• Jumping Out of Our Comfort Zone

    by  • October 8, 2019 • Music Program, Uncategorized, Undergraduate Programs • 0 Comments


    Samuel Hsieh, Furman University

    Semester Music Program

    Today, we musicians had our first showcase of the year here in Italy! We performed at Petrarch’s house. People from the Accademia, the theatre students, and townspeople all came to our concert! It was a great first experience to be able to perform for the public, and to show how much we’ve learn since we got here. We are almost at the halfway point and I am both sad and excited to see what else will happen in the near future!


    Bryan Tran, Furman University

    Semester Music Program

    Some say a picture is worth a thousand words. Here are two thousand.

    Mia Berindea, Furman University

    Semester Music Program

    During my brief time in Italy, I have had the opportunity to work with many wonderful artists and teachers. One of the first experiences I had was working with Yo-El Cassell, who teaches movement at the Boston University. In our class, the musicians accompanied the movements of the theatre students with improvised melodies and rhythms to evoke specific emotions and themes. It was interesting to create music on the spot for the first time with my peers. 

    Another artist in residence that I’ve worked with was Markus Stockhausen, who is one of the most recognizable names in European music. Markus’ father, Karlhein Stockhausen, was one who pushed the limits of modern music and truly changed the face of electronic music as we know it. It was very interesting to work with Markus on improvisation and learning to listen to others and see where our own playing fit in to the greater whole of what was happening. We talked a good deal about how our interactions as musicians should be the same as our interactions in society, a give and take between ideas. I was amazed that by the end of our three-day workshop with Markus we were able to play a ninety-minute concert that was completely improvised for a full audience. This was something I never expected myself to do or even thought of previous to this experience. I felt that during these experiences I was pushed out of my comfort zones and forced to grow as a musician and artist. I am excited to continue to push myself and continue to expand my musical palette as much as possible. 




    Gabrielle Phillips, Furman University

    Semester Music Program

    Studying abroad is an opportunity that nobody should hesitate to take. Coming into this experience, I was incredibly nervous as I had never traveled outside of America. When I stepped off the plane and allowed this beautiful journey to begin, I was speechless. It was like a beautiful daydream. Since then, I have been involved with other musicians in this program, as well as the theatre department and several faculty members at the Accademia. We have had the opportunities to travel to several cities across Italy: Venice, Florence, Cinque Terre, Siena, Rome, Pisa and Lucca. In each city, we have explored the old art and music history of the cities, as well as the new, modern communities and cultures we are investing in each time. I believe it is so important as students and young adults to explore a new culture, way of living and independence. Studying abroad has its challenges, like knowing how to manage money, learning a language or simply, just missing home and the comfort and familiarity that it brings, but no matter how much I want a hug from my momma, I know that I have so many things to be thankful for. This experience has meant learning to “go with the flow”, create new and deeper relationships and to broaden what it means to be independent, a student, a thinker, a dreamer and to be myself. Whether going to the coffee shop and studying, taking a day trip to a new city, or taking the time to enjoy the scenery and journal, this journey has been life-altering and I feel so blessed.

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    Matisyn Darby, Furman University


    Semester Music Program

    During this fall semester, musicians have been lucky to experience the vastness of Tuscan art. This past weekend we ventured to Florence to visit the Basilica of Santa Croce, the Uffizi Gallery, Basilica of San Lorenzo and various other monumental Italian spaces. In the process of moving through each church and museum, I haven’t had time to really reconcile with why Italians would want to model each sacred piece and church the way they have. Each church has followed a competitive narrative against another church, being controlled by the Medici, fighting between the most exquisite, exotic, and sacred. As an American living in a 21st century baptist South, I’ve struggled to put myself in the position of a medieval Italian, or devout catholic of the renaissance period. Thanks to our guest art historian, Dr. Kirk Ducleaux, I am finally getting a grasp on the spirituality these spaces give the people, and the power portrayed in these spaces.

    I see an exploration of paradise coming from each church, their patrons, and the artists. By immersing ourselves in mystical spaces, it is said to evoke a spiritual experience. In early traditional Gothic art history we see frescos and alters go from being the extra-terrestrial semblance of the unimaginable Mother Mary in the hundreds of Maestas. From then on, we see transition into traditional roman evolving into renaissance use of expression and movement within the piece. This style changes in order for man to be more relatable to their God, patrons, and saints. Earlier themes were often dismissed, but we see more collaboration in the renaissance period, how incorporating all 3 periods of history truly centers Italian culture, heritage and the arts. They have truly idealized themselves as geniuses and almost as the primary artistry worth studying in the Western world. These themes come home with us into metropolitan spaces to evoke a constant emotion and depict the intention of church, state, and power. Physical power, spiritual power, and state power. I feel my taste and love for all arts has expanded exponentially. I look forward to applying my knowledge, a feeling of paradise, and joy to my own craft with time.


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