This is a post from double bassist from Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music student Nicholas Hart. Nick will be contributing weekly posts to the bass blog about life as a music student in one of the nation’s most exclusive programs. I think readers will find this different perspective on the double bass world and the music world in general to be quite interesting, and I am looking forward to reading these posts. You will be able to read all of Nick’s contributions under the articles link in the menubar or in the sidebar under contributors. Enjoy!
I have talked in previous posts about the importance of getting out of your practice room, and going to concerts or doing some unrelated activities. So I thought I would write about what I do away from my practice room.
First, take some classes that don’t pertain to music. If you go to school at a university you will more than likely have to take one academic class a year, but I highly recommend taking two. By doing this you get to meet non-musicians and become a well rounded person. Most music students are turned off to academics from high school because of the very general courses. In college, the classes are much more specific, and if you find something that interests you, go for it, because it will more than likely be a very enjoyable class. This year I have taken my English requirement, a year of Psychology and an American Literature course. I was surprised how much fun I had in these classes, and it gave me something to talk about other than the Strauss excerpts and solo Bach that I was working on.
Also, go see your local orchestra and get to know the staff and musicians of the orchestra. I am very lucky to be in a city with a fantastic orchestra and an amazing conductor. Paavo Jarvi has brought the Cincinnati Symphony to national acclaim and they are quickly becoming one of the hottest orchestras around. After the concert, go back to the Green Room and talk with the musicians. They love talking to the audience, especially music students. I think you will be surprised how many times you end up going to lunch, dinner or the bar with for a beer with some of the musicians. This is a great way to get some conversation with people who have made it into a major symphony and also, a great way to meet some people who love music. Just walking to the car after the concert I have come across so many musicians and entered conversation. I have stood on the corner of a street in
Get involved with the university and or conservatory. I am involving myself two ways – joining a fraternity and joining an intramural sports team. I am on the CCM softball team and we play teams from all different schools in the university. This turns out to be one of the highlights of my week as I get to forget about music and be a normal college kid. Sure we are all worried about getting some kind of injury and it always happens to at least one person that we know during the school year but what kind of musician would we be if we didn’t experience everything that life has to offer. Injuries might not be good for progressing as a player and sports might not help our playing but emotionally and physically they are something that every person needs.
I am currently in the process of joining a fraternity and am a probationary member for Phil Mu Alpha Sinfonia. A fraternity, especially a music one like Sinfonia is a great way to meet people from all over the country, is a great thing to be part of, and they usually plan and have many fun events. Just about every music school has Phi Mu Alpha and Sigma Alpha Iota (women’s fraternity) and they are great organizations to be part of. Also, many people would be surprised of the many famous musicians that have been part of a fraternity. To just name a few from Phi Mu Alpha – Maynard Ferguson, Cannonball Adderly, Arnold Schoenberg, Samuel Barber, Aaron Copland, and the three wind players from the rock band
We as musicians tend to close ourselves off to the world, and this in my mind gives classical music a stuffy stereotype. Meeting engineers, doctors, and designers will not only give us great life experience but it can open up many doors to inviting people to be part of the beauty of music. At the same time we can be open and involved in the elements of design, psychology, and engineering. I know most people would be surprised the role that music plays in inspiration for people and its use as treatment in many medical fields.
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