DeBlogs > Ruth Hogle
As my last few weeks of DePaul are quickly passing by, I have a couple more performances to look forward to. This week, I will be performing with the DePaul Symphony Orchestra in Symphony Center for the final time. The week after that, I will be performing in the string chamber showcase with my quartet, which will officially be my last performance at DePaul University. In honor of my final performance being one in a chamber group, I will talk about my chamber experience here and how that has been one of my favorite things about being a music student at DePaul.
For my first quarter of freshman year, I signed up for chamber music, remembering how much I enjoyed performing in smaller ensembles in high school. There ended up being shortage of cellists that year, and I ended up being placed in a string quartet with three graduate students that first quarter. Graduate students! It was a huge learning opportunity for me and was also incredibly overwhelming. To think that I am still younger than those players were when they played with me is pretty amusing to me. It was really great to work with such advanced, dedicated musicians, even though it was terrifying as a little freshman.
After that quarter, I played in a handful of other traditional string quartets, multiple trios and quintets with clarinetists, a trio with violin and piano, and I am now in a cello quartet (with two cellos, violin, and viola).
Something that I have learned from my experiences is that each group has its own personality and way of doing things. I have been in some intense groups that dedicate a lot of time and focus to the group. I've sat down with chamber groups for the first time, and we have all already listened to the piece and practiced our parts. I have also been in groups where we are still sight reading the piece in our coachings (oops!)! I have worked with people who have very particular ways of rehearsing and essentially run our rehearsals. I've also been part of groups in which we are all very casual and each have musical ideas to say and opinions to share, amidst the jokes and catching up about life.
In addition to that, who you have as a coach makes a difference. I have greatly enjoyed having coaches who play different instruments than I do. I have been coached by multiple clarinetists, pianists, violinists, and cellists. Each coach has their own way of doing things. Some have us run a movement each time we meet (which is usually every week for an hour) and make notes in their score for us to read later. Others have us go section by section and break everything down in a meticulous manner. Some coaches really emphasize the musicality and communication of the ensemble, and others let that be understood and work on the balance and technical aspects of playing together. Each time, I have learned something more about the music I am playing and how to be a successful performer in a group.
I spent two quarters in the same piano, violin, cello trio last year, which was the first time I stayed with the same group, and that was an extremely valuable experience for me. While I love having the opportunity to play with so many different people, having a sense of comfort with one another really brought our collective music-making abilities to the next level. We were also playing one of my favorite pieces, the Brahms Trio No. 1, Op. 8 in B Major. So gorgeous!
My chamber group this quarter has been one of the most enjoyable, as I am good friends with everyone in the group and enjoy working with them. We are able to have fun during rehearsal and be productive, since we all have a good amount of chamber experience. I am very excited to perform in the DePaul Concert Hall with them in a couple weeks for the string chamber showcase!
And my favorite part of performing with chamber groups? Getting to dress up in something other than my black pants and top that I wear for orchestra concerts!! It's always enjoyable to coordinate and get creative with different colors, as I believe the visual presentation is also very important in a performance. So that is something I've already carefully thought about for my final performance at DePaul!
There are so many beautiful things about the spring season at DePaul: the grass is green again, the flowers and trees are bursting with color and life, outdoor events are actually enjoyable in the warmth of the sun, and ice cream shops are overflowing with hungry kids...and college students.
Even though everyone tries to avoid scheduling their recital during the "rush recital time", it inevitably happens. This is mostly because everyone wants to have as much time as possible to prepare for their recital so they can sound the best they can. I also think that once the weather is so nice, it just seems more enjoyable to perform because we are all genuinely happy that winter is over! It adds a lightness to every music major's playing when the temperature rises above 50 degrees.
A typical weekend in the spring could have as many as three recitals that you will want to attend. While this seems like a busy day that could have been spent outside or practicing, it is really nice to spend time with your classmates in a more social environment and to also celebrate with your performing friends about their musical accomplishments. Another great thing about recitals at DePaul? The receptions! You can actually have every meal taken care of for an entire day some weekends. Students almost always provide receptions directly following their recitals (which are usually in the Recital Hall) and have their reception across the hall in the student lounge. It's fantastic!
