Special Music School High School Class of 2017
What has your journey looked like since Special Music School?
Since graduating from Special Music School in 2017 and spending a year at Mannes School of Music, I left my home in NYC to study at the Eastman School of Music in Rochester, New York. As for many other undergraduates, Eastman was a place of great personal transformation and discovery for me. I learned more about myself and the world I inhabited, gained practical knowledge and tools under the watchful and caring eyes of my professors Steven Doane and Rosemary Elliot, and made meaningful and lifelong friendships with warm and inspiring colleagues. I saw the role of Resident Advisor become an integral part of my everyday life, as well as imbed itself as a genuine part of my personality. I spent my summers at the Heifetz Institute in Staunton, Virginia, where I made more meaningful connections with colleagues and professors alike and sought to deepen my artistry and stage presence through the unique curriculum offered at the institute.
I find myself now in my first year of graduate studies at The Juilliard School, just a few steps away from where I spent the bulk of my teenage years at Special Music School. I cannot help but feel a sense of coming full circle; I am grateful to be studying so near to my old stomping grounds and look forward to reconnecting with Kaufman Music Center.
What did you learn from Special Music School that you still hold with you today?
Special Music School was the first community I was a part of that consisted entirely of musicians. As music students this is something we might take for granted sometimes, but it is truly a special thing. At an age in high school where we are often trying to belong, trying to find out who exactly we are, and trying to figure out where our lives could go, it is easy to feel out of place and aimless sometimes. At Special Music School, all of us were connected by our passion for music. Some enjoy music as an integral yet recreational part of their lives, others are determined to make it a life-long career, and others figure it out along the way. No matter which camp you fell into, you were in this web of students who were just like you.
In addition to creating space for students to connect, Special Music School fostered a culture of individuality and artistic initiative. If you had an idea, your teachers listened to you. If you were struggling, someone helped you (whether you liked it or not). This approach to students lays the groundwork for artists and citizens who are engaged, creative and thoughtful in their approach to the world around them, and I’m very fortunate to have spent my high school years at Special Music School.
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