As some of you already know, I have been accepted to the Glasgow School of Art. Below are my answers for a few scholarship questions, and I thought it might be nice to share them. (This photo was taken in Edinburgh by my friend Katie)
What do you think is more important when tackling a challenge, perseverance or knowledge? And why?
Perseverance is the only way I studied abroad to London, England. Even though I prepared for the application process as much possible and turned forms in before the deadlines, plenty of hiccups happened along the way. Financially, many doors shut during the application process, even until the day I left. Discouraged with so many unplanned obstacles, I told myself I needed to see this through. Persevering helped me gain faith in myself and in my goals. I eventually found solutions in places I never imagined, which made the reward of going to London mean more than I could ever imagine.
Describe your career path, how your education and activities so far are related to your career path, and how a graduate education will further your plan.
Becoming an educator and an artist is my primary goal. Throughout my music education degree, I appreciated the concept that an effective teacher never runs out of ideas. With this, I have found that learning more about art, whether it is performing, making videos, or creating installations, I am constantly gaining more tools for teaching. Because my undergraduate degree focused on the educational aspect of my career, it is important for me to study the artistic aspect in graduate school. After having a taste of studying film music and digital media, I know that this is the path I have to take.
Besides applying for this scholarship, what other steps have you taken toward your goal of completing a graduate degree?
In my sophomore year, I realized I wanted to study film music. I shared many conversations with my college professors both in music and film. One professor gave me a list of books about film music, and I researched the bibliography and emailed the authors. Their replies confirmed I wanted to study sound design for moving images. After making the decision to study in the UK, I studied video production in London, England. My future finally felt tangible, and I started to applied to universities. This fall, I will be attending the Glasgow School of Art with a MDes in Sound for the Moving Image.
Ten years from now, what do you expect to be doing and why?
One can find me in my beginning strings classroom, reminding the violins to make sure their second finger was low enough to be a C natural. In my high school orchestra, we would spend Fridays sharing our weekly song analysis projects where we start analyzing music of the current decade and work backwards through time. My intermediate students would be preparing a concert for recruiting young musicians to join orchestra. My goal as a teacher is not necessarily putting instruments in every student’s hand but rather putting positive experiences in every student’s mind. With my own positive experiences from graduate school, I will use my own projects and art installations to help students beyond the classroom experience the arts.
I love teaching music to students, but I also want to show and let them experience contemporary uses of art as well. I deeply value improvisation and expression, and am often inspired by the works of John Cage. The questions he asked about the potential of sound transformed music into a completely different art. Asking myself similar questions about the relationship between visuals and music has lead me to this conclusion. Through combinations of music and physical artistic expression, people discover new emotional boundaries and develop different perspectives. In the past, I have worked with several students with special needs. While music is not always the solution to their specific behaviors, students have told me about the sensation they feel when they experience music. Providing a small moment of curiosity and joy to anyone, whether it be a student or adult, is worth devoting a career to the musical arts. My goal as an artist, is creating positive experiences for people to share.
How might you answer those who say graduate school in the arts is a waste of time?
I would ask them to imagine a pack of Starbursts. I would ask what their favorite flavor was and why. My favorite flavor is strawberry and cherry because the strawberry always tastes the softest and the cherry is the perfect amount of sour. My next question would be, how would they feel if they bought a pack of Starbursts that only had their favorite flavor? Might they pay extra for their favorite flavor? I say, if I love the flavor enough, I want to experience that flavor as much as I can.
Most undergraduate art students spend four years exploring new media and different “flavors” of artistry. By the time they are upperclassmen, it is time for them to choose a focus. That only leaves two years or less for them to study deeply about their subject. Graduate school demands a direct focus in learning a specific area of interest. I want to keep learning about contemporary music, moving images, and art. I want to learn the history and future of it exclusively. The graduate faculty will be able to provide me with real life experiences that might never be published or recorded, and I want to be there for those moments. I envision graduate school being the place where I get to spend a year saturated with my favorite topics before I step out into the professional world. I will receive invaluable feedback from professionals with every class crafted to help me gain a deeper understanding of art and to help me test my potential.
I do not want to miss an opportunity to spend a year researching my topic. I finally found my favorite flavor and I do not want to lose or skip over a single piece of it. If I can learn, ask, work, and share ideas about art for one or two years and end up with a Master’s degree, then my answer is no, graduate school in the arts is not a waste of time.
I have blue scleras. The whites of my eyes are actually blue. While this might seem like an insignificant detail to one’s entire life, having blue scleras is a symptom of osteogenesis imperfecta. There are several types of this, but I have type 1 which means my bones are very brittle and I have a fragile body. As a result, I was never allowed to participate in gym class, sports, or recess. While my friends had sports practices to attend after school, I went home and practiced violin.
With the Suzuki method, my private teacher required me to listen to tapes of the songs I would soon learn. When I came to Humoresque by Antonin Dvorak, my teacher asked me to create a story to go with the music. Because I already did that with most of my pieces, it was easy. I loved hearing specific notes in the piece and assigning story details to them. Throughout the years, my brittle bone disease took its toll. I broke several bones a year. When I broke my arms or wrists, I could not practice the violin, and so I spent much of my time reading and watching movies or TV. Some of my favorite TV shows were Little Bear, which featured unaccompanied cello, and Tom and Jerry, which had very little dialogue. My favorite movies were The Sword in the Stone and Fantasia 2000. All relied heavily on their soundtracks to support the plot. I loved the Harry Potter books and movies. I received the soundtrack to the first film and made the realization that performing music for movies was the most rewarding job I could ever have.
I began to take violin more seriously in middle school and high school and became concertmaster of my youth orchestra. I knew I wanted to keep music in my life but also loved all creative arts. I took a journalism class and found I liked writing stories for the general public. Later, I took a video production class in which we learned the basics of filmmaking and newscasting. Again, this class gave me an opportunity to share stories through a different medium. The decision was tough, but I ended up majoring in music education at Bowling Green State University for my Bachelor’s degree because it allowed me to learn more about music and share my ideas with the youth in the area. BGSU has a fantastic emphasis in contemporary arts which took my understanding of music to a completely different level. Here, I learned the reasons why I loved music in films and how composers wrote music to make audiences feel a certain way.
Being in an environment in which art is created and performed encouraged me to create my own pieces. With a colleague, we created an art installation at which people interacted with the performer and others in indirect ways. Seeing the audience’s reaction to my work gave me the same feeling I get when my students get excited about music. I felt fulfilled and helpful. When I was accepted to the Glasgow School of Art, I felt my potential soar. Now, I cannot wait to see what is in store for me.