Monday, March 10, 2014

Thank You!

Overall, this experience was wonderful! I learned so much about my future profession and myself as an artist. We were challenged to think critically about certain ideas and concepts and form our own perspectives on those concepts. The people we meet really inspired me to work even harder to educate myself further in becoming the best artist that I can be. I was able to view how my actions and decisions affect the world around me and how my presence can affect my career choices. From riding the directing ourselves around the subway, to preforming in a splendid master class; the life shaping experiences were endless! This is a trip where your dreams can be illustrated and start to unfold. Each show, person, and event we meet/attended all taught me different aspects about music and the life around me. I was able to get the confidence that I needed to make large strides in the direction where I want my future to go!

Knowing that there are multiple ways to “make it” in the music industry was very refreshing to learn. Each way mentioned, hard work, humility, persistence, and passion. YOU have the key to the door of your future; all you have to do is walk through it. That was a major insight that I learned and experienced while on this journey. I was able to challenge myself more and more each day. This experience also led me to make life long friendships among the people who I met and the other students who went along this journey with me. I will be forever grateful that I was able to participate on this wonderful immersion experience!

Many Thanks,


Sunday, March 2, 2014


Looking back on this trip and remembering all the wonderful and eye opening things that happened is such a blessing. My personal goal coming into the trip was to not be shy around new people that ultimately want to help you. I feel like I successfully achieved this goal because I tried to put myself out there more than I usually would and even though it felt awkward at times, I got really positive results and learned a lot more than I would have by sitting in the background. One of my main personal goals now is to simply take care for my instrument more. Being a singer, your body is your instrument, and one must take care of it. I want to start eating better and working out regularly, and I feel like that will help with not only my health, but my confidence performing. My ultimate goal is to not just lose a little bit of weight, but do something that is life changing for the better. Ultimately, I just want to be healthy, and be able to be comfortable on a stage.

My professional goal changed throughout the trip, but I think I decided on being able to take direction, and be able to do things out of your comfort zone that you would normally never do in performance. When people have worked with me in the past, I was always very apprehensive to trying new things to make me better because I thought what I did was fine, and my routine shouldn't be changed. Now, I have learned many things that have helped my daily routine, like doing yoga, or focusing on words and what I am actually saying while I am singing. Overall,  a lot of the experiences I had in New York have opened my eyes, and have made me try things that have actually helped me a lot.


Saturday, March 1, 2014

NY Withdrawls

I still find myself talking about the trip to New York a lot and how much I miss it. It was the greatest feeling in the world to know that there are people (even strangers) who are willing to help you get yourself established in your career. In the sat couple weeks I've started looking into summer internships in Nashville, Tennessee. A lot of music management companies offer summer internship programs, and the big companies have a whole summer program you can do for summer credit. But, during my interview Ana said that if I can I should intern with a small company, because you will learn more about the industry and get more insider information. 
I've been taking this advice to heart and started just emailing small management companies that peaked my interest. A couple didn't get back to me at all, and a couple told me they would look at my resume, and another said that they wanted me to contact them again at the end of March. Without the networking project before the NY trip  I don't think I would have even considered just emailing the company to ask. I'm having a way easier time asking questions and communicating with professionals in the field, whack is so cool! 
I've started researching what the differences are between an artist manager for classical singers and managers for popular music, or country music (since I want to go to Nashville.) I learned a lot about classical singers and what it takes to manage them. A personal goal for me now is to learn more about the popular music world. The problem with this is this industry is only prevalent in certain cities (L.A., Nashville, and NY) So, my mom and I are in the midst of planning a trip to Tennessee to tour some recording studios, and maybe I'll get to practice my networking skills again and meet with more managers. 
I'm getting really excited for my future, and I think sometimes I'm getting a little ahead of myself  because I just want to know what I'm going to do, and what kind of job I'm going to have tomorrow. I need to work on my patience and trust that if I work my butt off it will pay off in the end. Anyways, I'm still really young according to the Drag Queen at "Natasha, Pierre, and the Great Comet of 1812." 


Being back in Eau Claire for two months, I've had plenty of time to reflect on my New York experience. The music lessons, great performances, and endless culture I experienced was eye opening and refreshing from a career perspective. I feel very motivated to continue working towards my goals as an oboe player.

