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NEC in 4 weeks!

I have officially started counting down the days. Though my schedule has been relaxed since I finished the most stressful period of my young life and enrolled at the New England Conservatory, things are getting real. It’s relieving to be finished with application deadlines, essay requirements, and stressful prescreening recordings, and it’s thrilling to think about what’s around the corner: four years of exciting, intense artistry and study.

The first big task I’ll take on as a college student will be to audition for my seat in the NEC Symphony, one of the school’s two orchestras. The most crucial component of this audition is my performance of excerpts of standard orchestral works. Each excerpt is requested for the musical and technical demands it places on the performer, testing skills that are vital to successful participation in the ensemble. The audition jury will hear me play the same excerpts as every other violinist auditioning. Talk about competition!

Being the internet-sleuth that I am, I managed to find NEC’s requested excerpts before they were announced. On the list was the infamous Don Juan, Richard Strauss’s tone poem with a notoriously difficult first-violin part. I printed the music, and my official musical preparation for school began! I was determined to tackle the challenges of the excerpt early, so that I can perform it with confidence in the audition. By the time the administrator of NEC’s orchestras emailed me the list of excerpts, I was already hard at work on the finesse of the rhythms, the accuracy of my pitch, and the musicality of the phrasing.

In addition to the excerpts, I’m also taking on a healthy diet of solo repertoire: Samuel Barber’s luscious 1939 Violin Concerto, Bach’s deep and intellectual Sonata in G minor, and the vivacious Polonaise in A major by 19th century virtuoso Henryk Wieniawski. It’s thrilling to learn music independently. I’m one hundred percent responsible for every improvement I make, and I get to explore my own musical ideas by developing a considered interpretation of music. That said, I really can’t wait to begin lessons with my teacher, Ayano Ninomiya. I’m excited for the privilege of hearing her insights and wisdom twice a week for the whole school year!

Wish me luck as I gear up for college!

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