10 Things I Didn’t Know About Juilliard

By Lyn Schoch, 1st year trumpet major

1.  As I mentioned in my previous blog, I am reminded of the Olive Garden slogan: “When you’re here, you’re family.”  All of the faculty, staff, and students at Juilliard are supportive and eager to make sure your time at Juilliard is productive and beneficial to your art as well as your person.  Juilliard is truly a unique institution, and while the students here are constantly faced with very high expectations, the entire community wants to see nothing but success. 

Which brings me to the next thing…

2.  At Juilliard, success does not exclusively mean achieving perfection.  Our teachers and colleagues want to see us improve, whether that means becoming increasingly comfortable playing in studio class or winning an orchestral audition.  Sure, there is a certain amount of pressure to perform to the best of one’s abilities, but there is rarely any kind of unhealthy demand to achieve perfection.

3.  Lincoln Center is truly the single most amazing place to live, and there could be no better home for Juilliard and its students.  Between the Metropolitan Opera, the New York Philharmonic, the New York City Ballet, the 66th St. subway stop, and Big Nick’s Pizza, it doesn’t get any better than this.

4.  Just to clear up any confusion, Juilliard is a conservatory, which means there is no traditional academic curriculum that includes math, science, history, and english.  Students here are required to take a certain amount of humanities/english/literature classes, which may also include a foreign language, but you generally only take one of these classes per semester.  And of course, music history classes are required.

5.  No one here ever puts razors between piano keys.  People do not try to sabotage their peers, and any competition that arises is healthy and beneficial to everyone involved.  None of this “I’m the best” stuff.

6.  Itzhak Perlman can actually be seen around school from time to time, and President Polisi really is an accomplished bassoon player.

7.  The entire school consists of one 5-floor building, and the dorms are located right next to the main building.  The dorms are in a 29- floor building, and you can actually walk from them to the main building without going down onto the main street.  Did I mention that the dorm (and the school) is right next to Lincoln Center?  That means you are a two-and-a-half minute walk away from Avery Fisher Hall, the Metropolitan Opera, and the New York City Ballet.  It’s awesome.

8.  There are about 400 undergraduate students and 400 graduate students, so the entire student body is less than 800.  Music students represent the bulk of the school– only about 200 students are non-music majors.

9.  I have had an amazing experience being able to collaborate with the graduate trumpet players, and I’ve also been able to play with other graduate instrumentalists in orchestra.  There’s only one orchestra, so there is always a wide range of grade levels within the sections.  I can’t speak for other studios, but at least in the trumpet studio there isn’t a giant wall between the undergraduate and graduate students.  I have learned and grown so much from being around the older students, both in musical and non-musical situations.

10.  Being a student at The Juilliard School is the single most amazing thing in the world.  It’s just that simple.