While in NYC, I learned important life skills that I will need to be successful in music and adult life. Before traveling to New York, I had never flown on a plane before. Turns out I really enjoy flying! I will need to fly to graduate school auditions and visits, and most likely to accept future jobs. I am now capable of traveling on a plane, which is a major step in my personal development. My New York experience also provided me with chances to learn how to use public transportation. I think it is safe to say that if you can use public transportation in a city such as NYC, that you can figure out how to get around almost any other city. When I'm in new cities for auditions, I can use public transportation and not worry about needing a car to get around. Learning how to navigate was a huge personal and professional goal of mine, and I definitely succeeded in NYU.

As an oboist, this trip has made me more focused and aware of my future. If I want to make it in the world of music, I will have to work hard. While talking with wonderful, successful professionals, and attending world class performances was very inspiring, the experience was also very glamorizing of the whole industry. There are so many opportunities in NYC that simply do not exist in the rest of the country.  Also, there are many musicians and artists who simply do not make it to the top, and have to face 'reality' at some point. I've been thinking a lot about possible alternative career options, just in case things don't work out for me. There are simply too many talented and driven musicians in the world, all of whom deserve jobs--there are simply too few jobs for all of the talented people out there. I feel that in some cases hard work is not enough--luck is a part of getting a  job. I will continue to work hard, but now I realize I must be aware of reality. All I can do is keep my career goals in mind, know what I want, and then strive to achieve. I do not expect a job, and this trip, while showing a variety of great job opportunities, has only made me aware of the amount of work that I will have to put in to be successful.


Friday, February 28, 2014


My professional goal prior to the trip was that I wanted to be more marketable by learning more about the different careers in the performing arts. I want to know what the process is to becoming a performer, a general director of an opera company, a stage director, or a voice teacher. My personal goal was that I want to know if NYC is the right place for me to live and if it’s possible for me to do. I wanted to be more independent and confident in my decisions and knowing I can be successful in the performing arts.

Prior to the trip, I got sick and could not sing for a really long time. I tried very hard to get better enough to perform while I was in NYC because I had voice lessons planned, and I felt like this was my one chance to get to sing for the teachers. I sang at the master class, and realized that I was not well enough to sing yet after that. I decided to cancel my lessons. But this turned out to be OK as I had more time to really reflect and answer my goal questions. I started to really look into myself and think of what I really want. Not being able to sing really made me realize how nothing is certain. There are no guarantees that I will make it as a performer. This made me really want to dive further into looking at other options.

During my interviews I asked about their jobs, what made them choose to be a voice teacher and a stage director, and what they do for their jobs. What surprised me most was that they both didn't originally plan on having those jobs. Their life experiences just lead them to it. I then had my eyes opened even further later when Patricia Sheridan gave me a call later in the week. She talked to me about why I wanted to know about the other jobs. When she asked me what I would do if I could do anything, my response was perform, and she said that that is what I need to do then. She told me to stop worrying about the other things because that will come later. Right now I need to focus on becoming the best performer I can be. 

After meeting all the people we met and talking to them about their experiences, I realized how comfortable I felt in NYC. Hearing their stories and how they made it made me realize that even though their are no guarantees, it is possible, and I need to go for it. I stayed a few extra days for the NOA conference. During that I gained more independence, and realized that I can get around on my own, and make connections on my own.

On the trip, I learned more than just what I was searching for with my goals.  One way the NYC Immersion Trip has changed me as a person was immersion through diversity.Learning to work with, communicate, and create relationships with people from diverse backgrounds has taught more about communication, networking, and understanding. I experienced immersion right away on the trip through the use of public transportation. I gained more independence through finding my way around, and I met more people by walking around the city. As the student assistant for the trip this year, I contacted many people in New York City for reservations and questions. My communicative skills have improved greatly because of this.

Getting my own interviews helped me with my communication and networking skills, and by attending other students interviews it allowed me to learn about the lifestyles of other people, how they got to where they are, what events impacted their lives, and also opened me up to other opportunities in my own life. This idea was also reinforced by the group interviews we had, which ranged from dancers to managers to performers.

I also grew professionally as a performer through the performance opportunities while there. Even though I decided to cancel my lessons, I still got to have a coaching, and participated in two master classes while there, which gave me a new perspective on my voice. This year we performed for a high school for the arts. The students were very encouraging and cheered for us, and we even got to see them do dance auditions. It was also very inspiring to go to the Broadway, Off Broadway, and MET performances. This was both humbling and motivating for me to see a production of such high caliber. It made me want to work harder to get there. This year we got to speak with one of the leads in the MET performance of “Die Fledermaus”. Speaking to the professional performers made me realize that they are human too and they had to work hard to get to where they are today, and even now they still work hard.

