Throughout my life, I have developed and honed many skills that have brought me to where I am today. I have developed many musical, academic, and personal skills that will help me to achieve my goals and high expectations throughout and beyond college.
I have many skills when it comes to playing the French horn. I have a very wide range that extends high above the staff and low below the staff. I always produce a beautiful tone during my practice sessions, ensemble rehearsals, and performances. I can play with clean technique and fast articulation. I am always prepared for rehearsals, private lessons, and performances. I am also dedicated to practicing several hours a week to improve my horn playing and my musicality.
I am very dedicated to my academic studies. I can stay up as late as possible to complete homework assignments and to study for upcoming quizzes and tests. My strongest subject in school is math. I’m so skilled in mathematics, I’ve decided to also major in Applied Mathematics.
I also have many personal skills. I’m responsible for making sure I finish all of my school work, studying, and practice sessions. I’m always honest and have good integrity. I work well with and get along with other students and teachers at SMU. I have a positive work ethic, good attitude, and a desire to learn. I’m always punctual and can adapt to new situations.
The skills I have highlighted require constant practice. As the saying goes, “if you don’t use them, you lose them.” Some skills come naturally and some of them take hours and hours of practice. If I keep on perfecting them, they will take me far in life.
What motivates me musically? Well, as I have progressed through my life, different things motivate me at different times. During my high school years, it was to become a member of the Texas All-State Band, the Greater Dallas Youth Orchestra, and to be accepted by a prestigious university’s music program. These were all great motivators, but what really makes a musician get up early in the morning and practice their instrument day after day, or practice four hours on Christmas or for that matter, 3 to 4 hours every day in the summer after she has graduated? Now that I am in college, I find that many of same things that motivated me when I first started are very present today.
I am motivated to practice my French horn because I want to achieve my greatest goal, becoming a professional French horn player in a major metropolitan orchestra, which, if you have already read my previous blogs, has been my goal since I first started playing the French horn seven years ago. This really motivates me, because as I continue to improve significantly as a musician, I know that I’m getting closer and closer to achieving my ultimate goal.
Having to compete with other extremely talented musicians motivates me to work hard to improve my musicianship. I have to be able to compete with other musicians if I want any good opportunities in the university orchestras, symphonies, or other musical ensembles. Also, I want demonstrate my musicianship in upcoming concerto competitions. I’ve had to do this every year since I started middle school band, be it All-Region Band, chair positions, or solo and ensemble competitions. Competition is a great motivator; you see it every day in life, work, and sports.
I am motivated by my desire to attend a very prestigious graduate school or conservatory. I will need to show them I have what it takes to be accepted into, and excel in their music program.
I motivate myself by listening to recordings of great professional horn players and emulating their style, intonation, and musicality. I consistently record my own practice sessions so I can correct my own playing and improve my musicality to hopefully match the professionals.
My greatest motivation is that I just love playing the French horn! I am just so passionate about it! I love the feel of the French horn in my hands and the beautiful music that it produces.
For a musician, motivation comes in all forms, but ultimately we love to play music and we love to see the effect that it has on our audience. When we see you nodding along with the music and at the performance’s end, stand up and applaud, well, what other motivation do we need?
All my life my parents have stressed what I would call a “hierarchy of values” to guide decisions I make. Throughout my life there have been five values that stood out to me: God, family, education, music, and health. These values have made me the person I am today.
Obviously without God, I would have nothing. He has blessed me with a great family, wonderful friends, my passion for music, my ability to play the French horn, and the opportunity to be able to attend Southern Methodist University. His divine hand has guided me this far and will into the future. I also value the opportunity to give back to him in worship by playing my French horn in my church worship orchestra.
My family supports me with love, finances, and encouragement to pursue my music career. Without my family’s support, I would never have received private music lessons, been able to perform with the Greater Dallas Youth Orchestra, own my own French horn, or have been able to attend Southern Methodist University. I value my family because they always encouraged me to strive for high academic goals in high school so that I could be accepted into the university of my choice. I especially value my family for supporting my aspiration to become a professional French horn performer. My family has given me amazing support through every obstacle I have encountered. For all of this, I am extremely grateful!
I set high academic goals and strive to achieve them. The result was being accepted into several universities, receiving numerous academic and music scholarships, and graduating in the top 10 percent of my class. Choosing to attend Southern Methodist University really demonstrates how much I value my education. I chose Southern Methodist University not only for the outstanding music program, but also its reputation for rigorous academics. I look forward to the academic challenges that will a test me over the next four years.
I love playing my French Horn! I really mean I love it! I appreciate the numerous opportunities I’ve had to compete with other musicians in region, area and state competitions, perform solos, and play orchestral pieces for huge audiences in prestigious venues. I especially enjoy playing French horn in my church worship orchestra. I enjoy playing music for the “One” who has generously blessed me with this gift. I want to continue to improve as a horn player and to perform professionally for the rest of my life. The main reason I am attending Southern Methodist University is to learn under the guidance of Professor Hustis.
