Hello again, it’s 2019!
With the new year comes a new semester, new classes, and new goals. Now that my third year is over halfway over, I’m looking forward to making every semester better than the last. It’s already a month into the year, so, naturally, I’m around-the-clock busy with practicing and working. After a few weeks of relaxing (i.e. doing absolutely nothing), I feel rejuvenated and ready to tackle the next few months. This semester, I’m focusing on self-confidence, health, and creativity.
In a field where everything is both subjective and carefully scrutinized, it’s easy to want to follow the rules and perform the way I think others want me to. I find that I worry more about what an audition committee will think of the way I play an orchestral excerpt than how I instinctively want to play it. This semester, I want to solidify my own performance opinions and play music the way I sincerely enjoy it without worrying about whether others will like my tone or articulation or interpretation. After all, I can’t please everybody, and the best I can do is, well, my best. I would rather present an authentic version of myself and be rejected for that than to perform timidly, or within restraints that I superimpose onto myself, and “succeed” in doing so.
Like the rest of us, I can always be working on my health—both mentally and physically, I can only be my best when I feel my best. Especially in the wintertime and during stressful times in the semester, it’s all too easy to stay inside and eat snacks all day, or refuse to go outside because it’s so!!!!cold!!!! outside!!!!, but I have to remind myself to make the effort to take care of myself. It’s all about finding a balance between work and play, application and relaxation. I like to set little goals for myself each day or week—finish this assignment, or practice this piece, and then I can watch a Netflix show or go out with a friend or even (gasp!) read a book in the evening. (As if there’s time for that!)
In a field as subjective and critique-based as the arts, I often struggle with forming my own creative ideas. Similarly with building my self-confidence, I aim to explore as many possibilities as I can without fear of failure or rejection. School is absolutely the time to take risks and test out new creative boundaries. Since I’ll be doing my first Juilliard solo recital this semester, my goal in the coming weeks is to explore as many musical directions as I can in all of my pieces, and I look forward to sharing my discoveries with my friends and teachers.
All of these goals take a certain amount of bravery and self-assurance. It’s certainly not easy to set such ambitious and self-enforced standards for myself, but in a place full of students as driven and goal-oriented as I am, I feel that I have a good support system to help me.