Campus visits for admitted students

After overcoming the stress of auditions, I was completely overwhelmed in deciding where I wanted to attend college. It was not until my follow-up visit as an admitted student that I was able to make my decision. My future bassoon professor invited me to Rochester to attend a studio class, where all the bassoonists were planning on playing their jury repertoire. In order to more fully experience what it would be like to be a student at Eastman, I also contacted my admissions counselor so that I could sit in on some classes and rehearsals.

When the day arrived, I traveled to Rochester and met with my admissions counselor to embark on my music-filled day. She had created a personalized schedule for me so that I could attend two classes—music history and poetry—and invited me to attend an orchestral rehearsal. I was even given a private tour of the dorms to see a current student’s room so I could start mapping out what I wanted my dorm room to look like!

My favorite part of the day, however, was visiting the bassoon studio class and meeting my future classmates. All of the students were completely welcoming and I realized that the studio was a place where I could imagine myself. The bassoonists each played their pieces and their colleagues cheered for each other and gave constructive, positive feedback. Right before one student went to play, a pad fell off of her bassoon. Instead of panicking, the studio worked together and was able to creatively fix her bassoon enabling her to play a mini recital.

The idea of “being a student for a day” had originally been an uncomfortable concept for me because I felt that I was going to be an awkward high school student sitting in the back of the room all day. However, it was not this way at all. I was completely integrated into all of the festivities and through this process I learned a lot about the school. One of my main concerns was that I thought I had to be at a flawless level of bassoon playing, but my colleagues assured me that while everyone strives to play their best through dedicated practicing and learning, no one is absolutely perfect. Everyone in the studio routed for each other to play their best and helped one another when faced with a problem.

That afternoon, a girl in the poetry class I attended brought me to the coffee shop next door, Java’s, and we chatted about her experiences as a student. In addition to helpful advice in regards to the school curriculum, she gave me an important tip—that the best drinks and sandwiches at Java’s are the most eclectic ones, the ones that you would never normally order. My recommendation: try the “Terrapin.”

While everything about the day was a little outside my comfort zone—even my coffee—it was a highly rewarding experience. I am looking forward to having potential students shadow me this spring, so I can welcome them to the school in the same way that the school welcomed me. While choosing a school is a stressful time, it has the potential to be a fun and informative time too.

Congratulations to everyone admitted and the best of luck in making your college decisions!

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All-Nighters Can Be Fun – a Day in the Life of A Jazz Composer

The following post was written by Max Berlin BM ’18.  Thanks Max!  We hope you got some rest!


MaxBerlinMany of my most intensely rewarding moments at Eastman occur in the quietest hours of the night.  Often around 4am—I’m wearing some stupid sweatshirt, making my way through a third cup of Earl Grey tea that went cold over an hour ago.  Believe me, it doesn’t look like much, but for an undergraduate jazz composition major like me, it’s nothing short of the Olympics.  My task is simple yet seems impossible to some, and maybe even insane to most:  complete a piece for Eastman Jazz Ensemble.  All I have to do is send one email to Donna Iannapollo in the Ensemble Library, attach a score and 17 parts, and title the email “Good Morning” with a smiley face at the end.  Little does Donna know, what may be a good morning for her has been the end of a caffeinated marathon for me.

Then again, it’s all in the fun of the job—as my title suggests.  When it comes to writing for large ensembles, pulling the all-nighter is all part of the ritual; even with a complete absence of procrastination or slow computers, the long night of score preparation marks the true weight of the composer’s labor.  When I was in high school, my dad would call it my “music school residency,” just like the doctors-in-training.  Although my insomniac schedule is not to save lives, I can’t help but feel the pressure and responsibility of my major looming over me as I silently edit my horn parts.  Sure, it’s not life or death, but the consequence of being unable to hear my work is all the motivation I need—as in—the motivation I need to meticulously type and click for 8+ hours, all in the same brightly lit computer lab with the same three other composers.

Ok, I guess when I put it like that, I can understand why the word insanity would come to mind.  The jazz composition degree takes a certain kind of musician, and is certainly not for everyone.  Nevertheless, it is these trials that make the resulting product all the more moving to me.  The ability to hear my own thoughts and expressions performed by top-tier musicians is one of the greatest gifts my musical career has given me.  It is a reward I would not give up for anything, not even sleep.  So yes, my eyes sometimes have bags and my hair can stick up like a mad scientist.  If it’s what the music takes, I’m game.

