Musical Paths

Mar 1, 2014 | Off the Hook Arts

When you teach for long enough, sometimes you wonder if your ramblings, energized rants and histrionics ever sink in and make a lasting impression. There is nothing more rewarding for me then to hear the impressions of a student that meant a great deal to me, return the sentiment. For all of the teachers out there, just know that you have touched one person and made a difference in their lives. I promise, it’s all worthwhile. When you read this eloquently written blog, think back on that one person that helped you turn a corner and stuck in your mind, changed your path in life, and still stays deeply within you.

Musings of a Young Musician


Ever since I realized I wanted to play the cello professionally, I have never doubted why: so that I could pursue a career in chamber music, and create beauty with close friends for the rest of my life. I started playing the cello when I was five and a half years old, but I don’t consider myself to have truly begun my musical journey until I was in 7th grade. That year was really the year in which I understood what it meant to put in the hours of practice, and what it meant to really invest myself in something, and I found that I absolutely loved playing cello more than anything else in my life. 7th grade was also the year I joined my first string quartet and had my first experience with chamber music, and ever since I’ve known that I aspire to be a professional chamber musician.

File Name : DSC_0045.JPG File Size : 2.6MB (2683197 Bytes) Date Taken : 2009/10/23 17:54:16 Image Size : 3008 x 2000 pixels Resolution : 300 x 300 dpi Bit Depth : 8 bits/channel Protection Attribute : Off Hide Attribute : Off Camera ID : N/A Camera : NIKON D50 Quality Mode : N/A Metering Mode : Matrix Exposure Mode : Programmed Auto Speed Light : Yes Focal Length : 20 mm Shutter Speed : 1/60 second Aperture : F5.6 Exposure Compensation : +2.3 EV White Balance : N/A Lens : N/A Flash Sync Mode : N/A Exposure Difference : N/A Flexible Program : N/A Sensitivity : N/A Sharpening : N/A Image Type : Color Color Mode : N/A Hue Adjustment : N/A Saturation Control : N/A Tone Compensation : N/A Latitude(GPS) : N/A Longitude(GPS) : N/A Altitude(GPS) : N/AWhen I was in 7th grade, my middle school joined a local program called CHAMPS (Chamber Music in Public Schools), a non-profit organization geared towards providing education in chamber music for student musicians. My first ever group was with three of my best friends, coached under Jephta Bernstein, who would become my most important and inspiring mentor and friend in the years to come. During my time with my 7th grade quartet, I realized that making music was more than playing notes off a page– I had the power to sit my friends down and we could create beauty together. Being able to connect through music as an experience together, and creating a new life apart from school and social stresses, made the two hours that I organized as rehearsal outside of coaching the most refreshing part of my week. I loved not only feeling that I could create something truly beautiful, but also realizing that I was doing this with three other people who I had a great deal of respect and love for.

For the next five years, I have been integrating myself more and more into this environment of chamber music. I was also part of my 8th grade school quartet, and then in high school I participated in a piano trio that was completely self-organized, coached by Steinway Artist Toby Blumenthal-Phillips. The trio lasted for three years, and during that time we participated in numerous competitions and recitals citywide together including auditioning for Christopher O’Riley’s radio program From the Top. During the summer of 2011, the three of us all went to the Luzerne Music Center summer camp together and performed as the top chamber group at that camp. Throughout this time, I fell more and more in love with the chamber music sound and the incredible connection between the three of us as musicians, as well as our growing courage to express ourselves to each other at an incredibly personal level through music. It is an everlasting joy for me to continue to develop my chamber music skills, and to share music with other people; not only my fellow chamber musicians, but with my mentors and connecting with each individual in the audience. This lifestyle of chamber music is something that I will always aspire to develop and nurture.

Now, I am going off to college. I have so far been accepted to the Jacobs School of Music at Indiana University, and I am waiting to hear back from Oberlin Conservatory, Cleveland Institute of Music, and New England Conservatory. I want to major in cello performance with specialty in chamber music and teaching, and it is my dream to inspire people around me and share music to the deepest level with my closest friends. Chamber music has been such an integral part of my life that I feel like it’s something I’ve been doing since birth, but it really all started in 7th grade with Jephta and I am so glad that I had the opportunity to partake in the program that would change my life.