorizing lines or planning out rehearsals. I even walked into the gym yesterday to see someone watching performance videos while running on the treadmill! I guess there’s no better way to get into the holiday spirit then to be kept busy with nonstop performances.

An out of focus Christmas tree
Hard to believe that real life is going on outside, but the holiday season is fast approaching!

Once a week, I perform in a community orchestra, and this week is our concert! Although this is my first year in the orchestra, I’ve had so much fun getting to know new (non-Juilliard!) people and making music in a relaxed setting.

At school, I’m performing in the Lab Orchestra concert next week, conducted by Juilliard conducting majors. This concert is meant to showcase their abilities and progress throughout the semester, and we have an exciting program including Stravinsky’s Firebird suite, Brahms’ Tragic Overture, and Kodály’s Dances of Galanta. Since we only have a handful of rehearsals before the concert, every minute counts for the conductors. As an orchestra member, it’s fascinating to see the process of conducting an orchestra and pinpointing minute details. The job of a conductor is so much more difficult than it appears, so Lab Orchestra rehearsals are a learning experience for both the conductors and the instrumentalists!

My chamber group this semester will be performing this week, too. We’ve been working on a challenging piece for the past few months, so I’m excited to finally bring it to an audience. The Juilliard chamber music program helps us organize at least one performance outside of school per semester. Since that means our music is not necessarily performed on a stage, we get to create and share music on a more personal level with the audience, which is one of my favorite parts of the program.

I’m also part of a community outreach fellowship group that performs at hospitals, nursing homes, and day care centers several times a semester. One of my favorite features of the program is that it’s cross-collaborative; dancers, actors, and musicians all come together to form short interactive performances for the community. This weekend I’ll be putting together a program with a violinist and two dancers. Because the performances are interactive and heavily based on the audience’s reactions and energy, we have to be quick to adapt to questions or requests. Sometimes we’ll have an entire program mapped out, only to have to completely adjust it on the spot. It’s a fantastic lesson in flexibility, and I love hearing and seeing how our performances impact the audience on a personal level.

I'm so fortunate I get to perform so often and share my art with my colleagues and a wide range of audiences. Though it takes quite a lot to manage so many obligations, I really wouldn’t have it any other way. Once all the performances are over, it’s on to the next new pieces—as well as finals week!

A group of musicians pose onstage
From a concert earlier this semester: one of the best parts of performing is realizing you don’t have to rehearse the music anymore!