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Fisher Center

Undergraduate Program

A Week in the Life

How does a typical conservatory double-degree student balance their academic, musical and personal lives? What does the typical week of a conservatory student look like?

Here is how some Conservatory students answered these questions:

Scot Moore, a third-year American Studies and violin major in the studio of Daniel Phillips, writes:

During the past semester an average week for me involved, as always, a delicate balance of academics, music, and extracurricular activities. Monday and Wednesday were back-to-back class days; my first class started at 11:50 and the second class ended at 2:50 with a twenty minute break in between. Tuesday and Thursday I had one class from 1:30 to 2:50. As a result of my classes all getting started by noon or later I was able to get in quality practice time almost every morning. That is a crucial element to a balanced schedule as a conservatory student.  While not always possible, morning practice is the perfect way to start the day and to ensure that the ratio of time spent in academics to music does not become imbalanced. Tuesday and Thursday nights were (and always have been) orchestra rehearsal nights, starting at 7 and going no later than 9:30.

While some students have classes on Fridays I have been able to avoid that for the most part, leaving Friday and the weekend to be available for rehearsal times, lessons, coachings, and extracurricular musical pursuits. While it is ideal to schedule lessons and coachings for the weekend, many times teachers do not teach on the weekend. This past semester I routinely took lessons during the middle of the week, as well as the occasional coaching. In order to remain flexible for teachers, my chamber group kept multiple rehearsal times available so as to maintain readiness for a potentially earlier coaching time.

As a sometimes necessary relief from the rigors of classical music study I also took a Samba percussion class every Friday from 12 to 2pm. My personal preferences for extracurricular activities have almost always revolved around non-classical music ventures. My interests range from performances with the new music ensemble Contemporaneous to shows with my friend's bands at various venues around campus and the surrounding towns of Tivoli and Red Hook. The academic and musical atmosphere here at Bard is so charged with curiosity that I could not help but devote any time away from the books and classical music studies towards discovering many different styles and genres of music.

Over all a typical week for me involves the perpetuation of a daily rhythm, regardless of the differences in class time from semester to semester. For me staying busy is the most important goal of day-to-day collegiate life, and as a student of the Bard Conservatory I find that to be a goal accomplished with relative ease.

Hsiao Fang Lin, a fifth year, trombone and computer science major writes:

Because I am in my last year and am working on my senior project in computer science my schedule is not as full as it was in my previous years. Last semester, I had a lab science class called "Acoustics" which met 8:30 to 9:50am Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. My senior project meeting with my professor was at 2pm on Tuesdays. After the meeting, I had our regular orchestra rehearsal at 7pm in the Fisher Center. Wednesday was the busiest day for me. I had acoustics from 8:30 to 9:50am, then a computer science class called "Design of 3D Animation and Characters", from 10am to 12:40pm. After this class, I had to have a quick lunch because I had a conducting class with professor James Bagwell from 1:30 to 3:40pm. On Thursdays, I had orchestra rehearsal in the evening from 7 to 9:30pm. On Friday I had acoustic lab in the morning from 8:30 to 9:50am, then brass class in the evening from 7 to 9pm. During the week I also had my trombone lesson, rehearsals with my chamber group, a chamber music coaching, as well as a weekly low brass class. The times for these varied depending on the teachers' schedules. Besides these regular classes, I sometimes worked for the conservatory office and tutored some computer science students. And...I practiced!