Going on the NYC Immerson Trip has been truly life changing for me. I will continue to take everything I learned and experienced, and apply it as I continue to further my studies on this journey.



Going into New York I had a very rudimentary professional goal: to find out how one begins to write something as large as an opera. Being pretty new to the genre of opera and vocal music in general, my frame of reference was quite limited; I had seen a few productions on DVD, and knew a bit of the repertoire from Music History, but outside of that it was pretty limited. But through luck of having good contacts, I was able to meet with some great composers, all of whom have had experience composing for the voice and in the opera genre. After talking with them I gained great insight into the purpose of composing opera, the benefit of working with singers and librettists in the workshopping phase, the relative small-ness of the classical music industry, and having a career in composition. In addition, meeting with singers and other music professionals also helped me, as many of them, especially Caroline Worra, have worked with composers before and gave me some useful insight. Probably the best piece of advice that I got that is affecting what I am doing now came not from a composer but from Michael Fabiano. His advice was to "jump in the deep end," so to speak, to do things without worrying about whether you will fail or not. So, I have started writing my first opera scene. I'm sure there will be many mistakes and things to improve, but nobody ever got any better from never trying it out first.

My personal goal was to become better at networking and meeting people. Being from the Midwest I often shy away from new encounters and am nervous about interacting with people for the first time, worrying that I will bother them or annoy them. One of the most common themes that ran through all of our meetings with the various professionals we talked with was the importance of networking, so this was a very relevant personal goal to my chosen path. Over the trip I made some concerted efforts to break this sensibility - I attempted to contact the principal bassist for the New York Philharmonic, Fora Baltacigil, through a contact I obtained from my bass professor Bob Anderson. Unfortunately, I was not able to get ahold of him, but the important thing was that I tried, something I probably wouldn't have done before. Now that I am back this is at the forefront of my mind, and though I am still working on it, it is at the forefront of my mind now, and I realized that it isn't so bad. The worst thing that can happen is they say no, which ends up being the same outcome as if you had never contacted them.

While this was my second trip to New York, the first one was only for a day for college auditions, so this trip was the first time I really got to experience the Big Apple. I was amazed by the amount of music that went on there; our night's were so busy going to different shows and seeing different types of music, and that was only a small fraction of all that was going on in the city. At times it was a bit overwhelming, but overall I thrived. The trip confirmed that I could definitely live in a big city such as New York. Also, seeing all these great performances: Off-Broadway shows, Broadway shows, Opera, Orchestra, not excluding the great masterclasses and coachings that I heard all of my excellent colleagues sing in, solidified that I definitely want to compose, and specifically compose opera/musical theater. I was so inspired by all of the amazing experiences; I know for sure that this is what I want to do.

The trip also had an impact on how I view diversity. I grew up in the suburbs south of Minneapolis, in predominantly white areas, so I haven't had much experience with people of different race or ethnicity than me, besides maybe people of Asian descent. In New York, I was surrounded by people "different" than I. Not only people of different color, but also different in demeanor. Probably the most jarring experience was when Lauren and I went to Jamaica, Queens, to meet the composer George Lam. After the interview, we stopped in the McDonald's to use the bathroom and regroup. I am pretty sure that we were the only white people in the entire establishment. I have never felt more out of place in my life, and it really gave me a different perspective on how I view diversity. In the end, the other people in the McDonald's were doing the same thing as I (essentially) - getting food and relaxing. So why do we segregate ourselves based on our differences? We are all people, all with different experiences, and that is a beautiful thing. The situation at McDonald's was interesting because the situation was reversed from how I had already experienced people. I feel that after the New York trip I have a better found understanding of diversity, or at least I would hope so.

All in all, this trip was great for my development as a young composer and musician, as well as a young adult, soon to emerge into the real world. I am very grateful for the tremendous experience that I was granted, and so thankful for my amazing colleagues that I was able to go with. I am especially thankful to my great faculty supervisors - Mitra and Dr. Rieck. This trip could not have happened without you guys, and your guidance has been and is extremely helpful to me. 10/10, would do again.




