Now that school has started again, I finally get to experience what it is like to not be in school anymore since I graduated last spring from the Jacobs School of Music. My conclusion so far: there is a good and a bad part about not being a student anymore, as with most things in life I guess. So let's dive in and see what there is to learn about this new chapter in life...
Going to school and studying the violin were two essential aspects of my life which sometimes weren't very compatible with each other
First, let's take a trip down memory lane for a little bit and go back to the day where my student career started. I guess I must have been around the age of 4 when I first went to school. Middle school and high school eventually followed, but while I was going to a 'regular' school, I was also spending a lot of time practicing the violin starting from the age of 5. Going to school and studying the violin were two essential aspects of my life which sometimes weren't very compatible with each other. Starting from the age of 8, most weekends were filled with events happening at the Conservatory of Amsterdam where I was a student at the Sweelinck Academy. There were rehearsals, lessons, and concerts which left me with hardly any time to finish my homework for school. Therefore, I always tried to finish my homework as soon as possible. Actually, this is a habit I still have these days which I guess often saved me from procrastinating. There are way more things to share about this my time at school, but I should probably just write a separate blog about that (coming soon!). Anyways, I graduated high school (yay!) and then the moment finally arrived where I got to do what I loved most FULL TIME: I was going to study the violin at a conservatory!
Taking these classes did widen my horizons and made me a more well rounded person, which will serve me for the rest of my life.
During my time at the Jacobs School of Music I learned tons of things. I was indeed able to focus on my violin by practicing a lot and being taught music theory and such, but some things I learned weren't really related to music at first sight at all. For example, I had to take these General Educations classes like math and biology which were part of my curriculum. Seems annoying right? Well, truth be told, taking these classes did widen my horizons and made me a more well rounded person, which will serve me for the rest of my life. Of course there was also this aspect of living abroad by myself which let me grow as a person in many different ways. It is only now that I realize how many tools I have learned over the years thanks to all the things I have experienced but also thanks to the education I was fortunate enough to receive, both music- and not-musicwise.
You are your own boss and that feels pretty darn good
So now back to present-day life. Not being a student anymore can honestly be really scary. You have to set out your own path and have to decide for yourself what it is that you want to do with this precious life you have. There is no one who is waiting for you to show up for a lesson and there is no one who is expecting you to turn in your homework and who will check in with you if you miss a deadline. At the same time, this will give you a lot of freedom. You can decide for yourself what you find important in life and what your schedule is going to look like. Instead of a teacher deciding which books you are going to read and which topics you will learn about, you can learn more about things which you find interesting. You are your own boss and this feels pretty darn good. This doesn't mean that you are all on your own. You can (and should!) ask for help if you need it, but now you can decide yourself who and when someone is going to help you. Instead of homework you have to figure out ways to make a living out of being a musician and especially in these unprecedented times you have to be creative. But this does not have to be a bad thing at all! Perhaps you can find ways to combine two things you already like to do, like me: I like to write and I love music, so starting a blog makes perfect sense. And do you remember that piece that you always wanted to learn but never had the time for? Guess what, this is perfect moment to do it! For me, this means playing the Johann Georg Pisendel's Sonata for solo violin in a minor (nerd alert) and looking into audio editing softwares and other technical attributes involved in making videos and recoding yourself (if you have any tips, please email me ;) ).
You can be REALLY YOU!
All in all, being a recent graduate is the perfect time to be(come) the person you always wanted to be. You can be REALLY YOU! Be bold, do the things you always dreamed of, find the things you love to do and nourish the joy you get out of doing them. This is the time where you are able to plant the seeds for the life you will have. So, let's get this thing going!