Mentoring Monday: Studio Hour

[Note from Nicole: Sorry this is a late post, I was on vacation]

Studio Hour
Angelica Grau, School of Music Mentor

Q: OK, so what exactly is Studio Hour?
A: It is the best hour of the week!

Q: But seriously, what is it?
A: I just told you. The best hour of the week! At least to me it is.

Q: Do you mind elaborating a little bit on that?
A: Alright, alright. Studio Hour is at 11AM every Thursday morning. In this hour, you are essentially sitting in/participating in a master class hosted by your studio professor.

Q: What’s a master class? I feel stupid.
A: Please don’t! I had no idea what it was when I got here. A master class—at least in music—is when people volunteer to give performances of pieces they are working on in their lessons/on their own. The host of the class then critiques the performance and gives the performer tips on how to improve the piece! Studio Hour is just that.

Q: But I see my studio professor every week in my lessons. Why do I need to go to Studio Hour?
A: You see, Studio is a lot different than your lessons. You are performing for your fellow studio members! You know, the other people who take lessons from your professor. In my studio (Dr. Bullock’s), she allows us to give the feedback. Not only does this help the performer with their repertoire, but it helps the audience by teaching them what to look for in a performances or lessons if you end up teaching them.

Q: Your peers critique you? That sounds horrifying. I hope I never have to perform.
A: Oh don’t worry, you will definitely have to perform in studio. Most likely within the first month or two of the semester. Dr. Bullock holds a “freshmen showcase” in our studio, which is the day all of the freshmen perform!

Q: WHAT?! I AM NOT PREPARED FOR THIS!!!
A: You will be when the time comes, I promise. Your professor will not hang you out to dry.

Q: WHAT IF I DO A HORRIBLE JOB AND EVERYONE HAS HORRIBLE THINGS TO SAY AND I AM HORRIBLE AND GET KICKED OUT FOR BEING HORRIBLE?!?!?!??!?!??!
A: First off, do not think like that. You are NOT horrible. You would not have been accepted into this School of Music if you were. Secondly, your peers will have all been there before! It’s hard to imagine it, but they were all freshmen too. They know what you’re feeling! Performing in Studio Hour for the first time is the scariest, but every time after that it becomes wayyy easier. Believe me, your professor and/or fellow colleagues will not dig your grave. They want you to improve! That’s the entire point of Studio Hour! I promise you, it will be alright. After that very first time, you may find that you really enjoy performing in Studio! I know I do. I also love getting to sit back and watch my colleagues perform their repertoire. It’s really great to see how people—including yourself—have improved over time. So please, do yourself a favor and don’t stress so much about it. You will have enough time to prepare for that dire first performance in Studio Hour. Your teacher and your fellow Studio members will not laugh at your or leave you hanging. Swope is a family. We may be competitive, but we also want everyone to succeed. So take a chill pill and start practicing!

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