String Studies at UMass Amherst Department of Music & Dance

String Studies at UMass Amherst Department of Music & Dance

[MUSIC PLAYING] Every time I pick up my
viola, it’s just really about not only trying
to play my best but really to show the music
to people the way I feel it. [VIOLA PLAYING] I see the joy on their faces. I know they’re enjoying it,
and that makes me happy. The biggest thing about
UMass music program, there’s really such
a strong community between the students in the
department and the professors, and they all want you to excel. There’s a lot of great faculty. The string faculty is amazing. The teachers here
really care for you, and they do want you to do well. What I do see with my
colleagues is that they all care about their students
for their personal success, each individual student,
whether at school or in life. Coming to UMass,
I did not expect that I would be playing
classical music at all. It was something that I
became very passionate about. Sal has been an amazing
teacher and mentor to me. He truly built me up
technically and musically from literally not being able
to play an upright bass to being able to get accepted
to a graduate program for double bass
classical performance. It’s pretty impressive. I’ve been pushed by
everyone in good ways, and I’ve really been
able to grow from that. And they’ve supported me
and given me opportunities. You get to play a lot of
different types of music. Chamber ensembles you can
play in, studios every week, and you get to work
closely with your teacher, with even your studio mates
about improving your technique. The way that the students
interact with each other is very positive. We’re working together. It’s not competitive,
and I think that has been the best
part about going here. So it has this
intimate family feel that you might find
in smaller schools but with the level
performances and opportunities that you find in
much bigger programs. Playing the “St.
Matthew Passion,” that was probably one of
my best musical experiences I’ve ever had. There was a lot of
student collaboration. There was a lot of teachers
involved in the ensemble, and we were all working
together to tackle this behemoth of a
piece and try to make it as beautiful as we could. We got to play with faculty. We got guest singers
coming in and kind of put on a show with three rehearsals. It trains us for
what we would have to do in the professional
world, and that was a really great experience. There are so many musicians
who come through here and they do both
double concentration in education and performance. We’ve actually had
the opportunity to organize a
teacher-training workshop and to help be part
of the organization team for Bach Fest. It’s given me experience
in arts administration, and it made me realize that
there’s so many different paths that I can take. If you’re a young
aspiring musician who is passionate about
improving your skills and growing as a musician
and curious about life and willing to work
hard, then UMass Amherst would be a perfect
place for you.

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About the Author: Oren Garnes

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