By Chris Venditti, graduating trumpet student
If you are reading this you are most likely a student preparing to come to Juilliard this fall. So, first things first – Congratulations to you! New York City and Juilliard have so much to offer. There wouldn’t be enough room to tell you about all the things studying at Juilliard has to offer, but let me give you ten to whet your appetite for this fall.
1. Your most valuable resource at Juilliard is your classmates. If you are a musician, go check out a drama production. If you are a dancer go to a music concert. If you are an actor, see your friends in the dance department perform. The very first performance I saw when I came to Juilliard four years ago was a dance in the Peter Jay Sharp Theatre. I remember sitting there in the balcony thinking to myself, ‘wow, now this is why I came to Juilliard.’
2. Go meet Margo. Who is Margo you ask? Margo is the lady that answers the phone when you call the Juilliard general phone number. She has a small office on the second floor where she operates the switchboard for the whole school. When not connecting calls, she can be found talking with students offering her words of wisdom and support. Lastly, she keeps a container of chocolate in her office, which is always stocked and ready for any student that comes looking.
3. Practicing and rehearsing are good, but sometimes the best thing for your art is to get out of the building and take a walk. My favorite thing to do when the weather is nice is to go take a jog in Central Park. The park is very nice, and because it is so big you can jog for a very long time and not have to rerun any route. The best part of the park for me is the Ramble. The Ramble is in the middle of the park and is full of trees and winding paths. If you are in the thick middle of it, the tall buildings and city noises and smells fade away.
4. If you are a musician, go to as many concerts as possible. There are plenty of ways to get free or very inexpensive tickets to concerts. In the four years I have been here I have seen virtually every major orchestra in the world perform at Carnegie Hall. I have seen plenty of ballets at the City Ballet, and operas at the Met. Seeing the great artists of the world perform will inform your art more than almost anything else.
5. Get out of Lincoln Center. Don’t get me wrong, Lincoln Center is nice, but there is so much to see and do in the city. If you like architecture, give yourself a tour of the city’s most exciting buildings. If you like Thai food go out exploring, and find some good restaurants around town. I am a big coffee drinker, so I have been all over the city looking for the best cup. Here are two suggestions for you:
- Mud Coffee in the East Village
- 9th Street Espresso in the Chelsea market.
6. I personally love New York style pizza. There are probably close to a dozen pizza joints within a ten-block radius of Lincoln Center. Every time I walk by a place I haven’t been to I am compelled to go in a try a slice. The best pizza I have found is Grimaldi’s pizza. Grimaldi’s is under the Brooklyn Bridge on the Brooklyn side. This place is cash only and they sell pizza by the pie only. If you make the trip to Brooklyn you won’t be disappointed.
7. Another thing that will inform your playing, acting, or dancing is going to museums. There are so many cool paintings and works of art that are housed in New York’s museums. The Museum of Modern Art (MOMA) down in midtown gives all Juilliard students free admission. The Metropolitan museum of art and the Natural History museum are nearby and are also great places to visit.
8. The Yankees are the most successful team in Baseball history. Games are played at Yankee stadium in the Bronx. You should go.
9. Make friends with upperclassmen in your division, they have a lot to offer you. I am not saying this because I am one, but because I remember what it is like to be a first year here. There are a lot of really talented people that can do some incredible things. I find that I have learned as much from my fellow students as I have from my teachers. Watch, listen, and learn.
10. I know this is no big secret, but Juilliard is going to be what you make of it. So, have fun, work hard, and in four short years you will be the one writing blog posts to future students.