I have sat in some form of music lesson since I was one year old (according to my mom, she took me to Music and Me lessons even before I could walk). I’ve played the piano for almost 14 years, the drums for five, the cello for four, vocal lessons for probably six years, played in a rock band and then in a duo. Oh, did I mention I spent 10 years playing in assorted school bands, singing in various choirs, and soon I will make my debut in my first school musical!
I honestly could not see my future without music. So when it came time to apply to college, I set my sights high, dreamed big and worked really hard to make it happen. I wrote and produced original songs, learned challenging classical piano pieces, sang songs from several different genres (with and without my own accompaniment), worked in studio with local jazz musicians to record myself singing a number of standards and even laid down a few electronic tracks using my IMac.
I wrote over a dozen essays on what music meant to me, and researched music technology programs at several colleges. Oprah talks about these “Aha Moments”, and mine came last year. I actually wrote about it in my essay for NYU:
Hello NYU, I believe the time has come for us to write our song. Picking a college, like composing a tune, can be overwhelming, unless you have plan, and I had a plan. It started with “big city or small town?” That choice was easy big city. Next a list of my favorite big cities New York, New York, oh, did I mention New York? This will be the verse we continue to repeat. I have been coming here to visit since I was little, and every time I’ve left I’ve dreamed of coming back. Next begin to scour the internet for schools in the city with music programs that include a technology component and result in a Bachelor’s degree. Thank you Google for putting NYU Steinhardt at the top of the list. Moving on, bug parents to take you for a tour. Our chorus will be that thing we come back to, something that pulls us in. After that first tour, I left knowing I loved the campus, but what about the music technology program? Second phase of grand plan or in our case an intro or hook that leaves you wanting more. Enter Tanner Petersen, recent NYU graduate, female piano player, songwriter, the hook. Bug parents for a second trip to New York to spend a few hours with Tanner. Yes, no song is complete without a coda, a place that allows you to come full circle to the end. Tanner and I toured the studios, while discussing curriculum, career strategies and advice on what it would take to make me successful. At the end of this tour, I crossed a bridge. Most good songs need a bridge, a point in time to pause and reflect. My bridge was that moment when I went from considering to knowing where I belonged. My mind is crescendoing with ideas that I can’t wait to share with my professors and peers. NYU, I’m ready, let’s write this song.
On December 15, 2017, I broke all speeding records to come home and read the email that had already been sitting in my Inbox for over an hour. My hands were shaking as I pressed open and there it was, they said YES. Yes, to all those years of sitting at the piano, yes to the hours of learning music and trying to make sense of theory. NYU said yes to me. The most interesting part of this entire story is the fact that history has repeated itself. You see my Great Grandma Sarah (my middle name is Sarah) escaped Poland at the same age I am now and came to New York City on her own to start a new life. Her spirit lives on in me.
There are so many teachers, friends and family to thank, and I hope I didn’t forget anyone!
Jen Rause, college counselor
Megan Kelley, piano teacher
Corilee Keilmyer, Ebert Elementary School band teacher
Erin Tidwell, girl drum teacher
Riley Juenemann, Duo partner in crime
David Petry, AKA the Hobbit, drum teacher
Luke Rackers, Jazz piano teacher
Daniel Cevallos, Morey Middle School band teacher
Keith Oxman, East HS Band teacher (couldn’t have done it with you)
Will Taylor (East HS choir director)
Rebecca Knack (East HS choir director)
Matt Kingham (East HS choir director)
Donna Wickham, Vocal Jazz Coach
Adrienne Osborn, Vocal Rock n Roll Coach and kick ass lady
Brian Stone (East HS choir director)
David Ross, Classical Piano teacher
Lang Bliss, Nashville producer and coach
Wendy Warshawsky, Cello teacher
Ron Jolly, CEC Jazz instructor
School of Rock
Blue Lake Fine Arts Camp
Carnegie Hall Performance Series
Also, this post would not be complete without thanking the two people who drove countless miles, sat though hundreds of concerts and rehearsals and paid for everything, you know who I’m talking about…my best friends.
Once again, thank you to Noah Berg for being the best blog photographer a girl could ever hope to have. I wish I could take you to New York with me!