Arc of My Art
I didn’t really plan on becoming a musician. In fact, for most of elementary and middle school, I wanted to be a writer. But as early as I can remember, my father, who is a musician and an orchestra director, was always playing classical music. I would watch him sitting in the living room, listening to music by composers with strange names--”Moats-art” and “Shoe-man” and “Mendle-sun,” I heard--conducting along to the music, an open score in his lap. It took me several years to realize how unique my situation was; having a father with his doctorate in classical music ensured that I was exposed to musical culture at a young age. Over the intense volume of Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony threatening to blow out the living room speakers, he would point out the sounds of each instrument to me. In traffic jams on sticky summer days, out of the hundreds of cars, ours would be the only one with opera warbling out of the cranked-open windows.
I don’t know if I really considered ever playing an instrument until my older sister started learning trumpet. Naturally, as soon as she started, I just HAD to one-up her by starting music too. (It’s a sibling thing.) Playing the flute started out as just a hobby for me, but over the years it became more and more prominent in my life. Maybe it was the people I met, being welcomed with open arms into a community of supportive, enthusiastic souls. Maybe it was the magic of creating something within an ensemble through music. I found the same joy in storytelling through music as I did through words. My freshman year of high school, I fell in love with movie soundtracks (more specifically, the soundtrack to How to Train Your Dragon, my favorite movie), and I suddenly realized that I could make a career out of telling stories through movies with music. This combined everything I loved about music, writing, and movies, and I think that was when my dream of becoming a writer changed to that of becoming a studio musician.
In my journey to becoming a musician, I’ve met so many influential people. The arts community, and especially the music community, is so small and tight-knit; just about every time I meet a new musician, there is a point in the conversation where one of us says, “Oh, do you know [insert name here]? No way! I went to [insert school/camp/festival/competition/convention] with them!” I’ve met people who know about me even though we’ve never met. I don’t think I have a single Facebook friend with whom I don’t have at least one other mutual friend. (It’s a little freaky.) But as weird as it is getting used to the everybody-knows-everybody aspect of the arts world, it’s incredible. I love having a group of people with whom I have so much in common and can share my love of music. Everybody understands how difficult and time-consuming it is to become an artist, and there is an overwhelming amount of support within the community. It’s especially prominent at Juilliard--in such a small community, it’s hard not to feel inspired every day.