With first semester nearly over, I’m taking the time now to look back at the progress I’ve made over the past few months.
This year has presented itself with a lot of changes, but I’m different and more experienced because of it—and I’m genuinely excited about the progress I’ve made. Now that I’m able to take electives, I was able to choose classes that were more tailored to my interests. Though the amount of classwork certainly hasn’t changed, I’ve had a semester full to the brim of learning—from studying Latin American music to 20th-century music and creative writing to foreign languages—and I have reminded myself that it’s a blessing to have almost too much to learn.
This semester, I spent much of my weekends and nonclass time rehearsing and performing with different chamber groups. Though this led to probably the busiest semester I’ve ever had, I got to meet and collaborate with so many incredible artists, both within school and outside it. Juilliard is one of the few conservatories in the world that offers multiple art forms, so I truly want to take advantage of the opportunities I have to work with the best dancers and actors (not to mention the musicians!) while I’m still here. Through different performances and interactions, I was able to perform not only on the concert stage but also in hospitals, day care centers, retirement homes, and schools—and in turn I got to meet and share my art with so many New Yorkers.
Speaking of acquainting myself with the city, I moved into a new apartment this year, which, of course, presented itself with a whole new set of challenges. Though living in a tiny shoebox in New York City is certainly far from glamorous, I’ve enjoyed getting to explore a new part of the city, and I finally feel that I can call myself a New Yorker! With so many new performance opportunities across the city, I’ve spent more time than I’d like to on the subway, but now I’m really beginning to feel like a local. Surprisingly, not feeling like a stranger in this city actually gives me a connection with audiences even before I start to play. I’ve been able to perform more genuinely because of this, and that has helped me realize my reasons for being a musician.
My favorite outcome of the past few months is that I’m finally getting to share music with new and unconventional audiences, and I’m learning more about myself and about working with others in the process. I still have a lot to strive for, but I feel that, above all, I have connected with and integrated myself into New York City. I have big plans for next semester, but I’m finally starting to realize that I do have the capability to achieve my goals.
For now, it’s time to push through finals before enjoying a few blissful weeks of rest. To all preparing for auditions in the spring, best of luck!! It’s an exhilarating time and a wonderful chance to hone your skills and share them with the world. Wishing everybody a memorable holiday season and a 2019 full of vivid experiences and growth!