So as spring rolls around, prepare yourself to spend a significant amount of time sitting in an audience and stuffing your face with delicious finger foods. Try to enjoy the beautiful weather as much as you can, but embrace the wonderful music-making!
I am not good at making decisions. Simply ask my sisters, parents, or friends who go shopping with me. I look at the shelves of lamps, the racks of shirts, the boxes of macaroni and cheese, and I just get overwhelmed. I spend thirty minutes deciding between two different pieces of jewelry and usually end up buying both, either because I cannot handle being so stressed about making a choice, or the person I am dragging around cannot handle being so stressed by watching me make a choice.
So when it came to choosing which music school to attend, which was the biggest decision I had had to make at that point in my life, it was a big struggle for me. I applied to seven schools. Three of them were music conservatories, two were universities with huge music programs, and the other two were big schools with smaller music programs. After I submitted my applications and finished my auditions for all of the schools I applied to, I did not let myself hope that I would get into my dream school, one of the conservatories. But when I was informed that I was accepted to my dream school two days before I was obligated to inform all schools which program I chose, and after I had already picked DePaul, I felt stuck. Here I was, standing in the hypothetical shopping aisle. In one hand, I was holding a small, competitive conservatory I had strived to get into for years and always thought I would love. In the other hand, I held a university in a fantastic city, with an incredible cello teacher, and much more of a liberal arts experience. So, I followed my instincts and chose the unexpected.
After a couple days of intense prayer, reflection, heart-to-hearts, and talks with prospective music professors, I chose DePaul. How did I have such a big change of heart in a matter of days? There were many logical factors that pushed me toward DePaul, including the fact that my identical twin sister was also interested in the conservatory and we had wanted to go to different colleges, but there were also deeper realizations about what I actually wanted to experience in college that hit me as I grappled with this decision.
As I enjoy my senior year at DePaul and reflect on those two days of panic and difficulty, I am grateful I took the time to truly step back and ask myself, “Is this what I want?” I definitely heard strong, contrasting opinions about this major decision, but in the end, I felt it within myself. I envisioned myself walking the streets of Lincoln Park, wearing a DePaul sweatshirt and carrying a cello on my back. I saw myself growing into the person I wanted to be at DePaul, as I encountered many different cultures and ideas and grew in my faith. I chose DePaul for many reasons, but what really moved me to choose this school was that I finally felt at peace when I let myself say yes.
The Practical: Learn
how you work best and go for it.
Everybody else is just as unsure about life as you are.
It really is true. Although we all express it differently (or don’t ever express it!), most people have no idea what their futures hold. Many of us aren’t quite sure what we want sometimes, and all of us have insecurities. I entered college with high expectations of myself; I thought that I had to have everything figured out. I also thought that I had to have everything together all the time, and I kept to myself the fact that I actually had no idea what I wanted to do with my major or with my life! I would show up to lessons, terrified that my professor might find out that I wasn’t feeling confident in my playing that week. Or, I tried to not let my new friends discover that I was actually super homesick and stressed some days. And with time, as I discovered more of who I was and what my fears, insecurities, and dreams are, I realized that those are important things that I am allowed to share with others. Once I began to stop expecting so much of myself and allowed myself to open up to others about how adjusting to college can be hard, I learned that I wasn’t alone. You are entering a completely new stage of life when you start college. Entering college marks a time in your life where you are more independent than you have ever been before, and it’s scary. You’re faced with big decisions that must be made in a not-so-distant future. So, allow yourself to not know everything about yourself or about life. And tell people; you might just be surprised by how many others feel the same way! And this nugget of truth doesn’t even just apply to college freshmen- all of us are unsure and scared about life sometimes!
straightforward: You go to school in an incredible city—embrace it!
Stage Managing Worker- Stage managers act as both backstage managers and ushers during performances. They often work student recitals. They are in charge of controlling the lights during the performance and changing the stage setup when needed. For ensemble and other larger performances, workers can be ushers and pass out programs in the front of the hall and make sure the concert will not be disturbed. Stage managers are also in charge of locking and unlocking the two performance halls within the School of Music throughout a given day.
Students do not need to be eligible for work study in order to have these on-campus jobs; once you arrive as a student in the School of Music, you may apply for any job that has openings and decide how often you are willing to work. Student workers are paid minimum wage, gaining important work experience while making some extra money!