Leed, Livingston dive into music degree

MARISSA RAMSLAND, Op/Ed Editor

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North Harford has recently sent off many talented musicians to their college endeavors, some going into various music majors or participating in ensembles or theater groups.

Alumna Nichole Livingston is a freshman at Towson University pursuing a music education degree. “I was really looking forward to having nothing but music classes and being able to put all my focus towards that. Although that is not 100% the case—of course, there are some gen ed courses to knock out—I’ve gotten really close,” stated Livingston.

    Livingston participates in multiple ensembles at Towson, ranging from marching band in the fall semester, symphonic band and the symphony orchestra. Along with that, she has weekly lessons with her clarinet professor on how to be a better clarinetist and every Monday, the entire clarinet studio has a masterclass where clarinetists in the studio play their respective solos for each other and receive feedback from their professor and other students. Along with being in the clarinet studio, she prepares two solo selections per semester, one to be performed at a public recital and the other performed privately in front of her clarinet professor and another professor of similar instrumentation, called a jury.

Freshman at West Chester University, Chloe Leed studies music performance with a focus in flute. Leed has participated in the wind ensemble, West Chester’s highest ensemble, and marching band. The flutist started with a double major in music performance and education before switching to solely music performance. “The most difficult thing was being able to understand and accept that when things didn’t go according to my plan, that it would work itself out.  I was very set on becoming a music educator, and it was a hard decision to be able to recognize that it probably wasn’t the best option for me, and to be able to switch to something else,” explained Leed.

Being a musician in college involves big adjustments compared to high school, and Livingston’s biggest change was learning how to manage her time properly and effectively. “Being a music major, your day will start at 8 am and possibly not end until 10 pm due to rehearsals. You sometimes have to miss band for other band and keep track of all your rehearsals, sectionals, lessons, master classes, and performances. On top of homework for ‘real’ classes, other music classes, and even just finding time to eat meals, time management can be a bit of a juggling act,” shared Livingston.

Leed agrees on the difficulties musicians face in college, and extends, “I would have classes and rehearsals from 8am to 8pm every day, and would have to figure out when to eat and practice.  With high school I hadn’t been used to figuring out necessities like that, as lunch was provided and it was easy to practice upon getting home after the school day, so that was something I had to learn.”

Along with the changes came many difficulties Livingston had to face, and the biggest was getting used to being pushed outside of her comfort zone. Ranging from getting used to performing in front of others daily and to not be as nervous. “Everything I thought I knew about marching band was intensified tenfold. The time commitment, the expectations, visuals, music, intensity, and time commitment was unlike anything I had experienced thus far. I almost thought I wouldn’t have been able to make it through successfully, let alone survive, but I definitely did and definitely enjoyed the experience.”

However, the hard work the music majors have to endure pays off. Through the multiple ensembles and classes Leed is apart of, she has had the ability to expand her social group and meet many new people. “It’s amazing to be able to meet so many diverse people in my major and those who share my interests.  I am able to communicate with others on different ideas and I have more opportunities to connect with different personalities as well,” Leed shares.

    With all of these big adjustments and difficulties Livingston and Leed have had to endure thus far, NHHS has helped prepare them substantially. “All music teachers I have had really made sure they informed me on how I should have gone about my college application, audition, and selection process. Although I felt a little lost in some of the process, as it is a very big thing, I still felt I had a vantage point by having the mentors I had,” stated clarinetist. Leed continues, “Through the school, I have been able to have a lot of experience in performing in a chamber and orchestral setting.  Most music students have not played much in an orchestra, and luckily I have an advantage in having performed some larger orchestral repertoire.”

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Leed, Livingston dive into music degree