Happy little Juilliard surprises!

What I didn’t know before coming here…

By Molly Yeh, 3rd-year percussionist

1. There are secret little candy bowls scattered around the school.

Perhaps the most well known is Barli Nugent’s on the second floor in the chamber music office.  When her office is closed, my day gets a teensy bit sad. But it’s ok because around the corner, Margot has a fabulous hidden chocolate jar that I didn’t even discover until second year. There are also a few pop-up candy bowls that only people who are in the know get to experience before they’re gone (like when Joanna Trebelhorn was given a bag of milky ways by the drama department… one of my friends was all, in his top secret whisper, “Joanna’s got candy hurry up before the whole school finds out.”) I also tried starting a candy bowl via the chamber music assistant’s office. It had gummi bears. But alas, that got way to expensive :-(

2. The teachers and administrators are your friends.

They are not scary grown-ups like in high school. I love bringing my lunch into Joanna Trebelhorn’s office, sharing cookies with the music library, and eating vegan food with a certain orchestra manager. Also, my private lessons recently have seemed to turn into a schmooze session with my teacher about new restaurants that we need to try. A lot of the administrators are recent grads of Juilliard, so there isn’t a huge separation from the students, and they are super awesome hangs.

3. Until now, the most stressful part of my life was… high school!

I know, this is totally weird, but while Juilliard is very stressful at times, it is stressful in such a better way. Let me explain- in high school, I stressed over calculus and physics and (gag me about this one) BIOLOGY! And it was absolutely terrible because I was spending time on things that I did not enjoy and did not think I’d use at all in the future. But at Juilliard, while it is very stressful to have overlapping rehearsals scheduled from 10am to 11pm without a break on some days, it is so nice knowing that all of the things I do here will help me in my career.

4. Collaboration with other divisions is mucho encouraged.

One day during my first year, a dancer approached me with Iannis Xenakis’ Rebonds B and said, “I want you to play this and I’m going to dance to it.” And I said ok. And it was one of the most interesting and rewarding experiences, to create something and have someone create something to the thing you just created. We performed it for all of the first year dancers in their “dancer with musician” workshop. Since then, I’ve gotten to play for dancers and actors on numerous occasions and it is always so interesting to see how other artists work.

5. People here don’t say “freshman,” “sophomore,” or “junior,” they say “first year,” “second year,” and “third year,” etc.

And I still have no idea why.

6. Juilliard is in the BEST location for sweets.

Are you ready for this? In a ten block radius from Lincoln Center: Magnolia Bakery, Crumbs Bake Shop, Buttercup Bake Shop, Levain Bakery, Bouchon Bakery, Bombolini, Haagen Dasz, Coldstone Creamery, Screme Gelato Bar, and on Sundays, the Street Sweets truck is parked on 75th and Broadway. It is perfect for when you need to buy your friend an “I just got into Pacific Music Festival” cookie, or when the only thing that will make you feel better after a bad lesson is a pistachio macaroon. Or when you want to bribe people to come to your recital by having mini Magnolia cupcakes at the reception.

7. Juilliard students get a super great discount at the 63rd Street YMCA.

{See number 6}.

8. Masterclasses are open to the public.

BOY did I find out the hard way. It was my first year and I was like, “SWEET! Masterclass! Of course I’ll play!” Thinking, naively, it would just be for the studio. FALSE. When I walked in to play, I saw in the audience, the entire MSM percussion studio, the entire Mannes percussion studio, the principal percussionist in the Phil, the new timpanist in the Phil, the timpanist in the Met, the principal percussionist in the City Opera, all of my teachers, and approximately one zillion freelance percussionists. Room 309 was packed and there was no backing down. So I played the drums… and then immediately learned relaxation techniques for the next masterclass.

9. Dating fellow students is a bad idea.

This school is so small, you WILL see them the day after that deal-breaking awful date.

10. Everybody here is one huge happy family!

I know, it’s super cheesy. But it’s true. I was nervous coming from a high school that was triple the size of Juilliard, but after almost three years with the same hundred kids in my class, I have really grown to love them like they are family. Everybody here is so supportive of one another, not just in performing, but also in dealing with personal issues. It is so nice to have people to talk to who are going through the same things you are, and to know that everybody here truly wants everyone to do well in their art. Aw I’m getting teary… I love Juilliard :)