conservatory camerata vol. 2

ArenskyPoems of roses and thorns told alongside stories of fated lovers accidentally dying. And unfated lovers making the ultimate sacrifice. All highlighted by a brilliant young mind studying at the Manhattan School of Music. On April 22nd, concertgoers are in for the ultimate exploration of love, accidents, and loss.

The Conservatory Camerata and Orchestra Omaha have a beautiful concert planned for April 22nd, 2017 featuring alumna Jennifer Ahn on violin as she ends the second year of study at Manhattan School of Music.

These pieces are so emotive and fulfilling to practice and rehearse, so I can’t recommend this free concert enough! Below is a taste of what you will hear next week:



These two great non-profits work hard to bring you incredible music throughout the year, so please also keep them in mind on the very special Omaha Gives day coming up on May 24th and share the musical love.

See you there!

>> photos by @creativecoffee, filters by a color story and afterlight


master class = inspiration

Mc listI had the luxury of watching Yo-Yo Ma work with college students at a master class when I was in high school, and it changed how I approached playing.

It also didn’t hurt that I shook his hand and nerded out pretty thoroughly.

Moral of the story: even if you aren’t playing in it, master classes are a mountain of inspiration packed into 1-2 hours.
OCM does have a master class next Friday with Mr. Stan Sharp, and it is open to the public so EVERYONE SHOULD COME! For many people it may be their first master class to attend or participate, so here are some helpful hints:

ATTENDING a master class

  • No instrument needed.
  • Feel free to take notes – it will help your own playing.
  • If you arrive late or must leave early, be as unobtrusive as possible
  • Support your fellow performers by applause!

PERFORMING in a master class

  • Be sure to audition on a well polished piece – NOT your current one.
  • Do your homework – does the artist have background with your piece? Have they recorded or publicly performed it?
  • Rehearse with your accompanist.
  • Make it musical.
  • Come with questions (if you have them) about interpretation and musicality.
  • Bring your music.
  • Tune. And tune cleanly again with the piano right before you perform.
  • Relax and listen before, during and after your time.
  • Have a friend/family member take notes for you.
  • Try whatever they ask of you with a positive frame of mind.
  • Don’t take criticism personally – they are trying to help.
  • Say thank you, and send a thank you note after the event.
  • Celebrate for putting your musical self out there!
  • Debrief your teacher of how you felt about it.

Even if the master class isn’t for your instrument, attending one is wonderful. Give yourself the gift of 1-2 hours to enjoy someone geeking out in music. Go forth and nerd out!

use what you got

As we have concluded the insanity of the holiday season and prepare to re-enter the normal world, it is easy to get caught up in making huge resolutions that we kill ourselves trying to keep for a month or so and then feel frustrated when we can’t keep it up all year round.

Here is my version of cello resolutions that I hope helps me to avoid this!

Choose a monthly focus/goal. Instead of choosing something for the whole year, I will focus on finding something each month that will help my playing and teaching. For example, this month I resolve to find 30 minutes each day for me to play pieces on my cello that make me happy. Not grueling études and technique passages I know I need to work on, but work on encouraging my joy for my instrument.

Use what you have. I seem to always be on the hunt for new books and pieces to help my students succeed. Now I am not saying I won’t buy anything this year, but I do promise to go through all of my library and find new ways to use my books. Each time I do this I find wonderful gems that help a student in a way I hadn’t thought of before.

Give more compliments. I don’t believe in giving false confidence, but I dothink musicians as a whole can be more competitive than Is necessary. This year I will focus on finding 2 great things/points I admire in someone’s performance before the truly analytical portion of my brain kicks in.

What do you plan to do this 2015?

Today's goals

filling my brain

Institutes are informational and inspiring! Each day is is filled with such passionate students and off-the-wall (in a fantastic way) teachers that will try anything to get students to play with life and devotedly good tone.

I wish I had the time to post each day what I have experienced, and I do plan to share with you the highlights once my schedule calms down before I return to Omaha. I will leave you with my favorite moment of yesterday (a teacher dragging their student across the floor to show how the bow drags for Squire) and a picture of just a few of the goodies I have purchased for my studio to teach my beloved students back home: