One Year on the Books
As I finished my final assignment of the semester this morning (a mock audition for my Orchestral Keyboard class), I had a pretty hard time believing that an entire school year has already come and gone. At the end of last semester, I tallied up what I had accomplished by the numbers. I could do the same for the entire year—I could count how many hours I’ve practiced, sonatas I’ve learned, concerts I’ve played, but what I’ve learned in one year at Juilliard amounts to so much more than that.
Sure, my repertoire list has expanded, my technique has improved, and I’ve gained incredible performing experience, but if I had to name one thing that I’ve learned in this crazy, wonderful place that stands out, it’s the important of being fearless. As artists, we are trained to be self-critical, and with that criticism comes heavy doses of doubt and fear. I remember the fear I felt when I first auditioned here, on my first day of class, and at my first performance. When you’re pursuing something at such a high level, it’s easy to feel afraid.
But just beyond that fear is something truly beautiful. When you abandon all of the doubt and self-criticism and give in to the power of the art you’re striving to create, the result can be something incredible. My teachers here have encouraged me to go beyond what feels “safe,” to explore repertoire and artistic choices out of my comfort zone, and those have been the most memorable moments of my first year here. Every time I pushed myself to try something new, even if it didn’t go perfectly, I walked away from it a better artist.
With that in mind, I’m shipping off to Paris this summer, thanks to the Lucrezia Bori Grant, which gives Juilliard students the chance to do an immersive foreign language study. I’m a little nervous, since I’ll be totally on my own in a foreign country, but it feels like a fitting end to a year of learning to be fearless.
Thanks for tuning in to these and being a part of my first year at Juilliard! Here’s hoping that next year is just as exciting.