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A Week in the Life of a Dual Degree Harp student

ALenhertHello! My name is Anna Lenhert, and I am a senior in The Eastman School of Music’s Dual Degree program. I am pursuing a B.M. in Harp Performance and a B.A. in Digital Media Studies. The elevator pitch that explains my ultimate end goal is this: “I am pursuing these degrees to use visual media to help make classical music more approachable for a broader audience, and convey the narratives that artists often envision when they add musical character to a piece.” I’ve really enjoyed this semester so far, and my schedule reflects both degrees pretty evenly. I’ve jotted down some highlights from my schedule spanning Wednesday October 21st through Wednesday October 28th, so you can get a feel for how a week in my life looks. Continue reading 

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A Day in the Life of a Piano Accompanying & Chamber Music Student

Today’s “Day in the Life” post comes from graduate student Zachary Peterson MM ’16.  Thanks Zachary!


zacA little over a year ago, I moved from Omaha, Nebraska to Rochester, NY to embark on my graduate studies in Piano Accompanying and Chamber Music. In the last year, I’ve learned many things about myself, been exposed to great music, worked with phenomenal teachers, and cultivated friendships that I hope will last for many years to come.

As an Accompanying major and Graduate Assistant, I am assigned a certain number of musical collaborative partners (instrumentalists and vocalists) with whom I work each week. I attend their lessons and studio classes as needed and rehearse with them. This year, I am assigned three singers (in different studios), a violinist, a cellist, and a trumpeter. My schedule changes every week depending on their needs.

Here’s how a typical day looks: Continue reading 

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Applying to Eastman: Insider Tips

The December 1st Eastman application deadline is coming up soon! Here are some insider tips from an admissions counselor to help you avoid common problems:

  • Read the instructions first. The importance of this step can’t be overstated.  Every school you are applying to will have its own unique requirements, and you must read the instructions to know what is expected.  You’ll find Eastman’s application instruction for undergraduate applicants here, and for graduate applicants here.
  • Choose your preferred audition dates carefully, and mark them on your calendar before you submit your application.  If you successfully pass the pre-screening round (or if pre-screening is not required for your program) the we will try to schedule your audition on your first or second choice date option if at all possible. Keep those dates open to prevent date conflicts.  If a conflict comes up, let Admissions know right away by calling or emailing us, even if you are still awaiting pre-screening results.
  • Talk to your recommenders now.  Most recommendation letters, including those for Eastman, can now be submitted online. However, you should still contact each of your recommenders first before adding their names to your application.  It is a professional courtesy to ask first whether they are willing to write on your behalf, and they may need a helpful reminder about the great work you have done.  Don’t wait until the deadline is here to reach out to them.  If you need to send them a reminder, you can do that from your application status page after submitting your application.

Continue reading 

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Beyond the Classroom: Snapshots from my Week around Rochester

This post was created by Dolly Canevari, who is a Dual Degree student here at the University of Rochester and Eastman in Applied Music (Bassoon) and Anthropology.  Dolly is in the Class of 2017.



Despite it being mid-October, the weather is still pleasant enough for outdoor activities! This photo is from the setup of Meliora Weekend at the University of Rochester’s River Campus. Meliora is our school’s motto meaning “ever better.” The weekend comprised of guest talks, alumni reunions and concerts. Continue reading 

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A week in the life of a violinist

The following post was written by Mary Theresa Russek, BM ‘16, who is an undergraduate double major in Violin Performance and Music Education.  Thanks Mary!


Senior year is wonderful! I finished my Theory, Aural Skills, and Music History classes last year, which has made a huge difference in my schedule this year. I’ve also opted to do the FORTE program, which means I will complete all of my coursework for my two majors in 4 years but will stay a ninth semester to do my student teaching. I chose this option because I wanted to have more time in my schedule to take some extra classes that I was interested in. I ended up adding three elective classes from the ALP (Arts Leadership Program). I also have more time to work at my on-campus jobs (Residential Life Office Assistant, Admissions Student Worker, and Residential Advisor) and to practice for my upcoming senior degree recital this November.  Here’s how my week looked.

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A Day in the Life: Rose Hegele

The following “A Day in the Life” post was written by Eastman student Rose Hegele, Class of 2016.  She is a double major in vocal performance and Musical Arts.  Thanks for sharing your experiences Rose!