My health is an important part of my life. Having asthma and almost dying from it at an early age made me very aware of the need to stay healthy. This is especially important for someone who plays a wind instrument. Good health allows me to engage in any sort of physical activity. Also being a vegetarian, I have to make sure I receive ample nutrition to maintain a healthy lifestyle. By being very conscientious of my health, regularly taking my medicine and watching my diet, I have not had a severe asthma attack since I was seven.
A person can value many different things in life, but these are the values that mean the most to me. They have led me successfully in life thus far, and I expect well into the future.
Typically, I practice my French horn two to three hours each day, inserting my practice sessions in-between classes, homework, rehearsals, and trying to catch some lunch or dinner. On days that I don’t have classes, I have an alternative daily practice routine.
I wake up early every morning at seven, get myself ready for the day and begin my first one hour session at about nine. I then take a two hour break, start another one hour session, again followed by another two hour break and then finish my last one hour session. Sometimes, if I have lots of music to prepare for auditions and ensemble rehearsals, I’ll practice four hours a day instead of my normal three hours if my schedule allows it.
Over Christmas break last winter, I practiced four hours a day to prepare music for seven college auditions, area band auditions, state auditions, the Greater Dallas Youth Orchestra, and my high school band program. I even practiced four hours on Christmas and New Year ’s Day!
During each practice session, I have a daily warm-up routine which consists of mouth piece buzzing, lip slurs, articulation, tone, and technique exercises. Whenever I work on orchestral excerpts or French horn solos, I usually listen to recordings of professional musicians so I can emulate their style, pitch, and dynamics. I also record my practice sessions so I can correct my own mistakes to become a better horn player.
When I do my school homework, I like to work at a clean desk with all the materials I need. I like to be in a quiet, isolated area so I won’t be distracted by other people or noises. Normally, I listen to orchestral music while working. The music helps me concentrate and stay focused on my studies. When I have a lot of homework due the next day, I drink Monster Energy drinks and Five Hour Energy to stay up as late as possible to finish all of my work. There are some nights that I’ve had to stay up to the wee hours in the morning to finish my homework, but regardless of how late I have to stay up to complete my homework, I still get up early the next day to do the one thing I love to do most, play my French horn.
I knew I wanted to become a professional musician ever since I first learned how to play the recorder in fourth grade. Playing music always came easy for me. Before I joined my middle school band, my musical instrument of choice had always been the clarinet. You could imagine my disappointment when I was told by my sixth grade band director that my embouchure was not suitable for successfully playing the clarinet. Through my tears of disappointment, a beautiful, golden instrument caught my eye. I gently reached for it and asked the music instructor, “What is this?” He told me it was a French horn. I gently pressed my lips to the mouth piece and blew into the horn. I produced the most beautiful sound I had ever heard. From that day forward, I knew the French horn was the perfect instrument for me and decided that I would aspire to be a professional French horn musician.
Upon receiving music instruction, I excelled at playing the French horn, but little did I know of all the outside musical influences that would confirm my instrument and career choice. My father was classically trained in piano and guitar, my grandmother was a concert pianist, and my great uncle and his wife played French horn professionally. My great uncle immediately offered a professional horn for me to use as soon as he heard of my musical ability. I was fascinated with the beautiful sound and ease of playing with this horn. With private lesson instruction, determination, discipline, encouragement and support from my family, and several hours of practice each day, I became first chair for both top bands in middle school and high school.
Some of the highlights of my career throughout high school have been acquiring my new Hans Hoyer G10 horn, thrice becoming a Texas All-State band member, twice winning the McKinney Independent School District (MISD) concerto contest, and receiving the MISD 2012 Distinguished Senior Award for Fine Arts, but my greatest achievement was being a member of the Greater Dallas Youth Orchestra. It is hard to describe the feeling of playing music from the world’s greatest composers with whom I consider some the best high school musicians in the country. It is such an honor to be able to perform with them in such venues as the Dallas Meyerson Symphony Center and the Richardson Eismann Center.
My passion is playing music, and I love playing orchestral masterpieces by the world’s greatest composers, especially if the French horn is the centerpiece. By studying French horn at Southern Methodist University, under the instruction of Professor Gregory Hustis, I hope to fulfill my childhood dream of becoming a professional musician in a major metropolitan orchestra.
I am an undergraduate student attending Southern Methodist University and will be double majoring in Music Performance in French horn and Applied Mathematics. I am currently studying under the direction of Gregory Hustis, Adjunct Professor of Horn at SMU and principal horn of the Dallas Symphony Orchestra.