Two students from the Fall 2012 music program share their experiences:
This entire semester has, of course, been a learning experience for us all, but it wasn’t until after fall break that I really discovered myself and who I want to be.
I’ve never been good at making friends. Not for lack of desire, I love creating new and strong relationships with people. I’m just quiet, and being on campus with forty other, very big and exciting personalities was something I didn’t initially know how to react to. Just staying in my comfort zone, seeing all of these wonderful people around me made me so, so happy, but made me want to be a part of their happiness too.
Grace B. had been suggesting I come to some of the dance classes Mickey teaches since I’d had dance experience and had talked to her about how much I had missed dancing. So one random Wednesday, I decided to join her at the partnering class that night. From then on, my experience here completely changed.
Firstly, I didn’t realize how big of a hole was left in my heart when I stopped dancing. It’s just the perfect art form—telling a story with only your body and expressions. No words. How beautiful is that?! Secondly, every person in there, predominantly theatre students who I had hardly spoken to, were all incredibly supportive and seemed genuinely happy for a new face to appear in class.
That one night alleviated my fear of putting myself out there, and I’ve since tried my hardest to talk to different people and try as many new things as I can manage. I’m still quiet. But I’m in the process of getting better at being bolder, believing more in (and being comfortable with) the person that I am, and finding that there really are so many things I am capable of doing if I really go for it. I also plan to keep dancing. Richie and I are partnering in next week’s Cabaret, and Grace and I are going to be dance buddies when we get back to the States. Life is good and hope is high. I couldn’t be more thankful for this time in Italia.
– Sarah Schutzenhofer
One of the things the ADA has allowed me is the time to sit and breathe. Back at Furman, everything seemed to be in constant motion, and I was unable to relax and do something I actually enjoy. Though my final goal is not to grace the stage of the Chicago Symphony, arguably one of the best brass sections in the world, this time has allowed me to grow in my own way.
You see, I wish to be a musicologist. However, back home I never had time to dive deep into extra course readings, finding my interests, and searching for answers. Whenever my teacher would ask about what area of music history I was interested in, I would sit there in silence, unable to answer his question. My exposure to music history was so small in comparison to how it is now that I was embarrassed to tell an outsider my life goal.
As the program is coming to a close, I find myself better able to explain my interests. I am interested in Romantic Russian music history. I may also find myself drawn to styles from the same region but under different names. While this is still broader than some may like, it accurately describes my interests in music history. I was able to write a paper unlike anything I have ever done this semester. I dare say it was my best research paper yet. That is one field that is especially important to the growth of a hopeful scholar.
Now I have had time to find readings at Project Gutenberg that are only on my list as something fun to read. I am going to read the play that Mussorgsky’s Boris Godunov is based off of thanks to this extra time. I am going to explore the finer points of opera, an area I am still woefully weak in when it comes to history. While for some this may seem like research or a boring class assignment, this is something I love. I am thankful for the time to explore this interest and find out more about what draws me to it.
– Grace Bernardo