I have to admit that since the semester started, I have been so busy with school and shows and general life, that I have not thought a lot about my personal and professional goals. Writing this reflection has helped me to think once again about why I went on this trip and what I took away from it on a personal level, and also professional. I know that it has changed me and caused me to be more of a professional classmate, colleague, and over all person in general who loves and appreciates every aspect of music, and it has also made me become aware of all other types of art that people bring.

My professional goal was to just discover more about my voice. Even though I know that my voice is not fully developed and wont be for a couple more years, I wanted to know what I could do to prepare myself, and also, what do I want to see myself doing to prepare? This question was answered for me in NYC through my interview, other meetings with people, and just watching many forms of art and coming across different forms of talent that I could use to look up to. One of my favorite things about what I do, as creepy as this sounds, is just watching people do their job. I love being in shows where I have people to look up to, or seeing professionals, because what I am best at is mimicking and taking note of what they do well, and what I like, or maybe what I can do differently. This is really how I accomplished my professional goal in NYC! Taking careful and close, specific notes on what they do that I liked, such as warm-ups, practice schedules, or vocal health tips, even down to what they wear to rehearsal really helped me figure out how I can incorporate that into my own life and use these professionals to help myself. I realized that there is really no difference between me, and those professionals when they were my age. Even though they are probably far more talented than I am, they had to start somewhere just like I am. I figured out that I really need to focus more on my voice and take time to really be concerned about myself and my vocal health. I have tried to get a lot more sleep, and done this by spacing out work throughout the week. Keeping a steady rhythm of practicing, academics, and sleeping has really kept me healthy and happy for the most part. No one is going to tell me what to do once I am out in the real world, so I have been really working on doing things for myself! Learning everything that I can is so important, and not learning it or practicing it because I want to make myself look good, or because a professor told me, but because I truly want to be a great and detailed musician who finds joy in working hard, because then I will be able to incorporate that into my art. I strive to be passionate just like the people we met with in New York, and just like the people we saw professionally, from the little Russian dinner theatre, all the way to the huge stars at the Met. I have been practicing a lot more since the trip, and have spent every free moment I can doing some kind of musical practicing. When I have 15 minutes I will go warm up my voice in the practice rooms, or run through the diction of an aria. I have found this to really help me and makes my lessons more enjoyable because I feel  like I have made some growth in my voice.

My personal goal was to find the "spark" that keeps me going even when the stress of school gets in the way of my musical goals. Looking at the professionals we met with in NYC, you would think that they would get bogged down by the daily stress of life since they are so busy, and also have to practice their craft, and even hold another steady job to bring in income. It is surprising and refreshing to see people who are so in love with what they do, even though the city life can be hard, and commuting, waking up early, and fatigue can really have an effect on ones life. Something I noticed that everyone had in common is this: They all had a smile on their face. More specifically, they all had positive attitudes about life. And over the last couple months I have realized this: How lucky are we that we get to pursue what we love in life? How many people in the world are doing something just because they want to make money? How many people do not  have the luxury of going to college? It is truly a privilege to wake up every day and study something I love, even though during the crunch weeks I feel tired beyond belief. How wonderful will it be to look back on my life and know that I have lived a life that I love and followed my passion? I know that I will not have any regrets, and that is more than enough to ask for. Going to NYC has helped me to realize this, and I am very grateful for that. Having a positive attitude is key, and just going through life with a smile on my face, not forced, but because I truly feel grateful, has been the first step.

Going to NYC has also given me a new cultural outlook. Experiencing great amounts a diversity is something I am sort of used to growing up in Milwaukee, but have not experienced much of it at all in Eau Claire. Sometimes its easy to think that Eau Claire, and specifically Haas, is our own safe little world where we can learn and keep to ourselves, and I really want to change this mind set, and have had it changed by going on this immersion trip. It also has prepared me to go to Jersey City next semester as an exchange student. I know that there will be a lot of new culture there, especially with it being so close to Manhattan, and this experience has already been enriched just by going on the immersion trip. To me, diversity is the coming together of many cultures and ways of thinking. This outlook was enforced on the trip. Sometimes cultures do not get along, as we all learned on the trip, and it was a hard lesson to learn. But it is really not about who you get along with, or what parts of their beliefs you also hold as your own. It is more about the act of realizing other people's ways of thinking and accepting it and learning from them, and learning to live together with those differences. Going to NYC has given me a new outlook and a new way of focusing on the world.