I begin this blog post at 10:48 pm after a thirteen-hour day of meetings with Eastman faculty, voice repertoire class, performing in vocal accompanying class, opera workshop, studio class, a Sigma Alpha Iota meeting, and two rehearsals, the latter finishing at 10:10 pm. Days like today are not uncommon for me, but instead of feeling exhausted, I feel incredibly fulfilled and excited for my upcoming musical projects.  Here’s a glimpse into how I spent my day:RoseH2015

7:45 am – A Zen Moment

I attribute this feeling of fulfillment to how I started my day: going over to a friend’s apartment at 7:45 am to practice mindfulness meditation with her. We try to meditate together daily, which helps to center us and allow us to more fully experience every moment. After practicing mindfulness meditation, I typically feel less stressed, and ready to take on whatever comes my way!

12:30 pm – Icelandic Inspiration

While it would take me hours to describe all the details of my day, one important highlight I do want to mention is my meeting with my Musical Arts degree  advisor, Dr. Koskoff, who is an ethnomusicology professor at Eastman.  We met to discuss my research plan for my upcoming Icelandic travels in November. My Musical Arts degree focus is Icelandic music in relation to Icelandic national identity, specifically examining the socio-economic and cultural impacts of the Iceland Airwaves music festival. Dr. Koskoff and I met at Java’s where we talked about musical commodification, potential primary and secondary sources for my Musical Arts project, and how to plan my research accordingly. It was, overall, a productive meeting, and I feel relieved to have a plan in place before I travel to Iceland in two months.

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My Eastman Novel – advice for freshmen from a graduating senior

The following guest post was written by graduating senior Nick German.  Thanks Nick – we’ll miss you!

My Eastman Novel
The life of a young musician is filled with many ups and downs. They are all part of the excitement, growth, and adventure that music brings us. When I graduated from high school, people often congratulated me with, “Best wishes on a new chapter in life!” At the time I could not have known that these next four years would be more than just a “chapter in life”- it 11154792_972103006134169_2693741524871073597_owould be a novel that would change my life forever. The writer Novalis once said, “Life must not be a novel that is given to us, but one that is made by us.” Upon graduation, every Eastman student has a novel; a unique story depicting our growth, adventure, and journey through Eastman. Every novel has a synopsis, right? Here is a synopsis of my Eastman novel.
I remember, very vividly, my first few weeks here. It was filled with endless discovery: making life-long friends from all over the world, seeing new places, and most importantly… making music! I am one of those people who have very good intuition about things. One of these things was the feel at Eastman. While I didn’t know exactly what the environment of Eastman would be, I could quickly tell that I would be a part of an extremely close family. People ask me all the time why I chose Eastman over other schools. For me, it was the warm sense of family, belonging, and the vastness of musical and personal discovery! From moving into my freshman dorm room, to waking across the stage of the Eastman Theater to receive my diploma, every day has been a humbling experience. I feel that many of us tend to take things for granted in life. I would like to encourage all of us to step back and really take the time to appreciate the good and bad in life- “Stop and smell the weeds”, my Pap once said!  Luckily for me, Eastman makes this easy. I think I can speak for my colleagues when I say I have no trouble at all being thankful for everything we have at Eastman.

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Summer Plans & Internships

The following guest post was written by current Eastman student Mary Russek.  Thanks Mary!


Wow, another year at Eastman…check! In this post I’d like to share with you my summer plans. I’ll also let you in on a little secret that many students don’t know: summer is a fantastic time to be in Rochester! I am very excited to be staying in Rochester to work in the Eastman Office of Residential Life as the Summer Conference Manager and intern with the artistic director of Biodance, a local dance company that “explores social, political and environmental issues through its works always through dance, sometimes with text, film, music, and ice cream.”

As an Eastman student, I’m pursuing a double major in Violin performance and Music Education, working in the Eastman Admissions Office, and I am a Resident Advisor (RA) in the Student Living Center. When I originally began looking at colleges, I struggled to decide whether to major in music or business. Over my past three years here, I’ve found a way to mold both interests into my life at Eastman. Now that I will be a senior next fall and I’m beginning to look at graduate schools (a thought very far off for an incoming freshman!) I’ve learned about the arts administration major, which yields internships and jobs ideal to me.

Last Fall, I went to the Arts Leadership Program (ALP) office and talked about the opportunities I have here at Eastman to prepare myself for a degree in arts administration. The Arts Leadership Program provides Eastman students with classes, internships, and other opportunities (such as guest lectures) to help prepare ourselves to be successful artists after (and even before) we graduate from Eastman. This can be done as a Certificate Program, or through elective courses during the junior and senior year. In my original meeting in the ALP office, they suggested two things that I could do immediately: 1) contact Biodance to ask for an internship and 2) enroll in the ALP Grant Seeking course for the spring semester.

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