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Don’t let my mosquito bites itch, I prayed. It was summer. I was backstage at the church listening to the flutist before me, and with a fluttering stomach, was waiting my turn for the spotlight. The concert was to benefit CAM, abbreviated for Children’s Ark Ministry, supporting single parents by taking care of their children during the day and providing counseling services. I had no idea that in a few minutes, I would be engaged in one of my best performances, ready to beam with happiness after the finishing chord.
The word ‘music’ was one that I had heard so many times it seemed to me as familiar as my own name. I feel the same about ‘help’. When I told my friends and family that I wanted to major in violin, but also wanted to aid others, the automatic response I received every time was, “Oh, you can do both. Music therapy is a great collaboration of music and help.” No, I thought. That wasn’t what I wanted. My passion wasn’t with a combination of two things. What I desired so strongly was to find an institution that would have programs separately embodying musical ideals as well as those of psychology. The New School is conspicuous by its well-known Mannes School of Music and the Eugene Lang School of Liberal Arts. The quintessential blend of schools offering courses that were of my best interest and incorporating things I was most fond of.
The possibility of being surrounded by people of luminous talent under a conservatory education is significant, especially when everyone has a common goal-to turn music into a dynamic career. At the New School, traditional conventions are challenged and as the world becomes more immersed in technology and other advancements, the musical education offered might just enable its students to create positive change in the world. Adapting to contemporary times is crucial and as other schools nurture traditional values, the New School embraces change and is responsive to society’s current needs. When I saw this institution promoting modernity, I knew this was the kind of community I wanted to be part of; artists in the 21st century provided with the necessary tools to transform a passion and art into mature and professional artistry.
Sarasate’s ‘Introduction and Tarantella’ played in a ringing hall. Before my habitual exhale preceding the raising of my bow, I dedicated the performance to the mission, assuring the parents of their children’s welfare. I felt privileged to be able to devote something I loved, to another thing I loved. A psychology minor could give me the opportunity to engage in social work later on, in addition to taking part in orchestral performances, my primary goal. With more people being in need of help, a social-musical career path approached at the New School would be indicative of success for both pursuits. Back on stage, my performance was about to begin; the audience finished clapping at my entrance. Starting with the peacefully suspenseful piano introduction, I was immediately relieved that no part of my body was calling my hand to relieve the reddening irritation. First measure, then the second measure, third… and of course, my mosquito bites itched.
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