About Life in Flow:Flow in Life

Sunday, February 28, 2010

The Path to College

During my first year back at playing in the community band, my daughter was a junior in high school. She had started French horn in 5th grade and played in her school bands, but was never serious about it and never practiced. In her junior year she decided she wanted to major in music education at the University of Illinois and became serious. A big influence on her turn-around was the Illinois Youth Summer Music camp at the University of Illinois in Champagne-Urbana. Another big influence was a close friend of hers who was already intending to major in music ed. and be a band director.

So, since she was now serious about practicing, we found her a teacher who not related to her. He helped her along by strongly suggesting that she needed to join a youth orchestra. Jamie had always been resistant to joining an orchestra because she hadn't had any positive experiences in orchestras. But, she agreed and auditioned for two. She was accepted into both and chose one after talking to a number of people. That orchestra immediately recruited her for their summer chamber music, offering a very generous scholarship.

This camp, held at Carthage College in Kenosha, was her first opportunity to be around really serious young musicians and to work with a variety of excellent adult musicians. This turned out to be a life-changing event for her. She called in the middle of the camp to tell us very excitedly that Dale Clevenger was coming up to give a master class and that she and the other horn player would have public lessons with him. I studied with Dale in the late 70s and consider him a major influence on my playing and musicianship, so I was thrilled!

My husband and I drove at watch the masterclass. I had talked to Dale now and then when we had bumped into him at Orchestra Hall, but I hadn't talked to him in several years at this point. We ran into him almost immediately. He was very happy to meet Jamie and find out out that she was a horn player, too. The masterclass was awesome. He has only gotten better as a teacher over the years. He worked with her on embouchure and asked her, "Do you want to play for a living?" She said yes. From that moment on she set her sites on playing professionally.

Her senior year was exciting for her and us. She applied to 7 colleges, and we suddenly felt like we had a star athlete that we hadn't known about living in our house as colleges started calling to offer scholarships and tell her how much they would like to have her at their schools. One teacher offered to put us all up at his house and take us to a rehearsal of the major symphony that he was a member of. We did not take him up on it. Jamie also had great experiences in her youth orchestra, at her high school, and at districts. She is now majoring in music performance at Indiana University (not Illinois!).

This post has been a sort of sidebar to my main topic, but Jamie's path to college had an impact on my playing as well. I got to listen in to a few lessons and masterclasses with Dale Clevenger, Jeff Nelsen, and others, from which I learned things, too. I connected with musicians I had lost touch with as we visited colleges. It brought me further in the musical sphere.

No comments: