This winter term I took an exotic, exciting, and enriching trip to the faraway...practice rooms. At Oberlin College. Well, when the wind is blowing, it's freezing cold, and you don't have a bike anymore, it can at least feel pretty darn far!
What my winter term project basically entailed was intensive piano practice. Although I wasn't participating in an internship or doing a project somewhere else in the world, my winter term project was just what I needed as a music performance major. It was nice to have so much time to devote solely to piano practice; other music schools and conservatories don't have this opportunity.
It was definitely difficult at times to resist the urge to lie in bed and watch Netflix instead of trekking through the cold to go to the practice rooms and do work. However, as winter term progressed, I got better at scheduling my time and being more productive. With so many people off campus, it was nice to be able to practice on some of the best pianos in the school practically whenever I wanted.
During this month of intense practice, one thing I did was polish and improve upon some of the repertoire I worked on during the first semester in order to prepare for Marian Garcia International Piano Competition at Penn State. Although I didn't win, it was a great first collegiate piano competition experience. I got to see a fantastic faculty concert, be inspired by the other undergraduate and graduate students participating in the competition, spend some quality time with my mom, and be amazed by the rolling hills and snow-coated trees we passed on the road to Penn State. Here's a picture of me at Penn State for the competition:
The other part of my winter term project was working on a new piece, Prokofiev Piano Concerto No. 3. It was great, because without classes in session, I had so much more time to truly tackle this huge work.
Overall, I really enjoyed spending my winter term on campus. I had other friends spending their winter terms on campus as well, so I was able to take a break from practicing once in a while and have adventures in the snow, cook with friends, and just relax. I also got my dorm room to myself for a month and got to be more adventurous with food since I wasn't tied down to a meal plan. It will definitely be an adjustment getting back into classes and having less time to practice, but I'm happy to start the new semester. I'm truly very lucky to go to a school that gives us an entire month to focus on what we want to do, in addition to winter break. It's been wonderful having so much time to devote solely to piano practice: something that I'm normally cramming into a busy daily schedule.